An exercise routine should make you stronger, healthier, and feel better. Most people assume that gyms and home exercise equipment are well designed and totally safe. However, this isn’t always the case. Unless you’re looking to get hurt, it’s best to skip the exercise machines listed below.

1.) Seated Leg Extension

While this machine is designed to effectively work out your thighs, many experts say that it’s also likely to damage your knees. Having all that weight being placed on your ankles makes your knees do too much of the work. Over time, your knees may become sore or seriously injured.

2.) Behind-the-Neck Lat Pull-Down

This is a machine that should be used only by those with extreme shoulder flexibility. For the average person, use of this machine risks damage to the rotator cuff. In some cases, shoulder impingement syndrome can result; this happens when tissue or tendons become entrapped in the shoulder joint.

3.) Seated Chest Fly Machine

Also frequently known as the pec deck, the seated chest fly is supposed to give chest muscles a tough workout; many people think that use of this machine can replace hated push ups. However, the seated chest fly machine can be very harmful to the shoulder joint. The angle of the machine isn’t optimal and frequently causes injury.

4.) Seated Hip Abductor Machine

Outer thighs are a common complaint for many people. The seated hip abductor machine is supposed to tone these difficult areas in no time. However, because the machine is used in a seated position, the movement isn’t exactly effective. Additionally, most people don’t use a slow and controlled technique with the machine thus putting too much stress on their spine.

5.) Seated Rotation Machine

Why do sit ups when you have access to a seated rotation machine? Simply put, the seated rotation machine actually doesn’t do much to trim a waste; instead, it bulks up the muscles under the fat. While working out your obliques, you can also be damaging your spine since the pelvis doesn’t twist with you. The use of this machine isn’t worth the potential long-term risks it poses to your back and spine.

6.) Smith Machine Squats

Many gym patrons, scared of injury, decide to use the smith machine to do their squats as opposed to traditional squats. Ironically, the use of the smith machine is likely to cause injury since an unnatural movement is required. In short, unless you’d like to be contacting personal injury lawyers, skip the smith machine.

While fitness and exercise should be part of everyone’s health regime, the workout machines listed above can potentially do more harm than good. Contrary to what many believe, the use of free weights is often a better and safer alternative for those looking to increase strength while placing less strain on their joints. If you have any questions as to whether or not a particular exercise machine is safe to use, consult a certified personal trainer or healthcare professional.

This article is a guest post written by Karleia Steiner. Karleia is a freelance blogger. If you or someone you love has been injured seriously while working out, visit Zuber & Brioux Law Offices