The hip adductors are one of the major muscle groups that need to be strengthened for any athlete looking to improve lateral quickness, or, side to side movements. They do this by bringing your legs towards the midline of your body as well as across the body.
This action is known as hip adduction and this type of movement occurs during running sports like football, soccer, baseball and basketball to name a few. They are also used in specific skills such as kicking in soccer as well as activities like horseback riding where inward pressure by your thighs is required to maintain a firm and stable riding posture. See Figure 1 for the hip adductors in action.
Figure 1. The Hip Adductor Muscles.
There are four muscles on each side of the body that make up your hip adductors. Their names are: 1) Adductor Longus, 2) Adductor Brevis, 3) Adductor Magnus, and 4) Gracilis. These muscles are shown in Figure 2 below:
Figure 2. The Hip Adductor Muscles
By far, the most popular way to strengthen your hip adductors is using a machine at the gym. However, there are several other methods using the resistance band that are highly recommend, too. One of them is to use the resistance band as this will give you more of a variety when it comes to targeting these muscles. Plus, you can even exercise at home with resistance bands which make them one of my go-to recommendations for athletes looking to improve lateral quickness.
Ultimately, you, as an athlete, will want to do as many different types of exercises as possible to assist in the strengthening of these muscles. This means that outside of exercising these muscles with weights or bands, you could do cone drills and lateral running on a field or court to improve lateral quickness. In fact, the combination of weights, bands and simple lateral running is more than sufficient to bring these muscles up to speed.
The nerve supply to the all of the hip adductors is from the Obturator nerve. The Adductor Magnus receives additional nerve supply from the Great Sciatic Nerve. See Figure 3:
Figure 3. Nerve supply of the hip adductors.
Muscles that work opposite the hip adductors are the hip abductors. Antagonist muscles are very important as they help return the joint back to its neutral position whenever it is moved. Plus, to prevent injury, you will always want to make sure each muscle you exercise is properly balanced with exercises in the opposite direction.
About the Author of this post: Dr. VanSuch is a chiropractor and former electrical engineer. He developed the speed training method that uses resistance bands with an isometric training strategy to help athletes run faster starting way back in 1996. He has been teaching this technique to athletes, coaches and parents for the last 25+ years and has quite an extensive list of testimonials found throughout this website. Dr. VanSuch’s speed training programs are for running, kicking, jumping as well as swinging a golf club, baseball bat or tennis racket. He also has written an MMA speed program. Athletes of all fitness levels have used his training method with great success. He looks forward to hearing from all those who come across his work and are wanting to learn more. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com