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.
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.
I KNOW, I KNOW. Take a second to breathe, sip your iced coffee, and chill. According to Shape.com, “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.
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.
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.
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.
Images: Scott Webb / Unsplash; Giphy
Here’s a reason to feel superior to the rest of humanity today: It’s been scientifically proven that people who brag about being fit on Facebook are literally psycho. Let me be clear: I’m not about criticizing anyone for working on their bikini body so masses of beachgoers don’t flee the scene when they take off their shirt—in fact, I thank you. What I do have a problem with is the people who won’t fucking stop talking about it. Not sure if you fit the bill? Here’s a hint: if you’ve ever posted a status, tweet, Snapchat, whatever using the words “gains,” “progress,” “fit life,” or other variations, I’m talking to you. Although you’d think it would be obvious, people keep making statuses about their fitness routines all the goddamn time even though not a single human being cares. And now we have legitimate reasons to be concerned for your mental health.
According to science, we’re totally justified in our hatred of anyone who brags about getting up early to go for a light 15K. In a study published last fall, researchers at Brunel University in London decided to analyze what could possibly motivate this kind of person, and apparently, it’s old-fashioned narcissism.
The study asked 555 Facebook users about their reasons for making statuses and measured stuff like narcissism, personality traits, and self-esteem. When researchers compared the psychological shit and motivations, they found that—surprise!—the kind of person who posts too many gym selfies is a burden on humanity and should be shipped off into space. I might be reading a little between the lines here, but you’ll see what I mean in just a moment.
According to researchers, #fitness lovers tend to be more narcissistic, and their main goal is literally to brag about their looks and self-discipline. And probably to make the rest of us feel like shit in comparison—because, again, they’re psychopaths—though researchers didn’t say that explicitly.
What’s even worse is that for some unfathomable reason, these gym posts also get more likes and comments than other kinds—maybe because our only option is to stress the posters out with an avalanche of notifications? Maybe for the same reasons we tell children their artwork is good? Reasoning TBD. But anyone with a functioning brain stem can tell you that all this does is validate their need for attention. In other words, if you’re liking before and after ab selfies or the dreaded thirsty squat pic, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.
I’ll leave you with a PSA: Please, for the love of God, stop feeding the narcissists. And if you’re the type of person who posts about it every time you go for a fucking run, kindly toss your phone into the nearest body of water. It’s for your own good.