Muscle Injuries

Copenhagen Adduction Exercise | Adductor Strain Pre- and Rehab

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Copenhagen adduction exercise

Copenhagen Adduction Exercise | Adductor Strain Pre- and Rehab

Hip adductor injuries are amongst the most frequent injuries in football and players with low adductor strength appear to be at increased risk of injury. These injuries often happen under contraction of the muscle, while it has to lengthen, thus under eccentric muscle action. Ishoi et al from the year 2016 have shown that the Copenhagen adduction exercise led to eccentric strength gains of 35.7% and eccentric hip abductor strength gains of 20.3% in an 8 week trial in young sub-elite soccer players.

To perform the Copenhagen adduction exercise go into side-lying position with the lower forearm used as support on the ground, while the other arm is placed along the body. The upper leg is held at approximately the height of the hip of the partner, who holds the leg with one hand supporting the ankle and the other hand above the knee.

Then perform a repetition by lifting your body in a 3s concentric hip adduction movement while simultaneously adducting the lower leg so that the body is in one line and the feet touch each other. Then lower the leg slowly by a 3s eccentric adduction where the body is lowered halfway to the ground while the foot of the lower leg is lowered until it just touches the ground without using it for support.

In this way, the adductors of both legs have to work eccentrically with the upper leg being the leg that is primarily trained. Be careful that there is no side flexion of the trunk throughout the whole movement. We recommend starting with 2 sets per side and 6 repetitions, 2 to 3 times per week. You can then slowly increase from week to week until you can perform 3 sets with 15 repetitions.

If you don’t have a partner, you can perform the exercise on a smith machine with a cushion. To progress this exercise, even more, you can perform it on a TRX suspension trainer or use additional weights. 

Haroy et al. al even suggested adding this exercise to the FIFA 11+ prevention program to potentially prevent groin problems, as they are not being tackled sufficiently in the current program.


Muscle injuries


Ishøi L, Sørensen CN, Kaae NM, Jørgensen LB, Hölmich P, Serner A. Large eccentric strength increase using the C openhagen A dduction exercise in football: A randomized controlled trial. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports. 2016 Nov;26(11):1334-42.

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