To many, the gym can be an extremely intimidating place to begin. Although big scary guys may add to that fear, the sheer number of options at your disposal tends to throw many off and go down a route that may not be optimal. Many companies have jumped in on the increasing trend of fitness and see potential to take advantage of a market with an ever growing demand. With that, many products have been shoehorned into the gym setting without much of a place. That is why we are going to give you a breakdown on some equipment you don’t need at the gym.
Which equipment you don’t require at the gym?
Smith Machine (For Most Exercises)
The Smith Machine intends to give users machine-like precision in exercises that are normally free weights. While this may seem good on paper, your movements start to become unnatural as you continue on. Exercises like Deadlifts and Squats for example require a plethora of muscles to ensure that the weights are carried naturally, but when your movements are locked into an incredibly restricted range of motion, it can lead up to poor posture and even slowed growth.
The muscles needed to stabilize the body to achieve proper form are often overlooked but critical for muscle building. For machines that are slightly less reliant on a group of muscles like bench press and seated shoulder press are still doable. Exercises to avoid on the Smith Machine include deadlifts, squats, rows and standing shoulder presses.
Leg Extension Machine
It is true that machines are amazing for isolating muscles to build strength and definition, but the way the Leg Extension Machine works to “enable” the body to do so may cause more harm than good. Simple tasks like walking, jogging or even strafing require many leg muscles to work in tandem with each other; but to isolate all these muscles at different points of time is rather awkward.
For the Leg Extension machine to truly work, it’s important to put in the same amount of time and effort to every other isolated leg muscle to benefit the muscle group as a whole. If you intend to do that, exercises like squats or lunges would work better. Overall, it takes a lot to make the Leg Extension machine work, and if you are strapped for time, it’s not worth it.
Inner and outer Thigh Machine
This is one of the biggest tricks that many fitness studios refuse to address. Inner and Outer Thigh Machine is more of a gimmick that makes a lot of sense in theory, but falls flat in terms of execution. The machine was designed to define the inner and outer thigh, while burning fat around the waist, but it fails to do that. There is a reason why weighted exercises directed towards the hips are few and far between - it is because there is no need for it.
Like the Leg Extension Machine, the optimal way to target large muscles for your legs is to do compound movements that will inevitably help develop your legs as a whole. Deadlifts in particular put a lot of natural pressure on the inner and outer thighs, while tackling your hamstrings and glutes all at once. A machine like this not only isn’t optimal like many other leg-based machines, but it will not provide much results, despite your best efforts.
Ab Crunch Machine
If there are any machines out there that are justified for alluring newcomers, it’d be the Ab Crunch Machine. It makes a lot of sense to simulate crunches and situps in the form of a machine, which has the added benefit of stacking on weights for a more challenging workout. The only problem is, that many underestimate the impact a machine like this would have on the user’s back.
The machine forces the user to deliberately hunch which is a direct sabotage to good postures that all your back exercises are made to provide. Additionally, core visibility and definition is heavily dependent on dieting and having a low body fat count. If this is achieved, planks and sit ups are more than enough to give the same results. Abs do require a little bit of bulk for your six pack to be more prominent, but are not nearly as necessary as every other body part.
Extremely Light Weights
To emphasise on “extreme”, lightweights below 2.5kg are completely unnecessary, regardless of how weak you are. If you can lift a bag of groceries, you definitely don’t need to go backwards in terms of strength just because you have underestimated your strength. While light weights are perfect for definition, going too light will make the point of using weights redundant in the first place.
The golden rule of doing definition-based workouts is that if you can do more than 15 repetitions, you are not lifting heavy enough, even if your goal is to tone. Weights that aren’t even a challenge to carry on the daily will only waste your time at the gym if you choose to continue using them.
This device is probably the least useless on the list, but it doesn’t benefit the user with a whole bunch of benefits either. Many who have joint injuries gravitate towards this machine and it is understandable. It functions somewhat like a treadmill, but is significantly less intense.
In terms of definition, many other exercises like running, jumping and skipping will allow for a wider range of movement that the aforementioned machine will struggle to provide. Because it is less intense, it also fails to stimulate the body’s cardiovascular system, which ultimately results in burning less fat. It isn’t the worst gadget at the gym by any means, but users should quickly graduate from this machine once they are more comfortable with intensifying their cardio workouts.