As the saying goes, a good craftsman is only as good as his tools. When it comes to building or shaping your body, you also need the right tools -- training equipment!
Most gyms or health today have an almost bewildering assortment of exercise machines. However, many of these machines are not necessarily the correct tools for getting you into your best shape.
We just assume that these commercial exercise machines were designed by exercise scientists with numerous degrees in physics and bio-mechanics. However, more often than not these machines were designed by amateur machine shop enthusiasts in their spare time. Believe it or not, some of the largest exercise equipment manufacturers have churned out numerous products based on the designs of these amateur enthusiasts. Why? Well, quite often the designs do look quite good, and therefore are attractive to potential end buyers (I.e health clubs). It also saves the cost of employing full-time designers with high salary requirements.
As a result, some machines are less worthy of your time in the gym than others. For instance, I have noticed that many Leg Training Leg Press machines in large commercial gyms are actually quite harmful to one's low back/lumbar region, and should be avoided by most individuals who are sensitive in that area.
Ironically the safest equipment in gyms and healthclubs is the one many fitness trainees tend to avoid, or use minimally in their workouts. I am referring to free weights! Specifically, dumbbells and barbells. While it is true that using excessive poundage and incorrect exercise technique can result in injury when using free weights, it is also true that trainees using moderate poundage and optimum technique will incur a much lower risk of injury using free weights as compared to using machines. The reason for this being: free weights conform to the natural movements of our limbs and the real world force curves our bodies were designed for. In contrast, when using exercise machines, our bodies have to conform to the unnatural force paths inherent to the machine's design.