Do the seated outer thigh machines actually work?

Yes, the seated outer thigh machines do work; however, not for the muscles or the reasons that most people are trying to target. Most individuals use the outer thigh machines to try and target the outer hip muscles in an attempt to burn fat on the outer hip region. This thought process plays into a myth known as “spot-reduction” which is centered around the idea that performing exercises for specific muscles will burn body fat in the same area. While exercises for the outer hip muscles may help make them stronger they will not help make you leaner in the hips. To get rid of the fat around the hips, focus on proper nutrition and participating in a structured exercise program consisting of resistance and cardiorespiratory training. Doing so will decrease fat stores throughout the entire body, including the problem areas. Also, the seated position in which this exercise is being performed changes what muscles are primarily doing the work, turning what most people think is a glute exercise into one that challenges other muscles called the piriformis and tensor fascia latae (TFL) muscles. The significance of this is that both the piriformis and TFL when overactive/overworked will actually decrease the activity of your glute muscles! Additionally, while the piriformis and TFL perform similar functions to the glutes, they are much smaller and when overworked can contribute to a number of movement problems and injuries. One of many great alternative exercises to the seated outer thigh machine that actually targets the glutes is the side-lying leg raise. Begin performing the side-lying leg raise by lying on one side of the body with your back slightly away from a wall; bend the bottom knee up toward your stomach and keep the top leg straight. Draw-in your belly button to tighten the abs and while pressing the heel of the top foot against the wall, slowly raise top leg up sideways 30-45 degrees, keeping the knee straight and toes pointing slightly upward. Pause at the top for 2 seconds and slowly lower your leg back to the start. Perform 10-15 repetitions for each side.

Are leg exercises part of your fitness routine? According to Princeton-educated personal trainer, Andrea Cespedes, lower-body training is advantageous when you want to stimulate upper-body muscle growth. “Leg workouts stimulate some of the largest muscles in your body, which helps create a metabolic state that is conducive to muscle-building.” Further, leg workouts can strengthen the bones in your legs, and help in reducing the likelihood of leg injuries. When choosing exercise equipment, you need to know which machines are the most effective for isolating the specific leg muscles you’re targeting.

Here are five of the best machines for leg workouts, along with a few tips from former Ms. International, Cathy LeFrançois.

Leg Press / Hack Squat

Main Muscles Worked: Quadriceps, Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings

One of the most popular lower body workout machines is the leg press. Research shows the leg press is one of the absolute best exercises to zero-in on the vastus medialis (inner quad) of the lower quadriceps. Whereas, the hack squat is great at targeting the outer sweep (vastus lateralis) which is important for total leg development. TuffStuff’s Proformance Plus commercial strength line includes a plate-loaded leg press that was recently added to the Denver Broncos Stadium Room Gym. And TuffStuff also offers a leg press / hack squat machine, combining the best of both worlds in a single machine.

Advice from Cathy LeFrançois:

“Before performing any leg exercises, it’s important to warm up and see how your body feels. I always start light, working with 25 repetitions, and focus on making slow contractions. I listen to my body as I warm up. And I determine the weight and number of reps for my workout after gauging how I feel. If I’m feeling good, I’ll add weight until I can only perform 8-10 reps, with 3-4 sets. I’ll perform 3-4 sets then cut the weight in half and perform a set with 20 reps. Then I’ll perform a 1 rep max.

If I do not feel great after a warm up, I’ll perform sets with lower weight and higher repetitions. On days when I feel ‘Off’, I focus on body positioning. I’ll push the platform just enough to release the supports, and try to focus on the angles of my hips, knees, and ankles. I keep my knees in line with my toes and press the weight slowly, ensuring I do not lock my knees at full extension. ”

Leg Extension Machines

Main Muscles Worked: Quadriceps

A leg extension is a lever machine for targeting the quadriceps muscles in the legs. The exercise involves bending the leg at the knee and extending the legs (raising a padded bar), then lowering them back to the original position. Leg extension workouts are great for isolating the front and side of the thighs.

When using a leg extension it’s important you adjust the seat so that your knees are directly in line with the axis of the machine. Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your quads to add intensity.

When selecting a leg extension, choose a machine that maintains optimal body position throughout the entire range of motion (ROM). TuffStuff’s CalGym Leg Extension / Curl Machine (CG-9514) is a great light commercial option because it targets both hamstrings and quads. Crafted from quality materials and reasonably priced, CalGym is great option if you are seeking a dual purpose machine.

“Adjusting your toes is an effective way to touch different muscle groups while using a leg extension. Sometimes I point my toes outward — like a ballet dancer — to places more emphasis on the vastus medialis (the teardrop muscle). Then I’ll point my toes inward to focus on the vastus lateralis, which builds more of the outer-quadricep muscle.”

Inner / Outer Thigh Machines

Main Muscles Worked: Hip & Thigh Muscles

Inner / outer thigh machines are used for shaping, toning and strengthening leg and hip muscles. It’s important to strengthen your inner and outer thigh muscles (adductors/abductors), as they help to stabilize your knees, and your pelvis when you walk. TuffStuff specifically designs thigh pads to smoothly rotate in and out with the user’s body. In doing so, pinch points are eliminated. TuffStuff’s Proformance Plus series includes an Inner / Outer Thigh Machine with multiple start and stop positions. For added privacy, the machine faces inward towards the weight stack.

“When using an inner / outer thigh machine, be sure to work slowly with light weight to focus on muscle contractions. Listen to your body, and if you feel hip or knee pain, stop and speak with a physician. To change up your workup, add side lunges or resistance bands to your routine.”

Seated Leg Curl

Main Muscles Worked: Hamstrings

Seated leg curls, are one of the main exercises for strengthening and toning the hamstrings. Besides defining the back and front of the leg, leg curls are used for strengthening the knees, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. Another benefit is that they can help in protecting your joints and knees from becoming stressed and injured.

“Just like the leg extension, when using a seated leg curl, you should focus on your body position and the direction of your toes. Remember that your hamstrings are composed of 3 major muscles; seated leg curls tend to target your inner hamstring muscles. But you can also engage your calf muscles by pointing your toes upward (dorsiflex). To reach more muscles, try alternating sets of leg curls with your ankle dorisflexed (toes pointed toward knees), with sets of leg curls with your ankle plantarflexed (toes pointed outward like a ballet dancer). I’ll frequently change leg and toe positioning so that I can target every angle of my legs.”

