With the Mumbai Marathon just a couple of weeks away, running enthusiasts are at their training best in their stride to being able to achieve their goal. As the intensity of the training rises, so does the need for recuperation and recovery. ‘Lengthening and then strengthening should be an important mantra, during this time of training specially to avoid / limit injuries’.
Groin pain / inner thigh injury is a common complaint among many runners. This might seem like a minor issue but if not taken care of, could halt your running practice. The job of adductor is to bring your legs together during the swinging movement of either walking or running, thereby, keeping your knees, pelvis & postural form in alignment. With weak adductors, knees tend to have a sideway orientation during walking or running, creating all the misalignment by forcing the other muscle groups to compensate for that. In fact, most of the runners may not be aware of the fact that their knee and back problems could be a direct result of weak adductors. Thus, strong adductors are that one muscle group that plays a pivotal role in ensuring that there is no misalignment in your body due to weakened knees and pelvis.
I am listing below two asanas. Practicing these two alone, on a regular basis, can provide the required lengthening and the strengthening of your adductors.
Upvista Konasana against the wall
- Lie down on your back close to the wall, in a way, that one side of your body is in touch with the wall, say left side of your entire body is touching the wall.
- Raise your legs up and place them on the wall, while at the same time, you are moving your hips close to the wall as much as possible and your upper body away from the wall.
- The body will form a right angle and the lower part of the body will be perpendicular to the upper part of the body.
- Split your legs apart as far as possible and hold for 2-5 minutes with normal / deep breathing.
In case you feel any kind of strain on the inner side of either of your knees, which happens sometimes as your thighs and knees are rotating outward, softly turn your knees inwards with your hand to find a comfortable position.
This posture does the dual job of stretching as well as strengthening your inner thighs. During the posture, as you contract your inner thighs, it will work on the strengthening aspect. After being in this posture for a few minutes, it may not be possible to maintain the contraction throughout, as a result, gravity will start pulling your legs down towards the floor which will automatically work on lengthening and stretching the inner thighs.
Inner thigh squeeze in Setubandhasana
- Lie down on your back
- Bend your knees
- Keep your knees hip width apart
- Place a wooden brick or a hard pillow in between your inner thighs
- Squeeze your hips softly and in the process of squeezing, get your hips off the floor: simultaneously press your inner thighs against the wooden brick, keep your stomach flat and tucked in and lower back pushed up into the spine; this will create a lock in your mid-section
- Hold this position for 10 seconds with normal breathing; slowly bring your hips down on the floor
- Repeat for 10 counts
This practice will work directly on strengthening your inner thigh / adductors as well as your quadriceps, thereby taking care of the health of your knees as well. You can also perform the same by standing in Tadasana, placing a wooden brick in between your inner thighs and then pressing your thighs firmly against the brick. This will allow you to avail the similar benefits. These practices are highly recommended for knee pain as well.
Other practices which can be included along with the above:
Preparing for Padmasana
Sitting inner thigh stretch against the wall
Vigorous inner thigh stretch
Front lying Baddhakonasana
Front lying supported Baddhakonsana
The effect of weak adductors can be felt in the fluidity of your running. It can lead to multiple injuries and put an end to running practice. Just a few minutes of regular practice can bring tremendous benefits, thereby, lengthening the life of your ‘running passion’ for years.
Run Injury Free
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Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.