Do Hip Abductor Machines Really Work?

hip abductor machine
September 1, 2022 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “do hip abductor machines really work?”. I will be exploring this topic in detail. By the end of this article you will have all the information you need to know about the hip abductor machine. 

Do Hip Abductor Machines Really Work?

Yes, hip abductor machines really do work! This machine is one where you open up your legs against resistance.

Very often people think these machines are girly and should not be used by men. However, the reality is that these machine serve an important purpose.

They can strengthen the hip flexors and the small muscles in the hip. This can improve stability on heavy compound exercises like squats. As a result, the hip abductor machine can prevent injuries in the hips, glutes and lower back. 

The abductor machine can also build great glutes and can also help to relieve knee pain. Therefore, you should definitely consider using the hip abductor machine in your training. 

Builds Stability

Very often when you see people doing heavy squats you see their knees caving in as they come up. This is a sign of weak abductors. By using the hip abductor machine you can strengthen these small muscles and improve your stability on the squat.

This will also serve to reduce your chances of injury on this exercise and just make lots of lower body exercises feel more stable. As a result, you will be less likely to suffer from hip injuries, back injuries and glute injuries.
hip abductor machine

Builds The Glutes

One great benefit of this exercise is that it can build great glutes. This is why you see so many women using this machine. Very often they will position themselves off the edge of the machine and perform this exercise.

By doing this variation you can feel a greater contraction in the glutes and a better overall pump. However you have to experiment for yourself by trying out different positions. The gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and TFL are all worked heavily in this exercise. 

Stronger glutes can help with everyday activities in life and reduce back pain. There is a good article by MedicineNet about whether hip abduction is good for glutes. It mentions various hip abduction exercises – you can read the article here.

There is a good video from Diana Ruiz below showing good execution of hip abduction to build the glutes.

The Case For High Reps

The hip abductor machine is not an exercise where you should go ridiculously heavy with very low reps. The exercise should be used to pump blood into the hip muscles and strengthen them.

It is better to do controlled reps putting the muscles under tension and working them through a full range of motion. You could even use tempo reps on this exercise to put the muscles under even more tension and add more size to your glutes as well. 

Relieving Knee Pain

As well as helping to reduce the risks of hip and lower back injuries, the hip abductor machine can relieve knee pain. 

The hip muscles stabilise the legs during many activities and weak abductors can put more stress on the knees in certain exercises such as squats. Strengthening your abductors can help substantially in reducing knee pain. 

In a study by Ferber in 2010, significant strength improvements of the hip abductors were seen in individuals with IT band pain in a period of five weeks. A 2011 study by Ferber also showed that hip abduction strengthening exercises led to a 32.69% increase in strength among individuals with patellofemoral pain syndrome. 


There was a study done to determine which exercises produce greater gluteus medius activity while minimising the activation of the TFL (tensor fascia latae). The exercises that were examined were the side lying hip abduction (SLHA), clamshell (CLAM) and the hip abductor machine (HAM).

The results showed that glute medius activation was greater than TFL activation in all three exercises. In both concentric and eccentric phases, glute medius: TFL ratio was greater in HAM compared to the other two exercises.

The study showed that the hip abductor machine seems to be the best exercise to activate the glute medius while at the same time minimising TFL activation. 

Final Thoughts

Do hip abductor machines really work? Yes! They are not just for women to build their glutes. Men should be using this machine as well to build up the glutes and strengthen the small muscles in the hip.

The hip abductor machine will help to relieve knee and lower back pain. It will also prevent hip injuries down the line and make you a lot more stable when performing big compound exercises. The research shows that this is one of the best exercises that you can do to activate the glute medius.

If you have any questions about the hip abductor machine, please leave them in the comments.

As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!



Ferber, R., Noehren, B., Hamill, J., Davis, I. Competitive Female Runners with a History of Iliotibial Band Syndrome Demonstrate Atypical Hip and Knee Kinematics. J of Orthopaedic & Sports Phys Ther. 2010; 40(2):52-58.

Ferber, R., Kendall, K.D., Farr, L. Changes in Knee Biomechanics After a Hip-Abductor Strengthening Protocol for Runners With Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. J of Athletic Training. 2011; 46(2):142-149.

Isabel de Almeida Paz, Michele Fernandes Frigotto, Charles Alexandre Cardoso, Rodrigo Rabello, Rodrigo Rodrigues, Hip abduction machine is better than free weights to target the gluteus medius while minimizing tensor fascia latae activation, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Volume 30, 2022, Pages 160-167, ISSN 1360-8592,

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