Exercise machines are great if you’re new to working out, trying to isolate certain muscle groups or even if you’re just looking to change up your workouts. But, all exercise machines aren’t necessarily useful. Given that lack of time, is the most commonly cited reason for not exercising, it’s definitely of the essence when it comes to working out. So, here I’ll highlight three exercise machines that may not be worth your valuable workout time.
1. Inner/Outer Thigh Machine
As the name implies, the inner/outer thigh machine is designed to strengthen the muscles of the inner and outer thighs while firming the glutes (butt muscles). But, in the gym it really functions more like a lounge chair. In fact, I’ve observed countless patrons using this machine while reading, text messaging, talking on the phone, and even clipping their nails, which makes it a “busy” gym goer’s personal favorite.
While the inner/outer thigh machine does promote muscle strengthening, it’s not a functional exercise and, contrary to what many believe, using this machine will not reduce body fat in the hips or even slim the thighs. If you want to change the appearance of your thighs, I recommend single leg squats, which target both your inner and outer thighs as well as your quadriceps muscles (front of the thigh) and glutes all in one.
This is a simple exercise that can you can easily do at home.
To work your right leg, raise your left leg so you’re standing on the right. Simply squat down until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and then push back up to the starting position. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of this exercise on each leg and you’ll feel a real burn and ultimately see a real difference. You can use dumbbells to increase the intensity and overall effectiveness of single leg squats.
2. Abdominal (Ab) Crunch Machine
The ab crunch is by far one of my favorite “ab” prefixed machines, thought to magically spot reduce belly fat while strengthening the abdominal muscles. Yes, this exercise will definitely build up your abs, but it won’t do a thing for the fat that sits in front or lies beneath them.
In fact, regularly performing ab crunches on this machine may actually cause your abdominal muscles to protrude in a way that amplifies the size of your belly.
Losing weight is the only way to effectively reduce belly fat. This requires a combination of sensible nutrition and whole body exercise. Now, if you’d like to complement your exercise routine with a more effective abdominal workout, planks and Swiss ball crunches are a killer combination.
For Swiss ball crunches, place your legs on the floor about shoulder width apart and then walk your feet out as you roll yourself down until your lower back is on the ball. With your elbows wide and your chin up, lift your upper back off the ball and then slowly lower yourself back onto the ball. That’s it! For maximum results, perform a minimum of 2-3 sets of 20-25. repetitions.
3. Torso Twist Machine
The torso twist machine is in the same family as other “ab” machines, but worse for those who regularly use it. Why? Well, the torso twist is believed to help zap fat away from the midsection (“love handles”) and slim the waist. But, to the contrary, twisting your waist back and forth on this machine may actually cause this area to expand due to increased growth and development of the obliques (your waist forming muscle group).
So, if you don’t want to look like a top, don’t even bother with this one.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: In order to eliminate abdominal fat, love handles included, you must make sensible eating and exercise regular practices. If you still have a pressing urge to work your midsection, I’d recommend performing bicycle crunches, a simple exercise that requires absolutely no equipment.
All you have to do is lie flat on the floor (either on a mat or a carpeted area) and hold your head with your lower back pressed against the ground. From this position, lift your legs and bend your knees to a 45-degree angle, and then perform a pedaling motion (as if you’re on a bicycle) while alternating touching your elbows to the opposite knees, twisting back and forth. For best results, perform 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions of this exercise on each leg.
At the end of the day, it’s important to strategically select how you’d like to spend your valuable time in the gym. The key take away here is that all exercise machines aren’t good machines and these three are among the most useless. Since it’s just not possible to spot reduce fat from any area of your body, don’t even waste your time and effort. Better to focus on functional exercises that mimic your everyday movements and ensure your diet is intact.