No matter how long you have been working out, you probably don’t use every piece of equipment at the local gym. In fact, it would be hard to find anyone that can explain every piece of equipment at the gym. All too often, these places present us with a confusing mess of options. Chances are, we don’t have the time or the inclination to try all of these machines. That isn’t really a good idea anyway, as you could hurt yourself by using any of these machines incorrectly.
In this article, we will give you a short list of the most useless workout machines that we have ever seen. If you have been making a mental list of exercise machines that you want to try, it’s probably safe to remove all of these.
1. Adductor Machines
These are the machines that spread your legs real wide, forcing you to exert the muscles of the inner thighs to push the pads inward. Not only does this exercise make you look really silly, but it’s also a waste of time. Research has shown that you can get better resistance from a simple elastic band than you can get from this machine. Although this machine might be helpful for those who are learning to do splits, it wouldn’t be useful for much else.
2. Seated Rotation Machine
This machine has several problems. First of all, it requires a much more precise degree of adjustment than most others, making it a pain to use. Secondly, this machine causes your body to move in an unnatural manner that would seldom be used in any real-life situation. These machines are often touted as a good way for baseball players to improve their swing. However, one look at this machine in action will tell you otherwise. It is worth noting that this study on the importance of torso rotation for baseball players made no mention of this machine.
3. Smith Machine
Although this machine was all the rage for a few years, it is now rightly regarded as a waste of time. This is probably the most useless machine on our list. The Smith machine is used primarily for bench presses and squats and consists of a barbell-like weight attached to a vertical track. This machine was designed with the belief that a perfectly-vertical lift would result in better overall results. However, this has proven to be untrue. Several studies have compared the Smith machine to free weights, and most have found that free weights produce a much higher level of muscle engagement. This study found a difference of approximately 43%, which is quite significant. In short: This machine is garbage. Don’t waste your time here.
4. Leg Extension Machine
Some people might disagree with this choice because the leg extension machine is a very effective way to isolate the leg muscles. However, the problem comes from being forced into an unnatural motion. The legs are meant to work in unison with the rest of the body. This machine forces the legs to work against the rest of the body. Even worse, the leg extension machine will put most of its stress on the knees. You may get a good quad burn from this machine, but your knees are doing most of the work. It’s no wonder that this exercise machine has been associated with an increased risk of knee injury.
5. Seated Crunch Machine
The seated crunch machine might seem like a good idea since it offers the chance to do a partially-supported crunch. The problem here lies not in the equipment, but with the exercise that it is meant to duplicate. Although crunches have been standard workout fare for decades, new research has shed some doubt on both the safety and the effectiveness of this exercise. For instance, take this study. It was performed on a group of Army recruits, so we can assume that all of these people were in decent health. Only 11% of the recruits suffered injury, but 56% of those people were injured while doing push-ups.
6. Elliptical Trainer
This machine might actually be useful, but only for those who are in fragile health. The elliptical trainer is meant to be a more low-impact version of a treadmill. Those with knee and ankle problems will often choose these machines because it provides an easier workout that places less stress on their prior injuries. However, there is one big problem: The elliptical trainer is just too easy. In trying to be low-impact, this machine sacrifices most of its intensity. Because of this, we classify the elliptical as a waste of time for most people.
In fairness, we should mention the fact that some of these machines are not 100% useless. Some of them are just niche products that are good for only one or a few specialized uses. While they are useless to the average person, they might be useful to those with unusual needs or limitations.
It should also be noted that no one really needs special equipment to work out. If you are not terribly picky about your methods, you can just as easily stick to the tried-and-true equipment that you already know. If we have saved you some time with this article, you can show your appreciation by liking and following us on Facebook.
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