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One of the many fitness equipment you will encounter in the gym is the Hip Abductor machine. Let’s dig deeper into what this machine can do for you and how it can be used.
What’s Hip Abduction?
Hip abduction is where the leg moves away from the mid-body, backward, forward or sideways. You do this movement when you take a side step or step out of a car.
The muscles responsible are the hip abductors, a small muscle group located in the outer thighs and around the glutes. These muscles help spread your legs and push out your hips. Referred to as stabilizers, these muscles are often forgotten and that’s where the Hip Abductor Machine comes in.
Why Exercising Your Hip Abductors Is Important
According to a research study, adductor muscle strain can be debilitating and hip strengthening muscles are essential for reducing incidence of adductor related injuries .
Weak hip abductors can impact the entire bio-mechanism functioning of the lower body - your knees, ankles and feet. By exercising the abductor muscles we can improve core stability, better coordinate movements and improve general flexibility.
The hip abduction machines make it possible to specifically work on this muscle group in isolation and strengthen it. However care must be taken– small muscle groups are more prone to injuries and strain.
The Hip Abduction Machine
This hip abduction machine has two pads that rest on your outer thighs as you sit in the machine. While using the machine, you push out your legs against the pads with resistance provided by the weights.
The movement targets all the small muscles involved in hip abduction –the tensor fasciae latae as well as three more glute muscles - gluteus medius, minimus and maximus.
Some critical points to remember:
Adequate support for your back is important, so make sure to adjust the back pad in the machine as appropriate
Ensure your movements against the resistance are controlled and smooth
Keep your feet aligned and in line with your knees
There are several other gym machines that deliver similar results and some of them are:
Multi Hip Machine
The multi hip machine is a versatile piece of equipment using which all thigh muscles can be targeted - the front, back, as well as the inner and outer muscles of the thighs. The machine can be used for Hip Flexion, Hip Extension in addition to Hip Abduction and Adduction.
Prone Leg Curl
The prone leg curl machine specifically targets the hamstrings (muscles at the back of the thighs). Here we bend our legs against weights from a prone position on our stomach. The prone leg curls helps reduce knee injuries as weak hamstrings aggravate knee pain and instability.
Seated Leg Press
Mimicking squats, the seated leg press works the muscles around the hips and the knee. The exercise involves pushing your legs forward against resistance from a seated position. The seated position gives support to the back and core, so the quadriceps are worked to the maximum.
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