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How To Do Copenhagen Plank – Build Stronger Core And Adductors

Planks often leave people shaking after a few reps, which is why they’re so popular. I like to mix things up as a trainer, and I’m continually discovering new plank variants. The Copenhagen plank, is my current fave. While it’s difficult to do, I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my core strength, and as a result, my sprinting exercises have improved.

Clamshells and Lateral Band Walks are two exercises that target the glutes and the outside of our hips. Despite this, our adductors, or groin muscles, go mostly ignored. This is a huge blunder, especially if you’re a sportsperson.

Your adductor muscles are in charge of pulling your leg closer to your body’s midline. Not only can weak adductors increase your chance of injury, but they also help with hip extension and rotational power, allowing you to move into more athletic poses.

What Is A Copenhagen Plank

The Copenhagen plank, also known as the Copenhagen adduction exercise, is a side plank variation that focuses on the adductor muscles of the inner thigh and groin. The adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, pectineus, and gracilis are the muscles that are involved for adducting the hip, or bringing the leg closer to the midline.

Additional information: Hip flexion is aided by the adductor longus and pectineus, whereas hip extension is aided by the adductor magnus (posterior head). Hip flexion (adductor brevis and gracilis), internal rotation (adductor longus, adductor brevis, and pectineus), and extension (adductor longus, adductor brevis, and pectineus) are all secondary activities of these muscles (anterior head of adductor magnus).


How to do a Copenhagen plank

  1. To do the Copenhagen plank, you’ll need a bench or a steady object. Starting on your right side, stack your shoulder, elbow, and forearm in a straight line.
  2. With your right leg dangling underneath the bench, place your left foot on top of the bench.
  3. Drive your forearm into the ground with control while simultaneously lifting your torso off the ground. Your forearm should be directly underneath your shoulder, and your body should be aligned with the bench in a straight line. Make sure your bottom hip and side body do not sag toward the ground.
  4. Hold for five breaths or 15 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

Copenhagen Planks Benefits

Simply said, no other exercise has been proved to be as effective as the Copenhagen adduction exercises for targeting the groin region.

Copenhagen Plank – Adductor and Trunk Activation

Serner and colleagues investigated eight adductor exercises in 2013 and discovered that the Copenhagen adduction exercise elicited the most adductor longus activity. It was also shown that it elicited the most activation of the external oblique and rectus abdominis muscles (see table below).

Important to keep in mind: Some groin disorders may be accompanied by an abdominal condition. The utility of Copenhagen plank variations in groin rehab or injury risk reduction programs is further supported by the near proximity of the adductors’ origin and the insertion of the abdominal muscles.

chart displaying EMG measurements for all exercises and muscles

Copenhagen Plank Increases Adductor Strength

The FIFA 11+ program is well-known for minimizing a variety of injuries, however it hasn’t been proven to work with groin issues. In 2017, Haroy and colleagues showed that incorporating a Copenhagen plank variation into a FIFA 11+ program increased eccentric hip adduction strength significantly.

In 2016, Ishoi et al had 24 male soccer players execute the Copenhagen adduction exercise twice a week for eight weeks, gradually increasing the number of sets and repetitions (see table below). These athletes show a 35.7 percent gain in eccentric hip adduction strength at the end of the training.

Training protocol for Copenhagen adduction exercise

Copenhagen Plank Reduces Groin Injuries

A group of male soccer players undertook a 36-week adductor strengthening program utilizing the Copenhagen Adduction exercise in another study by Haroy and colleagues (2018).

They did many sessions a week for an eight-week preseason, gradually increasing the repetitions. They kept the regimen going for the entire 28-week season, increasing the repetitions and intensity while decreasing the training frequency (see table below).

Training program for adductor strengthening program

Take Away

A strain of the thigh musculature, specifically the hamstrings, adductors, and inner groin, is typically treated with the Copenhagen plank. Even if you haven’t had a similar injury, the Copenhagen plank can help you feel better and perform better. These muscles, which are frequently overlooked, are critical for maintaining balance and decelerating movement. This plank variant can help you improve the power, efficiency, and safety of your lateral and rotational motions.


Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant. He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves. Rahul has a master's degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.

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