Do you or one of your love ones exercise using workout machines? If so,
you should be aware of the risks of shoulder and spine injuries you might
be exposed to. Recent studies of fitness experts revealed the improper
use or lack of maintenance and supervision of some exercise equipment
can lead to injuries that in many cases can be permanent.
Athlete and fitness expert Dr. Laura Miele-Pascoe explains the risks of
using the Smith machine, a popular equipment at gymnasiums mostly used
to do squats. A smith machine is simply a bar built into an apparatus
that guides the bar into a vertical movement; it also prevents it from
tipping to the sides.
Smith machines are dangerous because they limit the lifter movement into
a vertical straight line. The smith machine can be safely used for short
range-of-motion exercises such as shrugs and calf raises. However, when
the natural bar path is not a straight line (bench press, overhead press,
squat or deadlift), it interferes with your natural movement, increasing
the stress on your joints and stabilizer muscles.
Cable rows are an excellent exercise, but people who use these machines
usually come across a common issue. In order to start the exercise, you
have to reach so far forward to grasp the handles that you inevitably
overextend your lower back. This overstretching movement can damage your
spine, the nerve cluster in your lower back, and the small muscles that
hold your lower back straight (spinal erectors). Injuries like that will
most likely be permanent.
The structure of our spine is not meant for this repetitive twisting movement.
By twisting the spine in such motion, you can damage the disks between
your vertebrae. Other exercise styles such as Yoga, requires a lot of
twisting, but the movements are slow and controlled, which makes them
fine for your spine. However, twisting against resistance provokes a quick
and more violent movement that is significantly more prone to injury.
Abs Crunch Machines
When you go for a full crunching of your abs, you are also overstretching
your spinal erectors, which puts extreme pressure on your lower back.
The repetitive use of this machine can damage the disks in your back.
The Decline Bench
Pressing on a decline bench puts significant pressure on the shoulder joints
and the muscles around it. The angle prevents a natural movement of your
head when pressing the weights, making this machines a recipe for disaster.
Basic Tips for Preventing Injuries Associated with These Machines
If you are not familiar with an exercise machine ask for assistance; do
no attempt by yourself. You should warm-up before lifting weights and
use proper form. Facility operators should also be aware of these risky
equipment as potential liability. They must ensure that clients are properly
trained to use these machines as intended. They must maintain the machines
according to manufacturer and inspect it regularly.
Ensure that warning instructional stickers are in place and clear to understand
by the users. Reinforcing the supervision around these machines is another
way to minimize the risks. Next time you go for a workout at a fitness
center keep in mind these safety tips and make sure you stay healthy and
informed about everyday hazards that most people overlook. You don’t
need to be scared; you just need to be aware.