Groin injuries are a substantial problem among football players due to the repetitive kicking, twisting and cutting involved in the sport. The first step to manage groin injuries should be an assessment with an experienced sports physiotherapist to rule out causes of groin pain (iliopsoas, inguinal, pubic and hip related groin pain, lumbar spine referral, entrapment neuropathy).

The groin muscles consist of three large groups of muscles that can be injured: the abdominal, iliopsoas and the adductor muscle group. In football, the majority of groin injuries are adductor related and adductor longus is most commonly injured.

Low hip adduction strength has been identified as an important and modifiable risk factor associated with an increased risk of groin injury. Thus, strengthening the hip adductors may play an important role in reducing the prevalence and rate of groin injuries in football players. According to research, the Adductor Strengthening Programme, based on one single exercise with different progression levels, reduced the prevalence and risk of groin problems in male football players by 41%.


The Copenhagen Adduction exercise (CA) has demonstrated high activation of the adductor longus muscle as well as considerable eccentric adduction strength gains following standardised protocols. The apparent advantage of this exercise is that no equipment is needed and the CA can be performed on the pitch just prior to or after training.

As the CA might be painful or difficult to perform for symptomatic players, different level of difficulty can be choosing and progress accordingly from: level 1 (easiest): side-lying hip adduction; level 2 (moderate): the CA as previously described, but with a shorter lever arm; and level 3 (hardest): the CA as previously described.

If you are showing some signs of injury or simply want help staying injury-free then book in with one of our highly experienced Physiotherapists today!


Harøy J, Clarsen B, Wiger EG, Øyen MG, Serner A, Thorborg K, Hölmich P, Andersen TE, Bahr R. The Adductor Strengthening Programme prevents groin problems among male football players: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. Br J Sports Med. 2019 Feb;53(3):150-157. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-098937. Epub 2018 Jun 10. PMID: 29891614.

Article by

Aen Efahera


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