However, recent research from the University of South Carolina (excerpted in Men’s Health) revealed that men who train with free weights are less likely to have lower back pain than those who use weight-training machines.
“With machines, you don’t have to stabilize your core to do the exercise,” according to Mike Reinold, PT, CSCS, of Champion PT and Performance in Boston. “Strength without core stability can overload your back and lead to pain.”
Instead of machines, perform exercises in which your back is not supported, like pushups instead of chest press machine, and standing dumbbell shoulder presses instead of the shoulder press machine. Planks are another good alternative for building core strength and stability.
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