The Copenhagen Adduction Exercise: A Great Tool to Prevent and Fix Groin Injuries

The Copenhagen Adduction Exercise: A Great Tool to Prevent and Fix Groin Injuries

Hip and groin injuries and pain are as common in ice hockey as they are in soccer (Worner et al., 2019). Further to that, reduced hip adduction strength has been identified as a key predisposing factor in the incidence of hip and groin injuries (Polglass et al., 2019). As a clinical physiotherapist for more than 10 years and having worked with athletes of various ages and competitive levels in both sports, I can anecdotally confirm these facts. Pretty much any sport that involves an athlete moving at high velocity in cleats, on skates or any other type of footwear for that matter, require strong and healthy hip musculature. And yes, the glutes, quads and hamstrings are all very important. But the adductors cannot be forgotten. As good sports medicine professionals and diligent/compliant athletes we do our squats, our band walks and our Nordic curls… even our GHD raises and Bulgarian Split Squats! But we can’t forget about the group of muscle hidden along the inside of our femurs… the unsung and often forgotten heroes of the athletic engine: the adductors!


I am talking about the adductor magnus (yeah, it has a minimus and a hamstring portion too!), the adductor longus, the adductor brevis, the pectineus and for completion’s sake, even the gracilis and obturator externus (for the anatomy geeks out there!). Their job is to bring the femur or thigh back to midline. As a physiotherapist, I have lost track of the number of times I have taught clamshells, glute bridges, proper squat technique and so on for patients of all walks of life. I have helped teach the FIFA 11+ program to young and not young soccer players. A lot of the hockey players I see automatically get extensive hip and glute strengthening and mobility drills. 


The focus of this modest little blog post is a specific hip adductor strengthening exercises that has been well validated as effective and even proposed to be added to the FIFA 11+ program as it lacks notable adductor strengthening (Haroy et al., 2017). It is called the Copenhagen Adduction Exercise (CAE). It is a focussed adductor strengthening exercise that combine eccentric, concentric and isometric strength and can be modified to match various levels of strength. See below for demos, descriptions and some progressions.

So, there you have it. The CAE can and should be incorporated into any athlete’s injury prevention regimen as well as a progression to help rehab those pesky groin injuries. 


Haroy J, Thorborg K, Serner A, Bjorkheim A, Rolstad LE, Holmich P, Bahr R, and Andersen TE. Including the Copenhagen Adduction Exercise in the FIFA 11+ Provides Missing Eccentric Hip Adduction Strength Effect in Male Soccer Players: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Am J Sports Med. 2017 Nov; 45(13): 3052-3059.

Polglass G, Burrows A and Willett M. Impact of a modified progressive Copenhagen adduction exercise programme on hip adduction strength and postexercise muscle soreness in professional footballers. BMJ Open Sp Ex Med. 15 Oct 2019.

Worner T, Thorborg K, Eek F. Five-Second Squeeze Testing in 333 Professional and Semiprofessional Male Ice Hockey Players. Orth J Sports Med. 2019; 7(2).