by Mike Giunta, DPT, CSCS >> Request an Appointment
Hip flexor and groin strains are common injuries in sports that are fast-paced and require constant directional changes, such as lacrosse. Lacrosse athletes are consistently putting themselves in awkward positions while dodging, shooting and playing defense. This action leaves the mid-section vulnerable, particularly when the rest of the body is not balanced.
Oftentimes, these injuries can be prevented by strengthening the deep core muscles as well as providing stability in the musculature surrounding the hip. Typically, we start with transverse abdominis activation and then move towards more difficult exercises, as shown below.
Isometric Adduction with TRX Strap (3 x 30 sec each leg)
This exercise integrates both the core and inner leg muscles. Place the top leg in the TRX strap and elevate your body by pressing through the elbow. It may be difficult to hold this position. Aim for 3 sets of 30 seconds to start. Once you are comfortable holding for 30 seconds, advance this exercise by pulling the bottom leg into the air and slowly bringing the knee towards the chest.
Single Leg Lateral Squat on Bosu (x 10 reps each leg)
Providing instability in training is a key component to avoiding injury during play. This exercise requires adequate balance, core and lower extremity stability to properly complete. Start by standing on one foot on a Bosu ball or unstable surface. Lower yourself into a single leg squat. Reach the outside leg out to the side as far as possible without losing balance. Draw the leg back in, come out of the squat and repeat. Advance this exercise by holding a weight or having someone press into the shoulder on the stance side to mimic a defender while dodging.
Decline Plank with Resisted Hip Extension (10 x 3 sec each leg)
This exercise will truly challenge the entire anterior chain. Start by holding a plank with your legs elevated. For a greater challenge, place your hands on an unstable surface, such as a Bosu ball. Draw the abs in and up to create a solid base. Contract the quad on the bottom leg and glute on the top leg in order to raise the top leg in the air. Hold for 3 seconds, then switch legs. The goal here is to keep the lower back straight, core engaged and hips tucked under while the leg is lifting.
Try these out and let us know what you think in the comments section!