Home Featured The SBM #BeTheBetter Series: 5 Gym Machines To Avoid Like The Plague

The SBM #BeTheBetter Series: 5 Gym Machines To Avoid Like The Plague


What’s going on band?! Hope you all have been happy, healthy and better than you were yesterday. I was training a client this past week and this is the conversation that ensued during their rest period:

Me: Alright, 25 seconds till your next set begins.

Client: SIGHHHHHHH…. -_- pshhhh huff! OK.

Me: (:

Client: Quick Question, why don’t we ever use that machine *points to leg extension*

Me: GASPPPPP — REST PERIOD EXTENDED! *I had to explain to them the reason why*

…and so it lead me to extend this awareness to the rest of the band, here are 5 gym machines I’d advise you to stay away from! (no particular order)


#5 The Smith Machine 

Unfortunately every gym has one. The machine with the barbell attached to it to make it “safe” for you to do squats and bench presses etc, ALLEGEDLY.

3 Cons with this machine:

A. You don’t work your smaller stabilizer muscles when using a fixed/attached bar. In other words you are not maximizing your strength and subsequently you are having a less effective workout.

B. Since you are not training these smaller stabilizer muscles you have now INCREASED your risk of injury outside of the gym. Doing anything physical will require those untrained muscles to work and that can mean trouble.

C. This machine teaches you poor form. No movement is strictly up and down (bench press) or if you’re squatting your feet should not be in front of you with an upright back. Functional/Effective movement is free in nature, this machine fails to adhere to that.

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#BeTheBetter – Use the regular Squat rack (where the bar is not attached) or Dumbbells/Free weights.

#4 Hip Adductor/Abductor Machine

The machine that works your inner thighs and outer thighs, ALLEGEDLY.

Guess what? It doesn’t work. In actuality you’re using interior hip rotators MORE THAN anything else (that’s that burn you feel) and we can’t see those muscles in the mirror.

#BeTheBetter – Do some Squats (and other variations of squats i.e. Sumo Squats) and you’ll hit those “mirror muscles” AND those important interior muscles as well.

#3 The ever famous…LEG EXTENSION MACHINE!

^^^^^ WTheeH is he smiling about?

OK OK OK. I know you feel it in your Quads and a lot of bodybuilders use them. But weighing the pros vs cons scale, it is HEAVY on the CONS side.

Unless you are rehabbing a knee injury, have been on bed rest/not using ANY weight. I have two words for you: stay off.

A. Every time you lift you stretch your ACL.  You heard it before, the ligament  that retires/sidelines pro athletes when torn (shout out to D.Rose). The ACL is a vital ligament for your knee and guess what? IT DOES NOT like to be stretched!

 B. Loading and moving ONLY from your knee joint puts extreme pressure on the back of your patella (kneecap) at its thinnest areas. You know what this can lead to? Follow the arrow ——->——>—–>———>——>——-> CRACK!

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C.  Were the first 2 not enough?!

#2 The AB Crunch Machine


They come in all different colors, sizes, styles and pretty names AND INFOMERCIALS! NOOOO!!!!!

Every time I see someone adding load to their spine to do a crunch or doing a crunch on a machine in general I cringe. Why? Because I know one day someone is going to have to rehab that individuals back.

Seriously, It puts enormous amounts of BAD pressure and flexing on your spine which yields nothing but trouble!

#BeTheBetter – do your cardio, planks and other SAFE ab movements to get those desired abs.

Last but not least is…



^^^ Say a prayer for his Spine.

Take a second and look at this movement. Your upper body going in two different directions while your lower body stays put/fixed. Remember we know movement is suppose to be free NOT fixed!

Honestly, it looks like a machine Jigsaw would use from the SAW movie series. Your spine is screaming folks! GET OFF this machine!

Does it help give you your six pack abs? NO. Ice pack for your back? YES. Maybe even a brace, possibly a herniation!

OK! There you have it now don’t let me catch any of you on one of those machines or else…actually… I won’t have to do anything you’re already hurting yourself.  Till next time band…#BeTheBetter!

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-Mr. Be The Better

Before I run (no pun), here’s a gift that will keep on giving from me to you:

They say It takes about 21 days to create a pattern and eventually a habit. So let’s start making (and breaking) some! Every month I’ll assign a different challenge for you to participate in for 21 days! You’re not telling yourself you will do this habit forever, but instead tell yourself you are doing this habit for the next 21 days! We’ll call it #BetterHabits


Everyday for the next 21 days I want you to eat AT LEAST 5-7 servings of Fruits and/or Vegetables. If you have trouble with what a serving is ask me or Google it. Tweet, Instagram, FaceBook comment with your progress,pics and updates! Be sure to include #BetterHabits or #BeTheBetter in your posts!


  1. Dang, I was using 3 out of 5 of these machines 🙁 *sigh*…… When you know better, you do better (Or be the better, in this case). Thanks for the tips, great addition to the site SBM

  2. This was good! That leg extension machine is hard to let go though. It sits over there and calls my name every time I'm in the gym.