Half Rack for Squats

Main Muscles Worked: Full Body including Quadriceps, Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings

A half rack, which is also known by other names — such as a squat cage, power cage or squat rack — is a type of strength training equipment used for free weight barbell workouts. Unlike the Smith machine, it doesn’t have movement restrictions and users must stabilize the bar. The half rack consists of four vertical posts that include parallel bar catches or rails on each side. This offers the greatest exercise flexibility. TuffStuff’s Pro XL half rack is great for leg exercises, empowering users to perform numerous types of squats, lunges, and deadlifts.

“Be sure you use proper squat form, to protect your lower back and knees. Start slow and work with a comfortable weight. Don’t get caught up in the ego trap of adding plates to impress others. Focus on your form! ”

Safety Tips for Leg Workouts

  • Before attempting to use any type of fitness equipment for the first time, have a personal trainer help you design a workout routine. Have an exercise plan, and know the proper body positioning to safely use the machine.
  • Be sure your form is correct. To have the most effective leg workouts, you must have proper form to utilize the entire range of motion, and prevent injuries.
  • Avoid excessive forward movement of the knee during squatting and lunging movements.

When buying fitness equipment, quality matters. At TuffStuff we have a wide range of strength training machines for leg workouts that target a variety of leg muscle groups. Since 1971, we’ve offered the highest quality equipment, including residential, light commercial and full commercial strength equipment. Please contact us to learn more.

5 Day Body Part Split Planet Fitness Workout

Planet Fitness dominates when it comes to gathering new members around the New Year.

Their marketing appeals to new gym goers who want to accomplish their fitness related goals without the fear of being judged by gym vets.

And their price point is so affordable that it almost makes up for their lack of barbells.

The common thought of the past has always been that you can’t get a good workout in at Planet Fitness, and if you want to achieve real results you need to look elsewhere.

In this series, I’ve continued to try to prove that thought process wrong. That sort of thinking helps no one, especially those who are looking for a laid back environment to begin their fitness journey.

Planet Fitness has plenty of equipment to help those either just beginning their workout journeys or seeking an affordable gym location to get a good pump session in at.

You just have to make sure you have a good workout program that utilizes the dumbbells and machines they offer appropriately.

Below is a 5 day body part workout that accomplishes just that.

Editor’s Note: Make sure you’re doing all the right things you need to be doing to build lean muscle mass. For those looking for a more in-depth resource to teach them how to build muscle, we’ve created a FREE 5 day Muscle Building Email Course.

The course will teach you how your body builds muscle, how to utilize workout plans on our website to maximize muscle growth, how to eat to build muscle, how to supplement to build muscle and how to track your progress.

Sign up below today to learn and ensure you get the most out of this workout program.

5 Day Planet Fitness Workout Overview

If you’re new to working out, I recommend performing these Planet Fitness workouts in order and utilizing each one as a form of progression.

Start off with the 3 Day Full Body Planet Fitness Workout.

After you finish that one, move on to the 4 Day Upper/Lower Planet Fitness Workout.

And then move on to the program that is laid out below.

Body part specific splits are often seen as ineffective when compared to full body and upper/lower splits. However, they do have their time and place when it comes to year-long workouts and establishing working out as an every day habit.

Body part specific workouts allow you to hit each individual muscle group with a lot of volume. This is great when it comes to building muscle detail and muscle endurance. It also can allow for better muscle pumps, which for anyone who has ever experienced “the pump” before knows is an addictively amazing feeling.

The body part specific workout below is designed with the equipment available at Planet Fitness in mind. This means it will heavily focus on utilizing dumbbell, machine and bodyweight exercises.

Perform the workout for about 8 weeks. At that point you can begin cycling through the Planet Fitness workouts again (starting with the full body workout) or move on to the 6 Day Push/Pull/Legs Planet Fitness workout (coming soon).

Day 1: Planet Fitness Chest Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 5 8-12
Machine Chest Press 4 8-10
A1. Cable Fly 4 10-15
A2. Chest Dip 4 8-12
B1. Machine Chest Fly 3 12-15
B2. Push Up 3 Failure

Day 2: Planet Fitness Back Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Pull Ups 5 8-12
Dumbbell Row 4 8-12
Smith Machine Row 4 8-12
A1. Seated Cable Row 3 10-15
A2. Close Grip Pull Down 3 10-15
Straight Arm Lat Pull Down 2 20

Day 3: Planet Fitness Leg Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 4 8-12
Goblet Squat 3 8-12
Dumbbell Hip Thrust 4 8-12
A1. Lying Leg Curl 3 10-15
A2. Dumbbell Rear Lunge 3 10-15 Each
Standing Calf Raise 4 20-25
Glute Focused Hyperextension 3 10-15

Day 4: Planet Fitness Shoulder Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Dumbbell Press 4 8-12
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 4 8-12
Cable Face Pull 3 10-15
Machine Lateral Raise 3 10-15
Machine Reverse Fly 3 10-15
Smith Machine Shrug 4 8-12

Day 5: Planet Fitness Arm Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Curl 3 10-12
Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension 3 10-12
Cable Hammer Curl 3 10-12
Tricep Dip 3 10-12
Machine Preacher Curl 3 10-12
Standing Cable Overhead Extension 3 10-12

5 Day Planet Fitness Workout Summary

When it comes to building pure strength and being able to easily achieve progressive overload, barbell training is pretty superior to other methods.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way.

And if you enjoy the convenience or environment and Planet Fitness, you shouldn’t let anyone tell you that you can’t get in a good workout there.

While performing the above workout, limit your rest periods to just 45 seconds in between sets and 60-90 seconds in between exercises. If a piece of equipment you need is taken during your workout, move on to the next exercise and come back. If it’s still unavailable at the end of your workout, simply substitute in a different exercise that targets the same muscle group.

Ab and core workouts can be added to this program either in the morning of your workout days, immediately after your workouts, and/or on your rest days. The same can be said for cardio training.

If you have any questions about the 5 Day Body Part Planet Fitness Workout Split, please feel free to leave us a comment down below.

The Next Workout: 6 Day Push/Pull/Legs Planet Fitness Workout

Upper Body Workout Series – Biceps & Triceps!

