For this weekend’s challenge, the only equipment you need is a chair. The Hip Bone Abductor And Adductor works the muscles in the leg and hip to stimulate bone growth in these vital areas: the pelvis and the femur.

Of particular interest, especially for those who have taken bisphosphonates, is that this exercise strengthens the femoral neck, the narrow bridge of bone that connects the femoral head to the hip socket. The femoral neck is what breaks in an atypical femur fracture, the risk for which is increased significantly after taking bisphosphonates.

Although you’re seated throughout this exercise, I can tell you it is very challenging!

Why:

Let’s begin by clarifying some of the terminology used in today’s exercise, starting with “abduction” and “adduction.”

I remember till today that when I took the Anatomy and Physiology course in college, the Professor used these two terms often. Because they sound so much alike, he would pronounce them “A-B-duction” and “A-D-duction” to make sure students did not get the terms confused, because they mean very different things.

Abduction refers to motions that bring something away from the center of the body. Any joint can abduct away from the body. For example, you can abduct your wrist outward in a motion called radial deviation. Bringing your arms or legs out to the side is abduction from the shoulder or hip, respectively.

Adduction is the reverse of abduction, although it can be done without abducting first. Adduction brings something toward the middle of the body or limb, such as bringing your fingers toward the center of your hand, moving your knees together, or bringing your legs inward.

Abduction and adduction are distinct from flexion and extension, two other commonly-used anatomical terms of motion. Flexion refers to a movement that decreases an angle, such as bending your elbow or making a fist. Flexion of the spine refers to bending forward, and hip flexion brings the leg forward. In neck flexion, you bring your chin down toward your chest.

Extension increases the angle, as in straightening your knees or bringing your leg backward. Spinal extension is when you lean back, and neck extension involves bending your neck backward as if you’re looking up at the ceiling.

It helps to clarify these terms that are used so often in anatomical discussions of body motion.

It also helps to understand just what muscles you’re working when you perform a particular move. In today’s challenge, the main muscles you’ll be working are in the pelvis and upper leg.

Adductors

The main hip adductors are:

  • Adductor brevis
  • Adductor longus
  • Adductor magnus
  • Pectineus
  • Gracilis

With the exception of the gracilis, all of these are deep muscles that arise from the pubic bone of the pelvis, and insert along the middle and back of the top of the femur bone. The gracilis has the same area of origin, but it inserts at the very top of the tibia, one of the lower leg bones.

Abductors

There are four main abductor muscles – the first three are the “glutes,” which I’m quite sure you’re familiar with.

  • Gluteus maximus

    The gluteus maximus originates at the top of the pelvis, sacrum, and coccyx and inserts at the top of the femur. It is one of the main extensors of the thigh, and it allows you to stand in an upright position.

  • Gluteus medius

    Lying under the maximus and over the minimus, the gluteus medius is a major abductor of the thigh. It is also involved in thigh and hip rotation, and acts as a stabilizer when one foot is off the ground (as in jogging, walking, or standing on one foot).
    The gluteus medius is thick and fan-shaped. It originates under the arch of the iliac crest of the pelvis, and it inserts at the posterior and anterior surfaces of the greater trochanter of the femur, which lies directly above the femoral neck.

  • Gluteus minimus

    The very deepest and smallest of the gluteal muscles, the gluteus minimus also helps stabilize your body when only one foot is on the ground. It originates lower down on the iliac crest, and it inserts into the anterior surface of the greater trochanter.

  • Tensor fascia latae

    This is a thigh muscle, but it is very high up and is usually thought of as a hip muscle. It originates at the front of the iliac crest and inserts at the upper two thirds of the thigh. In extension, it stabilizes your hip and aids the gluteus maximus. You use this muscle a great deal while horseback riding and walking.

Iliopsoas

The iliopsoas consists of two muscles:

  • Iliacus

    This muscle arises from the inside front of the pelvis where it joins the psoas major, described below, and inserts at the lesser trochanter of the femur.

  • Psoas major

    There are two parts to the psoas major. The deep layer begins at the fifth lumbar vertebrae, comes forward in front of the pelvis, and then inserts at the anterior top of the femur. The superficial part follows the same path, but it lies on top of the deeper part with the lumbar plexus between the layers.

    The iliopsoas connects the bones of the lower back, hips, and thigh, so it’s very important to strengthen this muscle to build bone density in these crucial areas.

