Hip abduction exercises are super hot right now.
Moves such as Clamshells and Lateral Band Walks target the glutes and the outside of our hips. Yet our adductors, or groin muscles, remain largely ignored. This is a big mistake—especially if you’re an athlete.
Your adductor muscles are responsible for bringing your leg towards the midline of your body. Not only do weak adductors put you at a higher risk of injury, but strong adductors aid in hip extension and rotational power and allow you to get into more athletic positions.
“In today’s training, we focus a lot on the outside of the hips,” says Ryan Andrews, DPT and co-owner of Pure Physio (Strongsville, Ohio). “But sometimes it can be a little bit overemphasized. So what we always try to make sure we’re incorporating into our training for our athletes is working the inner thighs, working those adductor muscles. And a way we do that is by the Copenhagen Hold.”
The Copenhagen Hold, as shown below, is a unique plank variation that specifically targets the musculature of the inner groin.
“We’re working on the (inside) to counteract all the strong muscles on the outside of the hip,” says Andrews. “This is really important for those field-based athletes. Those hockey players, soccer players, basketball players who do a lot of lateral-based movement, we want to make sure the inner groin, those adductor muscles, are just as strong as the outside, or else we can create a bit of an imbalanced force couple.”
For those new to the movement, begin in a side-lying position with your top knee on top of a bench, as shown here:
Contracting your adductor (inner groin) muscles, press your top knee into the bench to assume a side bridge position. You want your body to be one rigid line at the top of the movement:
You can either hold the top position for a set amount of time or simply raise and lower in and out of that position to perform a pre-determined number of reps.
Once you feel you can comfortably own that position (for certain people, this may take several weeks of regular training), slide farther away from the bench so only your top foot and ankle are on its surface.
This makes the exercise more difficult by lengthening the moment arm, putting your groin muscles at a greater mechanical disadvantage:
For a set/reps approach, perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
For a duration approach, perform four sets of five 20- to 30-second holds.
The Copenhagen Hold can be further progressed with partner-resisted and suspension trainer variations, as shown here.
Photo Credit: Pure Physio