The adductors represent muscles of the human body that have the purpose of adducting a certain extremity towards the body. We commonly use the term adductors for the adducting muscles of the leg. To be more precise the leg adductors pull the thigh via the hip joint towards the body.
Adductors – different muscles
The adductors of the leg are located on the inner side of the thigh and consist of 5 different muscles. These are the musculus pectineus, the musculus adductor longus, the musculus adductor brevis, the musculus adductor magnus, and the musculus gracilis, which is the only thigh adductor that runs across 2 joints (hip and knee). All muscles originate from the pelvis from the ramus inferior of the pubic bone (os pubis) until the tuber ischiadicum. Their insertion is the femur from the trochanter minor until its bottom. The main purpose of the adductors is the adduction of the thigh. But these muscles also have other functions.
The musculus pectineus originates from the eminentia iliopubica of the hip bone and the pubic bone (pecten ossis pubis until Tuberculum pubicum). It inserts into the linea pectinea and the linea aspera of the thigh bone (femur). The functions of the musculus pectineus are the adduction, external rotation, and flexion of the hip joint, and the stabilization of the pelvis.
Musculus adductor longus
The musculus adductor longus originates from the os pubis between the crista pubica and the symphysis pubica. It inserts into the linea aspera of the femur and with some fibres also into the membrana vastoadductoria. The functions of the musculus adductor longus are the adduction, external rotation, and flexion of the hip joint. The fibres inserting into the membrana vastoadductoria function as internal rotators of the thigh.
Musculus adductor brevis
The musculus adductor brevis originates from the upper (ramus superior) and lower (ramus inferior) branch of the os pubis. It inserts into the linea aspera of the femur. Its functions are the adduction and flexion of the hip joint. At a hip angle of 80° and higher the musculus adductor brevis functions as extensor of the hip joint.
Musculus adductor magnus
The musculus adductor magnus originates from the ramus inferior of the os pubis and the tuber ischiadicum of the ischium. It inserts into the labium mediale of the linea aspera and the tuberculum adductorium of the epicondylus medialis. Its functions are the adduction of the hip joint and, for the parts inserting the tuberculum adductorium, the extension and internal rotation of the hip joint.
The musculus gracilis is the only adductor that runs across the hip and the knee joint. It originates from the lower branch (ramus inferior) of the os pubis and the lower edge of the pelvic symphysis. Together with the tendons of the musculus sartorius and the musculus semitendinosus the tendon of the musculus gracilis creates the pes anserinus, which inserts into the tuberositas tibiae of the shinbone. Its functions are the adduction and flexion of the hip joint as well as the flexion and internal rotation of the knee joint.
Adductors – importance and training
The adductors attract very low amounts of importance from an aesthetic point of view. But their functions are quite essential. Together with the abductors they regulate the motion of the thigh toward the pelvis. They balance and stabilize the pelvis in stand and motion. The adductors also stabilize the trunk via the pelvis and ensure the upright walk. Just a well pronounced adductor musculature can fulfill these functions.
The adductors tend to shortening. For that reason many athletes have complaints or even injuries in that area. A regular stretching is recommended in order to prevent such problems (Adductor stretch).
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