Hello, friends and happy Tuesday! So I’m going to do something a little different today. Since the start of HHB, I’ve been sharing my workouts and fitness goals, but over the past year I’ve really gotten serious about building the body I want.

I’m a little embarrassed to share the before picture from above. After seeing my arms in photos from a wedding I attended back in September of 2012 I realized I really needed to make some changes. Everyone has to have a starting point. Over the past year, I’ve really upped my fitness game by cleaning up my diet and consistently pushing myself in the gym and on the pavement. I hope the after photo highlights some of those efforts. And I’m not trying to toot my own horn here. I’m just trying to give you a glimpse into my journey and share where I started out and where I’m at now. I have plenty of room for improvement, but I’m happy with my progress. And the changes I made, well, anyone can make them.

Someone came up to me in the gym the other day and commented on my progress. She then proceeded to ask me what exactly it was that I was doing and asked me what I had changed. When I told her my answer, she seemed kind of disappointed. I think she was looking to hear the “secret” to success. But really it’s pretty simple, just consistently put in time at the gym and support those efforts in the kitchen.

Today, I thought I’d start to share the workouts that have helped me to tone up my arms. It’s a culmination of working my shoulders, chest, biceps and triceps. So today I’m sharing part 1 of a 3 post series on toning and building muscle in your upper body. First up we have biceps and triceps!

I usually do at least 3 sets of every exercise and I like to try and increase my weight with each set. I took some time to take some {awkward} gym photos to try and demonstrate how some of these exercises are done. If you’re unsure of how to do a certain technique, you can usually find some great pictures and tutorials online. But hopefully some of my photos will help too!

If you have a preacher bench, you can do concentrated bicep curls using that. However, I work out at Planet Fitness and we don’t have all that equipment that full lifting gyms have available to them. So I do concentrated bicep curls using a bench raised to an incline.

I realize that dumbbell rows aren’t exactly a biceps and triceps exercise, they’re really more for working your back. But this is an exercise that has made its way into my routine, and since I’m sharing my exact bi/tri workout, I included here as well.

Elevating your legs on top of a weight or another bench is a great way to add a little difficulty to triceps dips. If this is a new exercise for you, you can always start by putting your heels on the ground and working up to adding in more difficulty.

And there you have it folks, that is my usual biceps and triceps routine. I’ll add new exercises into it here and there, but mostly my goal is to keep doing these same exercises, but slowly keep increasing my weights. It works for me 🙂 Stay tuned for the next installment of my Upper Body Workout Series!

Do you do any of these exercises in your biceps and triceps workout?
Do you do cardio on lifting days? I usually try to run a few miles even on lifting days.
Protein shake to recover – yea or nay?

Stretching Machine Reviews for 2020 – Best Leg Stretchers

Last Updated on January 19, 2020


Stretching machines and leg stretchers are welcome tools for those who want to improve flexibility by allowing muscles to stretch and relax more quickly. Everyone knows the feeling of tight muscles. It can range from stiffness to outright pain. And taking the time and, more importantly, knowing how to work on stretching out each muscle group can be challenging.

Stretching equipment such as leg stretchers or full-body stretch

machines are designed to help gently extend muscles into a more useful state of flexibility. It might eve feel like an unfair advantage if you’re looking at these devices for sports use, but those who have made the leap never look back. People who do any kind of physical exercise, including running, lifting weights, ballet, dancing, martial arts, golf, tennis, baseball, basketball, and more, all can often use a helping hand, or in this case piece of stretching equipment.

Keep in mind, not all stretch machines are built the same, nor are they built to stretch all the same muscle groups. So we will break down the two main types (whole body stretch machines and leg stretching equipment) to help you decide which might work best for you.

1. Stretch Machines for the Whole Body

Stretching machines such as the Precor 240i StretchTrainers represent a type of machine that targets broader areas of the body including the hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, arms, upper and lower back, plus much more. Ideally it hits every major muscle group with a gentle but effective stretch. Among its many benefits, this kind of stretching machine can effectively help reduce back pain, improve posture, reduce joint and muscle tightness, and supercharge overall flexibility.

What to Look For in a Full Body Stretch Machine:

  • Targets all core muscle groups
  • Sturdy construction
  • Comfortable padding where you need it (seat and knee pads)
  • Wrist straps
  • Great warranty
  • Well designed ergonomics
  • Ability to accommodate all sizes of user
  • Small footprint and easy transport

Best by Price:

Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer – $695 – 104 Amazon Reviews

Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretch Machine with Calf Stretching Station and Adjustable Seat – $429 – 72 Reviews

2. Leg Stretchers

Valor Fitness CA-27 Leg Stretcher

Leg stretchers, aka splits machines, are the type of stretch equipment that focuses on helping people stretch their legs, especially their hamstrings and groin muscles by incremental increasing degrees. An example of this is the Century Versaflex Stretching Machine. If doing the splits is important to you, as it can be for martial arts practitioners and dancers, this is the type of machine you want. But it’s also a great machine to use if tight hamstrings are a problem for you, or you just want to be able to touch your toes a little easier.

Leg or splits machines often have a control wheel that allows you to slowly increase the amount of your stretch. And comfortable padding comes into play here since your legs will be extended out by the leg supports. So make sure you choose a machine that is adjustable and comfortable.

What to Look For in a Leg Stretcher Machine:

  • Sturdy construction
  • Padded panels
  • Easy assembly

Best Leg Stretcher Machines by Price:

FIGROL Leg Stretcher Leg Split Stretching Machine – $32.99 – 87 Reviews

IdealStretch Hamstring Stretching Device – $57 – 173 Reviews

ProForce Stretchmaster II Leg Stretcher – $234 – 40 Reviews

Valor Fitness CA-27 Leg Stretch Machine – $198 – 127 Reviews

Our Top Picks

We split up our picks for the best stretch machine into the two main categories of stretch equipment: the full body stretch machine, and the leg stretch machine. The desired flexibility results that users may be looking for in a stretching machine occasionally overlap, but these two categories of equipment are separate enough that two top picks will probably be of the most help.

