I think the title of this post is pretty self explanatory, but here are the 5 pieces of gym equipment that I would never recommend or utilize in one of my programs. I’ve seen far too many gym goers, at best, waste ample amounts of time on these machines, and at worst, get seriously injured. I suppose you don’t have to take my word for it, but don’t act surprised if one day you overhear me delivering an, “I told you so.”
1. The Smith Machine
The Smith Machine – or what I more affectionately refer to as a glorified coat rack – is a machine I would not wish on my worst enemy. I can practically hear the pitch meeting in regards to this machine. No doubt it was promoted as a safer, more stable alternative to the free, unattached barbell in a squat rack. However, here is the resulting issue: when locking down a barbell to primarily move on either a strict vertical or horizontal plane, you completely throw off the natural, diagonal trajectory a barbell travels on any squat, dead lift, or bench pattern. Therefore, with a machine unwilling to bend, your body is left to be thrown off its center of gravity, forcing your muscles to inappropriately compensate for the displacement. Please save yourself the future aches and pains and stick to the free-moving barbell instead.
2. Adductor Machine
Let us cut right to the chase with this one… Currently, as a society, we all sit far too much. Considering this well-known statistic – and the fact that while you sit you are constantly in a state of compressing your adductors and hip flexors – no one needs assistance building strength in these muscles. No one. For sake of the argument, let us take a moment to consider it from another angle… The process of building strength requires the development of muscle. The tear and repair process associated usually results in areas of larger, more defined body mass. In a society where the desire for a thigh-gap* has greater hold than Mufasa in that stampede scene from The Lion King…why are people still gunning for a machine targeting muscle development in that exact area?? Please, do yourself and your fellow man a favor and place an “Out of Order” sign on this machine the next time you are in the gym.
*Please note that the referenced “desire” for a thigh-gap is not a viewpoint shared by Talia Mariani or this blog. Frankly, the continuing conversation surrounding women and their bodies is extremely sexist and nothing short of body-shaming. Please continue to love yourself and embrace your body regardless of whether you possess a thigh-gap or not. F**k the patriarchy and any conformist standards of what society deems “attractive.”
3. Abductor Machine
Curse the hundreds upon thousands of celebrity fitness accounts on Instagram promoting the use of this godforsaken machine. Not to sound too much like This Guy, but this machine does absolutely nothing to promote functional training. Argue all you want, but there is next to no chance of this movement pattern coming into play and assisting you in your everyday life. Even were you Princess Leia or Chewbacca, and you found yourself stuck in a giant, human trash compactor – chances are you STILL wouldn’t use your abducting thighs of steal to save you from the impending doom…because it simply isn’t a thing!Now, if you want to hop on board the big booty trend and embrace your inner
Beyonce….fantastic! I’m happy to hear it! Skip this machine and learn to effectively squat or dead lift instead. You know what they say – “Happy Glutes, Happy Lutes”…which is a reference to Medieval Minstrels. Medieval Minstrels were known for their singing, and singing has been proven to produce endorphins. Suck it! You’ve just been “scienced.”
Oh lord…I can already see the hate mail I am going to receive in regards to this… Look…in short…you’ve been lied to. Partly from medical professionals, but mostly by yourself. An elliptical is not the answer to your knee pain while running. I’m sorry, it’s just not. A device that keeps your feet stuck to the platform, will not allow you to travel through your natural gait pattern, which will screw with your center of gravity, deactivate your core, and leave you fighting to gain stability by compensating through other muscular tension.Ever stepped off an elliptical and noticed your feet have gone numb? Yeah…not a good sign. Especially when considering the machine is meant to promote cardio, and therefore, blood flow should be at its peak. You want to be able to run without knee pain? Awesome – I commend you, but an elliptical is not the way to do it. Hop off that torture device and build your stability from the ground up. Start with walking and core work, increase the intensity by slowly increasing your incline and speed. There is a path to pain free running, but your first step is to start with strength training.
5. Recumbent Bicycle
Come on…be honest… this has to be the most insulting piece of gym equipment that ever was. It is literally the La-Z-Boy of cardio equipment. You could honestly have a more challenging workout while actually sitting in a recliner and freely peddling your feet – at least that way your core would be forced to actually engage. I know I have already mentioned it once in this article…but you can bear for me to say it again…we all sit too much as a society. Please, grant me the space to quickly walk through a typical workday for many…You (the generic you) wake up, and get ready for work. Solid chance that your commute to work includes either a 20-40 minute drive or public transit where I am guessing you’re gunning for a seat. You get to work where 80% of Americans sit completing desk work for the next 8 hours. You finally get out of work and decide you’re going to do something healthy and beneficial for yourself. Therefore, you spend another 10 minutes in your car to get to your gym in order to do what??!!…sit on a reclining bike and peddle. This is not your answer to a healthier lifestyle. This machine is not doing anything to help you get closer to your goals. In fact, it is quite literally opposing your efforts as it crunches and grinds your hip flexors into a fury. Please, Please, PLEASE…stay off this machine at all costs. Literally…do anything else. Anything. Well, “anything” provided it didn’t already make its way onto this list 😉
Hope this article helps all you New Year Resolutionists to explore better equipment at the gym. I commend you for your journeys. Looking to dispute the claims I’ve made here? I welcome the challenge 😉 Reach out to me here and plead your case. I’d love to have a meaty dialogue on the matter. Looking for more guidance on what to actually do once inside a gym? Reach out to me here and inquire about a personalized program design. I’d be thrilled to be part of your journey 🙂
Until next time – xoxo,