Inner thighs

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by Randy, Apr 23, 2003.

  1. Randy

    Randy New Member

    Can someone give me some advice on selecting a good exercise for adductors. I didn't get enough results from compound movements in this area previously. I started using an adduction machine and had really good success but I maxed out on the weight some time ago at 215lbs...I've already slowed down the cadence as much as practical.
  2. Blade

    Blade Super Moderator Staff Member

    Why on earth would you want to work your adductors specifically? I think that is the silliest machine ever, and it wastes valuable gym space. Fortunately, I work out in a gym where the owner knows what he's doing...

    Have you tried sumo deadlifts and/or duck squats, where you employ a really wide stance while pointing your toes outwards?
  3. Randy

    Randy New Member

    The search function doesn't work very well here. Prior to posting this topic, I searched for "adductor" (no quotes), selected all forums from the beginning and got only 2 irrelevant hits. As I was reading through the older topics in general training, I came across a topic that had "adductor" in it:;t=520
    There's good info there but I'd still like to hear from anyone kind enough to post.
  4. Kirk Roy

    Kirk Roy New Member

    I'm going to agree on the sumo DLs. They really hit the hams too.

  5. I did Sumo Deadlifts on my last cycle and I have to agree that they are very effective. Watch your balance on these, though. Also wide stance squats with a barbell or on the Hack squat machine.
  6. Randy

    Randy New Member

    Regarding the slanted "why on earth would you..." question, because this is a weak area for me as well as lacking in mass. This "silliest machine ever" was effective in improving both conditions and I'd like to continue this trend, thank you very much. I asked a simple and earnest question and get a ridiculed response from one of the forum leaders???
    I had considered a sumo styled squat but wasn't sure about working it into my routine because it overlaps in some ways with the regular squats I'm doing so didn't want to be redundant. Maybe I'll alternate the two and work in leg extensions on the days I do the technique is lacking in the deadlifts so I'm staying away from them for now.
  7. Randy, in order to help you with your question, I think we need to know more about you. Are you a serious bodybuilder trying to get in contest shape, or are you a "regular" fitness enthusiast just like the majority here in this forum, myself included?
    Concerning the reasons for your involvement with inner thighs, you say that you want more mass in that area. I can imagine that for a competing bodybuilder that might be an important issue. But, just to make absolutely sure, and since you posted your query in the beginner's section, let me ask one question: Could it be that you're rather concerned with spot reduction and you feel that you lack "tone"? If so, you should definitely include dieting in your program. As with ab routines, diet might even prove more important than exercise in order to produce visual results.
    Should I have misconstrued your motivation, and you're really just after mass and power, then all wide-stance lower body compound movements will do the job, just like the others suggested.
  8. Blade

    Blade Super Moderator Staff Member

    Don't misconstrue my outburst as ridicule towards you - it was in now way intended that way. [​IMG]

    I'm simply tired of seeing people (especially women who are so scared of getting "buff" ) in gyms everywhere doing endless sets of situps, tricep kickbacks, and *shiver* the adductor machine as their only exercises. I think they would be amazed at the results if they were to just do a basic routine involving for example squats, dips, and chins. I should carry around with me a portfolio with pics of women who have achieved impressive strength and conditioning while still retaining a very attractive feminine build with similar routines.

    If you want to focus on your adductors, replace your regular squats with wide-stance squats instead of doing both simultaneously which is - as you said - redundant.
  9. Randy

    Randy New Member

    All I want is to continue my progress in the inner thigh area. As lame as some people may believe it is, the adduction machine increased my inner thighs' strength as well as their fullness, esthetically question about it. Now, I have progressed beyond that machine and need something else. I was hoping to find an isolation movement rather than a compound so I could simply tack it on to my routines rather than have to sacrifice (or alter) something as sacred to me as regular squats. Maybe such an exercise doesn't exist.
    Can you tell me what may be compromised by doing wide-stanced instead of shoulder-width squats?

  10. micmic

    micmic New Member

    Well, well... here's an abstract from Myths of the Squat:

    "Myth #5. Squats are for the quads!
    If any of you have squatted in earnest, you know that not only do your quads get sore but also your glutes, adductors and hamstrings. The only way to isolate the quads in the squat would be to do them on your toes and even then the glutes will be involved. The hamstrings play the role of helping to maintain the upright posture as well as keeping the shin from moving forward during the squat. The hams and glutes also play a role in extending the thigh while the quads are extending the knees. In looking specifically at the hamstrings, they tend to be more active in the ascent phase and it has been suggested that the length of the hamstrings during the squat changes minimally (Escamiila, et al, 1997; Wilk, et al, 1996). The often forgotten adductors also play a role in stabilizing the leg and also in the role of thigh extensor.
    This myth can get complicated when individuals discuss the width of stance in the squat, stating that wide (outside of shoulder width) will affect the muscles differently than a narrow stance (inside shoulder width). It has been shown that in narrow stance squats the gastrocnemius, one of the calf muscles, is more active when compared to wide stance squats. However, no other muscle differences have been found (McCaw & Melrose 1999; Tesch, 1993). The width of your stance should be determined by your comfort with the stance and your ability to get to parallel. If you can’t reach parallel with a narrow stance then widen your feet. Another simple rule to follow is if you have long legs and a short torso you will typically need to squat with a wide stance while the opposite of short legs and long torso can use a narrower stance. This will decrease the amount of lean required for the long legged, short torso lifter. The short legged, long torso squatter can be narrower since he needs less lean to keep the bar over his foot."

