Over the last several years I’ve experienced the promotion and growth of numerous training methods and services that have distanced themselves from the traditional strength training programs conducted on exercise machines. From a variety of group fitness programs that include some element of resistance training to functional workouts using a variety of bands and balls to Cross Fit studios, it would appear that machine based workouts are becoming less promoted and popular. Many may even question why it’s necessary to join a fitness facility that has all this equipment when a local park boot camp with some portable equipment purports to have the solution for achieving results.

One of the biggest obstacles that today’s consumer faces in terms of getting results is lack of time. In fact it has always been one of the leading objections to getting started. We often forget that one of the best solutions that our facilities and Trainers offer is efficiency. We are also in business, for the most part, because of the de-conditioned and dependent market who require education and simplicity to get on track. The majority of people that join our facilities want to lose weight, tone up, increase their metabolism and energy and maintain it for the rest of their lives. In other words they want to bodybuild and increase their lean muscle tissue in the most efficient and safest way possible so they don’t have to worry about everything they eat, and so they can push, pull and bend down and get up effectively for the few years they have on the planet.

We take for granted the amount of research and technology that has gone into the development of our selectorized equipment to achieve the goals I noted above in the most efficient and safest way possible. Just read any book on Arthur Jones, who developed the Nautilus line, some of the very first exercise machines, and someone who should have received the Noble Prize for science for his achievements in the area of resistance training and exercise science. I can highly recommend the book Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors by Randy Roach for those who want to explore this topic in depth. If you are a Trainer and Fitness Business Professional it is imperative to understand this history. Unfortunately so many people today think that functional training is a new trend or concept. That could not be further from the truth with the fact of the matter being that every exercise is functional.

It disheartens me when I consult for clubs and certified Trainers do not know the basics of exercise science and do not realize how complex a piece of selectorized equipment is and how much variety that apparatus can offer including achieving results in the areas of cardio, body fat loss and strength. In fact, if I only had a minimal amount of time to train, say 30 minutes a couple of times a week, and had to choose one method of exercise to the dependent, de-conditioned market, it would be machine based workouts. Unfortunately we do not do a good enough job of explaining and training the basics from rep counts, to range of motion, to explaining and maximizing the concentric and eccentric phases of each movement to taking a muscle to the point of failure and then varying all of those principles including increasing weight and changing angles. Arthur Jones proved that human beings could achieve total results without having to use anything but selectorized equipment. And no, I have no affiliations with any equipment company, but I fully believe we must be far more responsible in assessing members and starting them off with some method of anatomical adaptation that prepares their joints and tendons and conditions their muscles in the safest way possible by stabilizing the areas before having them attempt more multi join advanced movements. In fact, for a good majority of people, there will be no need to move on to those types of workout. Machines help people to understand how to use and contract their muscles, and in my opinion, will always have a major role in making health and fitness achievable for the masses.



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