Want to make the most of your precious time spent at the gym? Our friends at Health share the weight machines you should skip and the exercises to do in their place.
By Jennifer Cohen
We have our reasons for picking each of these exercises, but with each one you’re just not getting the most bang for your buck when you use exercise machines. Why? For one, you usually end up not using the muscles you want to be targeting as much as you think, because your more dominant, stronger muscles end up doing most of the work. Two, these machines end up doing 30 to 40 percent of the work for you, robbing you of your progress! Try these alternatives to engage multiple muscle groups at once, force yourself to engage your core, and make your workout as efficient as possible.
1. Crunches. An improper crunch is the best way to strain your neck and totally ignore your abs. Many people pull from their neck and then curl up in a way that puts needless strain on key points of their spine. And using an exercise machine is no guarantee that you will be doing it correctly.
Try instead: Planks. Get in a push-up position, propping yourself up on your elbows and forearms. Holding yourself up while keeping your back, butt and heels in line with each other works your entire core, without any of the strain of crunches. With planks, you’re working your entire core, making it more effective than a crunch. Try holding the plank position 3 times for 30 seconds each.
2. Thigh Adductor Machine. If you’re fixated on your thighs and think the adductor will help them spot reduce, think again. Here the machine is doing a lot of the work for you and you’ll get much more out of it by doing something else. Without the machine you can work on the thighs you’re after, and you just may be able to reduce knee pain at the same time.
Try instead: Squeeze bridge. Get on your back, feet on the ground and knees bent, holding yourself up so your body is at a 45 degree angle, and hold a yoga block between your knees. You’ll feel your core and your inner thighs burning. If you don’t have a yoga block, try a rectangular tupperware container — just holding it there will do the trick for beginners.
Keep reading for three more weight-machines to skip.