In the grand scheme of things the way that society is going we are always looking for the 'easy way out,' or the 'shortest route possible' in order to get what we want. It is both a gift and a curse in just about everything that we try and do. That shortest possible route may lead us to work smarter, or it may go as far as preventing us from working at all. Whatever the case may be the bottom line is to maximize the time spent at the gym wisely.
As we traverse our local gyms a lot it can be much like a minefield. There are a lot of 'safe' exercises that we can do, and then there are those other exercises that can put our body in harm's way. It may not be that extreme, but the reality of serious injury from using a machine incorrectly is a very real possibility.
One of the notable occurrences at the gym is the people that tend to gravitate towards using machines that essentially restrict motion. Crunch machines, curl machines, leg machines- all of them will help you build muscle to the point where you do not have to be in there every single day, and realize what is called the 'afterburn'- a metabolic effect that comes after bouts of weight training.
While those machines will help you build muscle, one thing to caution you on is that they do restrict motion.
Why is that a problem?
When we lift weights we are trying to work to the point of failure. This failure point means that we have successfully exhausted that muscle group. When we are using a weight machine and we hit that point of failure there is no place for that weight to go. It then turns into a battle of who is going to give up first, you or the machine, and the machine is not made out of cardboard, so it could very well result in your next injury.
One way to prevent this from happening is to stick to using 'free' weights. Use dumbbells and barbells in space for various motions. Not only will this decrease the incident of injury, but it will also work a lot of the smaller muscle groups to help stablilize the weight resulting in a greater muscle gain and an even longer afterburn. Then, when you reach failure it is going to be a battle between you and the space you are moving within. Luckily, air does not put up much resistance indoors.
The next time you are at the gym swap out using those weight machines for free weights. Even if it means doing a lot less weight it will produce a greater gain.
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