The “Weakly” Muscle – The Adductors


Before I even begin, the adductors (All 6 of them if you count the adductor magnus as 2 based on its orientation and torsion) are typically lumped into the one category of “Adductor,” which in my opinion is a huge problem. There is only one machine at the gym designed to work your “Adductors.” I even have an issue with the name itself. It implies that these muscles “adduct” the legs which in fact they do, however they also perform many other functions. We will talk about them as one unit, but will most likely be breaking them down further as you get more comfortable with the anatomy. Understanding where your center of gravity resides will help you triangulate the actions of these muscles. Your hip joint (The ball and socket) is going to be our point of reference because these muscles directly affect the hip, but indirectly affect many other areas.


The ramus of the pubic bone to the ischial tuberosity. This means if you drop a plumb line down the body’s center of gravity, the origin of this muscle sits in front, directly on, and in back of the center of gravity. This will start making sense soon.


5 of the 6 adductor muscles insert or attach to the femur, the largest bone in the body. The 5th (gracilis) attaches below the knee on the tibia.


Here goes…The actions of the adductors depend largely on the position of the leg at the time of the muscle contraction. In hip flexion, they extend the hip – in hip extension, they flex the hip – they internally rotate the hip, and also stabilize the pelvis. Oh yeah…and they ADDUCT as well. Which machine does all that in the gym?


Trigger points in the adductors can refer pain to the red stippled area in the picture.


Not enough credit is given to the adductors in relation to problems that therapists see. Here are some examples of complaints that can be related back to the adductors.

  • If you lay face up with your legs flat and feel the need to bend your knees because there is too much pressure on your back.
  • If you have trouble getting deep into a squat position.
  • If you can deep squat but your feet migrate outward (external rotation).
  • If, upon sitting in a low chair, you have a pinch in the front of your hip.
  • If, upon prolonged standing, you feel your low back tighten.
  • Then there are the obvious complaints such as hip pain, groin pain, knee pain, etc.

If any of these complains sound familiar, it may be worth your while to have your adductors tested for their ability to function properly.