Exercise machines to avoid in the gym and alternatives

Train Better: Exercise Machines to Avoid

Exercise machines aren’t always effective or even safe. Avoid these machines the next time you hit the gym. I have alternatives to
help you train better

 

 

SEATED LEG EXTENSION MACHINE

What it’s supposed to do: Train the quadriceps.

What it actually does: It strengthens a motion your legs aren’t actually designed to do, and can put undue strain on the ligaments and tendons surrounding the kneecaps.

It is better to perform : One-Legged Body-Weight Squats

Lift one leg up and bend the opposite knee, dipping as far as you can, with control, while flexing at the hip, knee, and ankle. Use a rail for support until you develop requisite leg strength and balance. Aim for five to 10 reps on each leg. (If you are susceptible to knee pain, do the Bulgarian split squat instead, resting the top of one foot on a bench positioned two to three feet behind you. Descend until your thigh is parallel to the ground and then stand back up. Do five to 10 reps per leg.

SEATED SHOULDER PRESS MACHINE

What it’s supposed to do: Train shoulders and triceps.

What it actually does: Overhead pressing can put shoulder joints in vulnerable biomechanical positions. It puts undue stress on the shoulders, and the movement doesn’t let you use your hips to assist your shoulders, which is the natural way to push something overhead.

I is better to use a Medicine-Ball Throw
SEATED BEHIND-THE-NECK LAT PULL-DOWN MACHINE

What it’s supposed to do: Train lats, upper back, and biceps.

What it actually does: Unless you have very flexible shoulders, it’s difficult to do correctly, so it can cause pinching in the shoulder joint and damage the rotator cuff.

A better exercise: Incline Pull-ups

Keeping your torso stiff, pull your chest to the bar 10 to 15 times. To make it harder, lower the bar; to make it easier, raise the bar

SEATED CHEST FLY MACHINE

What it’s supposed to do: Train chest and shoulders.

What it actually does: It can put the shoulder in an unstable position and place excessive stress on the shoulder joint and its connective tissue.

A better exercise: Incline Push-Ups

Aim for 15 to 20 reps. If this is too easy, progress to regular push-ups, and aim for five to eight reps.

SEATED HIP ABDUCTOR MACHINE

What it’s supposed to do: Train outer thighs.

What it actually does: Because you are seated, it trains a movement that has no functional use. If done with excessive weight and jerky technique, it can put undue pressure on the spine.

A better exercise: Lateral Band Walks

Place a heavy, short, looped resistance band around your legs (at your ankles); sidestep out 20 paces and back with control. This is much harder than it sounds.

SEATED ROTATION MACHINE

What it’s supposed to do: Train abdominals and obliques.

What it actually does: Because the pelvis doesn’t move with the chest, this exercise can put excessive twisting forces on the spine.

A better exercise: Cable Wood Chop

Let your heels turn freely with your torso. Aim for 10 to 12 reps.

SEATED LEG PRESS MACHINE

What it’s supposed to do: Train quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.

What it actually does: It often forces the spine to flex without engaging any of the necessary stabilization muscles of the hips, glutes, shoulders, and lower back.

A better exercise: Body-Weight Squats Bischoff, Beth

Focus on descending with control as far as you can without rounding your lower back. Aim for 15 to 20 for a set and increase sets as you develop strength.

SMITH MACHINE SQUATS

What it’s supposed to do: Train chest, biceps, and legs.

What it actually does: The alignment of the machine—the bar is attached to a vertical sliding track—makes for linear, not natural, arched movements. This puts stress on the knees, shoulders, and lower back.

A better exercise: Body-Weight Squats

Focus on descending with control as far as you can without rounding your lower back. Aim for 15 to 20 for a set and increase sets as you develop strength.

ROMAN CHAIR SIT-UP

What it’s supposed to do: Train abdominals and hip flexors.

What it actually does: The crunching motion can put undue stress on the lower back when it is in a vulnerable rounded position.

A better exercise: The Plank

Lie facedown on the floor. Prop up on your forearms, palms down. Rise up on your toes. Keep your back flat and contract your glutes, abdominals, and lats to keep your butt from sticking up. Hold this pose for 20 to 60 seconds.

 

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