3 Machines You Should Never Use At The Gym

By on July 1, 2015

Whether you like them or loath them, gym machines are here to stay. Whatever your stance, you should read on to find out 3 machines that you should never use at the gym. Before we get into the finer details, let’s answer an important question first – are machines effective?

Using weight machines in the gym tends to get a mixed response from people. They were originally developed to provide constant tension and safety during exercise. This has made them very popular with beginners and lazy fitness instructors (to save them time on the learning curve with free weights).

A common complaint with machines is that they are fixed in place and do not follow your body’s natural movement pattern, which can be harmful. This also removes the stabilising muscles during exercise. When using free weights your body has to stabilise itself and the weight to keep everything steady, which makes for a better workout.

That is not to say that machines are not useful, their safety and fixed motion makes them great for beginners and people wanting to push the intensity. If you cannot perform a lift, you can just set the weight down without any hassle. Free weights can be dangerous if they are dropped or you are very tired and a bit wobbly.

Personally speaking, I like to use a mixture of both machines and free weights. Why limit yourself to one or the other? Generally, I use free weights at the start of a workout for big exercises, then move to the machines near the end. Having said that, there are 3 machines you should never use, and you can read about them below.

Hip Abduction and Adduction Machines

These machines are hugely popular with the ladies usually done in the hope of toning and losing fat around the thighs. The main problem is that there is very little muscle in the outer and inner thigh area, which makes them practically useless. Damage and injury can also be an issue by overworking these small stabiliser muscles.

Safer alternative: Side lunge

Seated Torso Rotation (or any ab machine for that matter)

These machines are done by twisting your body, which puts a massive strain on your back. This twisting causes a lot of harm to your spinal discs and puts them under forces they are not built for. Your abs and core are built to keep your torso firm and steady, not bending and twisting.

Safer alternative: Side plank

Leg Extension Machine

The leg extension puts a large amount of pressure on the knee joint and ligaments. The machine isn’t a natural movement which puts the knee into a harmful position with added weight.

Safer alternative: Front squats (full range).

So there you have the top 3 to avoid when using weight machines. Give the suggested exercises a try and see how you get on.