There are two pieces of equipment that I absolutely love—the abductor and adductor machines. When I ask Maillard Howell, owner of CrossFit Prospect Heights and founder of the The Beta Way, whether they’re worth a share of the small amount of time most of us have to dedicate to our workouts, he says, in a word, absolutely.
“I own a CrossFit gym, but there are certain machines in a traditional gym that do have amazing benefits,” says Howell. Two such machines? You guessed it: the abductor (outer thigh) and adductor (inner thigh) machines. Since Howell’s normal movement patterns consist of CrossFit’s signature “constantly varied, high-intensity functional movement” (think: sumo deadlifts), he uses the two machines to ensure his inner-thighs, glutes, and hips can support him in those more complex moves. He thinks you should do the same, whether we’re into CrossFit or not.
“If your inner thighs—your abductors—are not strong enough, then you can strain them,” he says. Same goes with your adductors. Even though he’s a fan of the pair of equipment, Howell says it’s best to not use the machine at the highest weight possible. Instead, focus on high reps and low weight. This strategy promotes hypertrophy—or increase and growth of muscle cells—in the body and complements your squats, deadlifts, and other moves that rely on the strength and stability of the hips.
As for where to situate these machines in your workout, Howell says anytime is fine, but you can use them as a burn out at the tail end of a workout to really leave the gym with a bang. Just complete 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps (on a weight level that’s light for you) and leave with stronger inner and outer thighs. Bam.
More moves for leg day:
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