When you get abducted, you get taken away! …great, now I have your attention. Aside from death and taxes, there are a few other certainties in life. One of them is that people will ask me the difference between abduction and adduction. An easy trick that I’ve already alluded to is remembering that you get taken away with abduction and when you add you put two things together.
Therefore, when it comes to the hip and leg abduction is moving your leg away from the center of your body and adduction is bringing your leg back towards the midline or towards the other leg.
Forget everything you know about jazzercize and Richard Simmons doing his 800 leg lifts. Yes, the adductors are found along the inside of your thigh from the hip all the way down to the inside of the knee. But I don’t want you just lifting your leg aimlessly.
The abductors on the outside of your hip get a lot of love, but the adductors are along the inside of your leg from top to bottom and don’t nearly get as much coverage. Yet they play a massive role during running.
Not only do the adductors bring your leg back in towards your body, but these muscles will also help move and stabilize your knee and hip simply because of their location on your leg. The adductors will help bend the knee and flex or lift the hip. Think about how many times your knee bends while you run or how often your thigh bone lifts up.
Every. Single. Step.
Therefore, these adductor muscles are working with every step you take (queue UB40’s greatest hits). But when are they most active you ask? The adductors will play a very large role in running faster, running on uneven terrain, or when running uphill. This is because they will help advance your thigh forward and this becomes more forceful as we run faster. This is also because the knee will have more demand when running uphill. As demand increases on a joint during running, the muscles and other structures will have to work harder.
Have you wanted to pick up your paces and run faster? Do you incorporate speed work into your weekly runs? Tackling some hills or trail runs? Familiarize yourself with some adductor resistance training. And by that I mean you should check out our social media where I lay out some of the exercises you can do to strengthen your adductors to improve your runs.