Exercise Machines that are just BAD for you
7 Enemy Machines
1. Abs Machine
Crunches and sit-ups can cause excessive flexing of the lower back and spine which can result in neck fatigue and back pain. But even worse, is doing this movement on a machine that holds you in an unnatural pose AND in a seated position!
Of course you can feel your ab muscles being worked, but it’s not a functional exercise. Remember, your abs are a part of your core which is intended to stabilize your body for movement. If you train in an unnatural position, when you step outside to do a daily task There are other options which eliminate the insane risk of injury.
For strong abs stick to plank exercises like front, side, and back plank. Exercises to work your obliques require a twisting motion, so the seated twist or wood chops are great.
2. Back Machine
This has to be one of my all-time least favorite pieces of gym equipment. People already recruit their back on most exercises when they shouldn’t because the other stabilizing muscles are weak. Not to mention, just like the abs machine above, the back machine is training you in a fixed pose that does not work your core. And on top of all that – most people get on this machine and off they go! The move way too fast and cannot control the movement – increasing the likelihood of injury.
For a functional back focus on deadlifts and variations on hip extensions. Superman (or sometimes called cobra or airplane) is a great exercise to strengthen the erectors – muscles that run down your back.
3. Leg Extension Machine
This guy may pose happy, but deep down he’s hurtin’ in the knees! This exercise machine demands a lot of work from your knees. Again, you’re placed in an unnatural state and then asked to swing excessive weight, causing major compression in the knee cap.
For legs of steel, try any variation of squats – double leg, single leg, lunges, etc. Remember to keep your weight behind your feet and do NOT let your knees come in front of your toes. The best way to describe proper form on a squat (for women), is to imagine you’re going to the bathroom on a dirty, nasty port-o-potty. This will keep your weight back, heads and chests up and properly squatting in no time!
4. Fly Machine
This machine can cause major damage to your rotator cuff and pectoral muscles. You also maintain a fixed position, which inhibits other key muscles from engaging to support the movement.
You want to include pushing and pulling exercises to create a strong chest. If you find that you are a bit hunchbacked or lean forward in a daily position, then it would be better for you to do more pulling exercises. A great pulling exercises is the pull-up or row. Better than a bench press is any push-up variation. These will safely train your chest, abs and upper back.
5. Elliptical Machine
It’s true – this is a low-impact machine that may be suitable for someone who is overweight and completely out of shape – but it you are working out to burn fat, lose weight, gain muscle and get toned – then this is NOT the machine for you!
When asked what is the best cardio that I can do outside of boot camp, I always say exercise in intervals: short bursts of high-intensity, coupled with active recovery periods. The elliptical machine can cause hyper-extension of the knee, so this is not a good machine to jam it out with intensity.
Like I always say, train in intervals to maximize results when doing cardio. This style of training can burn 9 times more body fat than traditional training. Start on a spin bike if you are overweight or completely out of shape. .
6. Abductor/Adductor Combo
I have to admit, at one point in my life I would get on this machine and go to town! I was determined to tighten my inner thighs and decrease .my outer thigh. But this machine never did a blasted thing for me – and it won’t for you either!
There is no exercise that will reduce fat in a specific location – spot reduction is a BIG, FAT MYTH! The only way to reduce fat is to change your diet – eating clean and unprocessed foods (once had eyes, grew from a tree or grew from the ground) and exercise!
Side plank and resistance band variations are the best exercises to strengthen and tone your inner and outer thigh. Another great way to strengthen the legs are through lateral lunges and squats.
7. Leg Press Machine
Squats = Sexy legs. Plus, have you ever seen someone squatting while they’re lying down?! Don’t think so!
People jump on this machine and load it with too much weight and use improper form and the result: bulging and/or herniated discs.
Using your own body weight, or adding a bit with dumbbells, you can sculpt your legs and butt into a work of art! Combine squats, lunges and single-leg hip extensions to make your knees, hips, and back solid as a rock. Stretching out the hip flexors is also a good idea after a leg workout like this!
Unless you want to end up hunched over and in pain, you need to train with functional movements using resistance bands, free weights, stability balls, balance discs and more. Just say NO to the machine!