Of all the machines at the gym, the hip adduction and abduction machine is perhaps the most misused and misunderstood. While most people think they’re toning their inner thighs for more shapely legs, they’re probably compressing their lower back and grinding away at their hip sockets. Not good.
Skip this awkward machine and consider simple band exercises to build stronger hips and a shapely backside.
FORWARD AND BACKWARD BAND WALKS
Simply walking forward and backward with a band around your knees builds and strengthens your glutes. This takes care of hip abduction and improves your hip external rotation.
- Take a light resistance band and place it around the top of your knees (double loop the band if it’s too long for more resistance).
- Bend your knees and hips slightly with your feet facing straight ahead.
- Push your knees outward gently to create tension against the band. Don’t let your feet turn out.
- Take slow, deliberate steps straight ahead without losing tension in the band. Walk heel to toe and pause for one second after each step.
- Then, reverse direction to walk backward. Step toe to heel without letting the band pull your knees inward.
- Perform 3 sets of 10 steps per side, per direction.
SHORT SIDE BRIDGE WITH INTERNAL ROTATION
Many people lack hip internal rotation range of motion, which makes it challenging to perform many athletic movements, including squats. Rather than focus on only hip adduction, try this exercise to strengthen your glutes and improve hip internal rotation.
- Loop a short band around your ankles.
- Place a quarter foam roller or similar object between your knees and actively squeeze it with your thighs (this is the hip adduction part).
- Get into a side-plank position but with your knees bent at 90 degrees instead of legs straight.
- Brace your abs and squeeze your glutes so your lower back doesn’t arch.
- Lift your top foot into the air without moving your knees apart (this is the internal rotation part).
- Slowly return your top foot to the starting position and repeat.
- Perform equal reps on both sides.
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
Why fight against the awkward hip adduction and abduction machine when you can use a simple band to achieve better results? The above exercises provide a more effective workout with less embarrassment.