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!
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.
The main hip adductors are:
- Adductor brevis
- Adductor longus
- Adductor magnus
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.
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.
The iliopsoas consists of two muscles:
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.
- Sit down on a wooden chair or stool.
- Clasp your hands in front of your chest to get them out of the way.
- Lift your right leg straight out in front of you, keeping your foot flat.
- Slowly swing your right leg out to the right to approximately a 45-degree angle, keeping your leg level and your foot flat.
- Bring your leg back in to the starting position, straight out in front of you.
- Repeat this move eight to ten times, or as many as you comfortably can.
- 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,