Now that you have mobility in your pectineus, you can appropriately strengthen it using YTU exercises. Let me be crystal clear on mobility first: each muscle in your body has a length to strength ratio. If you do not have enough length in the muscle you will not be able to access its full strength capacity. One more time in different words: If your muscles are tight, instability is present, dysfunction occurs and a lack of strength is a result. It is as simple as that!
As previously mentioned in my first post, the pectineus is surrounded not only by other adductor muscles; but, also by the psoas and illiacus. There are a plethora of Yoga Tune Up® exercises that develop a strong pectineus (and its accompanying sidekicks): Adductor slides, Frog Crawls, Asymmetrical triangle, Sprinkler Garudasana, Walk the Plank and more. Here Jill demonstrates another adductor strengthener, Prasarita Lunges (also available on the Quick Fix for Hips online video):
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While practicing abductor lifts dynamic and static this morning, I think I may have discovered *gasp* that I have weak pectineus muscles! Could it also be thight when performing adduction past the midline? I’ve felt pain/discomfort many times when performing this action in the past…Good that I can now explore further with this new information!
Right, the pectineus is easily remained contracted always and not being stretched at all. It is never in its length and not functioning. Its so good that YTU got so many exercise for us to easily access to these small muscles, it is good that we start stretching them and to strengthen them.
In the physical therapy clinic where I worked for many years, the protocol was soft tissue first, alignment (which included, from the PT side, techniques that we as yoga teachers didn’t do), then strengthen. Some Type A clients only want to strengthen, but the YTU exercises combined with the Roll Model balls make the stretching and releasing part very accessible and challenging for the clients. They get it!
Shame on me!! Prasarita lunges are one of my FAVOURITE Ytu exercises, and I didn’t realises the great benefits it had in relation to this muscle. I loved how you spoke about the length to strength ratio- a great reminder that muscle maintenance is so much more than just getting / having strong lean muscle.
Thank you for pointing out the importance of the relationship between strength, mobility and stability. Yoga Tune Up exercises combined with the self massage techniques have helped me feel and experience that in my own body. It makes so much sense now!!
I loved learning the Prasarita lunges in class this week. Thank you for including a video clip so I can have instruction on doing them at home.
As an ancient speedskater, i always struggle to shut that abductors off to let the adductors work. It feels great to read that i might not be the only. Keep working…
Thank you for pointing out the relationship of muscle shortness to strength. I have been struggling with that since my corrective knee surgery last year. Damage to my right knee and left Achilles caused shortening of the muscles in my left thigh and hip. No doctor or trainer that I saw got it right. But when I tried the Sprinkler Garudasana today in class and read your post I knew you were right. Thank you.
Great reflection on the connection between muscle tightness, instability and the resulting dysfunction and lack of strength. As a weight lifter, I am finding these YTU exercises brilliant. I am so eager to discover and absorb more!
YTU strongly addresses that balance between strength, stability and mobility. For me, all of the adductor/pectineus strengthening poses I have a love/hate relationship- a blind spot for me! The prasarita lunges are amazing and I cannot wait to incorporate them into my classes.
I think it was interesting that you mentioned “if your muscles are tight, instability is present, dysfunction occurs and a lack of strength is a result.” I have definitely felt tightness on my adductor muscles, including the pectineus. There were times when it was so tight, that I experienced extreme muscle soreness and inflammation in that area. It was so sore (or rather inflamed), that I couldn’t even touch or roll my adductor muscles. It feels a lot better now, as I now stretch my adductors very often plus rolling. I tried the Prasarita Lunge pose for the first time… Read more »
I’ve always liked Prasarita Lunges, this is just one more reason to incorporate then into more classes, thanks for the reminder.
I just had a revelation reading this nugget: “if your muscles are tight, instability is present.” This is a new and important concept I’m ready to explore! I always assumed that instability only came from over-stretched muscles, tendons and ligaments, never from muscles that are too tight. That explains why my hips feel tight AND unstable! Add this one to the fact that muscles can be tight and weak. Yoga Tune Up to the rescue!
