Tip: The Truth About the Bad Girl Machine

Can strength athletes actually benefit from the adductor and abductor machine? Here's what you need to know.

The Good Girl/Bad Girl Machine

These two machines get a bad rap because for a long time women were told to get on them to "shape and tone" their thighs via the bullshit known as spot reduction. In fact, I often have to wait for some little old lady to be done with these before I can hop on. And yeah, I got a few stares along the way. Even from granny.

It's crazy how many people hate these machines because they're not regarded as "hardcore." They saved me from a recurring injury when I was competing in powerlifting. I suffered from a bout of adductor strains during those years that drove me nuts, but once I got really freaking strong on the adductor machine my squat climbed from 635 to 660 pounds.

I'm not saying there was "carryover" to my squat from doing the good-girl machine. But once I stopped having adductor strains, I was able to smash out some very productive squat cycles that allowed those gains to happen. I credit the adductor machine for that.

But I didn't approach it like Suzanne Summers ThighMaster time. I really pushed the progressive overload and worked to get brutally strong on them, eventually working up to using the whole stack for lengthy sets.

With the bad-girl machine, aka the abductor machine, I used it prior to squatting as a way to get my hips and glutes warmed up. I stayed lighter for this movement and worked in the 15-20 rep range. When I initiated a squat workout this way, my squats felt way better and were more "in the groove" right out of the gate.

If you find yourself struggling to hit depth early in your squat session because the loading isn't heavy enough to force you down into position, or that your hips and knees are ornery in the warm-up process, throw these in before squats to potentially alleviate that problem.

Three to four sets of 15-20 reps will do the job.