Monday, August 1, 2011

Top 5 WORST Gym Machines and the Kettlebell Therapy Solutions (Part 1)

It’s no big secret that gym machines can be bad for you and cause tremendous injury. The main issue is that most gym machines force your joints into motions which are unnatural and can apply terrible stress forces at the weakest points of your ligaments and tendons.

Here are my top 5 WORST gym machines:

  1. Seated leg extensions: Theoretically this machine strengthens the quadriceps muscles.

    The DANGER: Seated leg extensions loads your knee joint with forces unnatural to the knee itself. This machine can put incredible amounts of stress on the ligaments and tendons surrounding the kneecaps and within the knee joint itself. In fact, after certain knee surgeries, this machine is forbidden because of how destructive the forces can be on the knee!

    Kettlebell Therapy: The Kettlebell Swing – As discussed in my previous posts, the kettlebell swing is a full body comprehensive exercise which integrates literally every muscle in our body. The primary action muscles in swinging a kettlebell are the quadriceps, gluteals, and the core. The swing is an excellent solution to promoting quadriceps strength. 
    1. Seated Overhead Press Machine: Theoretically it strengthens shoulders and triceps.

      The DANGER: This machine locks your shoulder and elbow mechanics in an unnatural pattern of movement. Doing this applies high levels of stress forces to your shoulder joint, ligaments, and tendons. By being seated, the core, hips, and legs are incapable of assisting the shoulder girdle which is the best way to lift overhead.

      Kettlebell Therapy: The Kettlebell Press – The kettlebell press is a variation of the military press where only one arm is used at a time. Instead of muscling the weight toward the sky, a slight shoulder abduction and side-lean is executed to allow the shoulder’s rotator cuff and shoulder joint to move in its natural pattern of movement. By doing this in closed stance, the core, hips, and legs are recruited to stabilize and assist the shoulder girdle in integrated muscle movements which normalize scapulohumeral rhythm and improve shoulder health.

      1. Seated Leg Press: Theoretically this strengthens the quadriceps, gluteals, and hamstrings.

        The DANGER:  Unless properly set up, this machine can easily force the spine in awkward movements without the protective contraction of interspinous stabilization muscles – a combination which can hurt your back severely. Also, there can be a fair amount of stress experienced by the knee. In my clinical experience, I’ve seen several patients who have come out of the seated leg press with a completely torn quadriceps tendon requiring surgical repair! Exercise should be therapeutic and empowering, not injurious.
      Kettlebell Therapy: The Kettlebell Clean – The kettlebell clean is a progression of the swing. Instead of creating a full arc of travel, the clean is executed in a vertical pull which ends in a controlled balanced grip held at the level of the clavicle. A proper clean will engage similar muscles as is done in the swing with accentuation of the gluts and core.

      Coming up: Top 5 WORST Gym Machines and the Kettlebell Therapy Solutions (Part 2). In my next post, I will discuss the last of the 5 worst gym machine exercises, AND, I will post videos of the Kettlebell Therapy Solutions!

      1 comment:

      1. Great post! My name is Yury. I am a russian PT dealing with post-stroke and SCI patients.