Let’s face it, the gyms these days are packed with a ton of different machines and sure their will be those who tell you to just stick to the weights but some machines are good. With that said there are a few machines that you should avoid for your safety.
1. Leg Extensions
Leg extensions have been the source of long debates but it is proven, they are at best inefficient and at worst harmful. A good leg extension machine, requires a dip in the seat where it rests against the hips. This flexes the hip to prevent overshortening of the rectus femoris muscle of the quadriceps. This overshortening occurs because this muscle attaches to both the hip and the knee. If it shortens at both joints it allows active insufficiency. The contraction sites bunch up and allow fewer connections. This may also lead to cramping. You end up not flexing the hip enough, which gives you less tension, which gives less motion, which at the end of the day is the whole reason we work out. Most important to mention, leg extension machines actually stretches your ACL, weakening it and putting you at risk for injury. No injury is less fun than a torn ACL, trust me.
2. Ab Curler
I really don’t need to go into too much detail for this one other than it’s useless. Honestly, you might see this piece of equipment on infomercials all the time, but it is easily the most pointless machine in any gym. There are a few variations of it but all of them work in the same way. By forcing you to sit or lay in one of these like this it limits the range of motion and you never actually activate the abs. MAYBE at best you work your outer ab muscles. There are a TON of good ab exercises, you don’t really need equipment but if you do want to use something, get an ab roller and you’re set.
3. Any machine you are not using proper form
Basically, if you are not going to research, read the instructions and use appropriate weight on any machine, its not going to help you. In fact, it might actually hurt you. Too many people, especially gym newbies, focus so much on how much weight they set or put on a machine, often overdoing it. In turn, their form suffers and when form suffers you lose efficiency and risk injury. Form is everything.