I have read all three articles about Pectineus. Great job to point on that small muscles that I have never thought before can bring so many injuries. To be true I have got few male clients with that kind of problem. After any exercises with lunges they suffer on pain in between the femur and pubic bone. There is a lot of muscles around: adductor major, brevis, longus, gracilis, so it will not be asy for me to separate them. However I will try that relaxation and masage with YTU Balls. After blod flowing there it should be easier to… Read more »
Thanks for all those pectineus strengtheners. I tried rolling as in your other blog, but only felt a lot of pressure… I think I need more strenghthening being super flexible in the inner thighs. So maybe this is why adductor slides are so difficult and I often end up cheating (need YTU assistants looking over me to keep me in line!). I also need to practice my prasarita lunges using ALL resistance and eccentric contraction of antagonist against agonist: make is a battle between my adductors and abductors… Now I also know I need more adductor contraction in frog walks… Read more »
By doing this pose, we will open and stretch the hips and the inner groin. The gluteus medius contract and stretch the adductor group, quadratus femoris, pectineus and also it eccentric contract the tensor fascia lata.
By practicing this or doing this a warm up, you will find hip opening poses a lot easier to get into, Gomukhasana, modified Pigeon Pose, Baddha Konasana and the frog pose.
I love your articles about the Pectinius, so important to activate it! For many of us a muscle to expore, to feel and to strenght. I’m going to practice them to improve my running and my legs stability.
Thanks for shedding some light on the pectineus, it amazing how the smaller muscles can cause so much discomfort. The prasarita lunges warm, strengthen and lengthen the adductors. The also seem to fire the glutes which create greater stability of the pelvis. The prasarita lunges combined with rolling out on the YTU balls is pectineus perfection.
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Thank you for sharing Prasarita lunges with the masses. I love this exercises as unless I make a point of it, lateral movement is not a big part of my daily activities and I find it missing in many traditional yoga classes as well as with running and cycling. Like Margo said – it feels awesome to warm-up and strengthen the adductors and abductors in this way.
I adore adductor slides. There are virtually no poses in a traditional yoga class that gets this area strong like this. I have had a TFL injury in addition to a cranky psoas and I swear this has helped me heal.
I love working in this lateral way in yoga. I find it such a relief to get into my hips and buttock area. Many teachers are adamant about having a relaxed buttocks, like all the way relaxed, and mine feels very left out!!! I love to engage my gluteus maximus and minimus, especially since I run on a sagital plane and yoga on a sagital plane for most of my week. Jill’s explanation of getting the buttock strong in order to engage the leg, is a great motivator, more so than just having a great looking toned buttocks, which of… Read more »
I have experienced such benefit from the inner leg strengthening exercises. It travels uptown to the pelvis and core. Thanks for pointing out the correlation between muscle length and muscle strength. I hadn’t thought to teach in the those terms but now I will!
I would add for the population who are vain is that working out the adductors is a great way to lessen the fluffiness of the fat that lays along the inner thighs. Since we are yogis and practice for good health, strengthening the pectineus along with the rest of the adductors will prevent injury when coming out of samakonasana. Stretching it is the way to get into samakonasana but getting out requires a lot more body intelligence.
I love the message about ratio of muscle length and muscle strength. In addition to length, the muscle mass and width also contribute to the muscle strength. Otherwise, tall people would all have stronger muscles! Another important element may be the metabolic rate, the efficiency of oxygenation and waste removal.
Thank you for this! I have had a hard time explaining to students who just want to “strengthen” their bodies by working out why stretching is important to this process too. The idea that muscles cannot reach their full capacity for strength without creating the length for it first is one I will likely bring in to my own class in the next couple days! The relationship between tightness, instability and lack of strength is not one that I would have expected instinctually!