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Old 04-10-2011, 11:27 PM  
Frankie Frankie is offline
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Exercise junkies beware.

Healthy Living Sunday, April 10, 2011

The 6 exercise machines you must avoid

Walking into the gym and expecting a great workout is like walking into the supermarket and expecting a gourmet meal. The basic ingredients are there, but like they say in the infomercials, results may vary. With working out, as with cooking, a little bit of smarts, dedication, creativity and knowledge will make all the difference between perfect pasta and a gelatinous ball of mush.

For this list of no-no exercises, we consulted Stuart McGill, PhD, professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario; Nicholas DiNubile, MD, author of FrameWork: Your 7-Step Program for Healthy Muscles, Bones, and Joints; and trainer Vern Gambetta, author of Athletic Development: The Art & Science of Functional Sports Conditioning.


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1. Seated Leg Extension



What it's supposed to do: Train the quadriceps. What it actually does: It strengthens a motion your legs aren't actually designed to do, and can put undue strain on the ligaments and tendons surrounding the kneecaps.

A better exercise: One-legged body-weight squats. Lift one leg up and bend the opposite knee, dipping as far as you can, with control, while flexing at the hip, knee, and ankle. Use a rail for support until you develop requisite leg strength and balance. Aim for five to 10 reps on each leg. (If you are susceptible to knee pain, do the Bulgarian split squat instead, resting the top of one foot on a bench positioned two to three feet behind you. Descend until your thigh is parallel to the ground and then stand back up. Do five to 10 reps per leg.)


2. Seated Lat Pull-Down (Behind the Neck)



What it's supposed to do: Train lats, upper back, and biceps. What it actually does: Unless you have very flexible shoulders, it's difficult to do correctly, so it can cause pinching in the shoulder joint and damage the rotator cuff.

A better exercise: Incline pull-ups. Place a bar in the squat rack at waist height, grab the bar with both hands, and hang from the bar with your feet stretched out in front of you. Keep your torso stiff, and pull your chest to the bar 10 to 15 times. To make it harder, lower the bar; to make it easier, raise the bar.


3. Seated Hip Abductor Machine



What it's supposed to do: Train outer thighs. What it actually does: Because you are seated, it trains a movement that has no functional use. If done with excessive weight and jerky technique, it can put undue pressure on the spine.

A better exercise: Place a heavy, short, looped resistance band around your legs (at your ankles); sidestep out 20 paces and back with control. This is much harder than it sounds.


4. Seated Leg Press



What it's supposed to do: Train quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. What it actually does: It often forces the spine to flex without engaging any of the necessary stabilization muscles of the hips, glutes, shoulders, and lower back.

A better exercise: Body-weight squats. Focus on descending with control as far as you can without rounding your lower back. Aim for 15 to 20 for a set and increase sets as you develop strength.


5. Squats Using Smith Machine




What it's supposed to do: Train chest, biceps, and legs. What it actually does: The alignment of the machine—the bar is attached to a vertical sliding track—makes for linear, not natural, arched movements. This puts stress on the knees, shoulders, and lower back.

A better exercise: Body-weight or weighted squats. See "Seated Leg Press" above.


6. Roman Chair Back Extension


What it's supposed to do: Train spinal erectors. What it actually does: Repeatedly flexing the back while it's supporting weight places pressure on the spine and increases the risk of damaging your disks.

A better exercise: The bird-dog. Crouch on all fours, extend your right arm forward, and extend left leg backward. Do 10 seven-second reps, and then switch to the opposite side.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:18 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Omaha View Post
Time to find a new PT.
I hear ya, but I fired him a long time ago.

I knew absolutely less than nothing about working out, so he gave me a good foundation. I spend most of my time on free weights now, the chest/back machines, and triceps pull down. But I will make sure I don't do any of these 6 in the future. The three leg exercises was still in my off day leg program.

It has been a real good thing, except for a couple injuries I have incurred.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:48 AM   #32
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So what about them bowflex machines? Are those bad for ya?

Do they work ok for old people if they use less weight?
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:00 AM   #33
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You want real information about about injuries in the gym I'll give it to you. Far and away the most injuries take place using a barbell on the bench. From kids roided out lifting too much to guys in their early 30's who have already worn out their shoulders. We used to have a saying, use barbells, lift today. Use dumbbells lift a lifetime. After 30 years of lifting I can assure you that you can eventually wear out those shoulders anyway but that's probably 1% of 1% of all people that lift. 2nd most injuries come from the squat rack. From improper lifting to the dipshit that steps out of the cage without a spotter this easily is the runner up.

BTW, I have never seen anyone sustain an injury on leg extensions, machine leg press, roman chair or hip abductor for that matter.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:01 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG_DADDY View Post
Crash bars are sufficient.
This.

