Hey you wild thing you. You know how people say the gym is like a zoo?
Everyone running, not really getting anywhere. Not able to be free.
I like this reference because I think it's so true. Don't get me wrong I love the gym, after years of struggling with it, it has turned into a place I enjoy (most of the time). The thing is, I don't use it the way I "should".
Let's review a basic workout you may find on pinterest or some random website:
Smith machine squats Leg curls Leg press Abductor machine Adductor Machine Calf raises
Now, while these moves certainly will give you a result. It' may not be the best, nor the most efficient way to do so.
When you use machines, they are having you move in their line of motion, and not a natural path of motion. You are sacrificing all the benefits by being locked into the machine. We'll talk more about that later.
Training should be functional. When you limit yourself to machines only, you conform to what the machine wants you to do. Which may or may not play out in real life. Your body is meant to push, pull, squat, walk, twist, lunge. e.g, You should be able to squat down and pick up a case of water without a rounded back and our knees collapsing in.
Your training should enhance your life, help you move better and preform better. By training functional movements, correctly the outcome will enhance your life and body.
Here's a good example to help you understand better: The Squat is a move that is phenomenal and everyone should do it in some variation. However there are many components to this move, but when you only use the smith machine we are being restricted from doing a squat in a full range of motion, e.g, Being forced to move in this locked position, you won't get the booty gains you normally would from a full barbel squat.
When you squat with a barbel you aren't just focusing on your quads, glutes or hammies you are focusing on balance and your core like crazy. Having such a heavy load on your back, squatting down and driving up, require us to fully engage our core and keep it tight. BUT when we use the smith machine we don't have to do that because the bar is stabilized for us. Meaning it's connected to the machine, it doesn't allow you to control the bar.
Now you know why I don't use the smith machine, I'm not saying throw it out completely but lets focus on more functional movements that will give you more bang for your buck.
I'm not saying bail on the gym, but I am suggesting to use more bodyweight, use the barbel, squat//deadlift//use kettlebells. Beyond that, try taking your workout outside! Push and press logs, throw rocks..deaddlift them too, crawl, sprint. The possibilities are endless.
Here's a great workout you can do IN the gym, but without using machines:
Based on your fitness level do 3-5 circuits, use a challenging weight that allows you to perform the move with proper form.
12 Renegade Rows R/L 10 Push Ups 12 Weighted Burpees (Medicine ball OR EZ bar) 30 second Plank 10 Kettlebell Push Presses R/L 10 Kettlebell Swings
How are you currently training?
If you're using a lot of machines, how can you start to train more function to your program?
Let me know, leave a comment below!