Research Summary

Academy Title:serner2013
Research Article: EMG evaluation of hip adduction exercises for soccer players: implications for exercise selection in prevention and treatment of groin injuries.
 Groin strains are common in kicking athletes, particularly involving the hip adductor muscles.

One of the biggest risk factors for groin strain is a previous groin injury; poor rehabilitation, leading to reduced hip adductor strength, may be to blame. It’s important for clinicians to know which hip adductor strengthening exercises have the highest levels of muscle activation.

Danish researchers in Copenhagen evaluated muscle activation levels of the hip (adductors and gluteus medius) and trunk (rectus abdominus, external obliques) during 8 hip adduction strengthening exercises in 40 healthy male soccer players. The exercises were performed in randomized order and evaluated using surface EMG. The external load for 2 dynamic resistance exercises (Technogym® hip adductor machine and Thera-Band® standing hip adduction) was set at 10RM.

The researchers reported that 3 exercises, hip adductor machine, the “Copenhagen Adduction” exercise, and the Thera-Band standing hip adduction exercise had significantly more adductor longus activation in the training leg compared to the opposite leg. In addition, the Thera-Band hip adduction exercise had the same level (103% vs. 99%) as the hip adductor machine. The Copenhagen adduction exercise had an activation level of 108%, but requires a partner to complete the exercise. The authors stated these 3 dynamic exercises are “potentially the best exercises in the prevention of adductor-related groin injuries in soccer players.”

Not surprisingly, the researchers found relatively little activation of the gluteus medius and trunk muscles during the exercises.

A simple exercise with Thera-Band elastic resistance can produce maximal activation of the hip adductor muscles without the need for a machine or partner to complete the exercise, thus making it very convenient and efficient.

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