One of the first questions I ask clients when they come to see me for massage is to give me explicit consent to treat certain areas of the body. Massage therapists don’t work on private areas, but there are some commonly protected areas that are hugely beneficial to treat on the right individual. My intake asks permission to work on the abdomen and the Glutes which can make people do a double take. But, I get the most questions when I ask if it’s ok to work on their Adductors, too.
Most of the time clients don’t even realize how tender their Adductors are – they’re a sneaky bunch, lying there, not giving off many signals. And, then, BAM!, you try to get rid of the knots and they freak out. So sneaky.
The Adductor Group
The Adductor Group has 5 muscles that belong to it: Adductor Magnus, Adductor Brevis, Adductor Longus, Pectineus and Gracilis. They all originate at the base of the pelvis and attach at points along the femur (thigh bone) with the exception of the Gracilis – she crosses the knee joint and meets up with the Tibia.
These muscles are a challenge to palpate individually, but as a group they are easy to find. Go to your medial (inner) thigh, touch, that’s the Adductor group. During a session I can massage out tender points, but then what?
On your own you have a few options.
I actually don’t like the term “rolling” when referring to using a foam roller or lacrosse ball. Reason? Rolling over the muscle quickly doesn’t do much to release the tight spots of the muscle.
To feel results, find a tender spot and let the pressure & weight of your leg soften them until it is not as tender, about 60 seconds. From there, move to another tender spot, but spend no more than 10 minutes on a particular muscle/group of muscles.
So, see? It’s not really a rolling motion at all, it’s melting.
For the Adductors, stay in the bottom 2/3 of your thigh. There’s a lot of stuff (read: nerves, arteries, lymph nodes) in the femoral triangle which is easy to hit when trying to work on the upper Adductors with a tool such a foam roller, lacrosse ball or softball. As always, a pulse means to get off that area. And, we’re never looking for tingling, numbness or burning during self care treatments.
My favorite way to access my own Adductors is to stretch them. A few of my favorites include the frog stretch and the Cossack Squat. Do either of these as a dynamic stretch or a static stretch, but save the static stretching for the end of your training session. The videos below show you the dynamic versions, but if you pause at points along the way, you will find yourself in a static stretch that’ll get those sticky points.
Rolling Cossack Squat
Dean Somerset gave me my favorite mobility move of all time. This is legit. It gets into the Adductors nicely and gives your opposite Glutes a little firing action before squatting. This drill changed the way I squat.
Incorporate these moves into your routine a couple of times per week. See how you feel. Do more or less depending on your results.
Oh, and, please let me know how much you love the Rolling Cossack.