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10 Machines You Shouldn't Use

Sassy

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I saw this article on MSN and thought it would make a good post. Any personal trainers out there? How do you feel about these machines? Some agree with and other I don't.

10 Machines You Shouldn't Use
http://health.msn.com/fitness/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100184337&page=1

Stationary machines are designed to limit what you can do wrong. But overtraining and injury are still possible.
By the Editors of Best Life

Defenders of stationary equipment argue that machines are designed to limit what you can do wrong. But seated machines often put heavier loads on the back and joints than is necessary, and almost always miss the mark when it comes to replicating the movements found in everyday life, according to Ultimate Back Performance and Fitness, by Stuart McGill, PhD, a professor of spine -biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario. For this list of exercises, we consulted McGill; Nicholas DiNubile, MD, author of

FrameWork: Your 7-Step Program for Healthy Muscles, Bones, and Joints; and trainer Vern Gambetta, author of Athletic Development: The Art & Science of Functional Sports Conditioning.

1. Seated Leg Extension

What it's supposed to do: Train the quadriceps

What it actually does: It strengthens a motion your legs aren't actually designed to do, and can put undue strain on the ligaments and tendons surrounding the kneecaps.

A better exercise: One-legged body-weight squats. Lift one leg up and bend the opposite knee, dipping as far as you can, with control, while flexing at the hip, knee, and ankle. Use a rail for support until you develop requisite leg strength and balance. Aim for five to 10 reps on each leg. (If you are susceptible to knee pain, do the Bulgarian split squat instead, resting the top of one foot on a bench positioned two to three feet behind you. Descend until your thigh is parallel to the ground and then stand back up. Do five to 10 reps per leg.)

2. Seated Military Press

What it's supposed to do: Train shoulders and triceps

What it actually does: Overhead pressing can put shoulder joints in vulnerable biomechanical positions. It puts undue stress on the shoulders, and the movement doesn't let you use your hips to assist your shoulders, which is the natural way to push something overhead.

A better exercise: Medicine-ball throws. Stand three feet from a concrete wall; bounce a rubber medicine ball off a spot on the wall four feet above your head, squatting to catch the ball and rising to throw it upward in one continuous motion. Aim for 15 to 20 reps. Alternative: Standing alternate dumbbell presses. As you push the right dumbbell overhead, shift the right hip forward. Switch to the left side.

3. Seated Lat Pull-Down (Behind the Neck)

What it's supposed to do: Train lats, upper back, and biceps

What it actually does: Unless you have very flexible shoulders, it's difficult to do correctly, so it can cause pinching in the shoulder joint and damage the rotator cuff.

A better exercise: Incline pull-ups. Place a bar in the squat rack at waist height, grab the bar with both hands, and hang from the bar with your feet stretched out in front of you. Keep your torso stiff, and pull your chest to the bar 10 to 15 times. To make it harder, lower the bar; to make it easier, raise the bar.

4. Seated Pec Deck

What it's supposed to do: Train chest and shoulders

What it actually does: It can put the shoulder in an unstable position and place excessive stress on the shoulder joint and its connective tissue.

A better exercise: Incline push-ups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps. If this is too easy, progress to regular push-ups and plyometric push-ups (where you push up with enough force that your hands come off the ground), and aim for five to eight reps.

5. Seated Hip Abductor Machine

What it's supposed to do: Train outer thighs

What it actually does: Because you are seated, it trains a movement that has no functional use. If done with excessive weight and jerky technique, it can put undue pressure on the spine.

A better exercise: Place a heavy, short, looped resistance band around your legs (at your ankles); sidestep out 20 paces and back with control. This is much harder than it sounds.

6. Seated Rotation Machine

What it's supposed to do: Train abdominals and obliques

What it actually does: Because the pelvis doesn't move with the chest, this exercise can put excessive twisting forces on the spine.

A better exercise: Do the cable wood chop, letting your heels turn freely with your torso. Aim for 10 to 12 reps.

7. Seated Leg Press

What it's supposed to do: Train quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings

What it actually does: It often forces the spine to flex without engaging any of the necessary stabilization muscles of the hips, glutes, shoulders, and lower back.

