Machine Hip Abductions Hack For Upper Glutes

Machine Hip Abductions Hack For Upper Glutes The Fitness Maverick

There are plenty of ways you can perform hip abductions: Seated with a band or machine, standing with a cable, side-lying, and band walk variations. From a physique-building standpoint these form part of a well-rounded plan to build your glutes as they emphasize more the “upper” glutes by targeting the gluteus medius. Hip abductions performed on a machine are one of my favorite exercises to train this often neglected area. This is because unlike many other hip abduction exercises they’re far easier to progress each week and see improvements from using. These improvements not only help you build that booty shelf, but seem to also improve squatting strength and mechanics in those who struggle with their knees caving in (knee valgus).

There are a number of ways you can perform hip abductions: Seated with a band or machine, standing with a cable, side-lying, and walking variations with bands. From a physique-building standpoint these form part of a well-rounded plan to build your glutes, and emphasize more the “upper” glutes by targeting the gluteus medius. Hip abductions performed on a machine are one of my favorite exercises to train this often neglected movement pattern. This is because unlike many other hip abduction exercises they are far easier to load and see weekly improvements. These improvements not only help you build that booty “shelf”, but seem to also improve squatting strength and mechanics in those who struggle with their knees caving in (knee valgus).

Machine hip abductions

Besides really nailing perfect technique and execution (watch the video below for more) there’s one simple upgrade you can make to your machine hip abductions that really take them up a level. This is a tip originally from Coach Bret Contreras that I’ve found to make a big difference. All you need to do is place a couple foam pads between your knees and the pads on the machine that you’ll press your knees agains. Airex pads, foam pads or even yoga blocks can work equally as well. Because of the manufacturers design of most hip abduction machines then the cables that load them are too slack. This results in very little loading at the middle point (when hips are fully adducted). This is even worse if you don’t have chunky thighs that accommodate for manufacturer error! The pads work to increase loading in more the stretched position of the exercise, which research is suggesting more and more to be an important part of any exercise to load for hypertrophy.

You can change your body angle (angle at the hips) by leaning more forward, staying upright or even slightly back. All this does is work to stimulate different muscle fibers and regions of your glutes. Watch this video for more:

Bodyweight alternative to machine hip abductions

If you don’t have access to a machine then don’t worry. Clam raises are a good bodyweight alternative. I like programming then from a deficit as shown in the video below, and after a period of progressing from the standard version.

Programming

Machine hip abductions are an isolation exercise and therefore many prefer to program and perform them near the ends of their workouts. Although it’s not clear from a research standpoint how much metabolic stress influences hypertrophy, I personally don’t see how encouraging a lot of cell swelling and a localized glutes pump towards the end of your workouts can’t help build your glutes. Sets of 12-20 reps using relatively short rest periods of 30-60 seconds can work well for this. Another way to use them is towards the very start of your workouts, where I’ve seen positive benefits in those who’ve had knee or back issues during squats or deadlifts. Performing machine hip abductions first thing prior to your compound lifts is therefore a programming switch worth experimenting with if you’ve had pain in these areas before.

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