• Exercise for Thought: Should You Be Using Machines?

    Exercise for Thought: Should You Be Using Machines?

    In today’s post, I want to share my thoughts and opinion’s on gym machines. Firstly, before I do, let’s define what a gym machine is. A gym machine, in my words or thinking, is anything that may restrict full range of motion, is not ‘very’ functional, and just looks BIG for the most part (e.g., universal gym machines, leg press machines, row machines, leg extension machines). Personally, as you can kind of already see, I’m not a fan of gym machines in general. Mind you, there is the odd exception and machine that I do like (e.g., Shuttle Machine) but I just don’t think they have a major purpose in ‘athletic’ training.

    The problem with gym machines is that they are supposed to be advertised as ‘being’ safer. However, this is rarely the case, and I can go through a few machines that are just very problematic. Firstly, the leg press is just a lower back killer, and you can find out why in this post here Why You Should Consider Avoiding the Leg Press (Lower Back Implications). Secondly, the ‘leg extension’ machine is a killer for the knee, as it places an unnatural force onto the patella that could be very damaging over time. Furthermore, most spinal extension machines (e.g., lower back machines) and spinal flexion machines (e.g., abdominal crunch machines) can be incredibly dangerous to the spine. Now, I can go on and on about different machines, but I think you’re starting to get the point. The next time you’re in the gym, look at how many machines there are and look at some potential flaws with them. I’m telling you, that you will notice many things that are problematic. Most people still use these machines because they think they are safe and great for developing strength.

    The second problem with machines is that ALMOST ALL OF THEM INVOLVE A SITTING POSTURE!

    Well, that’s just great, more sitting! Trust me, take a look around your next commercial gym and let me know, how many machines involve sitting.

    Now, the issue with sitting is that:

    1) We are placing more weight onto our lumbar spine

    2) It’s not functional (e.g., think sports.. when are you ever sitting?) and we are taking most of the core stability aspect out

    3) We are already living in a society, where we are sitting for the most of the day, and therefore, we can have potential postural implications.

    None of those things are good and rarely do you ever want to train an athlete in a sitting position. Mind you; there is the odd exception such as a rehab purpose or maybe even a pre-hab purpose but other than thought, sitting should be avoided for the most part when training ‘athletically.’

    Overall, I’m not a fan of gym machines, and I think they are highly over-emphasized in today’s society. Most mainstream media brainwashes people with these machines as being ‘good,’ but the underlying ‘truth’ is that most of them just aren’t! So, the next time you’re in the gym, you may want to think twice about using that ‘leg press’ or ‘abdominal crunch’ machine. Try sticking to dumbbells or cables, as those tend to be the best for training the body functionally and safely!

    All the best to your lifting 🙂






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