Exercise Machines You Should Avoid

Exercise Machines You Should Avoid

While any machine can cause injury due to improper use or improper maintenance, some machines are flat-out dangerous to exercise with— period. It’s important to know what each machine in your gym does, how to use it properly, and that it is in proper working order. Equally important is knowing which machines to avoid.

Machines that isolate a single muscle often place undue stress on the rest of your body, leading to muscle injuries, spinal strain, and more. Most of these movements can be replaced with more natural exercises that make use of supporting muscles and proper movement.

Below, we’ll list the top five culprits for a dangerous workout and provide safe, alternative exercises.

Machine 1: Seated Leg Extension

In theory, this machine is meant to help train your quadriceps. In practice, however, it forces your legs through an unnatural motion and puts your knees at risk. The wait is placed close to your ankles, causing undue strain on the ligaments and tendons that surround your kneecaps. The motion has no real-life equivalent or benefit, and wearing down the cartilage with this strain can cause knee pain.

Alternative Exercises

Squats, especially One-legged Body-weight squats

Squats are far better at training your quadriceps, and they work your entire lower body as well. One-Legged Body Weight Squats have you lift and flex one leg while you dip with the other (you can use a rail for support until your body is accustomed to this motion).


Step-Ups will train more than just your quads— glutes, hamstrings, and calves also benefit. Since this exercise uses more muscles, it can help strengthen your knees instead of damaging them like the seated leg extension.

Chair Sits

If you need to start with something lighter and aren’t yet up to squats, chair sits are an appropriate middle ground. This move is as simple as it sounds: stand in front of a chair. Sit down. Stand back up. Repeat. Be sure to keep your back straight!

Machine 2: Seated Hip Abductor/Adductor

Hip Abductors are often touted for their outer thigh training; instead, they should be famous for spinal damage. Like with the seated leg extension machine, the hip abductor creates unnatural motion. This motion not only strains your spine but also carries the risk of pulling your kneecap out of place! If you want to work your thighs, then you need to use your hips and natural body weight as well.

Alternative Exercises

Single-Leg Squat

Your thighs’ main everyday function is to maintain stability. This should also be the goal in a gym setting. A single-leg body squat requires your thighs and hips to work together to brace your body and keep you upright. This motion works your quads, glutes, and hamstrings as well. Start with basic strength training exercises so as not to overwhelm your body.

Lateral Band Walks

Resistance bands are amazing multipurpose gym tools that you can also use at home. They are convenient and portable. For a lateral band walk, loop the resistance band around your legs near the ankles and take 20 steps to the side.


Lunges are another great exercise to work your hips and thighs while stabilizing your natural body weight. Side lunges are the best replacements for a hip abductor, replacing the machine with a natural movement.

Looking to blast your quads and hamstrings while engaging your hip and stabilizing muscles? Look no further than the Life Fitness G2 Home Gym with Leg Press.

Machine 3: Seated Chest Fly

We’re sensing a theme here: unnatural movement is bad. The Seated Chest Fly is meant to work your chest and shoulders. The risks? It puts unnecessary strain on your shoulder joint, rotator cuff, and connective tissue; puts your shoulder in an unstable position; and threatens a lopsided workout. If one arm is naturally stronger than the other, it takes on most of the work in moving the weights and steals all the benefit. You need an exercise that will load both arms evenly without the undue strain.

Alternative Exercises

Pushups and Incline Pushups

A classic move, pushups engage both sides of your chest equally. You also make use of your core for balance and support. Adjusting your pushups can make them easier or harder, but all forms work with larger muscle groups instead of isolating a single set.

In search of a safe and effective machine that will blast your pecs and give you a workout you won’t soon forget? Check out the Hoist V4 Elite Gym with the flexibility to fit in any fitness goal, including multiple options for seated presses.

Machine 4: Abdominal Machines

Equipment like the Seated Rotation Machine and Roman Chair Sit-Up are no good for your workout. Just about every ab machine on the market works your outer abs alone, ignoring the deeper muscles. This can make your abs less toned and flatter; the machines can also cause undue strain on your spine and other areas depending on the motion they use.

Alternative Exercises


And we don’t mean the Instagram fad. The Plank exercise works your abdominals, arms, and back. Work your abs more by accompanying your planks with these tips. For a proper plank, start facedown on the floor. Place your palms down flat and prop up with your forearms. Rise up on your toes, keeping your back flat, and contract your glutes, abdominals, and lats. Don’t let your rear end stick up!

Cable Wood Chop

This exercise makes use of a single cable to mimic a woodchopping action. This gets your abdominals, but it also targets obliques, shoulders, back, and glutes. Place your feet comfortably apart and lift both arms over one shoulder to grab the cable handle. The motion will pull downward across your body until you pass the opposite thigh.

Machine 5: Seated Shoulder Press

The Seated Shoulder Press is meant to help your shoulders and triceps. Instead, it puts your shoulders in a vulnerable position and prevents the natural support from your hips. The awkward position also has a restricted range of motions— in other words, this machine is a recipe for disaster, including a myriad of shoulder issues.

Alternative Exercises

Free weights and medicine balls

These exercise aids allow you to work on your shoulders and triceps while allowing your full range of motion and natural hip support. A popular move is the medicine ball throw, where you stand three feet from the wall and bounce the ball about four feet over your head. It’s a continuous motion exercise, where you squat to catch the ball and rise to throw it upward.
For free weights, consider alternate dumbbell presses. Shift your right hip forward while pushing the right dumbbell overhead, then switch to the left.

Fitness Expo Stores in Kenner Can Help You Choose the Best Machines for Your Gym

The professional fitness experts at Kenner Fitness Expo can help you understand the basics of a safe, effective workout. Even better, they can help you choose gym equipment that can better suit your exercise needs so that you don’t have to worry about your workout doing more harm than good. Other benefits of turning to Fitness Expo Stores include:

  • Best Selection
  • Competitive Pricing
  • Delivery and Installation
  • Financing Options
  • Fitness Consultants
  • Service Technicians