Gym Equipments That You Must Avoid Using If You Are Serious About Bodybuilding
The notion of using gym equipments seems to signify a quicker and more precise growth of muscle and overall physique; the notion is partly correct, and partly incorrect. In reality, there are many equipments that act as a blessing for fitness freaks and the lazy ones who feel demotivated when asked to go for equipment-free freestyle training.
However, you might find it baffling and unconvincing that there are many equipments that will do more harm than good.
The concept of using gym equipments and accessories are to hit the target muscles and increase or decrease the workload without much fuss. However, there are many equipments that are insignificant yet somehow manage to find a place in your gym for no reason at all. Modern day gyms try to focus on racking up their equipment list, and with posters hanging over the wall and Air-Condition to pair with it comes as a lucrative package for any amateur. To specify such equipments, you need to know their applications, and whether or not an alternative is available.
Seated Twist Machine: The use of seated twist machine is still oblivious to my general senses, and there are many other exercises that will tone your side abs and build your core without hurting your back or spilling out cash for such an unnecessary equipment. A more scientific reason would be the stress it puts on your lower back as it turns your lumbar spine beyond the threshold of an average individual i.e. 13 degrees. Continuous pressure on the lower back region will not only harm your body in the long run, you will hit a plateau even before you are far away from being exhausted mentally.
Alternative: The traditional side planks might be a tad harder, but this will enhance your core growth and multiply your body strength. The Anti-Rotational Cable Chop is another alternative to the twist machine and additional weights can be piled on to enhance the difficulty level.
Back Extension: Back Extension is one of the popular exercises that goes well in tandem with the Romanian Deadlift or simply can work wonders when repetitions are increased. However, there is a downside to this as well. Much like the twist machine, the Back Extension works on your lower back. Prolong exposure to this exercise with weights being piled on rigorously can make you clutch your lower back in pain and agony. The pressure exerted due to the dumbbells stifles your flexibility, and makes you walk like a zombie after you have finished working out.
Alternative: The Bent-Over Row makes an equal impact, but increases the body flexibility. The Stiff-Leg Deadlift when applied using a pyramid set enhances core growth, although temporary hamstring problems can be seen. It is advised to stretch well before going all guns blazing on your Back Day. The Worm Walk is an exemplary stretching exercise that will get your back and hamstring up and running (metaphorically).
Seated Military Press: The effectiveness of seated military press cannot be questioned when adhered to the perfect posture, but to achieve the right posture could end up in a shoulder injury. The shoulders seem to twist even if you are a month into your exercise routine as the amount of weight often gets the better of your shoulder capacity.
Alternative: The Overhead Dumbbell Press can be looked as a similar alternative, although there is a little difference between the both of them. Pike pushup, an awkward yet apparently harmless freehand exercise that will spike up your anterior deltoid and lateral deltoid. For beginners it is advised to keep your legs on a stability ball or chair and perform sets with 4-5 repetitions only.
Abs Cruncher Machine: The popularity of Abs Cruncher machine hit the fitness audience and lured them with an absurd yet somehow believable notion of easy and simple way to gain a chiseled physique. Ardent fitness individuals might have found it baffling, but somehow the abs crunch machine is still found in every other gym around the world. Firstly, there is little significance and impact of it, and secondly you are well off without it. The typical abs exercises will not only help you achieve your goal, but cut out the laziness that the crunch machine will infuse in you.
Alternative: Regular half crunches, alternate toe touch, cycling, and many other exercises that will keep you fit and running. The woodchopper is another intriguing exercise that will carve your body accordingly. However, it would be unfair to undermine the significance of the crunch machine for the elder ones, and also for people suffering from Obesity, and are likely to yield better results from it.
Smith Machine for calf raises: Smith Machine is one of those equipments that can turn fatal at any point of time. Mainly used to bolster the calves and hamstrings, the use of Smith Machine should be performed under the guidance of your trainer even if you have achieved pro level, because one bad day can ruin your entire gym schedule. It should be noted that there is no strict no-no on the use of it as people trying to achieve insane calves will take months if they choose the conventional leg press and free hand lunges.
The Smith Machine drains out your shoulder and elbow profusely, which makes it difficult to achieve 3 proper sets of 10 repetitions. The weights need to be adjusted and you should not challenge your body threshold too much. The Barbell Hip-Thrust is a modification over the regular hip-thrust and can be seen as an effective alternative. However, individuals who are seeking for monstrous legs should perform their regular exercises on the Smith Machine under guidance.
The use of gym equipments varies from person to person and their respective goals, so one might find it helpful and carry out their gym days accordingly. For beginners and amateurs in bodybuilding, the growth of core muscle and stretching are an important factor and avoiding any major injuries should be your temporary goals. However, you need to understand your body development and judge whether all equipment are necessary or not.