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Functional anatomy of the hip adductor muscles: pectineus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, and gracilis
3 Credits

Adductor Muscles

Integrated functional anatomy of the adductor muscles - pectineus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, and gracilis. Attachments, nerves, palpation, joint actions, arthrokinematics, fascia, triggerpoints, and behavior in postural dysfunction. Common exercises, foam rolling, and stretches for the adductors.

Brent Brookbush

Brent Brookbush


Course Summary: Adductors


This course describes the anatomy and integrated function of the adductor muscles group (a.k.a. hip adductors, inner thigh muscles, medial thigh muscles, or muscles of the medial compartment of the thigh). This group is comprised of 5 muscles with much of their mass lying superficial on the medial thigh from the pubis (and ramus of ischium) to the knee, along the length of the medial femur. The adductors are a very large muscle group, comprising 22.5% of the mass of the lower extremity (the only group that may be larger is the combined mass of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus). The available research suggests that the adductors are composed of far more Type I muscle fiber than Type II muscle fiber.


The adductor muscle group is comprised of 5 muscles: pectineus, adductors brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, and gracilis. Functionally, these muscles may be divided into the posterior adductor magnus with a unique set of functions, and the anterior adductors which include all of the other adductor muscles which perform similar functions. All of the adductors cross the hip, and all may contribute to hip adduction. The posterior adductor magnus will contribute to hip extension and external rotation, and the anterior adductors will contribute to hip flexion and internal rotation. The gracilis crosses the knee and may contribute to knee flexion and internal rotation (as part of the pes anserinus group). This course also describes the role of the adductors during hip arthrokinematics , fascial integration, postural dysfunction, subsystem integration , and synergistic function. For example, the anterior adductors contribute to lower extremity internal rotation and flexion in synergy with the anterior oblique subsystem which aids in rotating the kinetic chain inward, during a wood chop exercise .

Practical Application:

Sports medicine professionals (personal trainers, fitness instructors, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, etc.) must be aware of the integrated function of the adductors for the detailed analysis of human movement, and the development of sophisticated exercise programs and therapeutic (rehabilitation) interventions. For example, altered activity and length of the hip adductor muscles may contribute to groin pain, groin strain, hip joint impingement, low back pain, excessive knee valgus, and knee pain. Altered adductor activity may also result in a reduction in gluteus maximus and gluteus medius activity, resulting in a significant decrease in lower body speed, agility, and strength, and a reduction in the effectiveness of resistance training routines intended to improve lower body strength and hypertrophy (bodybuilding). Deeper knowledge of adductor anatomy is essential for optimal assessment, intervention selection, and building a repertoire of adductor-specific techniques.

Sample Intervention: Loss of Hip Range of Motion

Sample Self-administered Intervention

Additional Courses and Techniques:

Hip adductor muscles in a cadaver: pectineus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, and gracilis
Caption: Hip adductor muscles in a cadaver: pectineus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, and gracilis

By Anatomist90 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25129754

Webinar: Functional Anatomy of the Adductors

Course Study Guide: Adductor Muscles

3 sub-categories

Joint Actions of the Adductors

2 sub-categories

Fascial Integration and the Adductors

1 sub-category

Electromyographic (EMG) Research: Contribution of Adductors to Exercise and Motion

Electromyographic (EMG) Research: Change in Adductor Activity with Dysfunction and Pain

Movement Impairment and the Adductor Complex

Common Trigger Point Locations and Referral Pain Patterns for the Adductors

Exercises and Techniques for the Adductor Complex

10 sub-categories

Sample Intervention including Adductor Specific Techniques


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1. Introduction

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