Everyone knows about the Yes/No Machine… AKA the Adductor/Abductor machine pictured above. It’s the one machine in the gym you never want to make eye contact with the person using it, ‘Awkward.’ As humorous as it may be this machine seems to be the only way people can figure out to strengthen their inner thighs. I’m writing this article just for that reason. There are many ways to do it, let me show you some of my favorites.
First of all, why is this even important? Time to go to school for a minute and get your learn on. The adductor/inner thigh muscles are comprised of pectineus, adductor longs, adductor brevis, adductor magnus and gracillis.
Functionally these muscles act to adduct the femur in an open chain scenario. However from a closed chain perspective (which is how much of their time is spent) they function to stabilize the medial knee from dropping in towards the midline, along with stabilizing the pelvis during single limb support and gait. I could get super geeky on you and talk about the orientation of different fibers and how that can have a different function and yada yada… but I’m not gonna waste your time. Lets just say these are the basics. For a more in depth perspective please click here to learn about the role of the adductors individually and how they play a role kinetically.
From a Crossfit perspective, or running and cycling: many people present with a classic valgus knee position under load or during functional movements such as squats and lunges. That means the knee collapses inward when you get to the bottom of the squat and try to come out:
There are many reasons, including weak adductors that one can present with a valgus knee. My purpose in writing this article is to make you aware of the importance of the inner thigh/adductor muscles and to give you a few simple strength training exercises that you can start doing to make a difference.
The most common exercise recommended to people for strengthening the adductors is the ever-popular “Yes/No Machine” AKA the abductor/Adductor machine. Let me just say that yes this machine does strengthen the muscle group, but at the expense of any functional neurologic programing. That means that it doesn’t mimic anything in real life (and if it does you should keep that to yourself).
For most of us in the Crossfit world the other biggest recommendation is Sumo Deadlift or Wide leg position squats; kinda like a ballet plia:
I do like this for strengthening the adductors,especially from a functional perspective, but I want you to know that there are more exercises out there that are effective as well.
So I decided to shoot a few videos to share with everyone that go from beginner to advanced. These are exercises I like to use for strengthening the inner thigh/adductor group. I hope you find them useful and please make sure you can do the basic moves before you try the advanced.
For those of you that have the strength and biomechanics to make it all the way through the advanced series, congratulations! You are gonna be burning tomorrow 🙂