Top Full Body Stretcher Pick:

Precor 240i StretchTrainer

Precor 240i StretchTrainer

The Precor 240i stretch machine is a commercial-grade, multi-functional tool that is durable, comfortable, and designed to stretch every major muscle group. This device comes at a premium price, but it’s worth the “stretch”, as you’re going to experience levels of flexibility you didn’t know were possible through the variable stretch exercises you can perform with it. Stretching in yoga class or any other classes is an excellent way to improve your body. However, with a full-body machine at home, even bett er, right near where you spend the most time, you’re going to use it a lot more and thus get a lot more flexible and faster. The Precor 240i StretchTrainer is the cream of the crop in this area. Athletes such as golfers, baseball players, and tennis players used this stretcher to stay highly flexible and improve their game, but it’s truly transformative for anyone of any age or flexibility level. The best part is, having a Precor at home, you’re going to use it every day.

Notable Features:

  • Stretch Exercise Variations
  • The Precor 240i StretchTrainer allows for eight core stretch exercises including lower back, shoulders, upper back, glutes and hips, hips/legs/back, inner thighs/groin, and quadriceps.
  • It has a handy placard attached that explains each stretch.
  • Move and Store – It’s only 60 lbs, with a compact footprint of 52 L x 28 W x 36 H) so it’s fairly easy to move and store within your home.

Read Full Review

Top Leg Stretcher (Splits) Pick:

FIGROL Leg Stretcher Leg Split Stretching Machine

Our pick for the best leg stretcher is the FIGROL Leg Stretcher – Leg Split Stretching Machine. The FIGROL is a simple yet effective splits and flexibility enhancing device that allows you to work on stretching your inner thighs and hamstrings and improve your splits to 180 degrees. It’s constructed with three metal tubes that have 6 hole adjustments so you can slowly increase the tension on your legs and deepen your stretch. The two outer poles extend your legs while you adjust the middle pole with your hands to increase or decrease the tension.

  • Cost-Effective – It must be said that at under $40, the price is right for the FIGROL Leg Stretcher.
  • Leg Stretcher Adjustable Length – Each pole has six holes that you adjust to find the perfect, comfortable stretching length level or increase it to get a deeper stretch.
  • Padded, Non-slip Handles – Non-slip foam handles creates a comfortable grip for manipulating the stretcher and a comfortable resting point on your feet/ankles for increasing your stretch.
  • Durable Construction – This piece of leg stretcher equipment is made stand the test of time.

Overall, most leg stretchers will get results, but if you’re looking for a simple design, effective stretching for dancing, gymnastics, martial arts, or any other sport the FIGROL Leg Stretcher is a strong choice. Even if your only goal is to finally achieve the splits you’ve always wanted, you can’t go wrong with this stretcher.

Read Full Review

Benefits of Using Stretch Machines and How They Work

Getting a deep, satisfying, and beneficial stretch is a never-ending quest for everyone from superstar pro athletes to regular, mortal humans. Dancers and martial arts practitioners can spend years working on the flexibility their hamstrings to improve their splits using traditional methods. Golfers try stretching their back, hips, and arms to get their drive more accurate. But once we stop stretching, your muscles immediately begin to revert to a tighter state. It might protect the body in some ancient way, but for us today, it’s just frustrating.

One advantage that a stretch machine has over stretching in a class, is you really go at your own comfort level without feeling the pressure to overstretch. Any good yoga instructor would never push you too far, but it can be difficult to gauge where your current limits are. In the privacy and comfort of your own home, you can really take the time to slowly, session by session improve and deepen your flexibility.

Martial Arts Leg Stretch Machines

As we have noted above, the FIGROL Leg Stretcher works great as a martial arts leg stretcher. Almost any martial arts enthusiast can benefit from being loose and limber especially when doing the splits. Trying to achieve the splits without a machine can get you there, but enhancing your stretch with a dedicated martial arts stretching machine can get you there faster, more consistently, and with results you can measure. With its center bar and adjustment levels, the FIGROL stretching machine allows you to gradually increase your stretch at your own pace and comfort level.

Martial Arts Full Body Stretching Machines

Martial arts stretch equipment also doesn’t have to only mean something that works your legs or helps you do the splits. Stretch equipment such as the Precor 240i StretchTrainer or Nitrofit Limber Pro Stretch Machine are full body stretching machines that can help someone practicing anything from ballet to karate, jiu jitsu, or Krav Maga gain more flexibility by targeting almost every major muscle group.

Other Considerations

Stretching Machine Exercises and Workouts

Once you purchase a stretch machine, obviously you’re going to want to start using it right away. But it’s important to think about and carefully consider your goals. What areas of your body are experiencing stiffness? What degree do you want to achieve for doing the splits on your split machine? Are you going to commit to a daily regimen of stretching?

Develop a Stretching Habit

At any age, we’re going to feel muscle tightness. It’s just the nature of having muscles, tendons, and joints. But as yoga practitioners, athletes, and martial artists can testify to, learning and getting into the habit of doing a proper stretch routine can work wonders for your body and overall well being. If you already workout, it’s easy to end the workout with stretch exercises. If you don’t workout, what are you waiting for?

Stretching Equipment for Older Adults

Many people who are older might be experiencing stiffness in their muscles and joints. Unfortunately, that’s just a part of aging. Fortunately you don’t have to just accept it! A little discipline and habit-formation can get you incredible results with a stretch machine such as the Precor 240 StretchTrainer. Perhaps you make it a routine to get right on your Precor right after a morning walk (it’s always a good idea to warm up your muscles before stretch exercises). If a walk is part of your routine already, then 10 to 20 minutes on the exercise equipment can flow nicely right after.

A Word of Caution

As with any piece of exercise equipment, you should always check in with your doctor before you embark on a new flexibility program with a stretch machine. It’s smart to know what you’re capable of and understand your limits before starting. A quick appointment with your physician can help you safely start your routine and gaining flexibility quickly while avoiding injury.

Final Word on Stretching Machines

Pieces of exercise equipment such as a rowing machine or elliptical trainer can give you a great workout, help you lose weight, or get your cardio working. But stretch machines are a different breed. You might not ride your spinning bike every single day because you probably want to rest your legs to avoid overuse. However, with a stretch machine, you can absolutely use it every day. Of course, you want to be careful and very methodically and gently increase your flexibility. But if you want relief from tightness or to deepen your stretch, a stretch machine will help you get there. Between leg stretchers/split machines and full body stretching machines the uses will of course overlap. And the kind of device you choose really depends on your needs. But whether you’re doing it for sports or just to limber up after a long day hunched over a computer, the results from using a stretching machine can be incredible.

