5 Dangerous Workout Machines at the GYM
Let’s face it, getting to the health club is great. You are pushing yourself to the next level and believe you are making enormous strides toward your muscle building goals. You may be, but what you did not know certain machines can harm you due to poor ergonomics or just how the machines are made. I know this sounds hard to believe, but it’s true. Expert’s such as BJ Gaddour who is a metabolic training expert and owner of StreamFIT.com indicates these machines isolate muscle activity so much that their true value in muscle development is diminished. The mechanics of the machines can actually harm you due to how they are constructed.
We have listed the worst of the bunch due to their construction and unnatural range of motion. We call them the dangerous 5. We start with the upper body and move to the legs. If you are just starting out google the names of these machines to ensure you get pictures of the machines and understand which ones they are.
1. Club Machine – Seated Chest Press.
Think bench press only sitting up. You wonder if this machine will build a massive chest. Problem is it will but one chest muscle side may develop larger than the other one. The machine allows the weak side to cheat and the stronger side to compensate and thus that side gets stronger and larger.
Alternative – Pushups
This may sound dated, but the traditional pushup is an excellent alternative. This floor exercise equally develops both sides of the chest as cheating will not happen due to the weaker side would make you fall over. The weaker side works just as hard as your strong side. The pushup activates the core stomach muscles for support and balance and is a more efficient muscle developing movement.
2. Club machine – Hip Abductor/Adductor
This machine is typically seen being used by women, but its movement is squeezing and pushing out of the leg muscles while sitting on a chair. The major issue is the machine tends to strain the spine. And does very little for the intended leg muscles for which it was developed.
Alternative – Single Leg Squats
The single leg squat provides a balanced movement that not only targets most of the leg muscles, particularly the quads and hamstrings, but it also activates the glutes. The movement also uses the core for balance and stability and delivers a more effective muscle developing motion.
3. Club Machine – Lying Leg Press
This one is probably the worst as its movement places your legs above your body and forces you to use significant weight just to get reasonable resistance and puts undue pressure on your lower back. That is a recipe for back injury, i.e. heavyweights and unnatural movement.
Alternative – Goblet Squat
The goblet squat which is done holding a kettlebell or dumbbell close to your chest and performing a deep squat while keeping your spine straight. This targets all the leg muscles, plus the glutes and your core assists with balance and delivers excellent range of motion that prevents back injury if performed correctly.
4. Club Machine – Seated Leg Extension
This machine puts you on a bench sitting with legs bent and then stretches them out with a bar in front of your ankles. The point is to develop your quadriceps. The problem is the machine actually activates your knees which work harder than the need to. This could create knee and joint pain.
Alternative – Step ups
Step ups are a simple and effective solution to develop leg muscles for the calves, hamstrings, glutes including the quadriceps. This exercise activates the core muscles plus the major leg muscle group and delivers less wear on the knees.
5. Club Machine – Loaded Standing Calf Raise
This bodybuilder favorite is intended to develop the very dense muscles in the calves which are hard to make bigger. You stand with the balls of your feet on the platform with the weight on your shoulders and lift with your balls of your feet to extend your calf muscles. You do get a good pump, but this exercise puts a strain on your spine and brings significant pressure to your entire upper back and shoulders.
Alternative – Bodyweight Standing Calf Raise
The bodyweight standing calf raise which is the same exercise without the weight on your shoulders. This reduces the opportunity to injure your back while providing isolation to the hard to build calf muscle. And if you don’t have enough resistance with two feet try doing the calf raise with one foot at a time. Folding one foot behind the calf will provide extra resistance.
The dangerous 5 machines should be avoided and these suggested alternatives are easy to perform and reduce your chance of injury. Getting that amazing body without ever getting the occasional injury is a great goal and achievement.