    Here's the study he mentions:
    Stance width and bar load effects on leg muscle activity during the parallel squat
  11. Blade

    Blade Super Moderator Staff Member

    The reason wide stance works the inner thighs more is because you get more stretch in that area in the bottom position. Anyone familiar with the FAQ section knows what a powerful stimulus for growth stretching under load can be.
  12. Randy

    Randy New Member

    So another conflict of beliefs is brought to light. Robert Wagner says the gastrocs' involvement is basically the only variable in the stance width and the general consensus at this site (et al) is that a wide stance involves more inner thighs.
    Well, I can definitely vouch for the increased stretch in this area with a very wide stance but as my stance gets wider it gets more diffcult to get my thighs parallel to the floor due to increased pressure on my hip joints...that's a little scary.
    Thanks for the input on this. Any other thoughts?
  13. micmic

    micmic New Member

    No doubt adductors get more stretched with wide stance squats (the study found this also). The question is whether the extra stretch is anything more than infinitesimally superior for muscle growth to the stretch they already get from shoulder-width squats. The difference might be the following: This cycle you do normal hammer curls and next cycle you do incline hammer curls. How much more growth will you notice because of the increased stretch ? And in your particular case, is this enough to substitute a dedicated adductor exercise ?

    This sounds troublesome... Perhaps you've been trying too wide a stance ? Will pointing your toes somewhat outwards help ?
  14. Kate

    Kate New Member

    Just what I was thinking, micmic! [​IMG] When I first started working on my squat depth last year, I went much wider than I had been and developed some excruciating hip pain.

    While stretching on a Swiss ball, I figured out that the most painfree foot position was with my toes in the new wider stance, but my heels needed to come closer. I ended up with my feet turned out at about 45 degrees. This is perfect for me and my short legs and wide hips. Each person's biomechanics will require a slightly different placement.

    In general, the knees should track out over the toes. If they are to the inside or the outside, the load won't be distributed evenly through the joints and something will start to complain.
  15. What about lunges to the side?
  16. Randy

    Randy New Member

    For my regular squats, my feet are just a tad wider than shoulder-width and toes pointed outward about 20 degrees. I try to squat in such a manner that my knees move very little but what moving they do is straight towards my toes. No complaints from any joints. I can widen my stance a couple more inches with no noticeable difference but hip pressure increases linearly with each increment beyond that regardless of my toe flexibility is not what it used to be.
    So, I think I'll not mess with my squat technique after all and continue my quest for another means. The side lunges sound interesting but I've never seen these done. Do you think they would be practical using HST methods?
  17. I think the side lunges would work well with HST. Just do them like regular lunges with a barbell on your shoulders. Step forward like a standard lunge and at a 30 to 45 degree angle out to the side. Might want to stay in the squat rack in case you need to drop the barbell on heavier weights.

    Side lunges
  18. Bryan Haycock

    Bryan Haycock Administrator Staff Member

    Nothing builds inner thighs like wide stance squats... Not even adductor machines.

    Just want to add something about studies measuring EMG activity to determine what muscles of the thigh are more involved with different squating stances.

    The reason you will find conflicting reports is due to the fact that, as the voluntary effort increases, all muscle groups involved reach full activation. This however does not tell you where the greatest load is placed structurally on the body. Because of the wide stance, the inner thigh experiences greater stretch under load, and therefore experiences greater mechanical strain.
  19. micmic

    micmic New Member

    If we're talking about adductor brevis, magnus & longus, I have to disagree. During wide stance squats, these muscles actually perform heavy eccentrics. And while all of them act in the hip-leg flexion, their primary role is hip-leg adduction. If they don't adduct the leg, they are not working in their full ROM. In wide stance squats there is only partial contraction of adductors and very limited ROM. The heavy eccentrics and the stretch will be of course beneficial, but you can do heavy eccentrics and better stretch the adductors with a dedicated adductor machine.

    I've been regularly using adductor machines when I was a soccer player and I can still handle much more weight in these machines compared to people who squat considerably more.
  20. Randy

    Randy New Member

    I'm glad there is atleast one other who gives credence to the adductor machine.
    Bryan, you asserted that wide-stance squats are better but in light of the issue with increased pressure on the hip joints (atleast for me) can you recommend an alternative?
    My gym (YMCA, btw) has a Free Motion machine designed for hamstrings which is essentially a low pully setup. Using that with a stirrup to facilitate a lateral movement might be a possibility.

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