Standing Machine Hip Adduction
The terms abduction and adduction can be confusing. Great way to remember these two words is to think of the hip abductor/adductor machine at the gym. When you are using the hip abductor machine, you are using your hip abductor muscles to spread your legs apart. When you are using the adductor machine, you are using your hip adductor muscles to bring your legs together.
Standing machine hip adduction belongs to the isolated, single-joint exercise category because only the hip joints are mobilized. As a consequence, the thigh adduction does not recruit much of the muscle groups surrounding the adductors. This 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.
With most machines, you have to sit. Some newer equipment, however, allows you to perform the movement while standing. Even though standing is not as comfortable as sitting (seated hip adductions), it is a more efficient way to work the adductors.
Standing machine hip adduction is an excellent hip, leg and pelvic stabilization exercise. The straight leg (versus flexed knee) version of hip adduction, as seen in this exercise, efficiently recruits the long leg adductors, when compared to a seated position with a flexed knee (seated machine hip adductions). In this case, position of the hip (either flexed or extended) does not affect adductor recruitment because none of the adductors cross the hip, which is not true of hip abductors.
There is no major difference in the muscle work required compared to the cable variant (standing cable hip adductions), although this standing adductor machine makes it possible to achieve a somewhat more precise exercise if it is well designed.
Exercise Instructions for Standing Machine Hip Adduction
INITIAL POSITION (SETUP): Stand upright with neutral spine alignment on the adductor machine while facing forward. Hold on to the machine (grasp the stabilizing bars) and position the roller on the inside of your leg just above your ankle.
MOVEMENT (ACTION): Move your leg toward your body (adduction) until you reach a vertical position or a little farther (max. 30º). In other words, contract the hip adductors and move the leg toward the midline of the body until the ankle and knee are in front of the working hip, or slightly past the midline of the body. Adduct the hip actively as far as you can without deviating from the set-up position. Swap and repeat with the other leg.
Additional Tips & Tricks
- Beginning and ending position of this exercise should be determined by your ability to maintain neutral spinal position and upright stabilized position.
- 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.
Muscles Engaged in Standing Machine Hip Adduction
Main muscle groups: adductors (great, long, short and smallest)
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 Variations (Alternative Exercises)
- Standing cable hip adduction
- Seated machine hip adduction
- Elastic band standing hip adduction (standing hip adduction with resistance tubing)
Also, check these other great glute & hip exercises.
Putting It Together
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 inner thigh muscles through their full range of motion are seated machine hip adduction and standing machine hip adduction exercises. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to isolate these muscles with free weights and challenging to work these muscles with bands. This is a situation in which machines are very handy. If no machine is available, you can substitute with a cable, but adductor machines are easier to master.