By: Evie Tate, PT, DPT

Winter running can bring on a host of challenges, from cold feet to unstable surfaces.  One injury that we see often is adductor (or groin) strains which can occur when your leg rapidly slips out in a lateral direction. While traction devices can be helpful for decreasing your risk of falling on the ice, they are not guaranteed protection. If you have recently had a groin strain or want to make those adductors more durable, keep reading to learn about a few of our favorite adductor strengthening exercises. 

What are the adductors?

The adductors are the muscles that line the medial part of our thigh. The primary movement that these muscles control is adduction of our leg (or bringing your leg towards the midline of your body). They also control movements such as hip extension and hip flexion. Adductors are one of the key muscle groups that helps to stabilize our pelvis while we are walking or squatting.

Who is most likely to experience an adductor strain?

Adductor strains are common injuries seen in ice hockey, soccer and football players(1). Running on ice and snow can also increase your risk for an adductor strain because of the likelihood that your leg slips out rapidly in a lateral direction as you try to stabilize your leg on ice. Other risk factors for straining your adductors include having weak adductors or having a history of an adductor strain in the last twenty months(1).

Exercises for your adductors(1): 

  • Acute Phase (recently after your injury): 

Standing hip adduction isometric holds
-perform 4-5 sets, 30-45 sec holds every other day or 3-4 times a week

Glute bridges

  • Intermediate Phase:

Modified Copenhagen planks

Double or single leg glute bridge with ball squeeze


  • Advanced Phase: 

Copenhagen planks (with or without bottom leg pulse) 

Eccentric lateral lunge on slider 

Wide-legged lateral lunge 

For more information or guidance following an adductor strain, schedule an appointment with Sapphire Physical Therapy by calling 406-549-5283.


1 Schaber M, Guiser Z, Brauer L, et al. The Neuromuscular Effects of the Copenhagen Adductor Exercise: A Systematic Review. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2021;16(5):1210-1221. Published 2021 Oct 1. doi:10.26603/001c.27975