Can you slim your thighs with the adductor and abductor machines?

Sad news: The adductor and abductor machines will not slim your chubby thighs.

The adductor and abductor machines are popular often with women who have heavy thighs.

And that is no coincidence. They hope to use this equipment to take inches off their legs.

Somewhere along the way a myth was born:

That a woman can shrink the size of her large thighs by doing a lot of repetitions on the abductor and adductor machines.

Shutterstock/Yakov Oskanov

But the bad news is this: It is not going to happen.

If you think your legs are fat, what might be the reason?

What’s under the skin that’s causing the thickness? It’s fat.

So what you need to do are exercises that will get rid of this stored energy — exercises that will burn it.

The muscles that the adductor and abductor machines work are small.

These are the hip muscles. The thighs move in or out on the adductor and abductor equipment, but the muscles doing the moving are actually small  muscles that control hip movement.

Source: Beth ohara/CreativeCommons

A small muscle doesn’t utilize much energy. So if you work these particular hip muscles, the energy used will not be sufficient to shrink your thighs.

Blame the Diagrams on the Equipment

The diagrams on the machines show which muscles the adductor and abductor machines work.

The diagrams show that the “worked” area is the exact location that many women want to trim down.

However, the illustrations create the illusion that working these muscles will shrink this area.

And for some novices or even veteran exercisers who are ill-informed, it’s easy to believe that continuously opening and closing your upper legs against resistance will siphon fat from the thighs. But this just will not happen.

I’ll bet that every large gym or health club on this planet has an adductor and abductor machine. Why?

Because they are hugely popular.

Intense use of this kind of equipment will tone the areas in question, and some people use these devices to supplement their skiing or inline skating.

But this doesn’t mean that the areas “worked” will shrink.

How to Get Rid of the Fat in Your Thighs Plus Firm Them

The key is to work out the large muscle groups in your legs and butt: quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus maximus.

These bigger muscles burn more energy than do the little abductor and adductor muscles.

They also need more energy to recover from a workout.


She’s demonstrating good form and using an appropriate weight for beginners. But in order to reshape and trim down your thighs, you must use increasingly heavy weight.

  • Squats (e.g., the back squat, dumbbell squat, squat-to-overhead dumbbell press)
  • Leg presses
  • Deadlifts
  • Box jumps

Just forget the abductor and adductor machines altogether. You do not need them to slim your thighs.

Another Exercise

Another powerful fat burning tool is high intensity interval training. This can be done on your favorite cardio machine or outdoors.

The adductor and abductor machines will firm and tone your inner thighs and outer buttocks when used intensely, but will not alter their size — that is, slim them down.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/The Vine Studios