To machine or not to machine!

September 2, 2009 at 2:03 pm Leave a comment

What exercise should you do when you join a gym?

There are all these machines and I dont really know what to do. I see other people doing stuff so I copy them. Is that the right thing to do?

The whole concept of the need for gyms is because we are a society of non- movers. We sit at a desk all day, we sit in our cars, We sit in the couch or behind the computer. We really dont move much. So to join a gym and sit in a “machine” is really counter productive.

Our exercise selection should be able to help us improve our movement patterns that have maybe died because we don’t use those muscles. If you cannot do simple bodyweight exercises then why would you try things like a machine ab crunch or a Leg Curl Machinemachine leg curl which don’t utilise the joints properly.

This article will not address the full scope of why I think machines are not even necessary for the majority population save a very small amount who need it due to their disabilities.

So here is a basic order that one should follow to progress from “no movement” to advanced exercises.

One- Be able to perform basic body weight like pushups, pullups, lunges, squats and chops.

Two- Be able to perform basic dumb bell and or kettlebell exercises including some of the bodyweight ones.

Three- Be able to perform basic Barbell exercises (need balance in both limbs to do this)

Four- At this level you should be able to perform fitball and suspension training with medium difficulty

Five- Higher level body weight single limb and explosive exercises are at this level.

The premise that- I need to get strong therefore I use machines first- will set you up with false strength. You will gain strength but only in the machine. Outside of that when you wish to use those muscles, the stabilisers that you will need to recruit will be untrained and you are at a higher risk of injury.

So the premise is to train with a long term picture in mind, always assessing how this program will allow me to progress on to the next level.

Simple test Can you do 15 toe pushups?

Can you do 30 squats?

Can you do 20 lunges each leg?

Can you do 15 pullups under a bar with your feet on the ground?

If not then you are not ready for machines!

Tim James CPT AKI

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Entry filed under: Exercise, Fitness, Rehab and Prehab. Tags: , , , .

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