The Bound Angle pose stretches four of the five adductor muscles.
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If you've ever tried to balance on one leg or ridden a horse for an extended period of time, you probably have a keen awareness of the adductor complex muscle group, since sore inner thighs are usually an indication of adductor use. Stretching each muscle within the complex can be a bit tricky, as the muscle group is large and extends along the femur which is the longest bone in the body. Warm up your muscles with a few minutes of light cardiovascular activity, then perform these bent-leg adductor complex stretches to help loosen up your inner thighs.
The Five Adductors
Five muscles make up the adductor complex: the adductor magnus, adductor longus, adductor brevis, gracilis and pectineus. These five muscles originate on the pelvis and sitting bones, extend down the inner thigh and attach along the femur and lower leg. Thus, they're essential for daily activities like standing, walking, balancing and moving your thighs together.
Standing Adductor Stretch
The adductor longus, adductor brevis, pectineus and gracilis can be stretched using Tree pose. Stand on a firm surface -- such as wood flooring -- with your feet together and hands by your sides. Root down into your left foot and lift your right foot off the floor. Grab your right ankle and place the sole of your right foot on your left inner thigh. Straighten your spine and raise your arms up over your head with your palms facing each other. To deepen the stretch, try to pull your bent knee backward using only the strength of your legs. Hold for 60 seconds, release and switch sides, as the adductor stretching occurs on the bent leg.
Sitting Adductor Stretch
The Bound Angle pose stretches the adductor magnus, longus and brevis, and the gracilis. To get into the pose, sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall apart. Wrap your hands around your ankles, straighten your spine and bend forward, trying to bring your navel to your feet. Hold for 60 seconds then try the pose with your heels at varying distances from your groin, as the adductors are lengthened at varying degrees depending on foot-to-groin distance. Make a conscious effort to extend your knees toward the floor, as this will stretch the gracilis further, but do not use the strength of your arms to push your knees down.
Lying Adductor Stretch
Let gravity do most of the work in the Reclined Bound Angle pose; the same muscles will be stretched but gravity will be on your side. Keeping your legs as they were in the sitting Bound Angle pose, release your hands, lean your trunk backward and lie down. Slightly contract your abdomen but try to keep your thighs relaxed. Do not pull your knees to the floor, as this will create tension in your lower back and groin. Instead, let the weight of your legs slowly draw your knees downward. Hold for an additional 60 seconds then release by drawing your knees together and sitting up.