Exercise and Ab Machines - Good or Bad?
Exercise and ab machines versus "free weights." Which is best?
Here's a topic that may at first seem irrelevant. However, if
we're looking for the most efficient or quickest ways to
develop ripped six pack abs or a lean stomach, then it's a very
We've said it before and we'll say it again. Resistance
exercise machines, and ab machines, are much less effective
than "free" weight exercises for developing a lean ripped body
and six pack abs. Many of the better
informed gym and fitness instructors are now recommending
that the majority of resistance training is best done with
free weights rather than machines. This is because "free
weights" are more effective for resistance training.
"Free" weights include barbells, dumbbells and other objects
such as kettlebells etc that are not rigidly attached to
machines. In other words they're "free" in their motion, as
opposed to having fixed paths or lines of movement that most
So, what's basically wrong with doing resistance workouts with
machines that stabilize the weight for you and control your
path of movement? Surely that's safer than uncontrolled
barbells and dumbbells that you could overbalance with, or drop
on your foot! No. The very problem with machines is that they
DO stabilize the weights and control your line of movement.
This means it's more of an unnatural movement doesn't require
you to use all the muscles you would normally use, like
stabilizer muscles. Since the machine is essentially doing a
portion of the work for you, it makes them less effective for
working out. eg. Performing a barbell squat requires your core
muscles (midsection) muscles to come in to action to stabilize
your body in way that is very beneficial to strengthening your
abdominals. Machines generally don't provide this benefit as
The other factor to consider is that, if you're not
strengthening your stabilizer muscles, you're putting yourself
at risk of an injury. This is especially true if you largely
rely on machines for exercise, over a reasonably long period,
for body and ab training. Exercises that use cable based
apparatus are not considered machines. For example horizontal
rows and lateral pulldowns which use cable equipment are very
All lined up and nicely spaced out, the latest exercise
machines give a gym the appearance of being very modern and
sophisticated. After all, if gyms had less of the latest
machines and many more free weights, it could give the
appearance of being a male dominated "sweatshop," but looks are
It's not to say there isn't a place for machines. If you love
to use exercise machines at gyms, then add them to your program
mix for variety, but only for about 10 to 15% of your routine.
Having a week or two of machine based exercise only can give
you an interesting change and bring you back you refreshed to
your mainly free weight exercise program.
For more info on good exercises for fat burning and developing
six pack abs, see our exercises articles here at AbsGuide.com.
Also we highly recommend getting Mike Geary's "Truth about Six Pack Abs" As you'll
see, it's the most complete and honest guide to developing
the ultimate set of six pack abs, or flat lean
Source: Original article by Richard Beale http://www.absguide.com August
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