This is a continuation of the post The Top 15 Reasons to Dump Machines from Your Hockey Leg Training. Please see the previous post for Part I.


6. You generate a force with the extremities first. When we move there is a contraction of the core first followed by a contraction of the extremities. Movement initiates at the core. However when we are seated on the bench we have already discussed how the core is supported by the bench and doesn’t need to fire. And if we are not consciously thinking of developing a braking force then we will put more if not all of our emphasis on generating a contraction of the extremities, and possibly exclusively, in this type of situation.


7. You generate a concentric force first. Another rule of muscular contraction is that there must be a stretch to the muscle before it is contracted. Or in other words there is an eccentric force followed by a concentric force.

With many of the commercial leg machines the movement involves a concentric action first. Think about sitting in a leg extension machine with the knees bent. The first effort is to contract the quads to straighten the legs. Contrast this to a standing free weight squat where the quads are stretched during the descent and then contract during the ascent.


8. You are limited to an isokinetic force. Imagine performing explosive reps on a leg curl machine. Doesn’t really work does it? Sometimes the cable doesn’t feed and track as it should and can get caught up in the pulleys. Or even if doesn’t, due to the angle of resistance, the force changes throughout the movement altering the rate at which force can be developed. Machines only really work best when used with a slow, controlled tempo.


9. Uniplanar and usually only sagittal. Muscles have three planes to them. Forward and back movements make up the sagittal plane. Side to side acount for the frontal plane. And rotational movements are in the transverse plane. And whenever you move all three planes of a muscle are involved. There may mobility in one plane and stability in the others but there is activity in all.

Compare that to the planes that most machines move in which is a single plane and normally sagittal. I bet if you counted up all the planes of movement in your gym you’ve find that 99% of them move in the sagittal plane only. However, when you perform a lateral lunge the hips move and to the side in the sagittal and frontal planes.

10. Line up. You hardly ever have to wait at the squat rack. There are usually people waiting to use a particular machine. One noted strength coach termed this the ’180 Principle’. Look at what most people in your gym are doing. Then do the opposite.


11. Isolation not integration. The body knows movements not muscles. When I take a step I don’t think of all the joint and muscle actions occurring at my foot, ankle, knee, hip, back and shoulder. I just take a step. As my foot hits the ground there is a gravity induced sequence of events that results in all the related joints and muscles performing the appropriate tasks to take a step.

However when I work out on a machine I am isolating a muscle from the rest of the body. I am asking this muscle to contract and relax independent of the rest of the body. When I step out on the ice and expect this same muscle to fire at the right time and plane do you think this is going to facilitate performance or impede it? Do you think this is going to make it easier for the rest of the body to join in on the action when it hasn’t been trained in this way of working together?

Stay tuned for Part III…


Leave a Reply