The only thing I use a Smith Machine for is this:

Quote:
A better exercise: Incline pull-ups. Place a bar in the squat rack at waist height, grab the bar with both hands, and hang from the bar with your feet stretched out in front of you. Keep your torso stiff, and pull your chest to the bar 10 to 15 times. To make it harder, lower the bar; to make it easier, raise the bar.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:02 AM   #35
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#4 is the only weight machine I'm good at. I'm a 180-lb. weakling on most machines, but I can do the whole stack on #4. I have the thighs of a greek god.
Thatís exactly how people injure themselves on leg press machines like that.
When I was in the Army I knew a 120# female that leg pressed 600# and didnít know it at the time but separated a couple of ribs from her spine doing it. That injury took her out for a while.

Edit: to clarify, she was using a leg press more like this than the one in #4.

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Last edited by Radar Chief; 04-11-2011 at 10:27 AM..
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:03 AM   #36
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What is the term for a Smith machine that actually allows horizontal range of motion as well? My gym has a smith machine, but it also has a machine where the bar can move on axes both horizontal and perpendicular to the floor.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:11 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG_DADDY View Post
You want real information about about injuries in the gym I'll give it to you. Far and away the most injuries take place using a barbell on the bench. From kids roided out lifting too much to guys in their early 30's who have already worn out their shoulders. We used to have a saying, use barbells, lift today. Use dumbbells lift a lifetime. After 30 years of lifting I can assure you that you can eventually wear out those shoulders anyway but that's probably 1% of 1% of all people that lift. 2nd most injuries come from the squat rack. From improper lifting to the dipshit that steps out of the cage without a spotter this easily is the runner up.

BTW, I have never seen anyone sustain an injury on leg extensions, machine leg press, roman chair or hip abductor for that matter.
I got one on the hip abductor, it hurt like hell for several weeks. Using too much weight, and I pulled something.

The other injury was from doing too much weight on the curls. Pulled both elbow tendons, and that is probably going to take surgery, by the time we are done. We are on the third steriod shot now.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:13 AM   #38
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The Smith Machine is absolute garbage, yet 90% of people use it because they are scared to use a standard power rack.
I'm not scared... I use it because of its ease of use and safety -- as I normally workout alone.

And i've had great results from sitting Lat pulldowns (pull down to chest though, not back of neck).. I usually alternate this exercise with dips.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:14 AM   #39
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I'm not a huge smith machine fan either, but its tough to beat when your working out alone. That's the only time i use mine.
and this
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:33 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG_DADDY View Post
You want real information about about injuries in the gym I'll give it to you. Far and away the most injuries take place using a barbell on the bench. From kids roided out lifting too much to guys in their early 30's who have already worn out their shoulders. We used to have a saying, use barbells, lift today. Use dumbbells lift a lifetime. After 30 years of lifting I can assure you that you can eventually wear out those shoulders anyway but that's probably 1% of 1% of all people that lift. 2nd most injuries come from the squat rack. From improper lifting to the dipshit that steps out of the cage without a spotter this easily is the runner up.

BTW, I have never seen anyone sustain an injury on leg extensions, machine leg press, roman chair or hip abductor for that matter.
Form is important. Machines take that away from you, so that it's more difficult to sustain a sudden injury. Machines generally injure you over time, which is why you don't see someone just ****ing themselves up in one sitting.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:34 AM   #41
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I don't know what to think about this. I just had knee surgery and my physical therapist is having me doing some of these exercises to avoid. So now were saying that the whole physical therapy propaganda is wrong and they have been taught the wrong things and now pass it on us to be further injured?
No. Do the exercises. I'm guessing they are having you use very light weight at high reps to rehab, right? The problems with these machines generally appear with higher weight. So, do your rehab, but I wouldn't make a habit out of incorporating them into your workout for a lifetime using heavier weight.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:40 AM   #42
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Form is important. Machines take that away from you, so that it's more difficult to sustain a sudden injury. Machines generally injure you over time, which is why you don't see someone just ****ing themselves up in one sitting.
It's that whole locked in thing. Free weights are better from a variety of standpoints.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:41 AM   #43
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I got one on the hip abductor, it hurt like hell for several weeks. Using too much weight, and I pulled something.

The other injury was from doing too much weight on the curls. Pulled both elbow tendons, and that is probably going to take surgery, by the time we are done. We are on the third steriod shot now.
Why would you lift heavy on an abductor?
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:47 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG_DADDY View Post
Why would you lift heavy on an abductor?
How do you find the right weight? I have seen guys hang additional weights off of the peg, beyond the 220 lb. capacity of the machine. I am only talking about 140 being too much for my old carcus. 100 is just right.
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:00 AM   #45
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Mostly, all machines do is take up space that could be better put to use with more benches and dumbbells. I think what they're saying about leg extensions is a crock though. Extending the leg isn't a natural motion? BS.
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