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
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.
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.