Have you ever been frustrated wondering why all of your favorite team's defensive backs are sidelined with groin strains? Or upset because you cannot seem to get out of cuts or breakdowns without feeling pain in your inner thigh?
You are not alone; this is happening all over the sport of football, and it's been plaguing defensive backfields for way too long. Defensive backs are more susceptible to groin injuries than any other athletes; however, other athletes are not immune.
That's why it's vital to take the proper steps to prevent a groin strain.
How Groin Strains Occur
Football is unique in that each position on the field differs greatly from the others. The differences range from responsibilities on the field to typical repetitive movement patterns. If you're a defensive back, a cornerbacks in particular, a lot of stress is placed on your adductor longus when you suddenly and explosively move from a backpedal into another movement to break on a player or on the ball in the air.
As a cornerback transitions from a backpedal into a full sprint (as when covering a post, corner or any deep route), the stress of his body's explosive movement is placed almost fully on the adductor muscle of the leg opposite the direction he turns. Without proper training and warm-up, that stress could be too much for the adductor to handle, producing yet another sidelined defensive back.
Any sport characterized by frequent changes in direction and lateral movement can engender a groin injury. Groin strains are common in hockey, especially among goalies, and frequently affect soccer players because of their rapid changes of direction.
What can be done to prevent groin injuries?
Fortunately, it's possible to reduce your risk of a groin strain, but you must take a proactive approach. Add the following five tips to your routine to help prevent this common injury.
1. Static Warm-up
Do these exercises before workouts, practices and games:
- Prayer Position Groin Stretch
- Kneeling Groin Stretch
2. Dynamic Warm-up
Before workouts, practices, and games do these exercises:
- Dynamic Leg Swings on Wall
- Light (submaximal speed) Hip Turns to Run
3. Foam Rolling
Target the groin muscles with a foam roller to relieve muscle tightness, promote blood flow to the muscle, and prime the muscle for activity.
4. Adductor Strength Training
You may be avoiding the adductor machine at your local gym out of embarrassment, but if you want to stay on the field, get on that machine at least three times a week for 3-4 sets of high rep ranges (15-20).
5. Position-Specific Drills
The best way to prepare your muscles for activity is to never let them become unprepared. Many groin injuries occur during camp or early in the season, because players are not yet used to the reintroduction of explosive movements and their impact on small muscle groups. Keep performing your drills year round, and your body will never be unprepared.