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I am getting back into weight lifting after the covid pause. During covid I ended up losing a lot of muscle through a combination of not eating enough and not going to the gym. So I am trying to get back onto the right path.

My challenge in leg training is really weak ankles. I have very weak ankles because of really flat feet. I have done training on my feet in the past, but my feet just never got strong enough to handle the heavy weight. Now I am training ankles/calves once a week on leg day, and hopefully that will help.

But in the mean time, I was trying to think about how to train my leg adductors and abductors. I can manage my ankle issues with things like hip thrusters and cable pullthroughs for glutes and hamstrings. but adductors and abductors are tough. I really can't do the side lunges, reverse lunges, or side step ups because my ankles buckle pretty quickly under reasonable loading and volume.

So I was hoping someone might provide some suggestions as to how to train adductors and abductors given my ankle limitations. Here is what I am currently trying to do.

My current plan is to include the ankle strength and calf work on leg day in a superset. That is pretty good. And then I was thinking of using the leg adductor and abductor machines at the gym for training those muscles--at least until my ankles are strong enough to allow some better exercise selection. In reading blog posts it seems like those leg adductor and abductor machines have fallen out of favor, so I figured I would see if anyone saw any obvious problems with my exercise approach.

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Back squats and sumo deadlifts.

Back squats, especially with a stance a bit outside of shoulder width, is a great abductor exercise. Cuing the abductors for exterior rotation at the hip helps send your hips through when your quads are fatigued and your knees want to cave. Back squats are also great for working the adductors. Greg Nuckols goes into detail in his article Squats Are Secretly An Adductor Exercise.

Sumo deadlifts are also great for both. The abductors work to stabilize your positioning as you lock your knees, and then assist with sending the hips through at lockout. The adductors work similarly to assist the primary movers in the sumo deadlift. This T-Nation article even makes this joke about sumo deadlift:

IT'S NOT A GLUTE EXERCISE; IT'S AN ADDUCTOR MAGNUS EXERCISE.

In addition to being good for training, the abductors and adductors, these exercises have numerous other benefits that you don't get out of machine training.

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