Walk into any commercial gym and look at the floorspace the majority will be taken up by cardio machines of some type. Resistance training machines will also inhabit a sizeable portion of the gym relegating free weights and proper training space to little or non existence. Many machines in the gym are in my opinion on the border of being practically worthless, Most of the useless gym exercises involve machines but some free weight exercises should also be made redundant.
Here are 7 useless gym exercises to start us off.
These machines look a bit weird to perform, they also pale in effectiveness at developing the inner and outer thigh. Whilst the muscles are worked – the body is not designed to work in this way. These muscles are designed to work in coordination to help stabilise the legs.
These are generally reviled by trainers who know their shit as probably the most useless machines in commercial gymnasiums. However there is a large percentage of gym users, predominantly women who believe this is the panacea for their perceived problem thighs.
Whilst these machines are ineffective in creating any toning or increased muscularity, because they are so popular with female cliental, gym owners will not get rid of them. The reason for this is obvious – removal of these machines might potentially mean loss of clients and therefore income. Women using these machines however derive little or no benefit from them.
The female trainees believe that pressing their thighs out or in against a resistance is a good way to strengthen their inner/outer thighs and tone them up. They will spend weeks working on these machines and then wonder why they aren’t acheving the desired outcome.
They see the info-graphic on the machine that highlights the muscles on the inside and the outside of their thighs and unsurprisingly they think that is the magic bullet that is going to give them the perfect thighs they believe will be the key to their long term happiness.
More educated and confident female trainees will be doing lunges, step ups or even squats deriving benefit from these excellent protocols. The majority of females who hate their thighs however will work the machine because its easier than the more challenging exercises that actually work. Either that, or they believe the prevalent myth that if they train with barbells or dumbells using any appreciable weight, then they will become huge and muscular. They therefore derive no benefit and usually end up quitting.
Leg Extension Machine
Admitedly not entirely useless and used by bodybuilders as it does work to a degree. There is however no functional component to this whatsoever. There is no carryover to athletic performance as the human body is not designed to use the quads in this manner. There is no natural physical movement that isolates the quads so a machine was created to do this. It is not necessary. It does not carve striations into the thighs as many believe and the mags tell us either. Resistance exercises can if used appropriately make muscles grow. Muscle definition however, is essentially a function of diet. Additionally this exercise puts excessive strain on the knee area.
Why were these created? and why do I see them being performed under the watchful eye of personal trainers who should damn well know better. They are admitedly mostly performed by women with tiny dumbells (in case their arms get too big) believing that they will miraculously make their bingo wings disappear. Unfortunately the spot reduction myth is still being pumped and prevailent.
There are amitedly a few bodybuilders who do tricep kickbacks and attempt to justify their use as they supposedly develop the long head of the triceps. Really ?? These dudes would be better off doing overhead cable extensions or even better weighted dips.
Seated Abdominal Machine
This machine doesn’t hit the abdominals particularly well and is rarely set up for your individual structure. It places the spine in flexion under load and has a significant potential for injury.
This is yet another useless gym exercise which is most commonly used because of the misconception that abdominal exercises burn abdominal fat.
The seated ab-crunch machine adds weight to the myth. People also associate the more weight they use with better results, stronger abs, and less fat, which is simply not the case.
Boso Ball Squats
A Squat is a squat wherever its performed. Why choose to do it on an unstable surface? This is a recipe for disaster. Ignore the new age trainers who say its functional and strengthens the core. It has no carryover to athletic performance on solid ground.
Don’t be one of these guys
A guy at the gym I trained at years ago spent countless hours a week holding a stick behind his head whilst performing hundreds of these in the mistaken belief that it would tone up his midsection. Now they have machines that purport to do the same thing. Absolutely worthless.
Back Extension Machine
A common reason for performing low back extension on these machines is the belief that it will burn fat off of the lower back and love handles area. This again, is not true and a fitness myth.
Using the lower back extension machine is the equivalent of lifting a heavy object with your lower back only and not bending your legs.
When you lift a heavy object at home, the correct way to lift would help functionally strengthen your lower back, such as performing a dead lift with proper form.
The motion provided by the lower back extension machine is totally unnatural and can lead to injury if performed incorrectly.
There are viable functional alternatives to all of these useless gym exercises so ensure you utilise them.