Why Not Just Do Exercise Machines?
- July , 2021
- SPF Fitness Staff
The Machine Trap
It’s common for most people who haven’t been taught how to properly workout to fall into the “exercise machine trap”. This means that since they’re unfamiliar with how to devise exercises out of free weights, bands, etc, they will fall back on machines with pictures of what motion to perform. These machines are on guided tracks that don’t allow deviation from the same path over and over. Yes, some exercise is almost always better than none. However, the issue with machines is that they are not giving the level of benefit most people perceive they are. This post is here to explain why just doing the machines isn’t nearly as good as performing functional movement exercises.
Easy to Cheat
Machines often have pictures demonstrating how to use it appropriately. The gym goer then tries to recreate that image themselves by performing the motion. The trouble with trying to recreate the action shown is that it is easy to substitute the wrong muscles. Due to the machine being on a guided track, the machine will go through the same motion but your body may shift/wiggle to use compensatory muscles.
One Size Doesn’t Always Fit All
On every machine guided exercise there are adjustments levers and pins made to suit a variety of body sizes. The producers of these pieces of equipment do their best to make it accommodate everyone but the truth is it doesn’t always work. Due to the guided track it is on it may not actually provide good form at certain point in range of motion of the exercise. Not only may certain points in the range of motion be negatively affected, but it may not allow for performance of full range of motion. Performing an exercise throughout it’s full range of motion is a crucial element to maximizing benefits.
Not Much Bang for Buck
From a fitness stance, machines also limit the amount of body involvement. Frequently, machines will isolate motion to just a few joints. If only a few body parts are moving, then that means the body is not working as hard (not burning as many calories). In order to burn more calories faster, it is best to get more body parts moving.
Workouts Need to be Functional
This may be the most important point in why machines should be avoided. Machines do not simulate everyday life activities. There are very few circumstances where humans are pushing/pulling something on a guided track. Way more often than not humans are operating in an open environment that requires controlling motion vs a guided track. The best way to practice anything in life is to simulate it as closely as possible. The same goes for resistance training.
How to Avoid the Machines
If someone is unsure how to go about exercising without using machines, the advice is simple…ask someone. Find an expert that knows what they’re doing and ask for help. Even if it is necessary to pay the expert for some guidance, it will be some of the best money you’ve spent. You get one body and it is important to take care of it.