Seated Hip Adduction

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Seated Hip Adduction – Machine Adductions

Seated hip adduction develops the muscles of your inner thighs and belongs to the isolated, single-joint exercise category because only the hip joints are mobilized. The main job of the adductors is to pull your legs together (moving the thigh towards or across the midline of the body), so they work in opposition to your hip abductors. The two are often exercised one after the other to eliminate muscle imbalance, which can potentially lead to injury. Machine adductions are suitable for both beginners and advanced bodybuilders. To avoid injury, be sure to warm up properly and avoid opening your legs wider than your own flexibility will easily allow.

Some adductor machines have you keep your legs straight, whereas others have you bend your legs to 90 degrees. If you are a beginner, these latter machines are probably better choice because they are gentler on the knees and because you are less likely to overstretch your abductor/adductor muscles with your legs bent. However, it is almost impossible to isolate the adductor muscles with free weights. If no machine is available, you can substitute with a cable, but adductor machines are easier to master.

Exercise Instructions

STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Sit on the adductor machine and adjust the height of the seat so that the insides of your knees or ankles (depending on the design) rest comfortably against the pads. On some machines (not shown in this post) your will have to sit down with your feet on the foot pegs so that the knees are bent at 90 degrees. Make sure that your inner thighs and knees are firmly against the resistance pads, and keep your head and shoulders against the back of the seat.

Seated Hip Adduction - Machine Adductions

Seated Hip Adduction – Machine Adductions

MOVEMENT (ACTION): Hold the handles, and with a slow, controlled motion, move the pads inward (close your legs) by pushing with the knees or ankles (depending on the design) until the pads almost or fully touch. Once you’ve touched your legs together, hold this fully contracted position for a second or two. Slowly return to the starting position without letting the resistance rest on the weight stack between repetitions.

Muscles Engaged in Seated Hip Adduction

The main inner-thigh muscles comprise three adductor muscles – adductor brevis, adductor longus and adductor magnus – whose function is to adduct, or pull, the legs together.

Main muscle groups: adductors
Secondary muscle groups: deep gluteus maximus, pectineus, gracilis, quadratus femoris, external obturator, iliopsoas, hamstrings (primarily semitendinosus)
Antagonists: gluteus medius, gluteal deltoid (superficial fibers of the gluteus maximus and tensor fasciae latae)

Exercise Variation

  • On a pulley machine with a low pulley, stand away from the machine sideways to it. Put the foot that is nearest the machine in the handle, and squeeze the leg in toward the other leg, pulling the handle away from the machine.

Safety Considerations

  • Do not lean back, or otherwise rotate, flex or hyperextend the spine, or lean to either side. Perform hip adduction with control and maintain proper body alignment throughout the exercise. Be careful to start the legs in an abducted position that does not strain the adductor musculature. The intent of this exercise is to strengthen the adductors, not to place them on significant stretch.

Replacement Exercises

Visit our glute & hip exercise database to find more exercises.

Closing Thoughts

Seated hip adduction works the adductor muscle group (pectineus; adductors minimus, magnus, brevis and longus; and gracialis) and allows you to use much heavier weights than you can with the cable adductions but with a decreased range of motion. We must admit that It is hard to really isolate the adductor as well as this exercise does. Best results are achieved in long sets until you feel burn. Increase the weights gradually and perform adductor muscle stretches at the end of the workout. Seated hip adduction is considered a good finishing exercise for the legs because it is relatively easy to perform even when tired as a result of previous thigh movements.

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