Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Time wasting machine- hip adduction/abduction machine


There are a few machines in the gym that are only there because when people come in to take a tour possibly thinking about joining, they look for specific machines. These machines are there for that gym goer, but if you watch closely, no reputable trainer will work their clients out on them. The hip adduction/abduction machine happens to be one of them.

This machine is a favorite of the women in the gym. The majority of these women share the same goal. Firm legs, smaller hips and shapely rears. Notice that the goal is to be smaller in these areas of focus, not bigger. However, with the techniques typically used, the end result is muscle growth.

Now, this isn't to say that this machine is all bad. It does have it's place in the world of fitness, but it's in rehab. If you've had a major knee, hip or back injury, this machine can be a great tool for regaining strength. Just not changing your body composition.

The biggest reason for not using this machine (other than it generally leads you to a completely different goal) is the biomechanics of the motion. This is why any personal trainer who understands human movement science looks for other methods of training for these muscle groups.

This is a seated machine. If you think about it, what muscles are you utilizing when you're sitting? None! When do you ever use your hip muscles when you're sitting? You don't. And on top of this, most people are sitting for long periods of time during their workdays. If you're stuck in front of a computer all day long, the last thing you want to do in training your muscles is to continue sitting in your workout routine.

To effectively train your legs, hips and glutes, try to incorporate balance and stabilization into your routine. Do standing or walking motions. Lateral resistance band walks are a much more effective and much more intense way of targeting these muscle groups.

9 comments:

For The Love Of Fitness! said...

This statement is extremely incorrect! The muscles used by this machine are directly related to the tracking of the patella (knee cap). There is fine balance between the ability of the hip to abduct and adduct. These muscles can also play an intricate role in the soundness of ones back. Please do your research before posting such a bold statemnet - especially when you claim to be a trainer!!!

Kristin said...

I take it you didn't pay attention when studying biomechanics and human movement science, much like how you didn't pay much attention to the information in the post before commenting.

Likewise, please do your research before critiquing other trainer's education.

This is not incorrect information. If your client has not had an injury that requires them to build muscle-specific strength, then utilizing exercises that incorporate the musculature as a whole will be more effective.

You mention how "these muscles can also play an intricate role in the soundness of one's back". Yes, but not in a seated position. That's human movement science for you again. As suggested, try standing exercises or functional training if the goal is to strengthen the body as a whole.

If you're a trainer, you might find that your clients get much more effective results from other exercises than this machine.

ck said...

I think both have their place in an effecive exercise program. Saying the machine as being "time wasting" and coming off as a miss know it all comes across in a negative way. Functional and core training are excellent and should be highly used, but there are people that need to do machines too for various reasons - rehab, exercise variety, strength training (sports, bodybuilding or figure training). A good trainer would incorporate both types of exercises, not just one.

Kristin said...

I'm sorry that you seem to have missed the important facts of the post here.

You state: "...but there are people that need to do machines too for various reasons - rehab, exercise variety, strength training (sports, bodybuilding or figure training)."

In the third paragraph I mention this: "Now, this isn't to say that this machine is all bad. It does have it's place in the world of fitness, but it's in rehab. If you've had a major knee, hip or back injury, this machine can be a great tool for regaining strength. Just not changing your body composition."

So, there you have it.

As to sounding like a "miss-know-it-all", I guess I am. After years of experience in the gym, changing people lives and having some of the most highly sought after certifications and qualifications, I would hope I have some kind of knowledge in the subject.

My professional opinion about these machines is they are indeed "time wasting machines" for the 90% of people that use them - women looking to reduce body fat and who's daily habits have them sedentary and in a seated position for long periods of time. This is not helping them, but halting progress by exacerbating muscular imbalances (tighter hip flexors, increasing anterior pelvic tilt, etc).

Any trainer worth their salt should know this.

Matt said...

I didn't see a B.S. in kinesiology in your "list of credentials" Sorry but being a chiropractor + some fitness certifications doesn't equate to expert in the field. Your dismissal of hip adduction machines as a waste of time is at best ignorant and at worst moronic. It is an excellent way to isolate the adductors after compound exercises like squats or dead lifts. Your job as a trainer should be to fix peoples misconceptions about exercises and or incorrect usage of machines versus spouting off personal opinion about people using a machine for the wrong purposes. You may want to include specific exercises to be used in place of this, if the machine is so crappy? I didn't see any...

Kristin said...

Matt, I see you have some reading comprehension issues. The last sentence clearly refers to exercises that would be better than these seated motions.

Matt said...

You listed a single compound exercise (resistance band walks) to replace an isolation exercise. Sorry but "Do standing or walking motions" does not equal giving someone an example of an exercise. By your logic I could walk and this would workout my inner thighs effectively. By your same logic then, leg extensions are ineffective also?

Going back to your article you mention that this exercise leads to muscle growth. I believe that to be true and what people looking to loose extra baggage on their legs should be doing. By targeting upper leg muscle groups that are easy to increase quickly you can increase muscle mass and burn more fat/calories in a resting state. Granted the adductors aren't that big comparatively speaking, they help with stabilization with other better workouts e.g. squats and deadlifts.

Kristin said...

And by your logic, you are going to put a sedentary, overweight client with poor core stabilization, and showing lumbo-pelvic complex on this machine, exacerbating those muscular imbalances.

You'd do this rather than using functional training to correct postural problems, fixing those imbalances and utilizing multiple muscle groups and total body exercises, which burn more calories in one session (while also increasing muscle growth).

Understood.

Matt said...

Kristin, I completely agree with you! These machines are completely useless from a functional standpoint, and I would even argue that they should not be in the rehab setting either.

The body knows movements, not muscles. If we train the body by targeting each muscle individually, the client/athlete/patient will develop poor movement patterns and will be more susceptible to future injury. The body should be trained with exercise that span more than one joint and the mimic movements that are actually performed in real life. Squats, lunges, deadlifts, turkish get ups are great examples.

I am a personal trainer, hold a B.S. in Kinesiology and plan on going to PT school next year. I currently work as a Tech at a PT office and I am appalled when I see Physical Therapists (who dont exercise themselves) prescribe our more athletic and able patients muscle isolating machine exercises. Ie: The leg curl for hamstring strains. Any good trainer or strength coach will tell you that the hamstring should be strengthened either eccentrically by controlling leg extension or by assisting hip extension (deadlift)
-sorry had to rant lol

Anyone who disagrees should read something by Gray Cook or Mike Boyle. Just google them
-matt i