The Hip Bone Abductor And Adductor works all of these, and it’s very easy on your joints, making it the perfect exercise for those who wish to avoid high impact in the pelvic joints.

How:

  1. Sit down on a wooden chair or stool.
  2. Clasp your hands in front of your chest to get them out of the way.
  3. Lift your right leg straight out in front of you, keeping your foot flat.
  4. Slowly swing your right leg out to the right to approximately a 45-degree angle, keeping your leg level and your foot flat.
  5. Bring your leg back in to the starting position, straight out in front of you.
  6. Repeat this move eight to ten times, or as many as you comfortably can.
  7. Switch legs for another set of eight to ten.

You can really feel the muscles working deep in your hips, buttocks, and thighs! These are very important areas to strengthen, particularly the femoral neck, and here’s why.

Strengthening The Femoral Neck Is Crucial

It makes a whole lot of sense to strengthen the femoral neck, but more so, if you’ve taken bisphosphonates in the past. Ironically, bisphosphonates weaken bone, and this is particularly problematic in the femoral neck. You see, bisphosphonates cause microdamage that weakens bone, and the longer the drugs are taken, the greater the damage. That’s because bisphosphonates stop normal bone turnover, so the remodeling mechanisms cannot renew and rebuild bone.

These drugs are not only harmful; they are simply not necessary. Regular, targeted exercise builds bone without the risks associated with osteoporosis drugs. In fact, aside from stronger bones, exercise has many healthful “side effects” including improved balance, more energy, a healthier heart.

If you already got it, then you know that the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System includes exercises similar to this one, providing targeted training that hones in on fracture-prone areas. Combined with the Program’s clinical nutrition plan specifically designed for building bone, Densercise™ gives you the tools you need to rejuvenate your bones and decrease your risk of fractures…all without ever taking bone-destroying drugs!

Enjoy the weekend,

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19 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. Florence August 12, 2017, 6:40 am

    I did this exercise with my right leg and it was fine. I am hesitant to try it with my left leg though because that is the side my hip was broken on. Should I wait until I can ask a Physical Therapist about the safety of it. I really don’t even want to ask the surgeon who did the operation on the broken hip (from a fall) as he has said I am going to have to have a second surgery. Not sure who that is going to benefit, him or me!?

  2. Darlene November 13, 2016, 10:04 pm

    Thank u again for this exercise. Your info is so valuable & I share all with my friends. Keep up the good work

  3. shulamit sendowski October 27, 2016, 8:04 pm

    Thanks, this exercise looks good!

  4. Sharon October 27, 2016, 12:04 pm

    Doctor said that my left hip is really bad. That I need to go to the hospital and have injections done. I have followed you for several years and I really can’t see how this is possible. I’ve always have had trouble with that hip since I was a little girl. Had a lot of problems in gym class when I was in school years ago, I was never able to lay on anything hard flat on my back because of the pain and then not able to get up. I really haven’t had any trouble with that hip since my third child was born 34 years ago. Now he is telling me that I have an -3 T score. Not really sure what to do but trying really hard to follow the suggested diet and exercises. No shoots for this girl.

  5. DRINDA-LEE WOOD October 25, 2016, 12:51 pm

    I GOT THE INJECTION FREE AT CANCER CARE IN WINNIPEG MANITOBA CANADA AND I WAS SICK SICK SICK FOR 5 MONTHS. JOINT ACHES, AND THE SAME SIDE EFFECTS AS BONITA, AND ALL THE NAMES FOR THE BISPHOSPHANATES. I HAD A STRONGER VERSION AS I HAVE BREAST CANCER THAT HAS SPREAD TO MY BONES. MY DENTIST TOLD ME ABOUT BISPHOSPHANATES AND CUT ME OFF THEM AS I ALMOST HAD A JAW NECROSIS. I LOVE VIVIAN AS SHE IS VERY VERY RIGHT ABOUT ALL SHE IS TEACHING US. THEY BUILD BONE BUT VERY BRITTLE BONE. I FOLLOW VIVIAN. IT WONT CURE MY STAGE 4 CANCER BUT I AM NOT WILLING TO FRACTURE. VERY BEST TO ALL THAT READ THIS, DRINDA WOOD RETIRED R.N.

  6. ElleJ October 23, 2016, 8:11 pm

    Loved this exercise. I used 5-lb. leg weights to increase the intensity. Keep up the great work!