Check out our video walkthrough of the Precor Stretch Trainer:

Never Have Bad Hip Flexors Again

Video: Improve Your Hip Flexors

Here’s a simple test: Stand and look down at your feet. If your toes point outward rather than straight ahead, your hip muscles are probably overworked and need to be stretched.

If you’re lucky, you won’t notice your hips are tight until you’re trying to do the Half Pigeon pose in your yoga class. But if you’re not so fortunate, your tight hips are making themselves known every time you so much as walk to the bathroom or sit on the couch-expressing themselves in the form of lower back pain and muscle stiffness. Tight hips can even shorten your stride, slowing your 5K goal time!

It’s a common issue, says Prevention advisor Rob Danoff, director of family and emergency medicine residency programs at Aria Health in Philadelphia. “For people who sit a long time at work, the hip flexors and rotators become tight, and the gluteal muscles become weak,” he says. “This combination negatively affects our ability to walk, maintain proper posture, and the stability of our spine.”Hip Flexor Machine Gym Equipment

New York City-based yoga teacher Amanda McDonald agrees that tight hips are a widespread issue: “Hip openers are actually the most-requested moves in my yoga classes.” If you never move in certain directions, she says, you’ll reduce your range of motion over time.

What causes tight hips?

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to tight hip flexors and hip flexor pain. That’s because excessive sitting causes the muscles to relax and deactivate. They become progressively weaker and shorter, sometimes causing a painful condition called adaptive shortening.Hip Flexor Machine Gym Equipment

Tight hips may also be caused by:

  • standing after long periods of sitting
  • A tipped pelvis, which creates a structural imbalance
  • Postural habits like leaning over into one hip or leaning forward into both hips when standing
  • sleeping all night on the same side of the body
  • having one leg longer than the other
  • Tight hips may also flare up when you perform lower body exercises, like squats and deadlifts.

What can you do to help prevent or reduce your risk for tight hips?

It may not be possible to prevent tight hips, but you can reduce your risk for hip pain:

  • Get up and move around every hour or so if you sit at a desk for long periods of time.
  • Warm up properly before any workout.
  • Stretch at the end of every workout.
  • Stretching and massage can also reduce your risk for muscle tightness and pain.

Massage helps relieve tight hips by:

  • stretching tissues that cannot be reached by foam rollers
  • breaking down scar tissue
  • increasing blood flow to tissues
  • releasing endorphins to reduce pain
  • relaxing the muscle through heat generation and circulationHip Flexor Machine Gym Equipment

    Hip Flexor Machine Gym Equipment

Improve your Hamstrings

From desk jockeys to endurance athletes, just about everyone suffers from tight hip flexors at some point. The muscles in and around your hip joint could be responsible for your back pain, the funny twinge in your knee or the tension you feel every time you do crunches. When you understand the underlying cause of the discomfort, you can take action to unlock your hip flexors and regain mobility.

Show me the exercises:

  • Complete hip flexor program
  • Pigeon Pose
  • Butterfly
  • Seated Hip Stretch
  • Bridge
  • Kneeling lunge

Starting a regimen of hip flexor exercises to target stiff hip muscles can bring relief from tightness and improve your performance in sports, workouts and everyday life. This guide is designed to help you understand more about what causes hip flexor pain, how to correct problems and how to minimize the risk of complications in the future.

What Exactly is a Hip Flexor?

Any motion in which muscles bring bones closer together is called “flexion.” When you pull your legs toward your body or lift your abs toward your legs, the hip flexors are the muscles responsible for the movement. This group of several muscles is located deep in the body, so you might not even be aware of them until you begin to experience pain from tightness or overuse.

The major muscles of the hip flexors are collectively called the iliopsoas and consist of the iliacus and the psoas major. The iliacus muscle begins at the top of the pelvis and connects to the femur. The psoas starts in the lumbar region of the spine and stretches down to meet the same bone. Several supporting hip muscles aid in movement, including the sartorius, pectineus and tensor fasciae latae. One quadriceps muscle, called the rectus femoris, crosses the hip joint and is also considered a hip flexor.

This complex group of muscles work together with tendons and ligaments when you run, ride a bike, do a “rock hard abs” workout or participate in sports involving sprinting. Hip flexors need to be strong and flexible to support these movements. Tight muscles increase the risk of injury and can cause pain even when you’re at rest. Learn more about the importance of hip flexors here.

Functions of Healthy Hip Flexors

Even if you’re not an athlete, the state of your hip flexors is important. Any movement involving bending over or pulling your knees toward your chest involves this group of hip muscles. When you hoist a basket of laundry, crouch down to grab something off a low shelf at the grocery store or decide to take the stairs up to your office instead of the elevator, you’re asking your hip flexors to work.

Simply standing up also requires good hip flexor strength. If your hips are weak or tight, your posture suffers and your lower spine is put under more pressure than it’s meant to take. Your knees can also wind up taking too much of a load as your body attempts to compensate for stiffness elsewhere. These types of imbalances may lead to injuries now or increase the risk of joint degeneration if you develop arthritis as you age.

During workouts or sports, hip flexors help activate the hips and glutes, increasing the effectiveness of exercises such as squats and deadlifts. You need mobility in your hips to maintain good form during these movements and to support speed and power in other types of activities. If you want to jump higher, run faster or lift more weight, you can’t neglect the deep muscles in your hips.

Why Your Hip Flexors are Tight

The strong, flexible hip muscles you were born with are meant to power your legs throughout your entire life. When you were a kid, it was easy to run around, ride your bike, jump around, swim and generally be as active as you wanted without waking up in the morning and feeling like someone was taking a flame thrower to your hips. What went wrong?

Modern sedentary lifestyles, especially among commuting office workers, are largely to blame for chronic hip flexor problems. Sitting for hours at a time deactivates the hip flexor muscles and causes “adaptive shortening,” a condition in which the muscles begin to get shorter due to being in the same position for too long. Even active people can suffer from adaptive shortening if their chosen sports involve flexion, such as:

  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Soccer
  • Martial arts
  • High-intensity sprinting

Imbalances between hips and hamstrings can also cause hip flexor problems. Failing to stretch after exercise or focusing too much on the backs of your legs without also performing hip flexor exercises leaves some hip muscles loose while others continue to tighten from lack of movement.

