The Best Exercises for Adductors and Abductors
Tom McCullough MEd.

This study investigated which exercise caused the most activation of the adductors and abductors. As seen in Figure 7, the adductor and abductor machines won. Cable adduction and abduction was a close 2nd.


Figure 7: Relative EMG activity of the adductors and abductors during selected exercises in comparison to the respective machines (since the exact value for the abductor machine was not given by the authors, the latter is an estimation based on the rank of the exercise) data adapted from Boeckh-Behrens & Buskies. 2000

What this study didn’t look at was the stabilizer action of the abductors and adductors used in the squat. Researchers did however, recognize that when you are squatting, only the adductors are significantly involved in stabilizing the movement. To further increase their activity, you can do your hack squats with a wider stance and your toes facing slightly outward (30°), which will increase the load on your adductors and intensify the exercise by +3%.