Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Weight Machines - Beware of Injury

When you walk into most gyms, you will see many various machines. Machines are great for beginners. Especially until you get a proper form. Weight machines can provide faster workouts, there is no need for a “spot” and they are generally easy to use.

HOWEVER, beware that they can cause injury. The body movement patterns (path / direction) are fixed and locked in place. Consider the Smith Machine. This can be, depending on certain movements, the worst, most dangerous machine in the gym. Let us take squats as an example. When you perform squats on a Smith Machine, it forces you to take a path of motion that is not natural for you. Moreover, this can cause injury. By performing squats with free weights, you take your body's natural range of motion (keeping proper form). This decreases your chance of injury. Machines simply do not take your body height, weight, and shape into account.

Machines can also give you a false sense of your abilities/strength. Weights on a machine versus lifting something in real life are completely different. For example, when you pick up a heavy box, you do not rest the non-working parts of your body against a machine and only work certain muscle. To be functional in picking up that heavy box, you have to use more muscles (especially to stabilize). In addition, 100 pounds on a chest press machine is nowhere near comparable to 100 pounds on a barbell bench press.

Free weights emulate and carry over to real life and real situations.

Machines have their place. Do not get me wrong. Just be knowledgeable when and how you use them. For example, when I travel I have a few gyms I visit. When there, I use machines I do not have access to normally. BUT I never use machines for the “compound moves." I use machines for extra work to triceps, calves, rear delts, etc.

Stay tuned……………

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