A few points to take note of --->
- Even without the faults seen here (as outlined below), the use of any exercise machine often isolates a particular movement and removes any relevancy in relation to our primary movement patterns as humans.
- The leg press machine as seen here is dangerous machine which can cause just as many knee, hip and lower back issues as it solves. Whilst exercises like the squat (body weight, free weight, barbell or otherwise) are not exceptionally functional, they at least maintain an element of tensegrity throughout the body whilst the exercise is performed. Due to the position and angle of the chair on most leg press machines, it is usually impossible to maintain an integrity of strength and and internal tensegrity throughout the body and as a result the machine at best will only encourage control and activation of a small group of muscles in the leg and foot.
- The subject in this video however is demonstrating even more important issues. The outwards pointing direction of the feet combined with the close ankle stance shows no respect for the primary movement of the hip and knee joints - extension and flexion (forwards and backwards to you and I). Whilst the hip joint is capable of a sideways and rotation movement, this is not the primary direction or purpose of the joint, and the knee joint certainly can't perform these contortions. As a result of the leg position the subject is encouraging a high level of strain on the medial ligaments and bone structure of the knee which in turn is preventing the hip joint and ankle from activation in a natural manor creating lack of control in the ankle (as seen by excessive pronation and collapse of the ankle and foot, and then the knock on effect of a inhibited foot and weekend arch complex).
- To add insult to injury (literally), due to the subdued hip (glute) activation, the exerciser has tied an elastic resistance band around her knees in order to compensate and make the exercise more challenging again. This is simply a disaster. The band is further encouraging collapse and the aforementioned strain across the inner knee and is aiding the training of an un-natural muscle sequence (of internal and external rotation of the hip combined with adduction and abduction). This is essentially strengthening the pattern that shows itself as a duck-walk-waddle. You may laugh but this itself then leads to an incessant cycle of irritation/injury and pain for people that continue to load in these positions. Such movements show complete disregard for movement that is relevant to human movement and gait.
- And finally to top it all off, CHECK OUT THE SHOES! If all of the aforementioned crimes haven't caused enough damage as it is, the choice of shoes is the cherry on the cake. Such padded and shapely shoes have a direct impact on the sensory ability of the foot and its built in ability (with the help of the ankle and hip muscles) to support itself. A function that if not used, is simply lost, and can contribute to yet more biomechanical flaws, pains and injuries.
So what should you do -->
Firstly, take your shoes off! - if your gym doesn't allow you to train barefoot then source some flat, thin, flexible and neutral shoes that don't inhibit your foots ability to work and allow as much sensory contact with the ground as possible.
Secondly, ask yourself the question about if using any machines at the gym is appropriate for you and if so make sure you know how to use the machine whilst keeping your joints safe and respecting human biomechanics.
Thirdly, re-visit the above question. The chances you answered correctly if you still found yourself sitting on a machine are very slim. There are a whole host of exercises that can be far less dangerous and equally challenging than the machines. Even if you can't afford the luxury of a private trainer, a few basic movements performed well (and even if you don't know how to be 100% accurate) will be far more beneficial to you than misuse or mis choice of gym machines.
Constantly re-ask yourself as you repeat old movements and find new ones if your choice of exercise is relevant to us as human beings, because remember pain does not equal gain. Any coach still using the 'No pain, no gain' mantra is likely putting your joint health and longevity of movement at risk.
If this post has left you baffled and questioning your workout methods at the gym, feel free to be in touch with questions, requests for tips or indeed to set up a consultation meeting or video call to analyse your movement habits and update your training plan.
WHY STICKING TO THE MACHINES IN THE GYM MIGHT NOT BE AS FAIL SAFE AS YOU FIRST THOUGHT
This is a mockup. Publish to view how it will appear live.
This surveillance footage (of which the subject will remain anonymous) shows very clearly why the popular myth of 'I only use the machines at the gym because that way you can't go wrong' is so incorrect and that the use of these machines can be just as damaging or injury inviting as any other exercise or equipment if performed poorly and without taking into account our human biomechanics and biology.