Myth: Machines are a safer way to exercise because you're doing it right every time.

Although it may seem as if an exercise machine automatically puts your body in the right position and helps you do all the movements correctly, that's only true if the machine is properly adjusted for your body shape, weight and height.

Having worked and trained in gyms for over 20 years, I can guarantee even then, people still do machine exercises poorly. Unless you have a coach or a trainer to figure out what the right setting is for you, you can make just as many mistakes in form and function, and have just as high a risk of injury, on a machine as if you would when using free weights or do any other type of nonmachine workout.

Anotherdisadvantage with machine training is that they don’t allow you to use all the little stability muscles that you need for “real life” movements like lifting, going up and down steps, or cutting down a tree.

Health and Fitness Testing NZ Tips:

If you are new to training it is worth every penny to get programming/technique advice from an experienced, qualified personal trainer

If you are trying to bulk up or you are very uncoordinated then machines may be good to incorporate as part of your workout however if you want to improve function for your sport, hobbies, or daily tasks you should consider performing free weight training exercises that are specific to the type of goal (s) you have

Peter Halstead

Director of Health and Fitness Testing NZ