Despite What You Think

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Overhead Triceps PressYou aren’t a machine, so you don’t need a machine in the gym. Gyms are full of machines to work all kinds of body parts in many directions. I don’t use them unless forced to and don’t plan to start. Machines are rigid and force your body to move in a very restrictive way. Think about it. When you pick up a box from a table, how do you pick it up? In a perfectly straight arc from table to shoulder, starting with arms perpendicular to your body? I doubt it and you’d probably look pretty silly if you tried.

If you’re like most of us, you lift the box with your arms in a position that is comfortable for you. You may have one arm slightly tilted outwards and one straight, vice versa, or both arms tilted in. Machines won’t really help you in these situations. Dumbbells, barbells and cables (even exercise bands) are much more suited to prepare you for every day movements. With a dumbbell, you can curl your arm up in a position that is comfortable for you. Just like lifting that box. Wow, what a concept.

Machines don’t allow you to move outside of their range of motion like free weights do. Machines do the work for you to keep you in proper form. Since you have to do the work yourself to keep your form correct with free weights, you use a ton more of the little stabilizer muscles during the same exercises. More muscles used equals faster results which excites you to lift more and back to the start again. It’s a not so vicious cycle that you want to be in, trust me. Those barbell squats will also help you to spring out of that chair when you’re 90.

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