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If you’re looking to increase strength to your hip muscles, you may want to consider the hip adductor machine. Commonly, adductor machines are dual purpose and will work both the hip adductor and hip abductor muscles.
Adductors are inner thigh muscles and responsible for bringing the legs together and rotating the them inwards. Abductors are outer thigh muscles that are responsible for lifting the leg away from the body. Together these two muscle groups provide support to the pelvis and hip joint.
By strengthening weak hip abductors and adductors can offer several benefits including working the glute muscles, improving core stability, and helping to alleviate both hip pain and knee pain.
What Is The Difference Between Hip Abduction vs Adduction?
The terms abduction (Abduction) and adduction (Adduction) don’t just refer to the abductor and adductor muscle groups. Rather they are opposing movements taken by parts of the body.
Abduction is a joint or limb moving away from the midline of your body. Whereas, in the case of adduction, this is the limb or joint moving towards the midline of the body.
Hip Abduction VS Adduction Machine
A hip adduction machine, sometimes called a hip abductor machine or ‘good girl, bad girl’ machine, tend to be dual purpose and will work both the inner and outer thighs. These machines typically comprise one set of thigh pads that can swivel allowing the pads to rest on either the outside or the inside of the thigh depending on which muscle group you want to work.
However, whilst most are dual purpose, there are separate exercise machines designed for each discipline. Both hip adductor and hip abductor machines tend to comprise of a weight stack where the user can select the desired weight load.
A hip abduction machine has pads positioned on the outside of the thigh whereby the user would push against the pads working the hip abductor and gluteus maximus muscles. On the other hand, a hip adductor will have the pads resting on the inner thigh with the user pressing the pads together working the adductor muscles.
Essentially, a hip abduction movement is to push resistance away from the body whereas hip adduction movements is to press resistance towards the body. The target muscles differ between each movement. Hip adduction targets the adductor magnus, adductor longus and adductor brevis. Hip abduction will activate the gluteal muscles and the tensor fasciae latae.
When Would You Use A Hip Abduction Machine?
The movements involved in either hip adduction or hip abduction are not usually undertaken in everyday life. This means that neither movement is a functional movement. Whilst both hip adductors and abductors aid with movement of the leg, they are small muscle groups that act to stabilize the body when performing activities such as running, walking and even sitting.
For muscle building, abduction machines are not particularly useful so, contrary to popular belief, using it is not going to result in shapely inner thighs. However, if you have a lack of hip strength that’s causing either hip or knee pain, using this machine could help to build stronger hips thereby providing better support to the surrounding joints.
Is The Hip Abduction Machine Effective?
When it comes to the effectiveness of the hip abduction machine it really depends on your goals. As stated above, the hips comprise of small stabiliser muscles and the machine really won’t do much to add muscle mass and create shape. That being said, it can be good to address any muscle imbalances to either the adductors or abductors along with the hip flexors. By improving strength to this area can help with stability to the joints.
Benefits of Training Your Adductors or Abductors
Various benefits can be achieved by isolating and working your adductors and abductors; some of these benefits are mentioned below:
Adductors in particular are important for stabilising the hips and pelvis. When muscles surrounding and supporting these joints are strengthened, they can improve posture and reduce common symptoms such as low back pain.
Improved Muscle Performance
As mentioned, both adductors and abductors are supporting muscles. As such, they play an important role in assisting other muscles to perform movements such as the squat. Working on strengthening supporting muscles can have good carry over to more complex, compound exercises.
Reduction in Pain
Knee bones and hip bones are connected and it’s not uncommon for weak hip adductor muscles to result in conditions such as patellofemoral pain syndrome. To reduce the likelihood of these types of conditions, it’s important to work on hip strength, and hip adduction and abduction exercises could be a great way of doing this.
Exercises Without An Adductor Machine
It is not necessary to have access to a specific machine to work on strengthening your hip muscles. There are several types of exercises you can perform to activate these muscles and achieve the same results.
● Low lunge
● Wide leg squat / sumo squat
● Adductor slide
● Adductor side plank
● Cossack squat
Adductor Exercise Examples
Some of the adduction exercises that you can do comprise the following:
Adductor Exercise Using A Machine
- If you have access to an adductor machine, you would position the pads on the inside of your thighs.
- Select the desired weight load.
- Simply press your thighs against the pads bringing them close together, the weight will depend on how much resistance there is.
- Repeat your desired number of repetitions.
Wide Leg Sumo Squat
- Stand upright with a wide stance and toes pointing slightly outwards.
- Keeping your chest and head up and back straight, push the glutes back and squat down.
- Reach a position so that your upper legs are parallel to the ground.
- Push through your heels back to a standing position and repeat.
- You can add resistance by holding a kettlebell or dumbbell.
- Start by standing up with your feet around shoulder width apart.
- If you want to add resistance grab a pair of dumbbells.
- Take a wide step out to the side by pushing back your hips and glutes.
- The upper leg of your bent knee should almost be parallel to the ground with the other remaining straight throughout.
- Push back up to the starting position and repeat your reps before switching legs.
Abductor Exercise Examples
Some of the hip abduction exercises that could be carried out for training the hip muscles comprise the following:
Abductor Exercise Using The Machine
- Position the pads on outside of your thighs.
- Select the desired weight load.
- Apply pressure to the pads using the thighs and push against the resistance.
- Push the pads outwards and slowly return back to the start before repeating.
Side Leg Raises
- Lie down on an exercise mat and position yourself on your side supporting your head with your hand.
- Have your top leg resting on your lower leg. This is your starting position.
- Keeping your upper body still, slowly raise the upper leg as far as possible.
- Hold at the top for a second before lowering back down and repeating.
- Once you’ve completed your reps, switch sides and work the other leg.
- Lie down on an exercise mat and position yourself on one side. Support your head with your hand or upper arm.
- Position your legs so they are slightly bent at the knees with one leg resting on the other.
- Keeping the foot of your top leg still, slowly raise just the knee.
- Aim to get this knee parallel to your hip.
- Slowly lower back down before repeating then switching legs.
Working the hip adductors and abductors isn’t so much about gaining muscle mass and shaping the legs but more to do with maintaining healthy hip and pelvis joints. These small muscles can sometimes be overlooked and strengthening them takes some time. But don’t neglect them, as not only can they help reduce common aches and pains, but they can also aid with improved athletic performance and provide better support to larger muscles such as the glutes.