Your hip adductors are the group of muscles that live in your inner thighs. These muscles attach the inner surface of your leg bone to your pubic bone. Your pubic bone makes up the front rim of your pelvis and has lots of muscles that attach onto it.
You may have heard of dreaded Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD), this is a condition that is very common during pregnancy due to the extra weight your pelvis has to support. SPD is usually a sign that your pelvic joints are not properly aligned, so your muscles have to work extra hard to try and take up some of the work load supporting your body weight. Tightness in your adductor muscles can play a part in causing the pain associated with SPD and when these muscles are moved in the correct way, they can also play a great part in relieving SPD pain.
There is plenty of information on SPD online so I won’t regurgitate what is already out there, lets just skip to how to help prevent it and settle it down shall we…
You will need a small ball: a pilates ball, a football or just a rolled up towel…
Start: Lay on your back on the floor or on your bed. Place your feet hip width apart and pointing straight forwards. Make sure your knees are also hip width apart, so you can draw a straight line down both sides of your body connecting hip, knee and 2nd toe. Place the ball between your knees and pelvic tilt gently, this is the foundation of your exercise.
To learn how and why to pelvic tilting check out the blog post ‘Don’t Wet Yourself Laughing’.
Action: Squeeze your knees together pushing into the ball with both legs evenly with approximately 20% of your strength. Be sure to maintain your pelvic tilt throughout. Hold for 15 slow seconds (1 elephant… 2 elephant… etc.) and then relax, still keeping the ball in place.
After a 10 second rest, squeeze the ball as you did before, but this time a little harder. Hold for 15 seconds. Then relax.
This is one set. Have a rest for 2 minutes, taking some slow deep breaths in and out.
Repeat for a total of 5 sets of 2 repetitions.
You can gradually increase the amount of force you put into each squeeze if it feels comfortable, try not to squeeze for more than 50% of your maximum strength. Remember to pelvic tilt before and during each squeeze for the full 10-15 seconds.
You may feel some discomfort between your thighs and around your pubic bone, this should ease by your second set. If it gets worse or is a sharp shooting pain, you need a treatment! Book in with your chiropractor/osteopath/manual therapist and get things checked out. You can always come back to this when your pelvis is restriction free and your joints are perfectly balanced.
Once per day up to three times per week. Or as instructed by your chiropractor/manual therapist.
If you are pain free and doing this exercise as a way of keeping you pelvis balanced and healthy, I would suggest following this exercise up with a counter exercise which involves activating your buttock muscles (your ABductors). Your buttock muscles work in the opposite direction to these ADductor muscles.
...with any of the exercises designed to target your booty... I mean buttock muscles, in the posts titled 'Buns of Steel 1, 2 or 3'.
Although this exercise can be a great help in relieving your pelvic pain, I would definitely recommend you book in with your pregnancy chiropractor/osteopath/manual therapist, as SPD and other types of pubic pain are usually a sign that you need your pelvic joints balanced out with some specific gentle adjustments. In these cases exercises like this are just a plaster on your symptoms and not getting to the root cause.