Gym machines can be highly beneficial in your routine. They can provide a user-friendly, convenient way to workout and help you build lean muscle, endurance and strength. Although not every machine is made for every person in mind (different heights, weights, some people are broader etc.), they can help isolate specific muscle groups which can help with overall body symmetry and balance. Unlike free-weights, machines can only move in their fixed positions and done incorrectly, could cause more issues than it’s worth. Here’s 5 of the most commonly done wrong machine exercises in the gym.
It’s common that people will do their reps too fast and also let the heels drop too quickly after each rep instead of controlling the motion on the upwards AND downwards phase. You may also see people go too heavy so that their lower back comes away from the back of the seat to compensate. Control is key here, sit upright, full range of motions, squeeze at the top and lower slowly.
With lat pulldown you may see people pulling behind the neck while thrusting their heads forward, this can cause a LOT of strain on the neck and shoulder muscles, even more so for beginners who are unsure. While leaning back slightly (don’t overdo the lean), pull the bar down to the top of your chest, pause then return to the starting position slowly under control. As mentioned before, don’t yank the weight down and lean as far back as you can to do so, chances are the weights too heavy and you’re not controlling the exercise.
People may often do a few mistakes on this machine. If your butt comes off the seat and your shoulders elevate and roll forward while performing your sets, your weight is too heavy. Elevate the seat a bit and cut back on the weight so that you can master the form and get a better squeeze out of the exercise.
A great leg and butt workout, but only when done correctly. If you’re draping yourself over the front of the machine, bent right over and holding on to the handrails…you’re probably giving your upper body a harder workout than your legs. Just like with the treadmill, try to avoid holding the handrails if you can, especially on inclines as it can take the incline benefits away from you. Stay as upright as possible and focus on powering through your legs and butt.
When you use this, make sure you check your form. People often go ‘too deep’ with the knees in the starting position, which isn’t good for the lower back and can cause ’rounding’. Your legs should be no more than 90 degrees to begin with. Then straighten your legs pushing through the heels but don’t lock your knees at the top. Keep relaxed with your head pressed against the support and maintain a natural curve in your back.