Adductor Muscle Group Facts

Inner Thigh Muscles - Balance on a Rock, a BOSU Ball and when Standing

Working from the core out
Adductor muscles help you balance on a rock, a BOSU ball and while standing. Tassii/Getty Images

Adductor Muscle Group Facts

The adductor muscle group - also known as the groin muscles - consist of 5 muscles at the inner thigh. (The word "groin" refers to the areas of the front part of the inner thigh and the lower part of the abdomen.)

Just like the gluteus medius muscle, which is an abductor, the adductor group plays an important role in the well-being of your low back. This is because it exerts pull on the pelvis, which, in turn, affects the positioning of your low back.

The gluteus medius muscle is a key posture muscle on the outside of the hip. The adductors work in opposition to the gluteus medius. Together the adductors and the gluteus medius muscles balance the pelvis and adapt its position to the demands of activities such as walking, running, standing and more.

Related: Anterior Tilt of the Pelvis

Individual Adductor Muscles

The five muscles comprising the adductor group are the adductor longus, the adductor brevis, adductor magnus, gracilis and pectinius. Note that some authors' lists of adductor muscles differ, substituting the obturator externus for the pectinius. In general, though, the adductor muscles span from the front part of the pubic bone and sitting bone down to the thigh bones. They attach to an area of the front of the thigh bone (femur) called the linea aspera.

Let's take the individual adductors and understand them one by one.

  1. The adductor brevis attaches on the pubic bone and the linea aspera of the thigh bone (femur.) It also attaches to an area near the linea aspera called the pectineal line. The adductor brevis's attachment sites are located fairly high up on the femur. The job of this muscle is to adduct and to provide limited hip flexion.
  1. The adductor longus attaches on the pubic bone and the middle part of the linea aspera of the thigh bone. Its job is to adduct. It does not participate in flexion or extension of the hip.
  2. The adductor magnus has two parts: The adductor part which originates at the pubic bone and the hamstring part which originates at the sitting bone (known as the ischial tuberosity.) It is a large fan-like muscle, extending most of the length of the thigh bone. The adductor part attaches on three places on the thigh, including the linea aspera. The hamstrings part attaches onto a knob of bone called the adductor tubercle of the femur.
  1. The gracilis is a long, thin, string-like muscle that attaches at one end to the pubic bone and at the other end on the inside surface of the top part of the tibia bone. The tibia bone is your shin bone. This means that the gracilis muscle crosses over the knee-joint. The gracilis muscle adducts the thigh, flexes the lower leg (helps to bend the knee) and helps internally rotate the thigh.
  2. The pectinius starts at the pubic bone and below the lesser trochanter, which is a small knob of bone on the inside of the femur, on the pectineal line. The pectineus not only adducts the leg, it flexes the hip-joint and rotates the thigh in (medially.)

Related:  What is the Ischial Tuberosity?

Adductor Muscle Action

As adductors, these muscles have the job of bringing the leg toward the center mid-line of the body. But when you are standing (with legs relatively stationary), the adductors can contract to help "stick your hip out" to the side. In this position, the trunk and top part of the hip bone moves in - away from the standing leg with the contracting adductor muscle.

Other examples of the adductors in action include pressing against the sides of a horse while riding, stabilizing your standing position when you stand on both feet, shifting from side to side to maintain your balance while standing on a BOSU ball or a moving boat. And they ignite while kicking a soccer ball and when swimming.

The adductors also help you move your leg from extension to flexion and from flexion to extension. So, for example, if you kick one leg up (at the hip joint) while standing and then swing it behind you, your adductors will contribute to this lower extremity transition.

Related:  Ways You Can Align Your Spine


Alter, M. Science of Stretching. Human Kinetic Books. Champaign, IL. 1988.

Moore, Keith, L. and Dalley, Arthur, F. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. 5th Edition. Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, A Wolters Klower Company.

Tortera, Gerard J. Principles of Human Anatomy. 6th Edition. Biological Sciences Textbooks, Inc. New York. 1996. Baltimore. 2006.

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