There are many kinds of machines in the gym, but they are not all effective in building muscles. Gym machines are designed for a fixed path, with no accommodation for different body types, mobility issues, and ranges of motion. Some machines bog down muscles with unbalanced forces, destabilizing the joints. Other machines don’t engage opposing muscle groups, which causes stress to muscles and joints.
In the balance, most machines do more good than harm, but a few machines should be avoided. These include:
- Leg extension machine – This machine is particularly bad for people with chronic knee issues. It targets your quadriceps, the muscles that are attached to the knee and cross the hip, but it does not engage the hamstring in the balancing of weight. As a result, it can cause the quadriceps to contract and tighten. This could potentially damage the knee joint.
- Leg press machine – People with back injury or pain tend to use this machine because it allows the back to remain fixed, unweighted, and supported. The position for the leg press, however, requires that a person perform a squat while the upper body leans forward. This puts the hip flexors in their shortest position, preventing them from extending or fully relaxing during the lift. The result is additional stress on the lumbar spine.
- Oblique twist – This machine encourages a harmful range of motion. As the user twists, they could be stressing certain segments of the spine. This machine is not designed to strengthen the core muscles. Your core gains strength by resisting twisting motions—not performing them.
- Hip adduction/abduction – When you work your legs, you should focus on both the inner and outer thighs to boost stability and prevent injuries. This machine offers no benefits because it engages the thighs from a seated position. Thigh muscles are needed when you are standing, not sitting. Another problem is that the machine trains the thigh muscles as isolated entities, instead of stabilizing the whole leg. When done the wrong way, this exercise can result in hip socket stress.
Learn the function of a machine before using it to ensure that it will not be detrimental to your body. As you work to increase your strength, be sure to boost your efforts with NO Max Shred, the muscle supplement that enhances the body’s production of nitric oxide to improve blood flow and support muscle growth.