Are Weight Machines Bad for You?

I used to be hardcore into “functional training”. Meaning, I wanted to use exercises that would train people in multiple planes of motion, often including some sort of stabilization on a swiss ball, balance, pad, bosu, etc… While this looked cool and impressed clients, often times it wasn’t conducive to my clients training goals. My point is that “functional training” is a relative term. It’s relative to the clients goals, training experience, age, and previous injuries. Additionally, the idea of functional training within the personal training community has been completely blown out of proportion. Where a simple bodyweight squat is functional for most people, now trainers are trying to get people to do ridiculous circus stunts on swiss balls with body blades while chewing gum and singing the alphabet backwards. It’s gotten silly.

To answer the question, No, I don’t think weight machines are bad and can actually be the best option for clients given certain circumstances. After 8+ years working with professional athletes to hip and knee replacements, I’ve come to realize that there is no one-size-fits-all modality. As trainers, we have to utilize what’s available to us to give the client the very best opportunity to reach their goals. Weight machines can be very beneficial for clients rehabbing from surgery, bodybuilders and fitness competitors, and even as a great way to burn out the muscles at the end of a workout. While there are some machines that can actually be harmful to the joints, it is up to your trainers discretion to determine which are right for you. Therefore, choose your trainer wisely ;)