Exercise machines are so simple, that they have become dumbed down to the point that they just don’t do your body that much good. More so, a lot of machines tend to isolate a single muscle, meaning that they may not be as effective as you think in burning calories.
Despite the fact that lots of exercise machines come with adjustable seats and pegs, it it be difficult to find the right position as the movements will usually not be natural. Free weights and bodyweight exercises allow your body to move in a natural range of motion.
Fixing it can result in a limited and improper movement pattern that can be dangerous as it can lead to injury. Here are five exercise machines you should avoid if you’re a fitness junkie and the ones that that can give you faster fitness gains.
Squeezing your thighs together or pushing them apart over and over again on a machine can cause your body problems because it works on very few muscles. It also strains the spine and when used rigorously, can pull your knee cap out of place.
You can instead try the Single-Leg Squat which works on your inner and outer thighs to maintain stability. Single leg exercises such as the single-leg bodyweight squat require a number of muscles to brace your body and keep you upright. All this is done while the moves keep your quads, glutes, and hamstrings to good use.
The Lying Leg Press
When you use this machine, you’re loading more than the equivalent of your bodyweight onto the machine to achieve significant resistance. The problem with this however is that all of your body weight goes straight to your lower back, and may flex under the pressure.
The move doesn’t not even work on any of the stabilization muscles in the hips, glutes, shoulders, or lower back but can also result in a herniated disk, causing more pain than gain.
Alternatively, you should try the Goblet Squats which involves holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your chest to keep your form in check and the weight off of your lower back.
Loaded Standing Calf Raise
The idea of this machine is to make you lift weights with your calves. The Machine is specifically set up to work on the shoulder pads. This means that all the weight presses down on your spine before it ever reaches your legs.
This can turn you into a hunchback, or make you develop considerable back pain.
The Bodyweight Standing Calf Raise is a suitable alternative which entails standing on one foot for a set before changing to the other.
Regular standing calf raises don’t have the resistance you need, but the standing calf raises not only doubles the weight each calf has to lift at a time, but also puts the smaller stabilising muscles of your legs to work.
Seated Leg Extension
The weight of the machine is placed close to the ankles and this causes undue torque on the knee joint, which can wear down cartilage and cause knee pain.
You can instead try step ups to help train your glutes, hamstrings, and calves. This exercise move employs more muscles and strengthens the knees.
Seated Chest Press
Using this machine can cause severe problems such as making you develop lopsided muscles. This occurs when you have a stronger arm that does most of the work and gets all the benefit than the weaker arm. To avoid this, make sure that both sides of your chest are strengthened equally, by loading the machine separately.
Push up is a good alternative as they equally engage both sides of your chest. They also help to engage your core for support and balance.