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, their 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 machine’s is that they are supposed to be advertised as ‘being’ more safe. 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 your starting to get the point. The next time your in the gym, look at how many machine’s their are and look at some potential flaws with them. I’m telling you, that you will notice many things that are problematic. Yet, most people still use these machines because they think they are safe and great for developing strength.
A second big 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, were we are sitting for the most part 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, their 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 your 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 in a functional and safe way!
All the best to your lifting 🙂