How To Do The Cable Hip Abduction Properly

The cable hip abduction is a single-joint movement that stabilizes and strengthens your core while primarily targeting your inner hips and legs.

Your hip abductors, the main target of this exercise, are located on your outer hip and are responsible for rotating your legs at your hip joint and moving them away from your body.

It is very important that these muscles remain functional and strong so that you are able to move and perform exercises with ease.

This is where the cable hip abduction exercise comes in.

This exercise works your glutes extensively, making sure to reach even those parts of it that are often ignored in other glute-centric exercises.

Required equipment: Cable pulley machine, ankle strap

How to do it:

  • Attach the ankle strap to the low pulley of the machine.
  • Set your desired weight.
  • Attach the other side of the ankle strap to your ankle then stand up straight. Your feet should be close together and your right foot should be closer to the machine.
  • Use your right arm to hold onto the pulley machine for stability. This is the starting position.
  • Begin by lifting your left leg out to your side. Go as high as possible. With this movement, you will be lifting weight from the stack.
  • Pause at the top for a moment before slowly lowering the leg to the starting position.
  • Repeat as many times as you desire.
  • Attach the strap to your right ankle then repeat the steps with your right leg.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE CABLE HIP ABDUCTION WORK?

The primary muscles the cable hip abduction works are your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and the tensor fasciae latae. These are the main mobilizing muscles in this movement.

The main stabilizers are the erector spinae, quadrutus lumborum and the muscles of your supporting leg.

Your core too gets fired up during this movement as you use it to stabilize your body while you’re moving.

CABLE HIP ABDUCTION BENEFITS

REDUCES RISK OF KNEE VALGUS

Knee valgus is a condition in which the knees cave inward. It is common in older adults, young women and people with muscle imbalances.

Research has revealed that this condition is associated with lacking hip strength and it can be improved by hip abduction exercises.

BETTER MUSCLE PERFORMANCE AND ACTIVATION

Hip abductors work together with the core muscles to help with body balance and general athletic performance.

Since most people spend most of their day sitting, they may end up developing weak glutes.

When your glutes remain inactive for a long time, your body will likely resort to using other muscles for the functions originally meant for the glutes.

This can lead to poor athletic performance, pain and difficulty in performing some movements.

The cable hip abduction can correct this by increasing the activation of your gluteal muscles which in turn improves your overall muscle performance.

DECREASES PAIN

Weak hip abductors can lead to muscle overuse and joint conditions like the iliotibial band syndrome and the patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).

The cable hip abduction helps strengthen your hip abductors to prevent such issues.

ALTERNATIVES TO CABLE HIP ABDUCTION

BANDED CLAMSHELL

The banded clamshell is a perfect alternative to the cable hip abduction.

It also strengthens your thighs and hips while stabilizing your pelvis and toning your glutes.

How to do it:

  • Lie down on your right side on the ground. Make sure your hips are in line with your body and tuck your right arm under your head. Your left arm should be on your hip.
  • Loop a resistance band around your thighs.
  • Bend your knees and put your feet on top of each other.
  • Move your top thigh upward, lifting the knee toward the ceiling.
  • Return the left leg to the starting position and repeat the above steps for a desired number of reps.
  • Switch to the other side and perform the exercise on the right leg.

BANDED CRAB WALK

You can also opt for the banded crab walk if you don’t want to do the cable hip abduction.

This exercise predominantly recruits your gluteus maximus and gluteus medius to give you more lower-body strength.

How to do it:

  • Stand on a flat surface then loop a resistance band around your thighs.
  • Press your hands together in front of your chest with your legs apart.
  • Bend your knees to get into the squat position. While in this position, make sure your toes are in line with your knees.
  • Push your butt back slightly and tuck your hips to protect your back.
  • With your right foot, step out slightly to the right side.
  • Then, step out to the right side with your left foot too. At this point your knees should be under your shoulders.
  • Continue stepping to the right side with both legs for about 30 seconds.
  • Reverse directions, repeating the steps above.

CABLE HIP ABDUCTION COMMON MISTAKES

LEANING FROM SIDE TO SIDE

Avoid leaning from side to side while performing this exercise. These motions can hinder you from fully engaging your core to achieve maximum stability.

Instead, keep your upper body centered from start to finish.

BENDING FORWARD

Most people bend forward at the torso as they perform this movement. This interferes with your alignment and reduces tension in your glutes.

Keeping your chest centered will help you focus on your glutes and core.

USING YOUR BODY FOR MOMENTUM

Avoid using your body for momentum as you perform this exercise.

Instead, work slowly and with control so you create as much tension in your hip abductors as possible.

THE TAKEAWAY

The cable hip abduction exercise offers so many benefits.

It is a fantastic way to work your glutes, thighs and core while improving your overall athletic performance.

By strengthening your glutes, it helps prevent conditions you would otherwise be at risk of developing if you had weak glutes.

If, for one reason or another, you are unable to perform this exercise, you can try the ones suggested and get similar results.