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The Adductor Magnus and its role in Squatting: Part III – Errors in Form

November 2, 2010

In part I and II of this series I discussed the anatomy and role of the Adductor Magnus muscle for proper squat technique.  In the third part I discuss two scenarios involving this structure which may create errors in technique.  These errors can lead to injury and decreased force output.  In part IV I will discuss corrective exercises to battle these common problems.


13 Comments leave one →
  1. Jake permalink
    June 15, 2011 7:51 pm

    Awesome Video Wheres part 4?

  2. July 13, 2012 2:51 pm

    What structures are at risk if squat form engaging adductor magnus is not properly executed? Is it the quad muscle group? hip joint? knees? Thanks much ~ great post!

    • July 16, 2012 5:52 pm

      Hi Robyn…thanks for the question. Here is an exert from one of my earlier posts that will answer your question nicely:
      “This is to ensure that enough subtalar pronation is able to occur in order to achieve proper squat depth. If the feet are not angled outwards, dorsiflexion of the ankle will be limited at the ankle mortise joint (due to the larger anterior half of the talus) which will prevent the proper depth from being achieved. If the proper depth is not achieved…as is the case with the dreaded (and heavily over-perscribed ‘partial squats’) there will be a quadricep dominant contraction which will cause shearing in the knee. When performed properly, and to the proper depth, there is a counter contraction of the hamstrings which will negate the quad contraction, thus effectively guarding against shearing forces. In addition, proper depth will engage the large gluteal muscles. Further to the stress on the knees, the ‘feet forward’ position will force the person to lean anteriorly thus shifting the weight away from the centre of balance (the weight should remain in line with the midfoot). This in turn causes incorrect back, hip, and knee angles that will lead to damaging shearing forces in each area (See point #2). As for the knees, if they do not track in line with the feet, but instead travele anteriorly, this will in effect increase the Q-angle (the angle formed by a line drawn from the ASIS to central patella and a second line drawn from central patella to tibial tubercle) which leads to an abnormal laterality of patellar tracking (thus leading to patellofemoral problems)”


  3. Hifikepunye permalink
    September 24, 2012 7:05 am

    Hi Doc, thoroughly enjoyed this series, looking forward to learn more. Was wondering if there is any efficient way of targeting the hypertrophy of my adductors, or at least emphasizing them? I am at a sticking point in my squats and fail at the bottom position. Are there any great exercises you could perhaps recommend? I am currently incorporating extremely wide-stance squats, lunges and static holds at the bottom position. Is there anything I could add or remove from my choice of exercises? Also, could you comment on whether I should focus on low or high reps, or if it shouldn’t matter? Really appreciate it!

    • September 24, 2012 7:54 pm

      Hi there.

      I will try to answer your questions in sequence. Regarding targeting hypertrophy of the adductors…no. I am not quite sure why you would want to anyway? As for your sticking point, the best way to improve on it is with isometric training at the specific angle. Load up the bar with a weight that you can’t move at the sticking angle. Get under the bar and practice generating force (gradually and carefully) at that range. Continue to do this in 10 degree increments above and below the point for approximately 30-40 degrees total. More strength in the muscle groups is not the answer…the answer is teaching the nervous system how to use your strength at that specific angle. I would go with sets of 8-10 isometric efforts. There is a risk of injury if not done properly so perform at own risk. Ensure you are stabilizing your spine and performing the lift with the right mechanics.

  4. Daniel permalink
    November 11, 2012 7:19 am

    Great information thank you.
    You mentioned what happens when the knee caves in
    but what happens if you have tight hip muscles that
    are causing the knee or hip to rotate out. Although I can
    full squat my pelvis clicks sometimes so how does this relate to my
    adductor magnus?

    • November 13, 2012 3:09 pm

      In the case of the hip turning out during decent, this would not be related. This is often the result of a tight intrinsic hip capsule vs. a muscular cause. Tightness in the intrinsic hip can also lead to the clicking that you describe.

      • Daniel permalink
        November 16, 2012 1:21 am

        Thank you for the quick reply.
        I will keep watching your blog for any insights. Love it!
        The intrinsic foot strengthening has already helped heaps

  5. Julia permalink
    November 28, 2012 8:08 pm

    Hi Dr. Spina. I’ve been enjoying reading your blogs. Thank you. I’m wondering if the adductor mangnus being tight would also limit the ROM of the posterior pelvic tilt. Also, I haven’t looked for it yet, but have you posted the 4th part to this series yet?

    • Julia permalink
      November 28, 2012 8:48 pm

      Oops :} I did mean the anterior pelvic tilt.

      • November 29, 2012 2:58 pm

        Hi Julia

        Thank you for reading my posts! To answer your question, yes. Because the Adductor magnus acts as a hamstring just as much as it does an adductor (even having duel innervation as such), limitation in lengthening ability can in fact restrict anterior pelvic tilting and thus can lead to ‘winking’ during the squat.


  1. You don’t know squat? …teaching your patients proper squatting technique « Functional Anatomy Seminars – Functional Anatomic Palpation Systems™ | Functional Range Release™
  2. From the vault: The Adductor Magnus and its role in squatting (Part I-III) « Functional Anatomy Seminars – Functional Anatomic Palpation Systems™ | Functional Range Release™

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