Yesterday I started commenting on some of the Entirely Useless Exercises that too many people are continuing to do. The first exercise tackled was the sit-up.
Today, I’m actually going to tackle to useless machines in most commercial gyms: the hip abductor and hip adductor machines. These two are some of the most used items in our gym and I think they are totally useless. Besides, what can possibly be appealling about spreading your legs wide over and over again in the middle of a huge public gym?
The users believe that pressing their thighs out or in against a weight is a good way to strengthen their inner/outer thighs and firm them up (read: make them smaller). They will spend hours a week working these machines and wondering why they aren’t working.
To me, these machines have problems with their range of motion and their design. While I may wish to concentrate some of weekly exercise time on my hip adductors/abductors, both these machines seem to stop short of getting me a full range of motion. Their design limits that first/last motion where the knees actually touch. They also don’t resemble real life movements.
But what would you do instead? The best ways to strengthen these muscles?
- Lunges. Seriously, you use the abductors/adductors to stabilize yourself when you do a lunge. Why not do 20 of these instead of spreading your legs on some odd machine?
- Step ups to balance. The time in every day when you use these muscles is when you’re stepping up or down. Step up on a bench and find your balance. Trust that to do so, you will use these muscles.
- Ball-wall squats with a medicine ball between your knees. Yep. Squeeze the ball as you do your wall squats. It will bring the adductors into play while the squat itself is using your adductors.
- Bridges. The mere action of hip bridges brings these muscles in as you stabilize your midsection.
Do you use these machines when you’re in the gym? Find them distasteful or useless? Care about your inner or outer thigh?