How do you know if you need to strengthen hip flexors? Be on the lookout for one or more of these symptoms:

  • Lower back pain
  • Difficulty standing up straight
  • Tender or stiff muscles in the hip area
  • Pain in the upper groin
  • Dull pain progressing to more severe discomfort
  • Chronic hip tightness
  • Weak abdominal muscles
  • Anterior pelvic tilt
  • Knee pain

Failing to address tight hip flexor muscles could mean you’ll need a hip replacement in the future. This is one of the reasons why hip flexor stretches to maintain a full range of motion in your hips is so important. Less movement can lead to unhealthy joints and premature wear requiring surgical intervention.

In some cases, your symptoms may indicate a more advanced or serious problem. Iliopsoas tendinitis, in which hip flexor tendons become inflamed, is one possibility presenting with tenderness and “snapping” in the hip socket. Strain on the hip flexors can cause the muscles to tear, and this condition can range from minor to severe depending on the extent of the injury.

Unlocking Your Hip Flexors for Pain Relief and Better Performance

If you’ve determined your discomfort is caused by stiffness in your hip flexors, don’t worry. You’re not stuck with shortened or weak hip muscles for the rest of your life. A few simple hip flexor stretches can help loosen up tight hips, increase range of motion and strengthen areas suffering from lack of use.

To get the most out of these hip stretches:

  • Make sure your muscles are warm before getting started
  • Hold each position for eat least 30 seconds
  • Maintain a regular breathing pattern
  • Stay in control of your body
  • Don’t push the stretch to a point where it feels painful

Deep stretching should always be done after a workout or as a separate session. Performing extensive static stretching before exercise can increase your risk of injury. Stretch on a mat or other soft surface to protect your back and knees.
Remember to talk with your doctor before starting any new kind of exercise, including deep stretching, to determine the most appropriate regimen for your condition.

Best Hip Flexor Exercises

Pigeon Pose

Pigeon targets deep hip muscles and provides a secondary stretch for the core.

Begin in a low lunge position with your right foot on the floor and your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Stretch your left leg behind you, balancing on the ball of your left foot. Place your hands on the ground on either side of your right leg. Gently walk your right foot toward your left hand, flex your toes and bring your right knee toward the ground, maintaining the angle as you do so. If this is uncomfortable, pull your right foot closer to your hip. Slide your left leg back until the top of your thigh rests on the ground.

Using your hands, gently press up until your spine is straight. To deepen the pose, place your forearms on the ground and lean forward from your hips. Depending on your flexibility, you may be able to rest your forehead on the ground.

You can deepen this stretch even more by adding a twist. While in the upright position, slowly bend your left knee. Reach back and grab your foot with your left hand. Pull your foot as close as your flexibility will allow. Release carefully, avoiding any snapping or swinging motions with the left leg. Repeat the stretch on the other side.


If you need to stretch out your knees and your groin area as well as your hips, butterfly is a great multi-purpose stretch. You should feel a deep release in several commonly tight areas as you perform this movement.

Start sitting upright with the bottoms of your feet together. Take hold of your feet, guiding them as close as you can toward your body. Concentrate on pulling your legs into your hip sockets as you lengthen your spine. It may help to imagine you’re trying to reach the crown of your head toward the ceiling.

Once you’re sitting as straight as you can, begin to actively push your knees toward the ground. You can pull your toes up at the same time to add another dimension to the stretch. For a deeper release in the hips, place your elbows on your legs as you lean forward. Push down gently, leaning only as far as you can without overextending your hips. If possible, round your spine and bring your forehead to the ground. Roll back up to return to a seated position.

Seated Hip Stretch

Following up your butterfly pose with a seated hip stretch moves the release from the groin to deeper in the hip socket. This is a good stretch to do after a high-intensity cardio workout or if you’ve spent most of the day sitting at your desk.

Sit upright with the soles of your feet together in front of you. Using your hands, pull your feet in until they’re about six inches away from your hips. This alters the butterfly position to target a different part of your hip area.

Straighten out your spine as you did for butterfly, concentrating on sitting as tall as possible. Lean forward slowly, maintaining the length of your spine as you do so. You should feel the stretch inside your hips. If the release is still mostly in your groin, sit back up and move your feet out a couple more inches. Round your hips forward slightly as you lean forward again.

In this stretch, you don’t want to round your back or try to push your head too far toward the floor. Stop at whatever angle feels right for your current level of flexibility.


Bridge pose often appears in yoga routines as part of backbending sequences, and it’s just as good for your hips as it is for your spine.

Lie down on your back. Place your feet flat on the floor about as far apart as your shoulders. Bring your heels in toward your glutes until you can touch your heels with your fingertips. If you’re not used to the bridge position, place your arms and hands flat on the ground for extra support. When you gain more flexibility, it may be possible to lift your hands while your elbows rest on the floor.

Slowly lift your tailbone off the ground to elevate your hips. Regardless of hand position, avoid pushing down on the floor with your arms as you lift. Instead, push evenly into both feet until your hips are as high as possible. Stay in this position, or try interlacing your fingers together behind your back and extending your hands down toward your heels. To come down, unclasp your hands and slowly roll the spine back to the floor from top to bottom.

Pay attention to your knees as you do this stretch. Improper positioning can put strain on the knees or cause them to wobble out of alignment. Keep your knees pointed forward and your legs parallel to each other. Allowing the knees to track outward or bow in minimizes the effectiveness of the pose.

Kneeling Lunge

Performing lunges without weights helps target the hip flexors to improve range of motion during your regular workouts. This stretch also allows you to focus on posture and correct any problems with alignment before returning to weighted exercises.

Place your left knee on the ground and your right foot flat on the floor with the knee bent at a 90-degree angle. If your left knee is uncomfortable in this position, put a folded blanket or small pillow on the ground underneath it for extra support. Place your hands on your hips, and keep your head in alignment with your hip bones while you lengthen your spine.

As you deepen the stretch, you can keep your hands where they are, move them to your knee or reach one hand above your head. Choose your position before gently pushing forward, maintaining a flat back as you move. You should feel the stretch shift into the hip flexor. Push back to the starting position, and switch legs to repeat the movement on the other side.

