Adduction Vs. Abduction Exercises: Which Is Better For Your Butt?

How many people really know what those "thigh machines" in the gym actually do? Yes, we do know that they work the thighs as you push in, push out, squeeze, and release. The machines are relatable to the "Thighmaster," but much bigger, right? Wrong! You might be surprised to learn how beneficial the "thigh machines" and other related exercises actually are.

On these machines, you will notice the words "abduction" or "adduction," and while they may not mean much to you, they mean everything to your thighs and your derrière. Abduction is when you forcefully move your legs or arms away from your body, and adduction is bringing them back toward your body (via The Healthy).

The adductor muscles, commonly called the groin, attach the thigh bone (femur) to the pelvis, and keeping them strong supports healthy hips (per VeryWell Fit). You don't have to use the big thigh machine in the gym to work the inner thigh muscles, although they do a great job of it. According to Shape, you can utilize a variety of movements that target and strengthen the adductors, including barbell squats, reverse clamshells, and various lunges.

Abduction exercises target the glutes

According to The Healthy, abductor exercises — pushing the legs away from the body — also offer a great workout for the butt. Alicia Jamison, C.P.T. coach at Body Space Fitness in New York City, tells SELF that there are three muscles in the butt, and most people typically focus on the biggest one, gluteus maximus, with squatting exercises, while the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus might get ignored. Abductor exercises are the best way to work these glute muscles, and Jamison says you just need a mat and resistance band to get a killer burn. Some exercises that target these muscles include side lying leg lifts, glute bridges, jumping jacks, and clam shells.

Don't walk past the abductor machine in the gym, either, as this is another way to activate the glute muscles. You may notice some gym-goers using the abductor machines in an unconventional way — maybe standing while pressing out — or perhaps your gym has the newer standing abductor machine available. While standing and pushing out, the resistance increases and decreases, offering a fuller range of motion and better targets the glute muscles (via Panatta Sport).