  3. Out the 5 only one i use is the leg extension. Someone warned me about the Smith machine probably my first week attending the gym regularly, the hip ab/adductor are usually for females who wanna look busy as thet text away, and i already know the deal with this ab machines.

    But a question, my homegirl was telling me that the elliptical wasnt good for you either, thoughts?

  4. What if I want to work my interior hip rotators? Is that machine what I should be using, or is it harmful in any way?

    1. By all means do as many squats, lunges, deadlifts etc and you'll get those rotators as well as multiple other benefits.

    2. Do some plie squats, or as Barrington said, the sumo deadlifts. Not only will you feel it in your adductors more, but your butt and legs will be sore.

  5. I swear, if there are two machines at my gym that I could throw into the bottom of the pool, it would be the hip abductor and adductor. I SMH everytime I see a woman doing what I've dubbed "the woman's workout", which consists of 60-150 minutes of various cardio machines, then six sets on abductor and adductor machines, and another six sets on the ab crunch machine.

    1. Stop telling on me!!! lol!

      Although thanks to a trainer I worked with I'm now stepping up my push-up/plank game.

  6. damn Damn DAMN! Damn it to all hell! Here i am, thinking i'm "being the better" yesterday with my workout and i used every last one of these machines! *facepalms and walks away*

  7. 5-7 servings of Fruit/Vegetables seems like a bit much. What's a realistic way to do this? I need an example…

    1. Not hard at all. Instead of snacking on garbage throughout the day, eat almonds, fruit, or veggies. Make sure your breakfast, lunch, and dinner contains atleast some sort of fruti and veggie and there you go.

    2. 5-7 total not of each for example,

      Breakfast: add 1 serving of Fruit (an Apple)
      Mid-morning snack: add 2 serving of Fruit (Strawberries/Blueberry mix)
      Lunch: add 1 serving of veggie
      Dinner: add 2 servings of veggies

      6 total servings for the day.

    3. If you have blender, you can easily get 3-4 servings in with one smoothie. Try throwing in a banana, 5 or 6 strawberries, handful of blueberries, handful of those baby carrots (they come presliced in a bag for convenience), an ice cube and about 3 or 4 fluid ounces of any 100% fruit juice. Quick, tasty, filling and puts you well on your way to that 5-7 servings goal. It can get relatively expensive over time if you drink one every morning, but eating healthy typically costs more.

  8. Wow this post is real because I hate using all these machines too!!! You did good pointing out all the cons. And just like that my gym experience is so much better

  9. Homie should do an article about people who don't squat past parallel smh 99% of the people in the gym.

  10. I LOVE THE SMITH MACHINE. Just not for normal squats or bench press. I use the smith machine on my overload days (90% of max and up), for some movements that arent a full range of motion, and for weirdo shiznic that I learned in college

    Other than that. Stay away

  11. I normally follow the Ab ripper 100, 200 and X. I wanted to know if doing those apply alot pressure on your spine?

  12. Well damn…

    I used the Smith Machine last week and the ab machine yesterday. We're not even going to talk about the leg extension machine. Cole World.

    I'll remove these from my regiment immediately. I'd heard that machines, in general, or worse than anything that involves natural movement or resistance but I never understood the actual cons you highlighted. Makes sense. I have hurt my back on the reverse ab crunch machine before but I though it was my form not the machine (might have been both). I'll need to reassess, especially since I'm getting older and these old bones/muscles don't heal from wear and tear like they used to.

  13. Wow, I was using the hip abductor/adductor on a regular (not texting while doing it). I thought the burn meant I was doing something right! And I also used the ab machine every single time! Now I have to find other options.

  14. Thanks so much for this. I've unfortunately used all of these machines except for #5. The guys I've dated that have been personal trainers have all told me that they could give me the best workout of my life right at home using everyday tools and no machines.
    What can I say…..I'm like everyone else on the "gym bandwagon" thinking that using machines makes a huge difference. I've probably done better the times I just worked out at home to my dvd's or Comcast health and fitness on demand.
    I hope you contribute more often. I would definitely like to see more health and fitness posts. *smile*

  15. I love that ab twist machine! Works those hard to activate obliques and gets them nice and right! What's the substitue? I've tried standing on a balance ball and using the long wooden stick across your shoulders, but that just doesn't feel the same.

    1. Pallof presses and side planks. You'll feel it much more. The stick across the shoulders is next to useless.

  16. Ahh I used half of those machines yesterday at the gym when working out with a friend! SMH My friend LOVES the ab crunch machine and insisted that I do it. I hated it. It hurt my back and I felt nothing in my abs. I don't believe weight machines are effective and they seem to be damaging to the body. Give me some weights, an exercise ball, a mat and I'm good 🙂

  17. guilty of using 2 of those machines in the past. I quit the smith machine on my own because my form was off when squatting so I just use a free form barbell. Good post! P.s: I’m up to 35 push-ups…5 to go to reach my new goal set by you

  18. Word! I train at equinox and I’ve had to school my clients (and some fellow) trainers on not using these machines. I’m putting this article up in our staff lounge.


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