These are 8 gym machines you should stop using. Some common machines at the gym can be really bad for your joints and lower back. Avoid these common gym mistakes so that you don’t get an injury while exercising.
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Certain gym machines can put you in position that can do more harm than good especially if they’re done incorrectly and unfortunately many of these exercises are very common. Most people assume that any machine that’s put into a gym is safe and effective to use. But that’s not the case. Having many different machines in a gym may be helpful for selling gym memberships, but basic dumbbells and barbells are typically more effective than the majority of the complex machines that you see at the gym. so today I WANT zoom in and focus on 8 machines that you’re better off replacing or at least changing how you use them.
Starting first with the very popular smith machine. Now the smith machine can actually be effective if you perform certain exercises that can only be done on the smith machine. However most people use the smith machine as an alternative to exercises like squats , deadlifts, and bench press which were all intended to be done with a regular barbell. Many people performing these exercises on the smith machine are under the impression that it’ll decrease their risk of injury, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The issue is that the smith machine is locked into a set range of motion and has a set barbell path. This means that when you’re bench pressing for example, the barbell is forced to go up and down in a fixed straight line. This is bad for your shoulders and it increase the chances that you flare your elbows as you lower the bar down.
In a regular bench press your path would almost be an arch like motion from lock out down to the chest. Looking at squats we see a similar issue. Since the bar is locked into a set range of motion squatting on a smith machine isn’t biomechanically natural. This is why most people end up squating, by leaning back against the bar. Not only does this take away huge benefits for your core, glutes, and hamstrings, but if you were to lean back like that using a regular barbell you would fall straight back. On top of the bad positions that your joints are going to be in, you’re not going to be working your stabilizor muscles since the bar is locked and already stabilized for you. In fact stabilizor muscle activation is about 43 percent lower on a Smith machine compared to regular barbell squats. This can create lazy lifting technique and will only provide a small fraction of the results that you can get from doing these exercises with barbells and dumbbells especially in regard to functional strength.
Another machine that you want to stay away from is the hip abduction and the adduction machine. These machines are typically used to train the glutes and inner thighs, but there are far better alternatives that are far more effective like squats and lunges. Both of these machines require heavy loads to be challenging. One immediate issue is that naturally your body would never lift heavy loads this way in real life. The only time these muscles would be engaged at a higher level would be when you’re doing single leg activities like walking lunges, and they would mostly just be used for stabilization.
Instead as you get stronger at the hip abduction machine you’re going to target a muscle know as the tfl or the tensor fasciae latae. This muscle can easily get over worked and tight which will pull on another muscle known as the it band and that quite often leads to knee pain. The heavy weight loads used on both the adductor and the abductor machines can also easily lead to a lower back injury. I’ve personally seen this time and time again and advising clients to stop using these machines, usually helped improve their lower back pain.
The last thing that I’ll say is that these machines do not and will not help you reduce fat from your inner and outer thighs. For most of you this may be common sense, but many people using these machines are under the impression that they will slim their thighs by simply opening and closing their legs with resistance.
Next is one that many of you won’t like t leg press machine. Keep in mind if it works for you, you can continue using it, but this machine, as popular as it is, is responsible for a good amount of lower back injuries. And sure it’s easy to blame the person doing the exercise, but there are certain components of this exercise that make a back injury more likely, which is why I suggest you replace the leg press with something like squats, lunges, bulgarians, step ups, and the list can go on and on. When doing leg presses your back is pinned against a pad in a way where it becomes very difficult to maintain the natural lumbar curve as your knees bend and the weight comes down. As you go further..