Let’s be honest, gyms are packed with tons of machines, devices and install new ones to impress and get gym-goers excited about. A lot and most equipment in the gym is useful and practical; however, there are some machines and exercises performed with these machines that I absolutely, 100% believe you should stay away from or use with EXTREME caution if you feel confident enough to avoid a serious injury. It’s really a matter of looking at the risk to reward ratio.
1) Leg Extension Machine
Every gym has one of these and is used by nearly everyone when it comes to looking for the easy way out to leg training. Aside from it being a less impressive isolation exercise for the quadriceps, it really puts the knee in a very vulnerable position by placing sheer forces and unwanted torque at the knee when in the bent position. With heavy resistance, this can ask for an ugly ACL injury. Also, it’s not a functional movement performed in our lives like a squat is, so instead perform squats or lunges and you will benefit from a significantly greater stimulus for your legs.
2) Lat Pull-Down Machine
Now there’s nothing wrong with lat pull-down, but to receive the best benefit from it, please just keep the bar in front of your chest. Countless times I see people pull the bar behind their neck with the mindset that it’s more effective. The only thing that this motion is more effective at is causing shoulder impingement. Most people don’t possess the most flexible shoulders, but unless you do then just be very cautious.