Highway to Health

Groin Groans

Each month in Highway to Health, we tackle one of the myriad physical complaints suffered by everyday runners and share tips on relieving those complaints. Selecting a complaint involves checking in with the editor’s (my) current physical situation, which is always a mess. This month, he (me) is enduring a bout of mysterious groin pain. It came out of nowhere, and it feels like his (my) left leg is going to break off at his (my) hip. Awful.

Photography & Video: Charlie Hawks

Model:  Cora

The groin is a particularly complicated part of human anatomy, and there isn’t just one thing that can go wrong with it. The area is crowded by a circuitry of tendons, muscles, and ligaments, all susceptible to tears, strains, and general high-fuckery. Adductor tendinopathy, Osteitis pubis, Femoroacetabular impingement, and Torsion of the Taint are just a few afflictions that can strike down a runner, and today we’re going to look at four simple exercises to help ease and avoid future fuckery.

As always, please consult your physician before engaging with any stretches and exercises we recommend. We are not doctors. We are strangers. And you met us on the Internet.

The groin is crowded by a circuitry of tendons, muscles, and ligaments, all susceptible to tears, strains, and general high-fuckery. 

Kneeling Groin Slide (Adductor Slide)

Get yourself kneeling like a footballer told to ‘take a knee’ by the coach. Extend one leg out to the side with the toes facing forward. Place your hands on the floor in front of you in a push-up position, then sit back slowly, bringing your butt towards your rear heel; hold and feel the stretch through your groin for a few seconds, then come back to your starting push-up position. For a deeper stretch, keep your chest high and don’t allow your back to round. Your rear foot (the one that isn’t extended to the side) should be flat against the floor, not up on the ball of the foot. Repeat both sides five times, and take care not to push the stretch. Just do what feels adequate and you’ll find that you go deeper each time.

Pose of Frog (Frog Pose)

For this one, you must embody the spirit of Frog. Get down on your hands and knees like a dog, then spread your knees as far apart as is comfortable for you like a frog, point your toes outwards like a frog, then move your feet out wider than your knees like a frog. Next, you want to push your hips back a little so that you can come down on your forearms, press the palms of your hands together, and then gently push your hips back toward your feet—like the perfect little frog you are. You can kinda sink into this one for as long as you can handle feeling like a frog. I love you, froggy.

90/90 Hip Stretch

This one is more about hip mobility, but I’ve found that it’s really good for loosening up the groin area, too. Get down on the floor like a little baby frog, which is what you are. Just kidding—get down on the floor, kinda seated with one leg out front and one out back, and both bent at the knee to create a couple of right angles. The shin on your front leg wants to be square with your chest. Make sure your upper body is centered over your hips, which will be difficult if you have tight hips, but just press your hands against the floor and get as centered as you can. Now lean forward with your shoulders back and chest out, curling your tailbone up. 

It’s important not to slouch or roll the shoulders; you want to be upright like a soldier. This stretch kinda sucks initially, but it gets better, and it loosens up that whole area around the pelvis, which, as it happens, is closely connected to your groin.

Rotated Runner’s Lunge

This one is a bit like Trikonasana, which you’d remember from all those yoga classes you go to all the time. Get down into a straight-armed plank position, feet hip-width apart, hands and fingers planted firmly into the floor, then step your right foot up so that it is next to your right hand and all your fingers and toes are pointing forward, and let your left knee come to the floor. Now slowly push your hips forwards toward your hands. If you want to make it a bit more intense, take your left hand and, keeping your arm straight, swing it up toward the ceiling, twisting from the hips, opening up the chest, and rotating the head to look at that hand (like in yoga). Hold for five seconds or however long feels good, then repeat on the opposite side. 

Groin issues gone! You're welcome.