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
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
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!
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