The Sneaky Muscle Group You’re Forgetting to Work Is Actually Key to Full-Body Strength

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61

When I'm doing my lower body workouts, I try to pay equal attention to all of my children—AKA all the muscles in my legs that keep me standing and moving—and not play favorites. To keep things fair and even, I work my glutes, my hammies, my quads, my calves, and even my feet (because big toe flexibility is a thing, y'all). But recently, Jennifer Aniston's trainer told me I'm forgetting a majorly important one: my adductor muscles.

"The adductors are used with any change of direction," says Leyon Azubuike, master trainer, founder and owner of Gloveworx. Which makes sense when you think about where they are: Adductors are the long muscles along your inner thigh that literally are responsible for bringing your thighs together... which seems key when doing lower body work. "Targeting the adductors helps increase athletic durability and reduces groin injuries," explains Azubuike. Since your groin suffers from sitting all day, this is definitely an important muscle area to work.

And—bonus!—adductor-targeting exercises are also typically multitasking movements, which means you're working more than one muscle while you're burning them out. Azubuike's fave are those that use core strength, other parts of your lower body, and full-body burners. To work those adductors, try this intense, burn-worthy circuit:


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A post shared by Leyon Azubuike (@leyon) on Jun 27, 2019 at 7:27am PDT

Adductor muscle exercises

Do three rounds of each move, 12 to 15 reps each.

1. Banded adduction: Tie a resistance band around the middle of one of your thigh muscles and place the other end around a stable position (or have someone hold it for you). While standing, take the foot of the banded leg and tap it across the front of your body out and in. Repeat on the other side.

2. Cossack to sumo squats: From standing position, reach your right leg out into a cossack squat, AKA a stretching side lunge. Lean down into the right foot for 12 to 15 reps, then go into the center for a sumo squat with your feet pointed outwards. Then do the left leg cossack squats.

3. Adductor plank: Lie onto your right side, propped up on your right elbow with your feet straight into a line. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot onto the ground in front of your hips. Lift and lower the bottom leg while keeping it out straight. Switch sides.

4. Partner adduction slide: With one slider (or towel) and a partner (or wall or bar). Standing straight with your right foot on the slider, push your leg out while bending down onto the left leg. Extend, then stand up, and repeat. Then work the other leg.

After you tackle that, here's how to combat hip pain from sitting. And these are the moves and stretches to do if your hamstrings are tight (chances are... that they are). 

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