Abduction Versus Adduction: What's The Difference?

Exercising can already feel intimidating without the fancy words that sometimes accompany it. Truth be told, there seems to be an overuse of fitness jargon that can complicate even the simplest activities. However, there are some terms that may be worth getting to know and adding to your routine, like adduction and abduction, for instance. These two words indicate the strengthening effect of a certain kind of movement. Abduction indicates a movement away from the body's center, and adduction is a movement toward the center (via Drugs.com).

Performing adduction and abduction exercises incorporate muscles that, when worked out, can provide numerous benefits, including boosting balance, supporting mobility, improving strength and stability, and increasing body awareness, according to Byrdie. However, because the movements sound similar and are related, it can be confusing to know the difference between them. Thankfully, after learning what adduction and abduction movements are, as well as a simple trick to memorize them, you can start incorporating them into your fitness journey and become a stronger, healthier you.

Popular adduction and abduction exercises

Despite the fact that these names sound so similar, there's an easy memory trick to help you keep them straight. Adduction contains the word "add," which is often a term that indicates combining or bringing things together. So when you're bringing your arms and legs together towards your body, you're performing an adduction movement (via Women's Health Magazine). For instance, think of a pushup. As you lower down, your arms are coming towards your body. Popular adductor exercises include box jumps, sled pushes, or the classic adductor machine, according to Healthline.

On the other hand, muscles that complete abduction movements are called abductors and are primarily the muscles in your hip and shoulders, including the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, deltoids, and tensor fasciae latae, according to Healthline. One exercise that works abductor muscles is the classic lateral shoulder raises, which involves laterally raising a pair of weights with your arms, stopping at your shoulder line. 

By switching between both kinds of movements, you can feel confident you're effectively targeting different parts of your body and getting an excellent workout.