Step Away from the Rack
Avoid these ineffective gym machines
You may not have guns like Madonna or legs like Angelina, but by gosh you’re at the gym every week working on them. But what doesn’t work at the gym? A back or wrist brace because you hurt yourself on a gym machine. We asked Irene Lewis-McCormick, MS, CSCS, a personal trainer and author of A Woman’s Guide to Muscle and Strength for her tips on what weight machines to avoid.
The Power Rack: The Power Rack or squat cage is a metal cage that has holders where you can rest your barbell before doing squats. Quite frankly, it looks more like it belongs in Christian Grey’s “red room” than in the gym. The problem with the rack is it doesn’t have a self-spotting mechanism and “can be dangerous if used without instruction or a spotter,” Lewis-McCormick said.
Inner/Outer Thigh Machine: Remember your mom, plugging away at Suzanne Somers’ Thighmaster? We hate to break it to you, but hip abduction/adduction machines do just about the same thing: Not a lot. “I believe that most women try to spot reduce the inner/outer thighs by using that machine, which is simply not possible,” Lewis-McCormick said. The machine also places extra strain on your back and can pull on your iliotibial band, potentially moving your kneecap out of place.
Standing Calf-Raise Machine: We get that you want to look good in your heels, but stay as far away from the standing calf-raise machine as Katy Perry should from that heartbreaker John Mayer. The machine requires you to stand under shoulder pads that resist against you as you perform calf raises. The added weight on your shoulders causes your spine to compress, increasing your risk for back injuries.
xx, The FabFitFun Team