The traditional approach to strength training would suggest using fixed machines such as the seated chest press and butt blaster machine are great ways to burn calories and reduce unwanted body fat. However, before jumping onto the latest piece of gym equipment, here are some facts that may interest you about fixed machine training.
Research indicates that 19 out of 20 exercise-related injuries occur on fixed machines
Fixed machines limit the natural movement of the body, which does not allow your nervous system the freedom it needs to protect the working joints and relevant soft tissues from injury. Your abdominals do NOT activate while training on fixed machines (similar exercises done standing or with a Stability ball WILL recruit these muscles effectively).
Training on fixed machines makes the stabilizer muscles weaker and the prime mover muscles stronger, resulting in a significant muscle imbalance, which leads to low back, neck, and joint pain.
Machines burn significantly FEWER calories than exercises done standing or with the use of a Swiss ball. This is because when you are training on a machine, you are only using 1 muscle. When standing or on a stability ball, ALL of your muscles are working, and the more muscles you have on the job at any given time, the more calories you will burn!
In order to minimize the risk of injury, enhance the function of the body and burn unwanted body fat, you need to begin thinking in terms of function rather than just muscles! Functional exercises are those in which your body is free to move, and will resemble activities of daily living such as squatting, lunging, bending, twisting, pushing, and pulling. The goal of your exercise program should be to perform each of these movement patterns without pain or discomfort. For anyone with a current injury (back, neck, knee, hip, ankle or shoulder), one of the most effective methods of correction is the proper use and implementation of the Stability ball (also called balance, swiss, or physio balls). Stability ball training forces you to work in an unstable environment. The more unstable your training environment, the more activation you get from your stabilizer muscles. By improving these qualities, you improve joint stability, which allows more of the prime mover muscles (i.e. arms, chest, back and legs) to be recruited. Improved ability to stabilize in this environment has assisted many of my back pain clients in improving their functional strength as well as reducing, and in many cases eliminating, painful joints and tissue inflammation. Many of my female clients have been amazed after just a few weeks on a Stability ball training program! Training the abdominals, glutes (butt), and inner thighs by properly using a Stability ball can completely change the appearance in a woman’s aesthetics! The great news here is that the exercises that will facilitate the rehabilitation of low back pain are the same exercises that will help you burn calories and eliminate your unwanted body fat!