Adduction Vs. Abduction: What’s The Difference?

Adduction Vs. Abduction: What’s The Difference?

Authored by Marshall on November 27, 2023

Familiarizing yourself with gym equipment? You have probably heard of hip abductor and adductor machines—but can you tell them apart? While the two machines are often used together and feature similar movements, they have different purposes. In many ways, they are actually considered to be opposites. 

In this article, we will discuss abduction vs. adduction and offer tips for performing related workouts with efficiency and ease. If you have any more questions, don’t forget to reach out to your friends at Jack City Fitness—we’re experts!

What Is Adduction?

The term “adduction” refers to movements where your limbs or body parts move inward (toward you). You can do this across many forms of movement. This could mean bringing your legs or arms inward toward your core or sides during exercise, but it is not limited to that. Even the act of folding outstretched fingers into your palms is considered an adduction movement. 

Adduction-based exercises can be performed with or without a machine, depending on the routine. Adductor machines are generally focused on the lower body and primarily help athletes with balance, stability, and functional patterns. 

What Is Abduction?

In terms of movement, the term “abduction” refers to motions where your limbs or body parts move away from their origin. If you raise your arms to the side, that’s considered an abduction. On a smaller scale, stretching your fingers out and away from your palm is an abduction, too. 

Physical abduction is a massive part of both everyday movements as well as athletic ones. Bodybuilders train with this technique very frequently—everything from bench presses to push-ups are abduction workouts. Many athletes also choose to abductor workouts to better their functional patterns.

Comparing Abduction and Adduction

Once you know the differences between abduction and adduction, it is easy to tell them apart. However, the names can still make it a bit tricky! To tell them apart, let’s dust off some prefix and suffix knowledge from your school days. 

Adduction begins with “ad,” the Latin prefix meaning “to” or “toward.” As with many other words beginning with “ad” (like addition, adverb, or adhere), adduction refers to something attaching itself to another—in this case, two body parts. You can think of adduction literally in this way; when you press your knees together with an abductor machine, you are “adding” them together. 

Abduction also comes from Latin. The prefix “ab” means “from.” Like words such as absence and abstain, abduction refers to the removal of something (in this case, a limb from the rest of your body). When you use an abductor machine, you move your body parts away from one another.

Adduction vs. Abduction: Which Workout Is Better?

This is not a competition! Both workouts benefit athletes and help with functional patterns. Both will aid your athletic progression and make other workouts easier to perform. And both can be performed practically anywhere: at home, at the gym, or even in a hotel room.

Many athletes choose to incorporate their abduction and adduction exercises into their overall routine. One of the most popular ways to do this is with seated hip abductor and adductor machines. This equipment is performed by either adducting or abducting your legs in order to build lower-body strength.

Tips for Incorporating Adduction and Abduction into Your Fitness Routine

Whether you want to start crushing workouts on adduction and abduction machines or focus more on those movements in your overall training, we are here to support you! It’s exciting to take the first steps into a new fitness routine. 

To help get you started, we’ve listed a few tips.

  • Do Not Forget Your Warm-Up!

It is always important to work out safely, especially when doing exercises associated with abduction and adduction. These extensions can cause injury if not performed correctly, and that includes doing warm-ups. Think of your muscles as an energy bar that you popped into the freezer. If you try to bend it or stretch it, it will snap. If you let it warm up on the counter first, it’s nice and pliable. Your body functions in the same way: if you jump right into push-ups or hip abductors without warming up, your muscles will not function the way they need to. That leads to injury—and nobody wants that. 

  • Consider Your Goals

Goals matter when you design your fitness routine. They give you direction and markers to measure your progress. Having goals also makes it easier to choose the right workouts. After all, there are many forms of abduction and adduction out there. If you begin thinking about your overall fitness goals, you will be able to siphon down which workouts will help you achieve them.

  • Nail Your Form

Form is crucial to many adduction and abduction workouts, especially when it comes to bodybuilding. As with warm-ups, practicing good form is an important part of staying safe and injury-free when working out. The wrong positioning can be uncomfortable and make a workout difficult or even dangerous to perform. Ask for help if you are not sure! 

  • Start Out Slow

Nobody is expecting you to go from 0 to 100 overnight. Fitness is a lifelong journey, and your own progress will reflect that. This is especially important to consider when you start focusing on bodybuilding with abduction-based workouts. Lifting is a progressive experience: start at a reasonable weight and pace and work your way up. When you hit the big numbers, you will be ready—and it’s going to feel amazing.

  • Ask for Help

A fitness coach is the best asset you’ll have as an athlete. Whether you are an Olympian or a first-timer at the gym, a coach will make sure that you’re on the right path to meet all of your goals. They will help you develop a fitness routine that works for your specific needs and background so you can make the most of your gym time. When you have a new goal or workout that you want to try (like hip abductors), your coach will be right by your side, making sure that you are using proper form and moving at the right pace. They will support you, provide accountability, and help you become the athlete you want to be. We could not recommend one enough!

If you are new to the gym or starting an entirely new routine, we also recommend having a chat with your healthcare provider. A doctor who knows your history and body will be a great resource when entering a new fitness regime. 

Let’s Get Moving!

Now that you know the key difference between adduction and abduction workouts, let’s give them a try in a professional setting. If you’re in Boise, the best place to do that is at Jack City Fitness, no question about it. 

At Jack City, we have everything you need to succeed as an athlete: plenty of equipment, heart-pumping classes, and a fleet of expert fitness coaches and nutritional counselors to learn from. Best of all, we are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can crush your adduction and abduction workouts whenever you want. 

Ready to get started? Get in touch with the Jack City team today by calling (208) 999-1111. We’ll invite you to our gym for a FREE InBody fitness consultation and a chance to tour our amenities. Once you sign up to become our Partner, you can start moving right away. We can’t wait to meet you and help you meet your goals! 


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