Thigh Stretches That Focus on Groin Flexibility

The most obvious way to release tension from your inner thigh muscles, also known as the groin or adductors, is to stretch. Seated inner thigh stretches can improve flexibility. It's also helpful to focus on strengthening the outer thigh muscles, known as the abductors, to support the weight of the pelvis and greater flexibility in the groin.

The adductor muscle group is a set of five muscles that bring your leg in toward the center of your body. With most of the adductors, one end of the muscle is attached to the pubic bone; the other attaches on or near the thigh bone (femur).

There are two exceptions. They are: 

  • The hamstring part of the adductor magnus starts at the sitting bone. The more technical name for the sitting bone is the ischial tuberosity.
  • The gracilis muscle attaches onto the inner surface of the top of your tibia, or lower leg, bone.

The adductors works in opposition to the abductors which are located on the outside of the hip. The job of the abductor muscle group is to take the lower extremity away from the body's midline.

Together the abductor and adductor muscle groups play a big role in pelvic positioning, which in turn can affect the alignment of your spine

Because of this, one way to positively influence the flexibility of your low back is to release both inner and outer thigh muscles. This article focuses on inner thigh stretches.

Seated Inner Thigh Stretch

Easy inner thigh stretch.

The seated inner thigh stretch is a beginner move that may help open your hips and increase adductor flexibility.

To perform the seated inner thigh stretch:

  1. Sit on the floor, or if need be your bed. The floor is better because it is a harder surface, which may help you avoid excess muscle contraction.
  2. Place the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop out to the side.
  3. Stay in this position for about 5 seconds. Be sure to keep breathing!
  4. Extend your legs out straight to give your adductors a break.
  5. Repeat between 3 to 5 times.

When you first start you may find your knees don't go down very far. That's OK—work with what you have.

Seated Adductor Thigh Stretch

Basic inner thigh groin stretch.

To perform the seated adductor thigh stretch:

  1. Extend your legs out to the side, making a wide a "V" shape. To avoid joint strain, don't overdo this position.
  2. For some people, simply sitting like this is enough to produce an inner thigh stretch.
  3. If you need more stretch, keeping your back straight, lean towards the floor from your hip joints. Again, go only as far as you can without pain or discomfort.
  4. Stay there for about 5-10 seconds; remember to breathe.

The key here is to work in a safe zone that gives you some stretch challenge but where you also feel like you can manage without excessive discomfort. In other words, don't go to the point where your back, hip, or sacroiliac joint feel like they are being pulled out of alignment.

You'll improve and get more range if you practice this regularly, so it's OK to take it easy at first. Keep your back straight when you come up and if you need, use your hands to push against the floor for leverage.

Strategy for Groin Muscle Flexibility

Strengthen outer thighs to release groin.

It can pay to be strategic when going for inner thigh flexibility. Along with the previous two stretches, consider strengthening the opposing muscle group, which are, again, the abductors.

Strong outer thigh muscles help support and carry the weight of your pelvis and spine, which in turn may relieve the inner thighs from some of this responsibility.

Try this basic abductor strengthener:

  1. Lie on your side.
  2. Prop yourself up onto your forearm.
  3. Lift and lower your top leg up slowly.
  4. Repeat about 10-15 times for one or two sets. You can do this every other day.

Don't forget to stretch your outer thigh muscles when you're done with this one.

Inner Thigh Flexibility Tips

Choose activities that elongate your groin muscles.

Another inner thigh flexibility strategy is to choose activities in which you use your body, particularly your lower extremities, in lengthening ways.

For example, the martial artist shown is likely getting an excellent stretch in his adductors while at the same time contracting and using these muscles. This may be because his lower extremity is extending out while he is bearing weight on it.

Activities that stretch your inner thigh include yoga, Pilates, dance, tai chi, and martial arts.

While the focus of this article has been limited inner thigh stretches, remember to address the other hip muscles, as well. If you sit a lot during your day, releasing your quadriceps muscles is key.

By Anne Asher, CPT
Anne Asher, ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, and orthopedic exercise specialist, is a back and neck pain expert.