Trying to be fit does not mean you use every single exercise machine at the gym. Safety always comes first and without proper supervision, you might risk tearing your muscles or injuring your lower back. Some of the exercise machines at the gym can be dangerous if not used properly. Here’s a list of exercise machines you should only use with an instructor.
Ab Crunch Machine
Ab crunch machines might seem like the perfect machine to build muscular six packs. While performing crunches does stimulate the growth of abs, a full crunch flexes your spinal erectors and puts maximum pressure on your lower back. Without the guidance of a professional, you risk damaging the discs located in your back.
If you really want your abs to show, without injuring yourself, consider hitting the treadmill instead.
While rows are a great exercise on their own, using a rowing machine without an instructor might cause lower back pain. Reaching too far forward to grasp the handles while exercising can damage the spine and create a nerve cluster down the lower back. Always use cable rows under the supervision of an expert. To make the machine safer to use, consider using a piece of chain to bring the handles closer to you so you do not have to reach out too far.
Smith machine is a common exercise machine used particularly for weight training. The machine moves on a fixed path, causing your shoulders and elbows to maintain an awkward position. This interferes with your natural movement. Without expert supervision, you could increase the stress on your joints and stabilizer muscles. A safer alternative to using the smith machine is performing exercises, such as shrugs and calf-raises, at home.
This machine twists the spine which may cause permanent damage to the discs located between your vertebrae. Using an Ab Twister without the supervision of an instructor may cause serious damage to your lower back. Note that most Ab machines should not be used on your own, as they create lower back problems and cause rotation that is beyond the safe range motion. A safer alternative to using this machine is performing slow and controlled yoga stretches. Remember, your spine is designed to resist twisting, not generate it.
Be wary of these exercise machines and consider hiring an instructor if you really need to use them, to stay safe and injury-free.