The Missing Link to Preventing “Sports Hernia” pt. 1: Groin and Pelvic Floor Exercises
by Mike Giunta, DPT, CSCS >> Request an Appointment
Training the adductors, deep core muscles and the pelvic floor are commonly missed in both male and female athletes. These muscles become particularly important in sports requiring a tremendous amount of rotation, such as lacrosse or soccer. The structures that make up the “anterior sling” are the adductors, the inguinal ligament and the contralateral (opposite) transverse abdominis muscles. Holding them all together are the muscles of the pelvic floor and training these muscles together will create a powerhouse of stability for any athlete looking for that edge.
The first step is mastering the “kegel.” In short, this is a great way to activate the muscles of the pelvic floor. For males, think about pulling your Nuts to your Guts. For females, imagine lifting your underwear and draw up like an elevator that is going to the first and second floor, then down all the way to the basement. Don’t squeeze the glutes, bare down or hold your breathe - this movement should be light and fluid!
The next step: try the following exercises!
Side-Lying Hip Adduction (3 x 10-15 reps each side)
Start by lying on your side with your torso supported. Activate the pelvic floor by doing your kegel and pull the lower abdominals in and up. Lift the top leg in the air and then pull the bottom leg to the top without rolling backwards.
Side-Lying Scissor Kicks (3 x 15-30 sec each side)
Start by lying on your side with your torso supported. Activate the pelvic floor by doing your kegel and pull the lower abdominals in and up. Pull both legs up mid-way into the air and perform a forward and back “scissoring” motion.
Ball Squeeze Rotations (3 x 10 reps each side)
Start by squeezing a ball in between the legs (8lbs used here). Draw the abdominals in and up and lift the ball into the air. Keeping the squeeze maintained, rotate just the lower body from side to side. If this is too challenging, try the following modification: reduce the weight of the ball or hold the ball higher up between either your calves or thighs.
Try out these exercises to test and improve your groin and pelvic floor strength, and check out Part 2 for a more advanced progression of sports hernia prevention exercises.