A common complaint from athletes in many sports is pectineus muscle soreness, often simply referred to as groin pain.
The pectineus is involved when the thigh is raised up toward the body, twisted upward, or moved forward. Pectineus muscle soreness or pain can result from:
- Repetitive kicking or punting
- Running or multi-directional sprinting
- Jumping movements
- Slipping or taking a misstep
- Excessive Squats, Leg Presses or Deadlifts with the feet positioned wide
Below are preventive and recovery suggestions, including dynamic warm-up motions; static cooldown stretches to enhance greater flexibility and range of motion, and relieve tightness; strengthening exercises; and therapeutic tips to alleviate pectineus muscle soreness and get you back in the game sooner rather than later.
Dynamic Warm-Up Movements
Choose two or three movements per workout.
Hanging Knee Raises
Place your arms with a pronated grip on a Chin-Up bar and hang with your feet off the floor. Bend your knees and raise them toward your waist. Pause one second and slowly lower in three seconds. Sets/Reps: 2x10. Rest between sets: 30 seconds.
Supine Bicycle Kicks
Performing this exercise on a slant board or decline bench, with your hands grasping the end of the bench or board for support, is more challenging than doing it on a flat surface (e.g. an exercise mat). Bring your legs up, bend your knees, bring your left knee toward your chest and extend it while simultaneously bringing your right knee to your chest and extending it. Continue alternating (as if pedaling) for 30-60 seconds. Rest 30 seconds and repeat.
Alternating Leg Chops or Scissors
Follow the Bicycle Kicks with alternating Leg Chops while holding on to the sides of the board or bench. Extend your legs up and alternately lower your left leg toward the bench/board and back up while lowering your right leg and raising it up. Continue alternating for 30-60 seconds, rest, and repeat.
With your arms extended at shoulder level, cross-step laterally right about 10 yards, then laterally left back to start position. Rest and repeat.
Interval Sprints in Place
Quickly drive your knees to your waist while driving your arms up and down in place for 15 seconds. Reduce speed for 10 seconds, then accelerate for 15 seconds. Rest and repeat.
The following core-building exercises not only strengthen the pectineus muscle, but also the inner thigh/groin, abdominal and back muscles. Choose two or three exercises per workout.
Supersetted Elevated Prone, Side and Supine Planks
Assume a prone position by placing your feet on a bench or chair and resting your forearms on an exercise mat. Keep your back straight, tighten your abdominal muscles and hold 30 seconds. Immediately turn to the right and rest on your right forearm with your feet atop the bench or chair, hips raised. Extend your left arm overhead and hold for 30 seconds. Turn left and rest on your left forearm with your right arm extended overhead for a 30-second hold. Finish by going into a Supine Plank position with your heels atop the chair/bench and your hips off the mat while resting on your forearms for 30 seconds. Rest, hydrate, and repeat.
Side Lunges with a Resistance Band
Place a resistance band above your knees and assume an athletic stance. Lunge laterally left 10 times and then laterally right 10 times. Rest, hydrate, and repeat.
Hold your arms overhead while alternately lunging forward with each leg, five times per leg. Rest and repeat.
Supine Leg Lift
Lie on your back on the exercise mat with your hands under your hips and lower back for support. With your legs extended and close together, raise them approximately 1-2 inches off the mat and hold for 30-60 seconds.
Cooldown Static Stretches
Hold each stretch for 10 seconds and repeat.
Seated Groin Stretch
Sit on the mat with your knees bent and feet together. Slowly lower both legs laterally to the mat.
With your hands and knees on the mat, extend your right leg airborne and raise your left arm off the mat and extend it forward. Feel the stretch in the pectineus area with your right leg maximally extended behind you. After 10 seconds, repeat with your left leg airborne and right arm off the mat. Rest, hydrate, and repeat.
Kneeling Lunge and Overhead Stretch
Assume a Kneeling Lunge position starting with your right leg lunging and left knee on the mat. Place your right hand on your right knee, extend your left arm overhead and bring the arm slightly across your body to the right. Feel the stretch in your pectineus and upper body (shoulder and lat muscles) as you lunge slightly forward with your right leg. Then switch to a left leg Lunge/right knee on the mat. Place your left hand on your left knee, extend your right arm overhead and over to the left to feel the stretches while lunging slightly forward with your left leg.
For soreness or tightness in the pectineus muscle—either on the right or left side (or both), sit on a chair or mat and use your thumb or index finger to gently massage the muscle for 30 seconds.
Epsom Salt Bath and Ice Massage
Pour a half cup of Epsom Salt in a bathtub filled half way with warm water and sit in it for 7-10 minutes to reduce inflammation and soreness in the groin/pectineus areas. After the bath, contrast with ice massage in the area (place some ice cubes in a towel) and massage with the ice around the groin/pectineus area for 30 seconds.