A better exercise: Body-weight squats. Focus on descending with control as far as you can without rounding your lower back. Aim for 15 to 20 for a set and increase sets as you develop strength.

8. Squats Using Smith Machine

What it's supposed to do: Train chest, biceps, and legs

What it actually does: The alignment of the machine — the bar is attached to a vertical sliding track — makes for linear, not natural, arched movements. This puts stress on the knees, shoulders, and lower back.

A better exercise: Body-weight squats. See "Seated Leg Press."

9. Roman Chair Back Extension

What it's supposed to do: Train spinal erectors

What it actually does: Repeatedly flexing the back while it's supporting weight places pressure on the spine and increases the risk of damaging your disks.

A better exercise: The bird-dog. Crouch on all fours, extend your right arm forward, and extend left leg backward. Do 10 seven-second reps, and then switch to the opposite side.

10. Roman Chair Sit-Up

What it's supposed to do: Train abdominals and hip flexors

What it actually does: The crunching motion can put undue stress on the lower back when it is in a vulnerable rounded position.

A better exercise: The plank. Lie facedown on the floor. Prop up on your forearms, palms down. Rise up on your toes. Keep your back flat and contract your glutes, abdominals, and lats to keep your butt from sticking up. Hold this pose for 20 to 60 seconds.
 

Sassy

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IMO

1. Seated Leg Extension

If you do too much weight, it can injury your knees. It's best for warm up sets.

2. Seated Military Press

Behind the neck presses are unnatural movements, so it better to do them in the front. I don't see this machine as being a problem. Using a medicine-ball is not going to do anything for your shoulders.

3. Seated Lat Pull-Down (Behind the Neck)

Once again... behind the neck isn't a natural movement. Doing it in the front is best.

4. Seated Pec Deck

If you are having shoulder problem and this exercise hurts, then don't do it. Other than that, it's still a good exercise to include in your routine.

5. Seated Hip Abductor Machine

I agree with them on this one. I never recommend them, and yet gym trainers always tell women this is a good one for them to do. If you are doing squats and lunges, then you don't need this machine.

6. Seated Rotation Machine

Another worthless machine that trainers like for women to do. Stick to the basics... crunches and sit-ups always work best.

7. Seated Leg Press

Squats are always the best exercise for legs, but this one is a good alternative. However, you shouldn't use this as your core exercise.

8. Squats Using Smith Machine

I agree with them on this one. SM can add stress to the knees, shoulders and lower back. Better exercise is regular old squats.

9. Roman Chair Back Extension

I never got much out of this machine. I think the back extension bench is a much better way to do them. The back extension bench I think is what they are calling the "Roman Chair Sit-up".

10. Roman Chair Sit-Up

I don't agree with the on this one. Some people have low back problems and if this machine hurts, then don't do it. It can put stress on it. I find it makes my back feel better. It will really depend on the person.

...just my 2¢.
 

Jello

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I found that I get a better workout with free weights than I do on machines anyway. I do use a hack squat setup though, it is alot easier on my back than conventional squats.
 

PHIL HERNON

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GREAT POST

I saw this article on MSN and thought it would make a good post. Any personal trainers out there? How do you feel about these machines? Some agree with and other I don't.

10 Machines You Shouldn't Use
http://health.msn.com/fitness/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100184337&page=1

Stationary machines are designed to limit what you can do wrong. But overtraining and injury are still possible.
By the Editors of Best Life

Defenders of stationary equipment argue that machines are designed to limit what you can do wrong. But seated machines often put heavier loads on the back and joints than is necessary, and almost always miss the mark when it comes to replicating the movements found in everyday life, according to Ultimate Back Performance and Fitness, by Stuart McGill, PhD, a professor of spine -biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario. For this list of exercises, we consulted McGill; Nicholas DiNubile, MD, author of

FrameWork: Your 7-Step Program for Healthy Muscles, Bones, and Joints; and trainer Vern Gambetta, author of Athletic Development: The Art & Science of Functional Sports Conditioning.

1. Seated Leg Extension

What it's supposed to do: Train the quadriceps

What it actually does: It strengthens a motion your legs aren't actually designed to do, and can put undue strain on the ligaments and tendons surrounding the kneecaps.

