How do you foam roll adductor brevis and pectineus? - Upright Health

How do you foam roll adductor brevis and pectineus?

adductor brevis illustrationOkay, most people don’t sit around on the weekend wondering “is it possible to foam roll adductor brevis or pectineus?” Some people MIGHT actually ask themselves if it’s possible to release some of the tension in the upper inner thigh muscles. If you have ever wondered if it’s possible to get in on those muscles, then you’ve come to the right place.

First, let’s answer this question: “why would you even want to foam roll those muscles?” Adductor brevis and pectineus can be stubborn, irritable bastards — that’s why. Though they’re called adductors, they can also function as flexors of the hip, which means they can act as an impediment to your extending the hip. In other words, if these little guys get dysfunctionally tight, you will find it difficult to stand up straight or get maximum force production out of your glutes.

Because so many of us are stuck in sitting positions all day, these muscles can stuck in that hip flexed position, making you feel stiff and — gasp — inflexible.

Typical foam rolling for the adductors doesn’t really get to these muscles, unfortunately (for an example of typical foam rolling, see the video below).

When foam rolling this way, your hip is still in flexion, so those muscles are in a shortened position and basically immune to your best efforts to squash them. In order to release the tension in these adductor muscles, you need to get your hip joint into an extended position.

Writing out a guide to doing this would take far too long and end up being far too confusing, so here’s a video on how to foam roll your adductor brevis (and his buddy pectineus).

If you found that video helpful in finally getting your groin muscles to relax, please feel free to leave a comment below!


About the Author

Matt Hsu is a trainer and orthopedic massage therapist. He fought a long battle with chronic pain all over his body and won. He blends the principles he learned in his journey, empirical observations with clients, and relevant research to help others get their lives back.

TJ - June 6, 2013

I appreciate this, but it would be hard to get into this position. Can it be done by lying on your side with the roller between the legs and then gradually allowing the top leg to “fall/slide forward”?

    Matt Hsu - June 6, 2013

    You can try this, but unless you can get some extension in the hip, you won’t get the lengthening of the brevis or pectineus.

James - January 23, 2014

I’m a little confused, I thought Rolfers typically shortened the fascia that is locked short in order to gain access to the deeper tissues? Shorten, pin and stretch?

    Matt - January 25, 2014

    Sorry, James, not sure what your question is…Shorten, pin, then stretch is something a Rolfer (or someone else) can do. It is not, however, the only thing one can do!

James - January 25, 2014

Sorry for the ambiguity. My question is: If an area of tissue is in a shortened (locked short) state wouldn’t it be hard to manipulate that tissue if it were on stretch or in an elongated position such as in the picture above for the pectineus? This was made aware to me by an advanced Rolfer. Thank you.

Matt - January 27, 2014

Not necessarily. Having a muscle in an elongated position makes it easier to get a golgi tendon organ response. Just depends on the person and the specific area. With locked short tissue, ultimately you want to get it to its elongated position, so your strategy will eventually (if not right away) need to put it in its elongated position.

James - January 27, 2014

Ah yes, Ruffini, Golgi & Pacini. I understand that the studies on tendon response was a response of the tissue lengthening. However, it was also my understanding that if the tissue was too far into a contracted and adhesive state that attempting to release the area in an elongated position made it harder to reach the deeper tissue. For example, the difficulty reaching the deep and distal portion of the deep hip flexor/medial rotator; pectineus. Seems kinda hard to get deep into the femoral triangle when the skin is stretched out. It’s quite interesting to see the progress in research with fascia from Dr. Schleip, Tom Myers, Jean Pierre-Barral and many more. Anyways, thank you for the discussion and helping people on a path to health and happiness.

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