In order to lead a healthy and balanced life, it’s important that we consume the right foods at the right times and get plenty of regular exercise and physical activity in the process. We all know the many benefits associated with working out, particularly for those of you who happen to be trying to build muscle and burn fat. Like all things in life however, as far as gym and exercise machines go, there are good ones, there are mediocre ones, and there are downright awful and pointless ones. It’s the worst of the bunch that we’ll be focussing on here, by taking a look at six of the worst workout machines you could ever imagine, which, if you want our advice, you will avoid like the plague. There are many reasons why we’ll be warning you off of these machines, though the two main reasons will be that the machine is either: pointless, or, more importantly, dangerous in the process. So, without any further hesitation, let’s look at 6 of the worst workout machines that you should avoid like the plague.
Seated military press machine
Now, before we go any further, this doesn’t necessarily apply to all military press machines, as some of the newer, more modern versions are actually very efficient. Some of the older and cheaper models however, should ideally be avoided due to the fact that they have been known to cause a number of injuries, particularly to the vulnerable rotator cuff. The reason for this is that many of the poorer designed machines are built in such a way that they actually put the shoulders in a vulnerable biomechanical position which can result in serious injury. The main reason for this is that the machine prevents the user from using power generated from their hips to assist with the movement which is what would happen with a regular military press using a barbell. Another good alternative is to perform standing dumbbell shoulder presses instead, as this puts much less pressure on the shoulder and rotator cuff joint.
Behind the neck lat pull downs
The lat pull down machine is one of the best machines available for training your back, but despite this, not all of the exercises you can perform using this piece of equipment are considered useful. Behind the neck lat pull downs for example, are supposed to help train your upper lats, your biceps, and your upper back in general, but in reality, they’re no less effective than regular lat pull downs, with the added drawback of being dangerous for the joints. Unless a user is very flexible in the shoulder department, performing the exercise in this way can lead to pinching in the deltoids and again, can cause rotator cuff problems. A much better alternative is to perform regular lat pull-downs, or go for an underhand grip instead.
Hip abductor machine
This machine is supposed to train the outer quadriceps/thighs, yet in reality it is one of the most pointless and dangerous machines in the entire gym. The main reason for this is that, as the machine requires the user to remain seated whilst performing the exercise, the movement itself is basically pointless, and not functional in the slightest. What’s more, as many people don’t feel any real benefits with regular weights, they’re more likely to increase the weight to try to add a little more resistance. This can not only put you at risk of a torn hamstring or quad, it can also place extra pressure upon the spine itself, which is the last thing anybody should ever want to be doing. Instead of this exercise, a much safer, and more effective movement, is standard shuttle drills, perhaps with the addition of a resistance band if the exercise still feels a little too easy.
Seated rotation machines
This is a machine that is supposed to train a person’s abdominal muscles and their obliques, but what it does instead, is place the individual using the machine, in very serious danger of suffering abdominal and back/spinal injury. When the user performs the exercise using this machine, their pelvis remains stationary, and doesn’t move in sync with the chest. The increased amounts of twisting force generated can place pressure upon the abdomen and the spine as well. a much safer and far more effective exercise would be the standard incline crunch.
The Jones machine
Pretty much all commercial gyms will have a smith machine, but some may have a variation of the smith machine, known as the Jones machine. In principle, the Jones machine is very similar to a smith machine, except that, whilst the smith machine bar is stationary, the Jones machine bar is attached in such a way that it moves freely, backwards and forwards, and side to side, as if you were using a regular barbell. The problem is that the bar is still attached to the machine, and so it still takes some of the resistance away. What’s more, the bar is also much smaller than Olympic sized bars, which can cause injury to the forearms and the palms, especially if heavy plates are used. The whole machine is supposed to be realistic and mimic the sensation of using a real barbell, yet it does the opposite and feels very unnatural, with the wobbling and moving proving very off-putting, which can put a person more at risk of injury. Instead, either stick with a regular smith machine, or even a regular barbell.
Ab crunch machines
People of think that by adding additional weight to standard sit ups/crunches, they’re going to be benefitting far more than usual, when in reality, the exact opposite is true. Abdominal crunch machines put you at risk of hernia, a torn abdominal wall, and perhaps worst of all, an injured back in the form of a bulging disc, which is truthfully one of the most painful injuries you could ever suffer. Instead, just perform regular crunches, leg raises, or perhaps stability ball crunches and sit ups instead. You get all of the benefits, with none of the risks.