Workout Tips

The 5 Best, Strangest Ways to Use Workout Machines

You'll get strange looks, but these unconventional moves might be just what your routine needs.

Smith Machine Squat

When it comes to training, nothing is written in stone -- even with a baseline of principles. Some equipment can have very different uses than what it was originally designed for. In fact, back machines can be used to work your legs, and leg machines can give you a great shoulder workout. Here are some ways to get creative with your training to change up your workouts for more fun and faster gains. Not every lifting technique will work for everyone. With that said, adding some creativity to a basic movment can benefit you in more ways than one. 

Lat Pulldown Machine for Glute Hamstring Raises

The lat pulldown machine has an attachment that's meant to secure your knees from moving when seated. Switch it up and kneel on the seat and secure your ankles under the pad. Set up a platform or surface on the ground in front of you, and perform eccentric glute hamstring raises. If you’re a real tough customer, ditch the platform and perform the concentric half under your own strength. 

Smith Machine for Bulgarian Split Squats

Using a flat bench or other hard surface for the Bulgarian split squat can be hard on the ankles and ligaments of the feet. It’s more comfortable to have support located toward the instep and ankle. Using a bar pad on the Smith machine creates a better environment to mount your foot on, and the fact that there’s some “slide” to the pad on the bar allows a lifter to hinge effectively at that joint. Another benefit of using the Smith machine is that you can adjust the height of the bar to find the elevation level that works for you, rather than be confined to the fixed height of any bench.

Trap Bar for Farmer’s Walks

trap bar deadlift

A neutral grip used when performing trap bar deadlifts would be a perfect choice and the fixed bar keeps it square in the hands, rather than on the slanted angle many dumbbells can create. As a bonus, your hands are further separated, involving more of your lats than normal.