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SP_COACH_NANCY
SparkPoints: (158,833)
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
Posts: 46,222
1/18/13 8:56 A

Hi,

I am currently listening to a webinar regarding training and machines, and the fact is most machines are not very effective in that they do not allow for the proper range of motion for the joint. Therefore they work the muscles in a very ineffective manner.

That being said, the presenter stated that most box gyms offer these as an option to their members and because they can be quite less intimidating to those new to the fitness world, they are a draw. However, I have seen many people in the gym doing squats, lunges and many other body weight/free weights/resistance bands and the most recent ones--kettlebells exercises incorrectly. This is why it is so important to receive proper form training from a trainer, regardless of whether you are doing machines or other weight based exercises.

Coach Nancy



BERTA6978
SparkPoints: (35,386)
Fitness Minutes: (35,920)
Posts: 820
1/18/13 8:33 A

The thigh machines aren't hard for me, but I can't do the maximum weight.



NAUSIKAA
Posts: 4,848
1/18/13 8:28 A

Okay, I read the article. I would say that 90% of the members of my gym do behind -the-neck lat pulldowns. I don't, both because I was always taught not to, but also because I use a neutral grip half the time which cannot go behind the head. Behind the neck is still standard in Europe I believe.

I completely disagree with the squat part. A proper squat is a full squat with complete knee flexion. This is how weightlifters do them, because that is the proper and natural movement. It's true you shouldn't do it if you have knee problems, but if you don't, you should, and the lower, the better. Stopping the movement early (at only 90 degrees) can actually injure the knees. Too bad SP is propagating this myth.

Those thigh adductor/abductor machines are just silly. I tried the ones at my gym and even at their max weight, the exercise is far too easy to actually be doing anything. And I'm not that strong. It's just a dumb exercise because the legs are far too strong for it.





NAUSIKAA
Posts: 4,848
1/18/13 8:22 A

"Other than squats and step-ups, which I'm doing, what can I do to improve my quads?"

Patience, and keep doing the squats. That's all you need.



NAUSIKAA
Posts: 4,848
1/18/13 8:20 A

I haven't read the article but I am not a fan of the leg extension machine, it feels like a lot of torque on the knee. I would add the lying leg curl machine to the list of dangerous ones. I had an accident on that machine although I was using it correctly. My outer leg slipped out of the pad during the lifting portion of the exercise, leaving my inside leg suddenly trying to cope with the entire (i.e., double) weight. My inside knee took the brunt of it because it was simply too sudden for my muscle to respond. Luckily I wasn't injured but it was a close call. It was a lot of weight as I was using a high weight to start with, and then it was doubled when one leg was suddenly removed. I still use the machine but now I put my legs as far to the inside as possible (so I'm not centered on the pads - not very comfortable) and I don't use as much weight, plus I try to be mentally prepared if it happens again. I use it to try to correct a quad/hamstring imbalance, but I don't plan on using it forever. The seated leg curl doesn't have this danger but it's also a really poor replacement for the lying leg curl.

Most machines are just ineffective compared to free weights, rather than dangerous. A good example is the weighted back extension machine. The one at my gym has a maximum weight of 150 lbs, which feels like nothing at all since I do good mornings with a much much lighter barbell - but with the barbell exercise, you actually have to do the work. The machine does a lot of it for you with its cables, cams, and multiple angles of leverage. This is the case with all machines. It's hard to find a machine that lets you do all the work.



BERTA6978
SparkPoints: (35,386)
Fitness Minutes: (35,920)
Posts: 820
1/18/13 8:06 A

@ Dragonchilde: It was the Leg Extensions which hurt me.

PS: Other than squats and step-ups, which I'm doing, what can I do to improve my quads? Lunges aren't for be. Believe it or not, I have bad toes. LOL

Edited by: BERTA6978 at: 1/18/2013 (08:07)


DRAGONCHILDE
SparkPoints: (54,915)
Fitness Minutes: (14,158)
Posts: 9,520
1/18/13 8:03 A

All machines aren't bad, for sure, but it surprised me too to learn about those moves.

For those curious, this is the article referenced: www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_artic
les.asp?id=1097


From the article, the leg presses are okay, it's just really important to maintain good form. I'm sorry your knees got hurt! DEfinitely sounds like one you should skip.

The ones I have never liked are those seated leg extensions. You always see the ladies on that one, hoping to target their thunder thighs, and I tried it once-- it hurt!

I really like using free weights now, though sometimes I'll use a machine when I want to go really heavy and don't have a spotter.




BERTA6978
SparkPoints: (35,386)
Fitness Minutes: (35,920)
Posts: 820
1/18/13 7:30 A

Unident posted some very informative articles regarding the worst gym machines. A couple of machines really surprised me: 1) The Leg Extension and 2) The Pec Deck. After Tuesdays workout, I became a believer in the badness of the Leg Extension. I increased my weight and the next day, both of my knees swelled up. They are still swollen today. My trainer did not think it was the machine, but rather the squats or step-ups. 2) The Pec Deck really surprised me. I know free weights are superior to the machine, but I thought it was acceptable until one was ready for the free weights. At any rate, regarding all of the machines, my trainer will be changing my workout in about 4-5 weeks, so I hope to substitute more free weights. Meanwhile, I'm getting rid of the Leg Extension machine.

Incidentally, the article said it focused the quads, but the machine instructions indicate it focuses on the hamstrings and glutes.



 
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