Other Important Considerations for Addressing Tight Hip Flexors

A stretching regimen can go a long way toward making your hips healthier, but it’s also important to adopt other good habits. Fixing the underlying cause of hip flexor pain makes stretching more effective and helps prevent your hips from locking up again over time.

In addition to stretching, care for your hips by:

  • Developing a balanced exercise regimen
  • Focusing on form during all kinds of exercise
  • Standing up regularly throughout the day if you work at a desk
  • Incorporating more movement into each day
  • Taking breaks from training if you’re fatigued or injured

If it’s been a long time since you last had a consistent exercise routine, consider working with a trainer to put together a regimen designed to minimize hip strain.

Stretching Routines for Looser Hips

Starting a hip stretching regimen is easy with the library of videos available online from yoga teachers, fitness experts and YouTube trainers. Once you’re familiar with basic hip flexor stretches, these videos can help guide you through longer stretching routines to get a deeper release for your hips and lower back:

  • The Best Stretches for Tight Hips and Hamstrings with Sean Vigue
  • Deep Hip Opening Sequence from Yoga Journal
  • Vinyasa Yoga for Lower Back Care: Deep Release with Fiji McAlpine
  • Heavenly Hips with Rachel Scott
  • Hip Stretches and Twists Flexibility Routine from Sean Vigue
  • Lower Back Stretches for Stiff Sore Muscles from Fitness Blender
  • Open Your Hips and Fly with Crista Shillington
  • Sean Vigue’s Best Hip Stretches for Wild Flexibility and Mobility

Make these and similar videos as part of your daily stretching routine to unlock your hip flexors, release tightness and promote mobility. Progress at your own pace, working toward more advanced ways to stretch hip flexors as your flexibility increases.

While you’re working on hip flexor exercises, minimize or avoid movements in which pressure is put on your back. This includes lengthy abdominal workouts and exercises involving leg raises. If your regular exercise routine involves squats and deadlifts, consider modifying the movements or lowering the amount of weight you use until a full range of motion is restored.

When stiff hip flexors are the cause of your pain, you should begin to feel better after you begin a regular stretching routine. However, if you stretch hip flexors when you have a more serious injury, you could make the problem worse. Monitor your level of discomfort, and see your doctor if the condition doesn’t improve. You may need imaging tests to rule out a torn hip muscle or other damage. Your doctor might also recommend physical therapy to better target tight areas and ensure you perform the correct types of stretches to facilitate healing. Whether you work to strengthen hip flexors on your own or with professional guidance, you’ll experience better performance in all areas of life.

Abductor machine

Specifications EU

  • Depth

    1407 mm

  • Weight

    247 kg

  • Width

    1570 mm

  • Max. power consumption

    8 A

  • Height

    1328 mm

  • Power supply

    230V / 50Hz

Specifications US

  • Depth

    4’ 8”

  • Weight

    545 lbs

  • Width

    5’ 2”

  • Max. power consumption

    15 A

  • Height

    4’ 3”

  • Power supply

    115 V / 60 Hz

The high-performance abductor machine for effective training of the hip abductor muscles

Abductor muscles move a body part away from the centerline of the body, e.g. at the shoulder or hip joints. However, ‘abductors’ is also commonly used as a synonym for the gluteal (glutes) or hip muscles responsible for lifting the thigh out to the side. Similarly, in weight training, abductor machines are often simply referred to as abductors.

Machines designed to train the abductors and their opposing muscles, the adductors, often have a reputation in gyms as equipment for women who want to work on their buttocks and thighs, which many consider to be problem areas. Training the abductors by stabilizing the leg axis is important, especially for the prevention of knee problems and recovery from related injuries. eGym’s abductor machine is a professional exercise machine found in the best gyms and designed to give you an effective workout.

Lateral glutes Primary muscles Lateral hip muscles Secondary muscles

Abductor machine: Important muscles for stabilizing the hip joint

The hip abductor machine is used to train your lateral gluteal muscles (glutes), including both the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, as well as the lateral, external hip muscles including the tensor fasciae latae in the thigh. Your lateral buttocks and hip muscles are responsible for lifting the legs out to the side, and, along with the adductors, stabilizing your hip joint. If you train these muscles until your thighs are stretched, you can also improve hip mobility, which will help to prevent back pain.

Healthy muscle balance



Adductor machine



The ratio muscle balance shown – also sometimes referred to as the agonist/antagonist ratio of muscular strength – shows the average maximum strength of agonist and antagonist muscles in a healthy 25-year-old eGym user.

Digital fitness technology for powerful abductor muscles

The digital abductor machine is based on the latest fitness technology, which makes training easier, more effective, and more enjoyable. Scientifically optimized training programs and training methods ensure focused strengthening of your hip abductors.

eGym training is designed for long-term success Our exercise machines include integrated periodization, meaning the training methods and settings change every six training units. This allows you to achieve high muscle utilization for a greater increase in the strength and size of your abductor muscles with less effort.

Possible training goals for the eGym abductor machine

  • Strength and conditioning

  • Muscle building

  • General fitness

  • Figure training

  • Weight loss

  • Health

Our fully automatic abduction machine reliably brings you closer to your fitness goal. You can achieve this by choosing between different training programs, which each include parameterization of your training that varies based on your target. To increase general fitness, for example, you can train with a gentle increase in intensity with a medium workout duration. If you’re looking for firmer hips and outer thighs, switching between long, less intensive and short, intensive training units will be beneficial.

All eGym fitness machines are based on the innovative eGym training system, where your goal and your needs lie at the heart of your successful training.

How effective is training on a hip abduction machine?

There are many reasons why training on an abductor machine is a great idea. Abductors are important muscles that are often neglected. A high-quality hip abduction machine allows you to train this muscle group in greater isolation than when you do free exercises.

Well-trained hip abductors are required by athletes in a multitude of disciplines, as they support lateral changes in direction when playing sports. They stabilize the pelvis when walking and running and help to prevent the pelvis and knees from tilting inwards when your feet hit the group, preventing the feet from bending inwards. Weak abductors can have a significant negative impact on your running style and are a common cause of running injuries. People who play ball sports need stability, mobility, core control, and strong hips so they also benefit from appropriate abductor training.

