Copenhagen Adductors?

Jul 25, 2022

Add one more to the geographical lexicon.

First it was Romanian Deadlifts  and Russian Twists

Then it was Bulgarian Lunges and Turkish Get Ups. 

I thought we were done but along came Nordic Leg Curls.

But, now we have city's claiming exercises with Copenhagen getting it's own Adductor Exercise. 

Much like it's geographical predecessors the Copenhagen Adductor exercise is now the current cure-all for groin strains. What is it with geography and injury prevention claims?

In case you are not familiar, the Copenhagen Adductor exercise is a modification of a side plank designed to create both concentric and eccentric stress on the adductor muscles.

There are a number of modifications but, the video below describes a safe and relatively simple use of the exercise. I don't love this setup though as it requires a coach or a partner.



Before commenting on the Copenhagen Adductor exercise, I figured I'd better try it.


To be honest, it was better than I thought. My initial impression upon seeing the video above was that I would be worried about the valgus stress on the knee if you tried the non-partner version we filmed. However, a bunch of us tried it and no one complained of MCL pain/ discomfort so, that's one hurdle down.

My only other complaint/issue is that much like a multi-hip machine this is a long lever, frontal plane adduction. The reality from a functional anatomical sense is that adduction is much more of a concept than an actual movement.

Pure frontal plane adduction never occurs, particularly with a straight lever arm. Adduction is actually a combination of either flexion and adduction or, extension and adduction. In other words they never really happen. All true adduction involves either a flexion component or an extension component. In the Copenhagen Adductor exercise the stress is non-functional nature. 

The video below is a Pilates Ring Adduction done at both 90 and 45 degrees of hip flexion, probably slightly easier but, more functional from an adductor standpoint.

Next up is a standing flexion adduction with an active hip flexion incorporated vs. simply starting in a flexed position 

Lastly, you can see Sled Crossovers as a combination of hip extension and adduction (focus on the under leg)

I can say also to be wary of any exercise that is presented as a panacea. One thing that we can be certain of is that training prevents injury. Study after study has shown this. As a result, using Nordics decreases hamstring injuries, adductor exercises decrease groin injury and, just about any lower body intervention ever studied decreased the incidence of ACL injury.

The lesson here is not specific but rather general. Training will aid in injury prevention. Better exercise choices will produce better results but, progression and regressions are key.  

The Copenhagen Adduction exercise is probably a nice progression off side plank so, it can certainly be part of the integrated core arsenal. The flip side is that we still want to utilize the Pilates Ring, cables and sleds that still comprise our adduction program.

I think the exercise as seen above in the first video is relatively safe as support for the top leg is provided at both the the knee and the foot. As I said, I was leery of the version we filmed that had had the foot on a bench with no support at the knee. But, although this would appear to create a potentially unfavorable stress on the medial collateral ligament I didn't feel it.

I'd be cautious to start and, see this as a side plank progression that might at best be a piece of the puzzle.