Pro­tect your vul­ner­a­ble bits with our ex­pert’s ad­vice and en­sure your groin doesn’t take a kick­ing

Men's Fitness - - Contents -

Avoid th­ese groin in­juries

Alex Hunter is clin­i­cal direc­tor at Six Physio ( spe­cial­is­ing in spinal re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and sport­ing in­juries, es­pe­cially those af­fect­ing the shoul­der, groin and an­kle.

The groin is a trou­ble­some area for both oc­ca­sional and se­ri­ous ath­letes,’ says Hunter. ‘The groin mus­cles, or ad­duc­tors, act to move the leg across the body from the hip, but their main pur­pose is to sta­bilise the leg. They have to work harder when you move lat­er­ally, as you of­ten do in sports.’


‘This oc­curs when one of the groin mus­cles is over­loaded and the mus­cle fi­bres fail. Th­ese are graded from 1-3, rang­ing from pulled mus­cle fi­bres to com­plete rup­ture. This can oc­cur sud­denly if you play sports with lots of twist­ing and is of­ten quite painful. Re­cov­ery can take up to three months.’


‘Your groin mus­cles don’t like mov­ing quickly if they’re cold so in­clude a dy­namic warm-up be­fore ex­plo­sive ex­er­cise. Don’t do static stretch­ing, which can in­crease the chance of in­jury. In­stead, sim­ple hip swings, mov­ing your leg both for­wards and side­ways one at a time for 30 sec­onds each, can be pre­ven­tive.’


‘This con­di­tion was first recog­nised by the sur­geon Jerry Gil­more while treat­ing pro­fes­sional foot­ballers in the 70s. It’s es­sen­tially dis­rup­tion of the ex­ter­nal oblique ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles where they at­tach to the con­joint ten­don (near the fam­ily jew­els). This takes a sta­ble base of sup­port away from the ad­duc­tor mus­cles and they be­come painful.’


‘Of­ten surgery is re­quired but mak­ing sure your oblique mus­cles are su­per-strong can help man­age the con­di­tion. Get into a plank, then tran­si­tion to a side plank and back again with­out let­ting your knees touch the floor. Re­peat 20 times on each side for three sets.’


‘At the cen­tre of the pu­bic bone (the front bone of the pelvis) is a small disc made of car­ti­lage, and this struc­ture can be­come in­flamed and sore if over­loaded. This can hap­pen when strong shear­ing forces go through it, as with the long jump and hur­dles, but more com­monly with walk­ing lunges.’


‘Con­di­tion your body to th­ese forces with split squats. Start in a lunge po­si­tion with the heel of your back foot raised. Keep your back up­right and slowly rise and lower. Hold dumb­bells to in­crease re­sis­tance. Do three sets of ten reps each side on leg days or twice a week in front of the TV.’


‘This painful con­di­tion is usu­ally caused by weak­ness in the hips, core, glutes and ad­duc­tors. Ten­dons of­ten don’t heal cor­rectly af­ter in­jury and be­cause they’re made of thick col­la­gen they don’t like stretch­ing, so it’s re­ally im­por­tant you don’t try to “stretch it bet­ter”.’


‘Use this iso­met­ric ex­er­cise. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and knees bent at 90°. Hold a light med ball or foot­ball be­tween your knees. Now en­gage your abs and squeeze the ball firmly for ten to 15 sec­onds. Re­peat this five times. Too easy? Make it harder by rais­ing your glutes into a bridge po­si­tion.’

James De­Gale (left) was ham­pered

by Gil­more’s groin in sev­eral

fights be­fore surgery in 2013

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