The Standing Hip Abductor Exercise will improve your lateral strength (frontal plane) which will help develop your lateral power and speed.
It is better to do this exercise on your feet since most athletic movements are done on your feet. Besides, the sit-down hip abductor machine doesn't work the hip muscles near enough.
Inadequate training of the gluteus medius (hips) will limit your athletic performance. Weakness in the gluteus medius can result in knee and back injuries.
Weakness in the gluteus medius also contributes to instability when you walk, run and jump. In other words, you will avoid alot of injuries just by training the darn gluteus medius!
Take the necessary steps to improve your lateral strength. Working out on exercise machines will primarily work your muscles in the sagittal plane of motion.
That's okay except that many athletic movements occur in the frontal and transverse planes of motion. So, your program needs to include exercises in all planes of motion.
1) As you perform the movement, keep your leg straight and torso upright. Don't drop your head.
2) Use enough weight so that the hip muscles are adequately trained.
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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Sports Fitness Hut