Standing Machine Hip Abduction

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Standing Machine Hip Abduction

The terms abduction and adduction can be confusing. They look and sound similar, but mean the opposite of each other. Abduction refers to an action that brings part of the body away from the midline. Adduction refers to an action that brings part of the body closer to the midline.

Standing machine hip abduction (or any other version) belongs in the isolated, single-joint exercise category because only the hip joints are mobilized. As a consequence, the lateral hip abduction does not recruit muscles other than its primary targets: the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus.

Two kinds of machines are available to increase the resistance on your legs and make the exercise more effective. One, in which you are seated, allows you to work both legs simultaneously (seated hip abduction). The other machine allows you to train in a standing position. Some standing machines allow you to train both legs at a time; whereas others, only one. In both versions, the movement is the same as that of the other variations.

There is no major difference in the muscle work required compared to the cable variant (standing cable hip abductions), although this machine makes it possible to do the exercise a little more strictly if it is well designed.

Standing Machine Hip Abduction – Proper Technique

STARTING (INITIAL) POSITION: Stand upright (with neutral spinal alignment) on one leg at the machine, placing the other leg against the roll below the knee (on the outside of your leg just above your ankle). Grasp the stabilizing bars of the machine with the arms out to the side. The supporting leg is slightly flexed at the knee, and the hip joint of the working leg should be aligned with the axis of rotation of the machine.

Standing Machine Hip Abduction

Standing Machine Hip Abduction

ACTION (MOVEMENT): Keeping your hips solid and on level plane, push your leg away from the middle of your body as far as possible, until your hip position can no longer be maintained or is beginning to be compromised (just before the bones in your hip come into contact). In other words, until the leg is about 35 to 45 degrees abducted. Allow the weight and your leg to return slowly to the starting position. Swap and repeat with the other leg.

Standing Machine Hip Abduction

Standing Machine Hip Abduction

Important Tips for Standing Machine Hip Abductions

  • Your foot should move directly away from your body, in an arc to the side and up.
  • Look for the movement to come from your leg.
  • Do not allow the hip to rotate out or inward, and keep the trunk from rotating.
  • Maintain neutral spinal posture and do not lean forward or to either side.
  • Look for your feet to remain parallel during the movement and your hips to remain even.
  • Avoid any excessive knee bending, any rotation of your hip or shoulder.
  • If you want to reduce the involvement of the tensor fasciae latae and increase that of the gluteus, turn your body a few degrees so that the movement is diagonal and behind you, halfway between this and a kick-back (standing hip extension).

Exercise Variations

  • If you like the standing position, you can use an elastic band (standing hip abduction with resistance tubing), an ankle cuff weight, or an ankle cable attachment to increase the resistance.

Muscles Engaged in Standing Hip Abduction

Standing machine hip abduction develops the gluteus medius. It also develops the deeper gluteus minimus, whose function is the same as that of the anterir fibers of the gluteus medius. In other words:

Main muscle groups: gluteus medius, gluteal deltoid (tensor fasciae latae and superficial fibers of the gluteus maximus)
Secondary muscle groups: gluteus minimus, piriformis, internal obturator, gemelli, gastrocnemius, sartorius
Antagonists: adductors (great, long, short, smallest), pectineus

Replacement Exercises

Try these other great glute & hip exercises.

Summing Up

When possible, you should include exercises for the other major muscle groups of the thighs. These are the hip adductor muscles of the inner thigh and the hip abductor muscles of the outer thigh. The best exercises for working your outer thigh muscles through their full range of motion are seated machine hip abduction and standing machine hip abduction exercises. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to isolate these muscles with free weights and challenging to work these muscles with bands, so you must focus on this machine variants. For best results, use long sets.

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