And the winner is (air guitar please….) Tie??? What! How can that be! Well, it is easy because it is too close to call – it’s the ABDUCTOR and ADDUCTOR machines. Unless prescribed for a specific reason (therapy or sport specific) these pieces of equipment are futile, overused and not utilized correctly. Think about the average individuals who use these machines? Are they covered in sweat and fatigued? NO. I have seen people using weight that my 10 year old niece could do! What is it that encourages people to text on these machines? I couldn’t tell you have many times I have seen people doing 25+ reps, laughing away at a text, not realizing that they will never, EVER get the legs they desire with these 2 machines.
For starters, the abductor and adductor machines could cost 5 grand and sometimes a lot more. Talk about a bad investment that offers no results! I’m sorry, but my job is to teach individuals how to exercise so positive effects can transpire. So let the learning begin!!!
Spot reduction theory: Sorry folks, not possible. Come back in a few days for the full article in detail, but for now, let’s keep it simple. Females normally are a gynecoid shape (pear) because they store fat around their thighs. On the other hand, males are commonly an android shape (apples) because of the fat stored around their mid-sections. Without proper knowledge, one thinks that if they were to perform as many reps as possible, they could reduce the fat at a certain area, like it will magically disappear. Regretfully, it’s just doesn’t happen that way!
The Science: It takes roughly 3500 calories to burn 1 lb of fat. The larger the muscle that is exercising, the harder the heart has to pump blood, so that oxygen can be utilized to perform work. It takes more energy for larger, more powerful muscles (legs, glutes, chest, back) to be engaged. It takes less energy for smaller ones such as adductors, abductors, arms and abs. To isolate a muscle, one performs single jointed exercises (only one joint working on each side of the body vs multi-jointed where two or more joints are being engaged). Therefore; the intensity is lower and your heart doesn’t have to work as hard i.e. less calories burned. On the other hand, performing exercises that use larger muscles and multi-joints, your heart has to work harder so more calories are burned i.e. squats, leg press, lunges and bench press.
As you can see from the image to the right, the adductor/abductor complex is really quite small. Those long lean legs you are looking for are a far cry from working these muscles.
Try this instead: Don’t use the abductor and abductor machines – that’s just lazy! Instead, you could perform 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps of squats, lunges AND push-ups. Yes, all three. (this is called a tri-set, come back next week for Exercise lingo 101). Not only will you maximize your fat burning capabilities, but you can add in some upper body work that can be profitable. Ladies, don’t be afraid to add some weights. Not only will it strengthen your legs to help prevent osteoporosis, but it will add the muscle tone that you’ve been longing for; think Jessica Biel. Gentlemen, stop trying to show off and please lower the weights so you can actually perform the exercises correctly. No more grunting and yelling – ladies aren’t attracted to all that noise! It annoys them! So STOP it! Not only will you engage MORE muscles, but most importantly, you will prevent future injuries when you do the exercises correctly.