A better exercise: One-legged body-weight squats. Lift one leg up and bend the opposite knee, dipping as far as you can, with control, while flexing at the hip, knee, and ankle. Use a rail for support until you develop requisite leg strength and balance. Aim for five to 10 reps on each leg. (If you are susceptible to knee pain, do the Bulgarian split squat instead, resting the top of one foot on a bench positioned two to three feet behind you. Descend until your thigh is parallel to the ground and then stand back up. Do five to 10 reps per leg.)

2. Seated Military Press

What it's supposed to do: Train shoulders and triceps

What it actually does: Overhead pressing can put shoulder joints in vulnerable biomechanical positions. It puts undue stress on the shoulders, and the movement doesn't let you use your hips to assist your shoulders, which is the natural way to push something overhead.

A better exercise: Medicine-ball throws. Stand three feet from a concrete wall; bounce a rubber medicine ball off a spot on the wall four feet above your head, squatting to catch the ball and rising to throw it upward in one continuous motion. Aim for 15 to 20 reps. Alternative: Standing alternate dumbbell presses. As you push the right dumbbell overhead, shift the right hip forward. Switch to the left side.

3. Seated Lat Pull-Down (Behind the Neck)

What it's supposed to do: Train lats, upper back, and biceps

What it actually does: Unless you have very flexible shoulders, it's difficult to do correctly, so it can cause pinching in the shoulder joint and damage the rotator cuff.

A better exercise: Incline pull-ups. Place a bar in the squat rack at waist height, grab the bar with both hands, and hang from the bar with your feet stretched out in front of you. Keep your torso stiff, and pull your chest to the bar 10 to 15 times. To make it harder, lower the bar; to make it easier, raise the bar.

4. Seated Pec Deck

What it's supposed to do: Train chest and shoulders

What it actually does: It can put the shoulder in an unstable position and place excessive stress on the shoulder joint and its connective tissue.

A better exercise: Incline push-ups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps. If this is too easy, progress to regular push-ups and plyometric push-ups (where you push up with enough force that your hands come off the ground), and aim for five to eight reps.

5. Seated Hip Abductor Machine

What it's supposed to do: Train outer thighs

What it actually does: Because you are seated, it trains a movement that has no functional use. If done with excessive weight and jerky technique, it can put undue pressure on the spine.

A better exercise: Place a heavy, short, looped resistance band around your legs (at your ankles); sidestep out 20 paces and back with control. This is much harder than it sounds.

6. Seated Rotation Machine

What it's supposed to do: Train abdominals and obliques

What it actually does: Because the pelvis doesn't move with the chest, this exercise can put excessive twisting forces on the spine.

A better exercise: Do the cable wood chop, letting your heels turn freely with your torso. Aim for 10 to 12 reps.

7. Seated Leg Press

What it's supposed to do: Train quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings

What it actually does: It often forces the spine to flex without engaging any of the necessary stabilization muscles of the hips, glutes, shoulders, and lower back.

A better exercise: Body-weight squats. Focus on descending with control as far as you can without rounding your lower back. Aim for 15 to 20 for a set and increase sets as you develop strength.

8. Squats Using Smith Machine

What it's supposed to do: Train chest, biceps, and legs

What it actually does: The alignment of the machine — the bar is attached to a vertical sliding track — makes for linear, not natural, arched movements. This puts stress on the knees, shoulders, and lower back.

A better exercise: Body-weight squats. See "Seated Leg Press."

9. Roman Chair Back Extension

What it's supposed to do: Train spinal erectors

What it actually does: Repeatedly flexing the back while it's supporting weight places pressure on the spine and increases the risk of damaging your disks.

A better exercise: The bird-dog. Crouch on all fours, extend your right arm forward, and extend left leg backward. Do 10 seven-second reps, and then switch to the opposite side.

10. Roman Chair Sit-Up

What it's supposed to do: Train abdominals and hip flexors

What it actually does: The crunching motion can put undue stress on the lower back when it is in a vulnerable rounded position.

