Fitness centers have become a major industry with each new gym offering more and more sophisticated workout machines to attract more members. Walk into any modern facility and members can choose from a multitude of equipment including the “horizontal seated leg press,” the “lat pull down,” the “cable biceps bar,” or the “pec deck machine,” just to name a few.
All of these workout machines address a very specific muscle group, and a serious athlete needs to rely on an expert trainer to build a program that involves all the different machines, including the appropriate weight, duration and frequency. Of course, the member bears the cost of these sophisticated machines and the instruction on how to use them. But do they really need all of this equipment or can they achieve the same results with a simple barbell? In other words, is this a form of decorating the fish?
Workout machines are effective and, in some instances, can provide training advantages. But for the average gym member, a barbell can achieve most of the desired results. We tend to complicate muscle training by relying heavily on specialized equipment and training programs. This approach risks neglecting some important muscle groups and incurring unnecessary expense and training. A barbell, however, is a very simple tool that allows for different methods of strength training that naturally involve most of our main muscle groups.
Workout machines are sophisticated and attractive, but the additional benefits of these machines over a simple barbell are sometimes limited and potentially expensive. Relying too heavily on them is decorating the fish.