Why You Should Use That Awkward Machine at the Gym

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She put it off until the end of her workout. “There’s nothing left to do.” She glances over at it, hoping there’s no one around. Bingo. The coast is clear. She B-lines towards it. When she takes a seat, she awkwardly gets her legs into position. “Okay… let’s get this over with.” 

It’s arguably the most uncomfortable machine in the gym. My friend June referred to it as the “good girl, bad girl” machine. I think that’s  pretty funny. Chances are, if you’re a female, you already know what I’m talking about. The adductor/abductor machine. It looks like a torture contraption. It fills us with dread, but we know how important it is. My question for you is: Does it really do what you think it does?

There are 2 movements you can perform on this machine.


(How To)

The adduction movement is working your adductor muscles or “inner thighs”. For this exercise, you start with your knees open. Once in position, you bring your legs inward, squeezing your inner thighs. Fight the resistance as you slowly let your knees open back up. An easy way to remember this is to think about ‘ADD’ing your legs back into the mid-line of your body.


I have to ask, because I literally get this question ALL the time. Do you believe using this machine will slim your inner thighs and give you ‘thigh gap’? Because it WON’T. It’s a common misconception. It won’t necessarily “build them” (unless you’re doing heavy weight, low reps, routinely) but it’s not going to “slim them” either.

There are two ways to have thigh gap, ladies. One: a little thing called genetic predisposition, meaning, how wide/rotated are your hips naturally set? Two: extreme malnutrition, which I can’t recommend. Remember, you can’t spot reduce fat!

“Well why even do it then, ERIN?! The purpose of this exercise is actually to strengthen your adductor muscles. Go figure. Why is that important? Strengthening your adductor muscles will improve your athletic abilities in a number of sports and everyday activities. Strong adductors will make side to side movements easier, like Rollerblading or ice skating. If you ride horses they will allow you to get a better, more stable riding grip. It will also help improve simple movements like walking, running, jumping and kicking.


(How To)

The abduction movement (taking your legs away from the mid-line of your body) starts with your knees together. As you squeeze your legs outwards, you’ll feel the muscles in your outer hips and glutes contracting. Again, fight the resistance as you bring your knees back in.


Like the adductor muscles, strengthening your abductors will improve explosive side to side movements, walking, running and jumping. Strong abductors will also stabilize the hip and knee, preventing injury during most movements.


These two exercises are what we call accessory exercises. This means that they’re great additions to your main lifts. Strengthening these muscles will improve your squat, lunge, deadlift, etc. Your form will improve and you’ll be able to increase your load. While this machine may not do what you originally hoped and give you thigh gap, it will definitely pay off if you do it routinely. The better your squats, deadlifts and lunges get, the better your butt and legs will look! It may be awkward, but it’s totally worth it.

Until next time…


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I'm an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. I worked in a gym setting back in Florida for over 2 years, training one-on-one clients and leading group fitness classes. I absolutely loved it, but once we moved across the country to Colorado, I decided to take the opportunity to pursue a slightly different career! My obsession with exercise and love for writing collided, which is how I became a fitness lifestyle writer.

1 Comment

  1. David Pitruzzello

    June 15, 2017 at 6:54 am

    That sounds like it’d be good for guys also since it’ll help strengthen those stabilizing muscles…
    But I definitely think they should change the name to what June calls it 🙂

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