Major Muscles and Actions Involved

The major muscle involved in hip (thigh) abduction is the gluteus medius. Some anatomists believe that the gluteus minimus is also a prime mover. In this exercise the leg is pulled out to the side of the body away from the midline.

Muscles in Action

Hip Joint Abduction

Sports Uses

Leg (hip) abduction is used in all sports requiring side stepping or movement to the side (lateral movement). This includes soccer, baseball, football, lacrosse, field and ice hockey, handball, basketball, volleyball, and racquet sports such as tennis and racquetball. Leg abduction is also the key action in shifting your body weight in the hitting and throwing sports. This occurs when you push off your rear leg to get your body weight onto your forward leg.

Important Facts to Know

  1. It is very important that your body remain in a straight line during execution of this exercise. When you are in a seated position, the gluteus medius ends up in a curved position from origin to insertion. Thus, when you do multiple repetitions you can irritate the joint, which in time can cause injury.
  2. It should also be noted that when your body is in a straight position, it duplicates more closely the actions used in everyday and sports activities like running, jumping, cutting and walking. The effects from doing the exercise with a straight body position are much stronger than if you had flexion in the hip joint during execution.