Weight and Resistance Training - Great (long) article on why to avoid machines




Mel
03-05-2008, 07:45 PM
There have been lots of discussions here on the topic of machine training versus free weights and the value of multi-joint, multi-planar exercises. Although long, this article (http://www.bestlifeonline.com/cms/publish/health-fitness/Is_Your_Workout_Wasting_Your_Time.shtml) really sums up how all those machines became the standard way to work out in gyms, and why it's such a poor idea.

At the private club where I train, the most popular piece of "equipment" is the 30X30 foot rubber mat in the center of the facility. The long hallway is a close second. Every once in a while, one of the trainers will use a machine just to make the owner feel like he didn't waste too much money :lol3:

If you don't want to read through the history of machine based training, skip to page 3. I found the whole article a great read!
Mel


nelie
03-05-2008, 08:07 PM
I like it. And they mentioned kettlebells :)

I know I used to love the machines but in recent years, I've become a bit wary of many of them. Obviously it makes more sense to use your body as part of your exercise rather than isolation and possibly moving your body in unnatural positions.

Meg
03-05-2008, 08:22 PM
Great article, Mel! I hope you can sticky it or add it to one of the stickys. It's worth saving for future reference. :)


nelie
03-05-2008, 08:25 PM
I also have to say I feel dumb, I had been looking for kettlebell training in my area but couldn't find any. I had looked at Crossfit's site before but failed to look for local affiliates. I found a (hardcore kick butt) gym not too far from here. It appears another will be opening soon.

Azure
03-05-2008, 09:31 PM
I <3 kettlebells! I don't really use them exclusively--but when I do rows, I do kettlebell rows while standing in a braced position (I feel like I'm starting a lawnmower!). I feel like I get better full-body movement when I do them standing as opposed to on a bench :) I still use my DBs and my regular BBs--but kettlebells are fun--and cute :D

Lydia227
03-05-2008, 10:19 PM
Mel: Thanks for sharing this great article. Wow, they could have been describing the gyms I visited last month. The tone of the article really mimics my gut reaction to the rows and rows of isolation exercise equipment against the stark contrast of the free weight area set up as an afterthought. The guy just wanted to keep discussing on and on about their wonderful equipment selection. I kept thinking, :chin: "He really doesn't get this. He thinks I should be impressed with this and it is going to help make the sale." :?: Okay, in all fairness three years ago, I would have been impressed. Since then I have done a lot of research and application and had pretty good result on my own. But most people will not have the luxury of that kind of time and commitment for all kinds of reasons. Someone like me would have benefited from a more functional style approach to fitness with guidance. But, that is expensive to staff and well, they are in the business to make money.

This article comes at a great time for me to share with a friend. She has just joined a new place and is interested in learning how to us the equipment. I shudder each time she refers to the word "machines." I can't wait to share this article with her along with the New Rules book of course. :devil:

sportmom
03-05-2008, 11:16 PM
It's all starting to make so much sense now as to why in the late 80/90's I never really saw any results from my hours on the Nautilus machines and my dedication to the aerobics room. Low-impact was big, I was all over that, followed later in the 90s by step, as it was all better than the high-impact jarring variety. I lost weight but never saw a darn thing in terms of muscle development.

Lifeguard
03-06-2008, 05:11 AM
Great article! I love the section regarding using the far corners of the gym. I'm constantly setting myself up in the empty aerobics room (bringing dumbbells with me for step-ups) or doing walking lunges between the rows of machines - lol!

I can't remember the last time I used a machine - unless you count the cable machine - that I touch almost every time!

Mel
03-06-2008, 07:17 AM
I'm going to sticky this tonight, but lock the sticky thread. I don't want it to be a discussion thread like some of the other stickies. There is already a machine vs. free weight where a few folk still argue the point.

Glad you all liked it and that it was timely for you, Lydia!

Mel

BillBlueEyes
03-06-2008, 08:10 AM
Great article, Mel,

Thanks for posting it.

I'm looking at how to improve my gym work and (e.g. am still doing Leg Extentions because I always have :o). Time to rework my routines.

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baffled111
03-06-2008, 10:53 AM
BillBlueEyes, when I first started doing weights, I came here for help. I reported which leg machines I'd been using and asked how to improve my routine. Depalma pointed out that I was doing all my leg work *sitting down* and that perhaps this might be slightly counterintuitive. So, squats, deadlifts and lunges it is: working my legs, standing up, performing actual motions. :)



.

