The lower part of the body where the hips meet the pelvis, called the groin, works with the hip flexor muscles to help with mobility and ranges of motion.
Together, these muscles work together to help move the legs from out to in (back toward the center of the body), which is important in everyday tasks such as getting out of the car and sidestepping puddles or other obstacles along your walk. If you strain a groin muscle, it can be painful and make it hard to get around.
But a few groin stretches and hip mobility exercises can help.
Importance of Stretching the Groin
Along with hip flexors, the groin muscles are important for walking and staying balanced. Regularly stretching your groin muscles increases the range of motion in your hips, which becomes increasingly important as we get older. Too-tight muscles in the hip area can lead to injury, including falls. It’s important to keep these muscles long and loose, so that your legs can move more freely in the hip sockets. Stretching of any kind, not just the hips and groin, is a great way to improve circulation as well.
Three Easy Mobility Stretches for the Groin
While some hip mobility exercises are also good for the groin, these simple exercises will target the area directly. You don’t need any equipment, just an area on the floor or perhaps a chair to hold onto for the standing exercise.
- Seated Butterfly
Sit on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together. Try to sit as straight as you can. If needed, sit against the wall to keep your back straight. Try to bring your knees to the floor. You can use your elbows to gently push them down, but don’t push too hard that it causes pain or discomfort. It should feel like a nice stretch. You can lean forward if it’s comfortable to go deeper into the stretch, but only if you can keep a flat back.
- Frog Stretch
Start on all fours, with the knees directly below the hips and the wrists directly below your shoulders. Slowly spread your knees out to the side, like a frog swimming in the water. You should feel a stretch in your groin. Only go until you feel a stretch – this should not be painful. If you want, drop down to your forearms to go a little deeper. Hold the pose for about 20-30 seconds, then go back to a tabletop position.
- Standing Side Lunge
This is a dynamic stretching exercise, which means you’ll be moving a bit. Start by standing with legs wider than shoulders and feet pointed straight ahead. You can hold the back of a chair for balance. Bend the right knee and shift the weight toward the right, keeping your left leg straight and long. You should feel a stretch along the inner left leg. Hold for a few seconds, then shift the weight over to the left side, feeling the stretch now in the right inner thigh. Repeat a few times.
If you’re interested in learning more about stretches for the groin muscles and hip flexors, talk to your healthcare provider or physical therapist.