The Best Exercises for Preventing a Groin Pull

April 11, 2013 | Joe Giandonato

Must See Sports Injuries Videos

A twist to the right, a sharp turn, or a pivot could set up you to score—or mess up your groin. Ranging from mild strains to sports-induced hernias, groin injuries are becoming problematic in most field sports—because of the frequent use of such directional movements to change direction.

The major contributors to groin injuries aren't necessarily the movements but the muscles that control the movements—the hip abductors. (1)

During a hockey game or a rugby match, the abductors provide pelvic stability. This means they're constantly firing, even during basic athletic movements like skating or charging your man.

Most groin injuries are caused by a forceful twisting, turning, or pivoting motion that causes the abductors to overstretch, resulting in a strain or tear.

A groin injury can happen to anyone. However, athletes at greater risk are those with:

  • Tight groin muscles
  • Weak cores and hip abductors
  • Poor hip internal rotation
  • Poor pelvic and lumbar stability

Groin Pull Exercises

Recovery is a long and painful process. Protect your athletic future by including the following prevention exercises in your routine:

Abductor Foam Roll

The main purpose of this foam roll is to lengthen your abductors.

Sets/Time: 2x30-60 (each side)

  • Lie supine with forearms on the ground to support your upper body
  • Situate a foam roller beneath your thigh and inside your knee, running parallel with your torso
  • Bend the knee and glide laterally atop the foam roller, keeping your core braced
  • Pause on areas that are tender or tight, applying pressure until the tightness is reduced, or for up to ten seconds

Quadruped Fire Hydrant

Addresses hip mobility.

Sets/Reps: 2×10-15 each direction (each side)

  • Assume all-fours position
  • Pick right knee off floor
  • Rotate clockwise through entire range of motion for specified reps, keeping knee at 90-degree angle
  • Repeat in counterclockwise direction
  • Perform set with opposite leg

Kettlebell Goblet Asterisk Lunge

This lunge will help you develop both core strength and hip mobility.

Sets: 2-3 (each side)

  • Grasp a kettlebell with two hands and hold it against your chest and under your chin.
  • Keep your core braced the entire time, inhaling as you drop into a lunge position and exhaling as you return to a standing position.
  • On one side, in this order, perform: a forward lunge with your foot directly in front of your knee; a forward lunge with your foot outside of your hip; a lateral lunge; a reverse lunge with your foot outside of your knee; and a reverse lunge with your foot lined up with your knee.
  • Briefly pause in the bottom of each lunge, maintaining a tight core, big chest and upright torso.
  • Switch sides.
  • Both sides completed is one set.

Sumo Plank

To lengthen the abductors as well as build up the core.

Sets/Time: 2-4 x15-30 seconds

  • Assume a plank position
  • Place your feet out wide, pressing your toes against the floor
  • Keep your core braced and spine neutral
  • Hold for specified time


(1)Maffey L & Emery C. "What are the risk factors for groin strain injury in sport? A systematic review of the literature." Sports Medicine. 2007.

Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...
Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...
Must See
Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick
Views: 20,208,988
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 36,871,831
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,686

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 66,647
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 5,931
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 124,090
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,506
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,206
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,488
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,633
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,559,831

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

Megan Rapinoe

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

How to Train With Running Blisters

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome