Hip Abduction Machine: Should You Use It?

Learn how the hip abduction machine works and if you should be using it or not during your lower-body strength training days!

Hip Abduction Machine: Should You Use It?
María Rubio María Rubio
4 min read

When you get to the gym, you usually find yourself surrounded by a bunch of different gym machines and stations. These machines range from the most popular and well-known, such as the cable machine and the lat pulldown machine, to less popular ones, like the hip abduction machine.

If your gym has a hip abduction machine, chances are you won’t usually see many people waiting to use it, as opposed to other gym stations. This is because a lot of people seem to think that it’s not truly necessary to use it, or that it’s completely pointless to include it in your workouts… But is it really? And why do they think that?

In this article, we’ll show you what the hip abduction machine does for your lower-body muscles, why using it is a controversial topic in the fitness world, and the correct way to use it if you want to give it a try for your strength and mobility goals!

What does the hip abduction machine do?

This lower-body machine does exactly what the name suggests: it targets the hip abduction muscles, which are in charge of the lateral movement of the legs away from the midline of the body, strengthening them and improving mobility around your thigh area.

These muscles are the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and tensor fasciae latae, along with the piriformis and sartorius as secondary movers. No matter how small these muscles can be compared to other muscles in your body, they still play an important part in basic tasks such as getting out of bed or out of the car, or even something as simple as walking.

So why is the use of the hip abduction machine so controversial?

Well, it all comes down to the position you’re in when you use the machine and the movement that you perform. During this exercise, you sit with your back flat against a cushioned support and your legs rested against two lateral pads, then you open and close your legs against resistance to perform the movement.

This movement doesn’t really translate to real life, as there’s no common practical use for opening your legs while fighting resistance. Many gym-goers think the hip abduction machine is pointless because of this very reason – but that’s not necessarily the case!

The hip abduction machine helps you target those muscles specifically while giving you enough back support so that your spine doesn’t suffer. Just because you’re not mimicking a real-life movement doesn’t mean that it has no purpose or that it harms your progress – these muscles still need the stimulation! So…

…Should you use the hip abduction machine?

The short answer is: yes, if you want to!

There are many exercises that target your hip abductor muscles, such as lunges and fire hydrants, but the use of the hip abduction machine can be a great addition to your workouts by helping you keep the movement under control and provide you with constant resistance throughout the full range of movement.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using the hip abduction machine:

  • Don’t go crazy with the weight. Any machine that involves moving your legs will make you feel powerful enough to move a lot of weight, but be careful when doing this. Your legs are strong, but you’re still targeting small muscles!
  • Make sure that your workout has a lot of variety. The hip abductor machine shouldn’t be a central part of your workouts. Instead, incorporate compound lifts that target the bigger muscle groups in your legs as well as the rest of the body.
  • Don’t overdo your hip abduction exercises. As we said before, there are other popular movements that also primarily target these muscles, so only use the machine on days where you’re not performing other hip abductor exercises.

The bottom line is that using the hip abduction machine is not strictly necessary to achieve your goals, but it also doesn’t hurt to use it once in a while, so don’t be afraid to add it to your routine!

How to correctly use the hip abduction machine

In order to make the most out of this machine and avoid doing more harm than good to your muscles, you first need to learn the proper form and technique before trying it out with heavier weights. Here’s how to use this machine effectively step by step to maximize results:

Getting in position:

  1. First, load the machine with the appropriate weight for your fitness level. You’ll want to start with a lighter weight so you can get the form and technique down first before moving on to heavier loads.
  2. Sit on the machine with your back completely rested on the cushioned support. Your pelvis should be in line with the rest of your back to avoid curving and straining your spine while you work out.
  3. Place your feet on the platforms, making sure the side of your knees and lower thighs are rested against the pads on either side. These are the pads you’ll be pressing with your legs during the exercise.
  4. Grab the handles with a neutral grip down on each side of the machine to hold your body tight against the seat, so you can stay in place throughout the exercise.

Performing the exercise:

  1. Engage your core and begin the movement by pressing against the pads with your legs, slowly driving them away from each other. This isn’t an explosive exercise, so make sure you’re keeping the movement under control while you exhale.
  2. Drive your legs outward as far as you can, then pause the movement for a second while you squeeze your thigh muscles without taking your back off the cushioned support.
  3. Slowly reverse the movement as you inhale until your legs are back at the center. This will be one repetition.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps and you’ll be done with the exercise!

If you follow these steps carefully and follow the proper technique, you’ll reap all the hip abduction machine benefits that it offers. Just remember to keep in mind our tips and you’ll have no problem growing stronger and more flexible thighs!

Grow stronger glutes with the right exercises

The key to growing bigger and stronger muscles is to do it safely by choosing the right exercises for you, your workout routine, and your goals. The hip abduction machine can be a great addition to your routine as long as you use it correctly and in moderation, just like any other gym machine. So don’t be afraid to try it!

Need some help creating an effective lower-body routine?

Check the Fit With Iulia app!Each week, Iulia creates goal-focused workouts with a variety of different exercises to help you get closer to your fitness goals, including compound, isolated, and unilateral movements. Simply download the Fit With Iulia app and try our 7-day free trial today!