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Top 5 Worst Weight Machines

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top 5 worst weight machines5 of the Worst Selectorized Resistance Training Machines in the Gym

While the gym is no doubt filled to the walls with many different pieces of equipment, not all the equipment is equal when it comes down to effectiveness. In fact, many machines in the gym are in my opinion sitting right on the border of being practically worthless, at least for many of us that is.

Don’t get me wrong though, selectorized weight training machines including those which I’m going to cover here are still beneficial for many depending on their individual goals. However, in many if not most cases, there are much better exercise options available to work a particular muscle group. This is especially true with the five machines covered here.

So without further ado, here are what I consider five of the worst weight training machines in the gym.

#5. Seated Chest Press

Chest Press MachineWhy the Chest Press Machine is One of the Top 5 Worst Weight Machines

Not that the chest press nor any machines on the list are really that bad, but there are many better exercise options for the chest.

The chest press machine is good for isolating a small portion of the chest but does little to help build functional strength and could easily lead to injury if the machine is not set up right or the exercise is performed incorrectly.

The better chest exercises do not require brain surgery or the physique of a professional bodybuilder to perform either.

Why the Chest Press Machine is so Popular in the Gym

The selectorized seated chest press is a very straight forward machine that I guess you could call a lazy person’s machine! Selectorized seated chest press usually requires a single or 2 adjustments and many gyms even have a couple of these machines so they are hard to miss.

#4. Butt Blaster

Hip Extension Machine aka Butt BlasterWhy the Hip Extension Machine is One of the Top 5 Worst Weight Machines

The weight machine for isolated hip extension is called many different names. You may see a machine called, glute master or butt blaster or something to that effect.

The selectorized hip extension machine works the motion of isolated hip extension which is worthless for most people because it can further increase muscle imbalances due to overactive hamstrings compensating for weak glute muscles.

Why the Hip Extension Weight Machine is so Popular in the Gym

Most people do not understand that all functional leg exercises such as squats, lunges and step-ups require glute activation.

Many people also believe that this exercise will rid them of cellulite and/or help them tone up, burning fat off their behind which is due to the belief of the age old fitness myth of spot-reduction.

#3. Lower Back Extension

Lower Back MachineWhy the Low Back Extension Machine is One of the Top 5 Worst Weight Machines

Do you remember when your parents, friends or co-workers told you to lift with your legs when you lift heavy household objects?

Using the lower back extension machine is the equivalent of lifting a heavy object with your lower back only and not bending your legs.

When you lift a heavy object at home such as a TV, the correct way to lift would help functionally strengthen your lower back such as performing a dead lift with proper form.

The motion provided by the lower back extension machine is totally unnatural and can even lead to injury if performed incorrectly.

Why the Low Back Extension Machine is so Popular in the Gym

A common reason for performing low back extension on these machines is the belief that it will burn fat off of the lower back and love handles area. This again, is not true and a fitness myth.

Many people are too lazy to perform the most beneficial exercises such as squats and dead lifts so they believe the selectorized low back extension machine is necessary for strengthening their lower back when it really is one of the worst weight machines.

#2. Seated Ab Crunch

Seated Ab Crunch MachineWhy the Seated Ab Crunch Machine is One of the Top 5 Worst Weight Machines

The reason for using any exercise machine should be to benefit your body in strength, improve muscle tone, help your body function better or help increase your metabolism.

The selectorized seated ab crunch machine provides very little benefits.

The motion which is mostly hip flexion can lead to muscle imbalance and poor posture and it is something which is completely useless for activities of daily living, athletics, and even working your abdominal muscles.

Why the Seated Ab Crunch Machine is so Popular in the Gym

Yet another machine which is most commonly used because of the misconception that abdominal exercises burn abdominal fat.

The seated ab crunch machine adds weight to the myth. People associate the more weight they use with better results, stronger abs, and less fat which is not the case.

#1. Inner / Outer Thigh

Inner Outer Thigh MachineWhy the Inner / Outer Thigh Weight Machines is One of the Top 5 Worst Weight Machines

The inner and outer thigh machines are the worst weight machines mostly because of the use with the belief that it will reduce thigh size, tone the legs or reduce cellulite.

The fact is, inner and outer thigh machines are a complete waste of time for most people in the gym.

The muscles that the machine works are muscles which are responsible for stabilization of the legs during functional activities such as walking and running.

Using the inner and outer thigh machine does more harm than good for most people by creating muscle imbalances which can possibly lead to posture problems.

Why the Inner / Outer Thigh Machine is so Popular in the Gym

The inner / outer thigh machines are very popular machines amongst women because they think it will tone their hips and thighs. This is the one weight machine which you almost always see in use and sometimes there are even lines waiting to use it.

The common belief in the fitness myth of spot reduction is a very common misconception which is the reason why the inner / outer thigh selectorized machines are so popular.

These machines or any machines will not tone any body part if it is covered with fat, period.

The Bottom Line

While every weight training machine in the gym has its place, I believe these five machines are among the worst five options available. There are simply much better exercises that you can utilize to work the muscles that each machine is designed to target. However, some of these machines are a good starter option for some new exercisers and for those with specific goals, so I wouldn’t go as far as saying these machines are completely worthless, but I’d personally look at other exercise options if you’re truly looking to maximize your time in the gym.

What’s your take on these machines? Have you used them before? Let me know in the comments below!

Author Profile: Mike Behnken

Mike Behnken is a personal trainer who holds multiple NASM certifications and a MS in Exercise Science. Mike loves fitness, travel, and photography among many other interests.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.

Comments (2)

  1. Anthony says:

    I once injured my back when using a seated ab machine. Put too much weight in and tweaked things a bit. Hired a personal trainer for a few sessions afterward and he showed and recommended me different ab exercises. He never once mentioned this machine and he was a knowledgeable man. Kinda validates things with me to stay away from this machine. No surprise that it is on your list.

    • AskTheTrainer.com says:

      Thanks for sharing your story Anthony. Great to hear you’re back in the gym pain free and healthy.

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