Cutting Edge Fitness - Trainer Tutorial

Abductor Machine (ABD)

Introduction for new clients: The Abductor machine works the muscles that move the thighs outward to the side; primarily the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. These muscles are very important for balance and stabilizing the leg while walking or running.

Targets: Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus


  1. Seat the client (there is no seat adjustment).
  2. Tell the client to sit back and extend their legs forward between the vertical pads. If the vertical pads will make contact with the the leg at the knee or lower, install a second back pad to move the client forward in the seat. The vertical pads should make contact with the thigh just above the knee.
  3. The vertical pads should press the client's legs together, which is where the abduction exercise should begin. But unless the client is very large, when the legs are together out front, the thighs will not make contact with the vertical pads. Use additional pads and optionally 10-LB weight plates to gently squeeze the client's legs together between the vertical pads. When using both pads and plates (most often we use one of each) always use a pad (and not a weight plate) against the client's thigh.
  4. Insert the head cushion behind the client's head to make the head neutral on the spine.
  5. Ken Hutchins says the seat belt is important here - are we missing one?
  6. Install the weight pin. If the client's foot will hit the pin when installed on the font of the weight stack, install the pin on the back side of the stack. The weights are not marked on the back, so kneeling in front of the machine, use your pointer finger to trace to the back of the weight to be pinned, and use the other hand to install the pin behind the stack.

Machine Use and Cues

  1. For newer clients, review the movement pattern: Use your glutes to spread your legs as far apart as possible. Then resist with your glutes while lowering the weights to the starting position. You should be able to open your legs a little wider for each for the first 3 reps. When you reach maximum abduction the third time, squeeze hard for a couple of seconds before beginning to lower the weight.
  2. Count down and begin.
  3. Cues:
  4. When the client can no longer move the weight smoothly, optionally provide resistance:
  5. On the workout log, note the total time, any weight adjustments for the next use of the machine, and any other significant points or observations.

Program Considerations

The Abductor machine can be used almost anywhere in a workout. The targeted muscles provide stability for many other leg movements, but their main function is to abduct the legs, so unless another abduction exercise has been performed, these muscles should be good to go.

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