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When You Should Be Using a Workout Machine

leg press machine

Workout machines like the prone hamstring curl are underutilized in the sports performance setting and often get a bad rap in the sports physical therapy industry. I have heard people (physical therapists, strength coaches, running coaches, personal trainers, etc.) say negative things about using machines for a variety of different reasons.

“Machines are not functional. Humans should provide their own stability and not rely on a machine to do it for them.”

“X, Y, or Z machine isolates only one area of the body and we do not move 1 area at a time in real life.”

The support that machines provide, allowing people to focus on working one area has many advantages when used appropriately.

Even athletes can benefit from using machines.

High level sprinting requires an athlete to have a great deal of hamstring strength as the muscle is in a shortened position (when the knee is fully bent).

During the recovery phase of sprinting (as the leg is being brought back to the front of the body) the heel should be as close to the athlete’s bottom as possible. As this motion begins, the hip is a relatively extended position.

The prone hamstring curl trains end range hamstring strength when the hip is in this position. Dr. Cohen even pauses briefly in this video when at the end of the movement to stress this position.

During this exercise, the machine will dictate the movement however remember to use your abs to prevent the lower back from extending during any portion of the exercise.

There is no such thing as a good or bad exercise. Almost every exercise is appropriate when used properly. The key is to be clear on the desired outcome of the drill and how to implement it most effectively into your training routine.

Would you like to learn how to design your training most effectively to best accomplish your goals? If so, contact us to receive a customized training program designed specifically for you!

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