  7. TGrace Aisuisu October 23, 2016, 7:41 pm

    Hi Vivian nice to see the weekend challenge but if you are in pain sitting standing or even lying down its a great challenge indeed. I think one need to be fit to do that i will try but fear more fractures and damage to bones

  8. Betty Staley October 23, 2016, 5:45 pm

    I was told three months ago after seeing three different doctors and three different x-rays, that I had an old fracture of my L2 and a newer fracture of my L4. After consultation with my doctor and an orthopedic surgeon, no surgery to correct the problem would be done because “Morher Nature” seem to have taken care of the first fracture. However, my doctor spoke to me about bone injection. I got on the Internet and found Vivian’s “Save OurBones”. I ordered it and to this date I have not had the infusion. My doctor wants me to council with him, however I have made up my mind, I am not going to do it. There are more heathy ways of taking care of my problem, namely exercise and good food. I have always been pro-active about my health and I am going to continue to do just that.
    All the articles that are sent on osteoporosis is much appreciated.
    Thank you.
    Betty

  9. jo October 23, 2016, 4:14 pm

    Curious to hear Dr Vivian’s reply to Marie’s strontium treatment! Thanks to your teaching I had wisdom to say no to horrible bone replacement meds. Love the exercises.

  10. marie October 23, 2016, 9:22 am

    Hello,

    I love reading all the comments. They are very helpful to me. Right now my doctor
    wants me to get the shot of Prolia that will stay in your system 6 months. I said no
    because of you. I found another doctor. He is called a functional doctor. He goes
    both ways with drugs and alternative medicine. He has me on “strontium”. Do you
    know anything about this supplement? I’ve been on about 6 months. Will it alter
    the bone forming system like the other drugs. I must say…I stopped taking it for 4-5
    days last month and the hips were very painful. I went back to taking it and the pain
    has gone away. What do you think? My bone density is so bad I felt I had to try something. Please Help…

    • Suzy October 24, 2016, 9:08 am

      For Marie and Jo: Vivian has a great article on strontium. It’s called “Demystifying Strontium,” and you can use her search engine (upper right corner of her webpages) to read it. I entered “strontium” in her search engine and got several articles. Don’t you just love this site! 🙂 Thank you, Vivian!

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 24, 2016, 7:16 pm

        Thank you for pointing that out, Suzy! 🙂

  11. Mollie October 22, 2016, 5:56 pm

    My doctor has recommended Aclasta infusion for low bone density. What is your opinion on the use of this drug?

    • Suzy October 24, 2016, 8:59 am

      Hi, Mollie. If you do a search on Vivian’s page (upper right corner), you’ll find an article about Aclasta (which is called Reclast in USA). VERY informative! It sounds toxic to me!

  12. Helen October 22, 2016, 4:33 pm

    Truly appreciate all your emails – info, exercise challenges and all… Thank you so much!

  13. Stella Louise Perry October 22, 2016, 9:02 am

    This looks like a great exercise I’m going to start this 2day. I haven’t taken Boniva since Jan. I fell March had a compression fracture on my L1 spine, I quit Boniva I took for 7yrs. Went to Dr on 10-17 16 told Dr last X I had shot was Jan. He said that is why I lost 5% bone den. I must take it. I’m not going 2. I quit Dr. He said Boniva will sta in my bone forever is that true ? I’m afraid 2 pull a tooth 2 have a implant. That’s dangerous isn’t it?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 22, 2016, 10:26 am

      Hi Stella,

      It’s interesting that your doctor blamed your decreased bone density on the fact that you stopped taking Boniva, when it’s far more likely that the seven years you took it are what did the damage! And take heart – bisphosphonates like Boniva do not stay in your system “forever.” Here’s how it works.

      The half-life of bisphosphonates is approximately 10 years, meaning it takes 10 years for the body to get rid of half of the drug that attached itself to bone. As you know, these drugs stop normal bone metabolism and remodeling, which is why seven years of Boniva can damage your bones’ integrity; but as the drug gets released and less is attached to bone, normal bone remodeling resumes at one point. The question is, of course, when this will happen for you. As with everything else in the human body, this varies with each individual. According to a Harvard Medical School study, pre-drug bone metabolism is restored to “normal” levels in an average of five years.

      So stick to your beliefs and keep nourishing your bones as they recover their ability to remodel.

  14. tania hoschel October 22, 2016, 8:24 am

    loved. thankyou

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 22, 2016, 10:19 am

      Good to hear, Tania. 🙂

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