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August 6, 2013

Some exercise machines should be avoided

Anyone who has been to the gym knows that a plethora of exercise machines are available to work various muscle groups.  

Many times, these machines are organized in a circuit that members can follow in order to work on strength training. What some people may not know is that certain machines should be avoided to prevent injuries. Some supplementary exercises, however, will achieve the same results.

LEG EXTENSION

The seated leg extension is designed to train the quadriceps, or muscles on the front of your thighs. 

Typically, an individual will sit in the machine and place his or her ankles below a pad attached to resistance. From this point, the individual will extend his or her legs against the opposing force in hopes of achieving quadriceps strength. It strengthens, however, a motion that your legs do not usually do and can put undue strain on the ligaments and tendons surrounding the kneecaps. 

Single-leg body-weight squats would be a good alternate exercise.

SHOULDER PRESS 

The seated shoulder-press machine is supposed to strengthen shoulder muscles and triceps. This machine actually places your shoulders in a vulnerable biomechanical position. Your hips are also unable to assist in the motion, which is a necessary movement when pressing something overhead. 

This exercise should be supplemented by standing overhead-dumbbell presses. This activity will allow hip assistance and really focus on building core strength as well.

LAT PULL-DOWNS

The seated behind-the-neck lat pull-down machine is a big no-no! The goal of this exercise is to condition latissimus dorsi, upper back and bicep muscles. However, this movement can place your shoulders in a risky position and cause possible rotator-cuff damage/shoulder impingement. 

Stick to doing these pull-downs with the bar in front of your head, or supplement with pull-ups on a bar.

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