Exercise programmes are employed in the prevention and treatment of adductor-related groin injuries in soccer; however, there is little knowledge dealing the intensity of frequently used exercises. The primary aim of this study was to examine muscle activity of adductor longus during six traditional and two new hip adduction exercises. Additionally, to analyse muscle activation of gluteals and abdominals. 40 healthy male elite soccer players, training >5 h a week, took part in the study. Muscle activity using surface electromyography (sEMG) was measured bilaterally for the adductor longus during eight hip adduction strengthening exercises and peak EMG was normalised (nEMG) using an isometric maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) as reference. Furthermore, muscle activation of the gluteus medius, rectus abdominis and the external abdominal obliques was analysed during the exercises. There were large differences in peak nEMG of the adductor longus between the exercises, with values ranging from 14% to 108% nEMG (p<0.0001). There was a significant difference between legs in three of the eight exercises (35-48%, p<0.0001). The peak nEMG results for the gluteals and the abdominals showed relatively low values (5-48% nEMG, p<0.001).
Specific hip adduction exercises can be graded by exercise intensity giving athletes and therapists the knowledge to select suitable exercises during different phases of prevention and treatment of groin injuries. The Copenhagen Adduction and the hip adduction with an elastic band are dynamic high-intensity exercises, which can easily be performed at any training facility and could for this reason be relevant to include in future prevention and treatment programmes.