Copenhagen Hip Adduction Exercise: The Science and Unique Variations


It’s common for personal trainers, strength coaches, athletes and exercises enthusiasts alike to regularly use exercises that focus on training the hip abductors (i.e., the glutes), like lateral band walks (with a mini-band around their knees and/or ankles). However, I find it’s a lot less common to see them doing exercises that are targeted at training the hip adductors.

In this post I’m providing you a brief overview of the scientific evidence that explains why I regularly include hip adductor exercises into comprehensive fitness and conditioning programs, and I’m also showing you a few ways that I perform the Copenhagen Hip Adduction exercise, which is one of my top hip adduction exercises.

Why Use Hip Adductor Exercises?

A 2015 systematic review (a study of studies) published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that hip adductor strength was one of the most common risk factors for groin injury in sport (1).

One study of note on professional ice hockey players found that they were 17 times more likely to sustain an adductor muscle strain (i.e., groin injury) if their adductor strength was less than 80% of his abductor strength (2).

What Are The Most Effective Hip Adductor Exercises?

With the above in mind, it’s not uncommon for personal trainers and strength coaches to claim that you don’t need to do specific exercises to target your adductors, as compound exercises like squats and lunges do the job effectively. However, the research in this arena shows this common belief/claim to be false.

A review investigating the barbell squat found that a greater hip external rotation position (feet turned out) along a wide stance of the feet, as well as an increased load will increase hip adduction activation during this exercise (3). However, the highest values in muscle activity for the wide-stance squat (4), along with those found during a single-leg squat and a lunge, are relatively low compared to exercises that focus primarily on the hip adduction movement (5). So, with respect to reaching greater levels of muscle activation in the adductors, exercises targeted at training the hip adductors are superior to exercises like wide-stance squats, single-leg squats and lunges.


How To Do the Copenhagen Hip Adduction Exercise – Performance U Style!

Since most people are already familiar with the conventional exercises for targeting the hip adductors, like standing hip adductions with a band or cable and the seated hip adduction machine, below I’m highlighting the Copenhagen hip adduction exercise.

Put simply, the Copenhagen hip adduction exercise has been shown to be a very effective movement for training hip adductors (6,7), and it’s certainly one of my favorite exercises for targeting the hip adductors.

Check out this video (filmed at Gravity & Oxygen Fitness(8) in Boca Raton, FL) to see how I perform the Copenhagen hip adduction exercise, which is a bit different than it’s commonly done.

Also, check out these two-part versions I also like to use of the Copenhagen hip adduction exercise, which are both highlighted in this video.

This was originally posted on Nick Tumminello’s website. You can click here to read more blogs from him.


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About the Author


Nick Tumminello

Nick Tumminello is known as the "Trainer of Trainers." He's the owner of Performance University, which specializes in strength training for fat loss and conditioning. He has worked with a variety of clients, from NFL athletes and professional MMA fighters to bodybuilders and figure models, and currently trains a select group of clients in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Nick is the 2016 NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year, and the editor-in-chief of the NSCA Personal Training Quarterly journal. He's the author of three books: "Building Muscle and Performance," "Strength Training for Fat Loss," and "Your Workout PERFECTED." Nick is also the developer of the NT Loop bands: The #1 tool for hip and glute training. Check out Nick's products, seminar schedule, and blog at


  1. Jackie L Whittaker, et al. Risk factors for groin injury in sport: an updated systematic review. Br J Sports Med 2015;49:803-809
  2. Tyler TF, et al. The association of hip strength and flexibility with the incidence of adductor muscle strains in professional ice hockey players. Am J Sports Med. 2001 Mar-Apr;29(2):124-8.
  3. Pereira GR, Leporace G, Chagas D, et al. Influence of hip external rotation on hip adductor and rectus femoris myoelectric activity during a dynamic parallel squat. J Strength Cond Res 2010;24:2749–54.
  4. Clark DR, Lambert MI, Hunter AM. Muscle activation in the loaded free barbell squat: a brief review. J Strength Cond Res 2012;26:1169–78.
  5. Dwyer MK, Boudreau SN, Mattacola CG, et al. Comparison of lower extremity kinematics and hip muscle activation during rehabilitation tasks between sexes. J Athl Train 2010;45:181–90.
  6. Serner A, Jakobsen MD, Andersen LL, et al. EMG evaluation of hip adduction exercises for soccer players: implications for exercise selection in prevention and treatment of groin injuries. Br J Sports Med 2014;48:1108-1114.
  7. Ishøi L, Sørensen CN, Kaae NM, et al. Large eccentric strength increase using the Copenhagen Adduction exercise in football: A randomized controlled trial. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2016 Nov;26(11):1334-1342.

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Comments (2)

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  • Nikita goyal

    Wow! Such a wonderful article. Your writing skills are unique and knowledgeable
    physiotherapy nice article

    Nikita goyal | 26 July 2020 |
  • andrea rogers

    Had literally just done my hip adductor exercises (on the chair like your version) and opened the physio-network blog to see this post. I find I need to regularly check in with my left knee strength following a torn meniscus, to keep it stable enough to enjoy snowboarding. The Copenhagen adductor exercises and supine hamstring curls are always the first exercises to show it if I’ve lost a bit of strength & control.

    andrea rogers | 01 July 2020 |