Adductor strengthening: Is it in your gym program?

Groin injuries are highly prevalent in sport, with 14-17% of elite soccer players incurring a groin injury that results in missed training/games each year. Low hip adduction strength has been identified as a risk factor for such injuries, yet the adductor muscles have often been overlooked historically when it comes to a strengthening program. 

The Copenhagen Adduction exercise has demonstrated high activation of the adductor longus muscle, and significant eccentric adduction strength gains. A recent study had 339 Norwegian semi-professional soccer players complete the Copenhagen Adduction exercise during their pre-season (2-3 x weekly) and throughout their season (1 x weekly) and found some significant results:

  • A 41% reduction in all groin problems compared to a control group

  • An 18% lower risk of a ‘substantial’ groin problem

Interestingly, these results were achieved at quite a low dosage, with a maximum of one set of 12-15 repetitions on each side. We can certainly speculate that a higher/more sports specific dosage and more functional adductor strengthening exercises might yield even greater results. Adductors play a huge role in hip stability, and pelvic rotational control, meaning these results may also be applied outside of ‘cutting’ sports, with sports such as long distance running requiring significant hip and pelvic control. 


Harøy, J., Clarsen, B., Guldahl Wiger, E., Glomnes Øyen,M., Serner, A., Thorborg,K., Hölmich, P., Einar Andersen,T., Bahr, R (2019). The Adductor Strengthening Programme prevents groin problems among male football players: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. Br J Sports Med 2019;53:145–152. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-098937

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