Groin injuries can take a really long time to heal, and you know that, so you’re looking for a few options to help you maintain your fitness levels.
Well, good news, that’s what we are going to cover here.
It is possible to stay in shape with a groin injury through a combination of cardio and weight training. The only caveat is if you’ve had a serious pelvic fracture that must be unweighted, it will be a bit more of a challenge.
In any case, let’s figure out some options together.
If you’ve got a groin strain and you’re frustrated it’s taking such a long time to heal, you can read this popular article that 1,000s of people have already read to give you more insight into your injury.
Additionally, if you want a clear DIY rehab program to help you recover from your groin strain once and for all you can check out this link here which will bring you to the product page (it’s very affordable.)
- If you have a pelvic fracture you are going to be limited to non-weight-bearing activities through your pelvis (most likely). Your doctor may permit you to walk shorter distances depending on if it’s stable or unstable. It’s uncommon to have an unstable pelvic fracture.
- If you primarily have a groin strain or something else musculoskeletal, doing upper body and lower body exercises with lower weight to start with is my best recommendation
- Cardiovascular activity can be included and you should try a few different types to see which one works best for you (doesn’t aggravate symptoms)
- Nothing you do should increase your symptoms to the point of being severe. If they do you need to decrease your intensity for a few days, reassess and then if that doesn’t work, change the activity or work with a professional. These can be tricky injuries to recover from (I know because I had one myself)
What Type of Groin Injury Do You Have?
The most common types of injury or tissue irritation that lead to groin pain are the following:
- Adductor (groin) muscle strain
- Pelvic fracture, stable or unstable
- Athletic pubalgia (sports hernia)
- Psoas Muscle Strain
- Symptomatic hip labrum tear (can also be asymptomatic)
- Osteoarthritis of the hip (can also be asymptomatic)
For each of the above conditions, you are clear to try out most of the different types of exercise that I’m going to share.
The only one where you may have a restriction from your doctor is if you have a pelvic fracture. A pelvic fracture, depending on the severity, may require you to be non-weight bearing (NWB) for a week to 6 weeks, depending on size and whether it is stable or not.
When is rest or non-weight bearing necessary?
Rest is likely most necessary when you have experienced a pelvic fracture. But, even with this you can likely still use an arm bike and workout your upper body, as well as do some light lower body exercises in a seated position if not too painful.
Cardio Exercise Options For Groin Injuries
Here are a few cardio options you might try out. I’ll expand on how long you should do each one, too.
- Recumbent stationary bike
- Upright stationary bike
- Cycling (outdoor)
For each of these cardio activities, start by just trying out a minute or two at a time, resting, and then doing another minute or two. This is called interval training and can be helpful to not push yourself too hard, too soon.
Start with a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio, meaning for every minute you move, you rest for one minute.
Depending on your pre-existing fitness levels you can start anywhere from 10 minutes all the way up to an hour. You know what you were doing before so start at about half of whatever that was.
What intensity should You Use?
Start with lower-intensity exercise, meaning you are still able to hold a conversation. If you notice that this does not make your symptoms worse then you are clear to continue to gradually increase the intensity over the course of the coming weeks and months.
What should you look out for?
If you notice that your symptoms are progressively getting worse and it’s related to the cardio you are doing I would recommend decreasing the volume and intensity of your workouts and if that doesn’t work, changing the activity type.
Recovering from injury and maintaining fitness levels is not about completely resting, it is about modifying and continuing to move even when it’s not ideal.
Strength Training Exercise Options for Groin Injuries
If you’re specifically looking for an adductor strain rehab program, click this link which will bring you to another article that I wrote.
- Work only upper body. This would be if your groin is just too painful to do anything else or you must keep a NWB status on it due to a pelvic fracture or some other reason
- Bicep curls
- Tricep extensions
- Shoulder press
- Bench press
- Chest supported rows
- Seated rows
- If you DO NOT have a pelvic fracture, try out these different lower-body exercises
- Leg press
- Leg curl
- Knee Extension (leg extension)
- Adduction/abduction machine (inner/outer thigh machine)
For each of those leg exercises I just mentioned, make sure you are using light weight to start with and then assessing whether or not it is making the pain worse. A small uptick in pain is not a problem however if it massively increases the pain then you should reduce the weight or change the exercise.
I’ll drop that groin strain rehab protocol here, again.
Is Stretching Recommended? Will That Help With Fitness Levels?
Stretching is not going to increase your fitness levels although it may help you just to stay active.
There are types of “stretching,” that I would classify more as mobility work such as yoga, however, you may not tolerate some of the positions they ask you to get into.
Many yoga instructors are good at modifying the poses for folks, but make sure that whatever you decide to do that you’re not making things significantly worse.