Many athletes and professional sportspeople, especially footballers, focus primarily on the adductors in their training routines or sports themselves, resulting in muscular imbalances. Footballers who usually pass or shoot the ball using the inside of their foot often undergo excessive strengthening of the adductors, which can lead to a shortening of the inner thighs or even bow legs. It is worth using an abductor machine to counteract this. This compensatory training will build the antagonists and balance your muscle’s relative strength.

Abductor machines are also useful in physical therapy (UK: physiotherapy). Machine-based abductor training promotes mobility in the hip joint and helps to relieve pressure on the spine. Abductor training can be helpful in cases of hip dysplasia or bow-leggedness, or for people with hip or knee replacements.

With a maximum training weight of 150 kg, our fully electronic hip abduction machine is also used in bodybuilding and competitive sports for intense training to increase maximum strength.

Proper exercise technique when using the hip abductor machine

Performing guided exercises on strength training machines is simple and safe, provided you set the machine and weight correctly. eGym abductors automatically take care of this for you.

The abductor muscles are usually not trained enough, so you should definitely start with a low training weight when you first use this machine. This will ensure you are able to perform the exercise properly and do not overload the target muscles. When you train using eGym exercise machines, your optimal training weight is determined for you via regular strength measurements taken directly on the machine, and the training weight is adapted as you progress.

Your posture and initial position on the abductor machine are key to performing the exercise correctly. To do this right, first slide your buttocks back to touch the backrest and lean your upper body against it. Ensure your back is straight and you are looking straight ahead. Your head, neck, and spine should be in alignment. Lean the outside of your thighs or knees against the padding and place your feet on the footrest. This positions both your hip joints perfectly above the machine’s rotation axis.

To do the exercise, push your legs apart in a controlled manner. A common mistake on the abductor machine is to use the force of your entire leg. You should make sure that you consciously draw the needed strength from the target muscles for maximum effectiveness and to avoid injuries. It is also advisable to stabilize the upper body while you do this by holding on to the handles at the side.

If your mobility in the hip is limited and you are unable to perform the full exercise, you can adjust the end position to suit your needs.

eGym abductor muscle training – digital controls for optimal training results

When you use an eGym abductor machine, your entire training is controlled digitally. This results in truly personalized workouts, which leads to faster and better results.

Training efficiency analysis after every workout allow you to analyze whether there’s been the right level of muscle stimulation or if your muscles have been effectively stimulated. No matter whether you’re down the gym or in physical therapy (UK: physiotherapy) – eGym exercise machines provide a more varied and focused workout which is simultaneously healthier and gentler on the joints.

Try out the eGym digital hip abductor machine at a gym near you. Discover just how efficient and motivating modern strength training can be.

Equipment overview

We’ve all used these machines in the back corner of our gym, or at least made awkward eye contact with somebody using them. It’s all too easy to load up the weight on the abductor or adductor machine and think you’re improving your leg strength and stability, but this is far from what is happening. Whether you’re a guy or a gal, these machines are the definition of “workouts that feel effective but don’t help in the slightest”.

What Are The Abductors & Adductors?

To understand why these machines should be avoided and which exercises you should be doing instead, it is important to first understand what these muscles are and what their purpose is. The abductors are a group of small muscles including the gluteus medius, tensor fascia lata (TFL), and sartorius.

They are located primarily around your glutes and on the outside of your thighs, below your hips. These muscles work to spread your legs apart and help you push your hips out and squeeze your glutes, as you would during the lockout of a deadlift, for example. Conversely, your adductor muscles include the brevis, longus, and magnus. These short muscle as you might expect are located around your groin/inner thigh region and their main purpose is to bring your legs together.

Working together though, the abductors and adductors can be used to stabilize you when you are in compromising positions such as being on one leg.

Being such small muscle groups and the lack of knowledge on how to properly work them, the abductors, and more often the adductors can be easily injured. Mostly during sports such as soccer, football or hockey, players who “pull their groin” have actually strained their (most likely underdeveloped) adductor muscles.

The best way to avoid these types of injuries is to know how to properly train both your abductors and adductors. Because like your hamstrings and quads, or your chest and back, or your biceps and triceps, you need to work out these muscles equally to prevent an imbalance which can lead to injury.

Do The Abductor & Adductor Machines Have Any Benefit?

Now to the meat and potatoes of this article, why you should opt out of using the seated abductors and adductors machines for other exercises. The main problem with these machines is their lack of real-world functionality, whether you’re training for a sport, to recover from an injury or just to get stronger and look better.

No other exercise or movement will require you to be seated and spreading your legs apart or squeezing them together under tension. Meaning the only exercise these machines will help you get stronger on are, these machines. There are many sports drills and real-world scenarios that will have you doing this movement standing, and that is an important difference here.

You want to practice how you play, and these muscle groups are no exception. Besides the functionality issue being the most emphasized, many others exist.

Because these muscle groups are so small, they are only accustomed and designed to lift or displace a small amount of weight, usually no more than your bodyweight. Meaning when you load up these machines, a whole heck of weight is shifting to your spine. Any exercise that puts an unnecessary amount of pressure on your spine can do long-term damage and make you more susceptible to injuries.

How To Work These Muscles Properly

Learning how to properly work out your abductors and adductors will be invaluable to preventing injuries and strengthening your legs as a whole. For individuals who want to work these muscles with their other leg exercises or have limited equipment, try doing more single-leg exercises with dumbbells such as pistol squats, single-leg deadlifts, or Bulgarian split squats (which technically aren’t single-leg as your other leg will be behind you on a bench, but it still requires the same stabilizer muscles in your legs).

These exercises require you to recruit both your abductors and adductors to keep you upright and stop you from falling.

Others who want to target their abductors and adductors for a sport specific reason or are recovering from an injury (only exercise these muscles after an injury if you’re fully healed, to prevent any reoccurrences), you might want to try lateral band walks. With a medium strength band, wrap it around your ankles and in a squatted position, move laterally and extend your feet apart as much as you can, feeling the tension in your adductors.

Bring your planted leg in towards the one you extended to the side feeling the inverse tension in your abductors.

Take Home Message

Whether you’re an athlete, a gym rat, or somebody just trying to take care of themselves, strengthening your muscles to prevent injuries is the best thing you can do for yourself. With the good rule of thumb that the smaller the muscle group, the more susceptible it is to injury, taking care of your stabilizing adductor and abductor muscles can do wonders for keeping you flexible, strong and on the field (or ice).

Abductors of the hip

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