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12/19/15

Machine gunned: What equipment at the gym should you use?

The rise of major chain gyms such as Planet Fitness and LA Fitness have wreaked havoc with the local, mom and pop gyms, to the tune of a plethora of "For Sale" signs due to a lack of members.
The aforementioned chain clubs blow into town with low prices (in the case of Planet Fitness), new equipment and the kind of clubs that look like clean, new and well maintained. The around the corner, locally owned shops don't stand a chance.
And with that, you'll see plenty of them up for sale.
But what is to happen with that equipment? Sure, that stuff might get sold along with the building, but what if it isn't? Typically, local clubs have an auction style sale to rid themselves of equipment for pennies on the dollar, and that's your chance to determine what equipment you might want to buy.
Or, if you're joining a new gym, you can determine what machines are best suited for you and others that might not be. Either way, you have some questions to answer, and if you believe that all equipment is created equal, you're wrong.

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Some equipment is just plain bad for you. You might be thinking how can a piece of equipment can be bad, but it can. It depends on how its created, what it works and if it really is doing much to help you.
Take for instance two right off the top: the leg press and the neck roll. The latter is outright silly as a machine, when you're sitting straight up and down by you lean your head on to a pad and then push with your head. This is just asking for a neck injury. 
Same goes for the leg press: gravity is not your friend and with all that weight bearing down on you, you're hurting your knees and then some.
And as long as you're worrying about your ligaments and joints, you should steer clear machines that are useless in that you can do the same exercise differently without the risk of injury. The machine that comes to mind is the calf raise machine or the one that works your forearm (this one, you squeeze hands together and a weight is holding that movement back).
Raising your calf muscles is set up to put pressure downward on your body and can cause neck and back injuries.
From one machine to the next, you can complete a solid workout in just under 30 minutes. But choosing the right equipment is just as important as how long you work out, too.

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