When you go to the gym I am sure you want to do the best and more effective exercises you can to help reach your strength goals! So why use machines that can actually lead to injury or hinder your workout? Obviously using each machine below once in a while is NOT going to cause destruction right away, but excessive use can lead to some aches and pains as well as not achieving full muscle use to get the best results possible! So here is a list of 7 machines that can cause excessive loads to joints and tissue structures as well as hinder full muscle involvement!
- Seated Twist Machine– This ab machine can create lower back pain due to rotating beyond your normal range of motion. This can put excessive strain on your spine especially with added resistance. Try some side planks instead!
- Back Extensions- Repeatedly flexing your lower back under a load can cause injury to the discs in your lumbar spine. The position you are also in prevents your core , glutes, and hamstrings to contract to protect your spine. Disc related issues take time to heal and can cause pain in the low back as well as pain that radiates down into your lower extremities. Try stiff leg deadlifts, body weight back extensions, or bent over rows instead!
- Seated Sit-up Machine- Think twice before doing any kind of sit up. Even the military is changing their workouts to remove sit ups due to the increase of yanking your neck forward and rounding your shoulders. A study in Clinical Biomechanics found that sit-ups of any kind increase compressive loads in the lower back. Try ab roll outs instead!
- Smith Machine- bummer, but squats, bench press, and deadlifting on this machine forces your shoulders and elbows into an unnatural position due to the fixed movement path of the bar. The smith machine also balances the weight for you. So essentially you are getting robbed of strength, stability and size gains! In The Journal of Strength and Conditioning, researchers found that squats and bench presses with free weights activated way more muscles then the smith machine did.
- Chest Fly- In today’s society we are already so forward with our shoulders from sitting at computer desks and staring down at our phones we essentially do not need another exercise to pull our shoulders even more forward. This machine, if excessively used, can pull our shoulders out of alignment causing impingement syndrome. Try dumbbell fly, slideboard fly, or suspended fly instead.
- Seated Leg Extensions- This exercise, much like the back extensions, causes additional stress loads to our knee structures. If you have ever sustained a knee injury (ACL, MCL, Meniscus) it is essential to avoid placing any additional loads on these structures. Try incorporating your entire lower body to reduce imbalances between your quads and hamstrings with front squats, split squats and forward lunges.
- Seated Hip Abduction-Because you are seated you are not targeting the entire muscle. Also, in a seated position its training a movement that had no functional use. Try lateral band walks instead!