BillBlueEyes
03-06-2008, 11:37 AM
baffled111 Are squats OK for someone 64 years old?


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Meg
03-06-2008, 11:54 AM
Bill, Mel and I are both 53 and happily squatting away. Our Pat/WaterRat is a little older and still doing 'em. :D So long as you don't have knee issues that would get in the way, why not? Start off with no weight just to get the form down and slowly work up from there. And have fun -- squats are a great exercise!

horsey
03-06-2008, 01:24 PM
I too like the idea of hiding out in corners of the gym, when I checked out a local one last month that's what I told the woman giving me a tour... "great there's places to hide out." In different periods of my life I've joined gyms and have rarely gone. I've done my best toning at home with dumbbells. Now I have a little boy and my time is limited so dumbbells are even more my friends then ever. I think a lot of going to gyms is about the social atmosphere and gyms competing with the most/best equipment. Can you imagine here we have four new gyms starting this year?

WaterRat
03-06-2008, 03:33 PM
Bill, Meg's right. I'm 63 and I do them - slowly and carefully, as I do have knee "issues." But they do lots more for me than other leg exercises. (I will issue a disclaimer that my physical therapist who I saw for 5 months in 07, had me doing one legged leg presses to "train" my bad knee. But he also had me doing lunges, squats, step-ups and leg lifts, oh and extensions using the cable machine. He was totally against the leg extension machines.) I also do HIIT on the elliptical (to eliminate the impact) and the second week of April I'm doing a week-long hiking trip in the Grand Canyon. :)

Horsey, no social aspect to a gym for me - I rarely speak to anyone unless it's someone I already know. I seldom take classes. I go in, do my workout, go home. Okay, sometimes I shower if I'm not going straight home. :lol:

lalala123
03-06-2008, 04:36 PM
Thanks for the link, Mel! I really liked the article, especially page 4 where he suggests some exercises. :)

Mel
03-06-2008, 07:37 PM
Bill- If you have no injuries, squats, lunges and deadlifts are fine. My 74 yr old step-father works out 3 times a week and does everything us young uns do :lol3: He's just very careful (as am I) to lift with perfect form and a weight that he can safely handle. That should hold true for everyone!

Mel

BillBlueEyes
03-06-2008, 08:00 PM
Thanks Mel, Meg, and Pat for the encouragement to do my squats. I'll add a few when I workout tomorrow.



And then my lunges.




So many muscles, so little time.


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Depalma
03-06-2008, 08:39 PM
So many muscles, so little time.


Yup, that's why we love those compound exercises. Hit as many of those muscles at once as we can.

BillBlueEyes
03-07-2008, 05:56 PM
So, taking the good advice here, I squat today at gym. Just 2 sets of 15 reps, done slowly, against a ball against the wall. I didn't use the Leg Extension machine, in fact I kinda scorned it as I passed by like an ex-smoker scorning a butt.

Thanks for your kind advice.

[Now, will some kind English Major tell me how to conjugate 'squat']

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Nori71
03-08-2008, 10:14 PM
Newbie here - I started weight training a couple months ago and haven't been using any machines - except the cable. Wouldn't you know it, I read this article a few days ago and then Thursday my trainer puts me on this split foot plate leg press machine (I don't know what it's called, but it's the best way for me to describe it.). It was very challenging for me to do simultaneous-alternating leg presses. He basically said he was showing me these just for some variety...to still do the squats, lunges and step-ups, but incorporate these in occasionally? Any point to that? By the end of 3 sets I would actually prefer to never do them again.

Mel
03-09-2008, 09:59 AM
Nori- I know exactly what you are talking about. We had one at the last gym where I worked. I think the alternating presses are a challenging exercise. Another variationn is to keep the plate split and try to do presses with both legs and keep them completely even. It's good to have variety in your workout, but again, you are completely stationary and your back and abs are being supported by the backrest of the leg press machine. I wouldn't throw it out, but just be aware that unless you are ONLY training for more aesthetic muscles, moving your whole body and using you core muscles to balance will give you more of a workout than a seated exercise.

Mel

baffled111
03-09-2008, 12:42 PM
Bill: Good job!!! I started with the wall squats too. Btw, it's squatted. Now I squat, yesterday I squatted, tomorrow I will squat. :)

Nori71
03-09-2008, 01:03 PM
Thanks so much, Mel!