💪 The 7 WORST Machines at Your Gym

Today’s newsletter is presented by Orangetheory. If you’re looking for an effective way to shake up your fitness routine, you can get a free Orangetheory class by heading here.

Here’s what we’re covering today:

  • The seven gym machines to avoid during your workout.

  • Eleven retired bodybuilders who are still absolutely jacked.

  • The new rules to qualify for the 2024 Olympia.


Machine Aversion

Credit: @parksandrec / Giphy

Free-weight movements often have advantages over machine exercises, engaging a broader range of muscles and enhancing stabilizers. However, that doesn’t mean you should dismiss all of the machines at your local commercial gym. Machine exercises provide a beginner-friendly approach, isolate specific muscle groups more effectively, and offer a safer alternative to dumbbell and barbell movements.

That being said, not all machines are fitness-friendly, and it’s crucial to be aware of the ones that fail to challenge your muscles adequately, possess suboptimal design, or promote improper form. To help you sort through your options, we’ve curated a list of seven gym machines to avoid, along with smart alternatives to use in their place.


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Classic Muscle

Credit: @theofficiallouferrigno and @mrolympia08 / Instagram

While you’ll never see a retired football player don their pads again, bodybuilders can step into their arena — the gym — and maintain their shape years after they leave the sport. For these athletes, lifting is a way of life, and the best of the best almost always maintain a top-notch physique well into their 50s, 60s, and beyond.

Though many retired bodybuilders from the ‘70s to the ‘00s still sport impressive muscles, we’re highlighting 11 exceptional athletes who truly stand out. From former Olympia winners like Dexter Jackson and Jay Cutler to all-time icons like Robby Robinson and Lou Ferrigno, get a lesson in true muscle maturity below.


The New Standard

Credit: mrolympiallc and ifbb_pro_league / Instagram

Qualifying for the Olympia is already a formidable challenge, but starting in 2024, it'll be even harder. On October 23, the Olympia Qualifying System (OQS) released its revised rules — and while they mostly align with the 2023 OQS regulations, one significant change looms large.

From now on, only the top three finishers in the Men's Open division at the Mr. Olympia will directly qualify for the following year's event. In the past, the top five competitors in the Men's Open division would earn automatic entry to the next Mr. Olympia.

Olympia owner Jake Wood took to Instagram, explaining that this modification aims to “add some additional star power to the various regional events held worldwide.”

This guideline applies to all of the other divisions except for Men's Wheelchair, which remains unaffected by the change. Like in previous years, other competitors still have to win a pro show during the qualifying season to secure their spot. Dive deeper into the implementation of the 2024 Olympia qualification rules below.


Combat Low T

  • Testosterone is a vital hormone responsible for muscle growth, fat loss, and more. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, we rounded up the best testosterone boosters on the market.

  • The barbell row is a compound movement designed to build you a big and strong back. Here’s how to do it correctly.

  • Who will win the Women’s Physique division at the 2023 Olympia? Check out our preview of the show for everything you need to know.