A better exercise: The plank. Lie facedown on the floor. Prop up on your forearms, palms down. Rise up on your toes. Keep your back flat and contract your glutes, abdominals, and lats to keep your butt from sticking up. Hold this pose for 20 to 60 seconds.
I TOTALLY AGREE!! GREAT POST!!!
 

Fattybuilder

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Workout PhD.

I remember how training EOD WITH MACHINES AND DUMBBELLS Weight You can do many workout example one day you do only machines and second day do dumbbells and third day you do all or try with bars. ! very nice workout.
 

GoneForever

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Wow, military behind the neck has made my shoulders grown the most, I only do smith squats b/c regular widen my waiste and hurt my back and leg press has been around forever. Both these gave me 28" legs. This sucks.
 

TooPowerful4u

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I do all of those except 6 and 10. Never had a problem. If done correctly and with good form i feel there is a place for all of the others.
 

GoneForever

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I do all of those except 6 and 10. Never had a problem. If done correctly and with good form i feel there is a place for all of the others.
I do them all but 5 6 and 10. I think these are excersises that your more prone to getting injured if done incorrectly. Other than that, they are potent muscle builders. Im shocked leg press was on there.
 

BOOMSHAKER

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It's these same 10 reasons that run through my head every single time I say "F the gym" and crack open a nice frosty cold beer! bahahaha :p



Excellent post Sassy, very informative!
 

wings

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yeah right

in my opinion, the editors of Best Life don't know what they are talking about. To prove my point, take a look at #8. it says that squats on the smith machine train the CHEST, BICEPS and legs. i have never heard of anyone ever who did squats to train their chest or biceps!!!

i'd also like to mention that seated leg extensions have done wonders for my rotten knees.

peace
WINGS
 

Sassy

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STEVO 47

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Never liked machines. I want the control of the movement
and the weight. Plus some are really uncomfortable,
mainly in the shoulders. If I had to pick one it would only be
the seated leg press. Leg exstention may have it's uses for
rehab only like a knee injury. You can use real light weight
to work that area without alot of strain on the knee.
 

phreak

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all my injuries have happened on that damn smith machine. i haven't touched that thing in years and never will.
 

thebrick

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Great post Sassy!! I agree with these. I had an ortho knee surgeon tell me one time to never, never, never do seated leg extensions. They are terrible on the joint and tendons.
 

STEVO 47

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Leg extensions can cause problems if not done right like loading
down with too heavy weight, but can also be good rehab for
knee injuries too. Depending on the severeity of the injury
also depends on the weight. To rehabilitate the knee it's important
to stretch the tendens and very gradually strengthen the muscle.
Knees are what ended my career in football.
 
Last edited:

fbxdan

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Leg extensions can cause problems if not done right like loading
down with too heavy weight, but can also be good rehab for
knee injuries too. Depending on the severeity of the injury
also depends on the weight. To rehabilitate the knee it's important
to stretch the tendens and very gradually strengthen the muscle.
Knees are what ended my career in football.
I've had a bad left patella ever since i dislocated it in the 8th grade. One thing I noticed is that leg extensions kill it. A few weeks ago I was doing leg extensions (should have known better) and the knee dislocated during the set. It was painful to say the least!
 

gabrielfaust

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2. Seated Military Press ...

A better exercise: Medicine-ball throws. Stand three feet from a concrete wall; bounce a rubber medicine ball off a spot on the wall four feet above your head, squatting to catch the ball and rising to throw it upward in one continuous motion.

Give me a break.
Kids do stuff like that in Junior high.
Nobody ever got huge and strong with just that.

Alternative: Standing alternate dumbbell presses.

If you are going to do these, you may as well do one side at a time to fire off more fast twitch fibers.
Plus, you can handle heavier weights since you can help yourself set up and perform the reps with the non engaged arm.

All other things being equal, heavier weight in good form is better.
 

Air Supply

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NEVER PUSH ANYTHING OVER YOUR HEAD.......YOU ARE ASKING FOR ROTATOR CUFF PROBLEMS
What type of shoulder routine can you gain muscle without pressing towards the sky ?

I just can't imagine gaining alot of muscle from just lateral raises etc. etc.
 

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