Let's look at the number one killer, the leg press. Every gym, health club or wellness center will have at least one. Your individual seat position has allot to do for prevention of pain. If the seat is too far forward, more than a 90 degree angle of the hips, the lumbar part of the spine flattens out. The spine has a natural 'S' curve. Too much weight applied to the spine will decrease this curve. Much like a L bracket, straighten that that out and it will become weaker. The tension in the muscles will also increase. The back muscles are not meant to lift weight. They are stabilizers, so if they are used in any other way, they break. Although your spine will not break on the leg press, like a rubber band, it will get weaker.
Another reason for the pain can come from excessive weight. When the weight is too heavy, the speed of the lift will increase. This is a common error with the leg press. When the weight is heavy, the return phase of the lift is not controlled, adding excessive pressure on the spine. Also when you are to the extension phase of the lift, people will lock out their knees. Another red flag. The bones make up the structure for the body, the muscles are the movers. When the knees get locked out at the end of the lift, all of the weight is supported by the knee joint.
When there is bad news, good news shall follow. All of the exercise machines have an alternative exercise that will allow you to work the same muscle group. For instance, the ball squat will work the same muscle group as the leg press. The squatting motion also uses the same joints as the leg press. The main difference between the two exercises is the placement of the weight. With the leg press, the weight is pushing against the lumbar spine. The only way to challenge your muscles more is to add more pressure to the spine. The ball squat allows the weight to be evenly distributed. unlike the leg press, weight is not targeted at an downward angle to the hips. To make the ball squat more challenging, try squatting with one leg, or adding external weight from hand weights.
On the other side, all exercises are not recommended for specific users. The tips in this blog is for people with joint, hip, or knee pain. Please consult your doctor if the pain cannot be controlled. As always, be well.