5 Machines At The Gym That Are More Likely To Hurt You Than Help

If you’re one of those sick people that head to the gym at 5am every morning to power blast your abs or experience physical pain that most of us try to avoid, chill. If you’re someone who may be looking to ruin your mornings and therefore totally buff out your quads by becoming one of these people, I guess respect is in order. I’ll try not to judge you while I enjoy my latte and cinnamon bun. Any who, it’s important to note that not all machines at the gym are created equal. Some gym machines might cause you more harm than good, especially if you’re kinda new to this whole “working out” thing and don’t really know what you’re doing (hi). Next time you’re heading to the gym to get sexually harassed definitely put in a solid work out, these are the gym machines to avoid.

1. Seated Twist Machines

According to Men’s Journal, the seated twist machine can actually do more harm than good. “Your lumbar spine can only twist 13 degrees—that’s less than one hour on a clock. Turning beyond that puts massive strain on your vertebrae, and, combined with the resistance … can quickly become more than your back can bear.” That all sounds super scary. I’m gonna go ahead and say you should submit a pass to the seated twist machine.

2. The Elliptical

I KNOW, I KNOW. Take a second to breathe, sip your iced coffee, and chill. According to, “since you move through a relatively small range of motion…it’s easy to slack.” That makes sense, considering you’re not doing a whole lot on your own for the elliptical and most of us are inherently lazy to begin with. Try a regular treadmill or rowing machine instead to actually push yourself.

3. Seated Leg Press Machine

You may feel like you’re going to achieve thigh gap nirvana with this shit, but you could be wrong. According to Women’s Health Magazine, the seated leg press machine “forces the spine to flex without engaging any of the necessary stabilization muscles of the hips, glutes, shoulders, and lower back.” In other words, you’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’ when it comes to your lower back and glutes. Try squats (I KNOW) instead since you’ll maintain more control and risk less injury.

4. Seated Leg Extension

This is the one where you sit and pull shit up with your ankles—because no one ever got hurt this way. According to Huffpost, “Since the weight is placed so close to your ankles, the machine puts undue torque on the knee joint, which can wear down cartilage and cause knee pain.” Why do your ankles need to be so strong? Are you strength training to wear 40 pound high heels in the near future? Skip this shit and try step ups (like the old 80s workout videos) on random shit in your home.

5. Chest Fly Machine

I call this one the Titty Crusher, but that’s just me being cool and giving stuff awesome nicknames. According to Greatist, this machine can fuck up your shoulders and back which will eventually lead to bad posture. If you’re set on sculpting this set of muscles, try floor chest presses with weights. Lay on your back, and lift weights above and to the sides.

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Images: Scott Webb / Unsplash; Giphy

Sarah Nowicki
Sarah Nowicki
Sarah Nowicki aka Betchy Crocker writes about food, fashion, and whatever else she's in the mood to complain about for Betches and like, some other people. She resides in Asheville, NC, where she spends her time judging hipsters and holding on to her Jersey heritage and superiority. Yell at her on Instagram @sarahnowicholson