Unfortunately, however, some of the items on my "worst" list happen to be other people's "bests." Sorry about that!
I'm guessing that as people weigh in on what they think sucks, they'll be dissin' some of my favorites too. But diss away! Seriously--I actually kind of like it when people hate the very things I'm crazy about. (Like marshmallow-covered yam casserole, for example). It reinforces my own unique individuality and also means there are more marshmallows and elliptical machines in the world for me and I don't have to share!
Anyway, here it is:
Crabby's Entirely Subjective List of Worst Exercise Equipment:
1. Exercise Bicycles.
I have no opinion on spinning bikes, or the thingamabobs that take a regular bike and turn it into an exercise bike. I haven't tried those. I'm talking about the standard issue sit upright and pedal, pedal, moan, and pedal type bike.
Why are they so horrible? How do some of you folks stand them?
I used to spend a lot of time riding a bike outside when I was younger, yet I find the indoor version tremendously painful and unrewarding. I can't get my heart rate up and my legs hurt like hell. There's no FUN in the movement. I need to move my whole body as I do cardio, rising and falling, or slipping and sliding, or bouncing or rolling or stepping or hopping or whatever. But plopped down on a seat, flailing my legs around while my ass and upper body is entirely stationary? Arrgggh.
2. Itty Bitty Ladies Weights.
My favorite tough gal, Kelly at Fitness Fixation, has already ranted quite eloquently about the fact that women often don't lift heavy enough weights to do them any good. I guess for people who like the pretty colors and want to work on their arm endurance during cardio, one and two pound weights might have some purpose.
But I gotta say I just don't get it. Why lift a 2 pound weight 875 times in order to build less muscle than lifting a 25lb (or whatever) dumbell 8-12 times and only being miserable for a few seconds? Has word not gotten out that women don't bulk up without a lot of effort and an unusual amount of testosterone? (Some of us would actually like more muscle definition and have a hell of time getting any).
Note: if you're new to fitness or whatever, start where you need to. I just personally want to spend time with those damn things if they're not doing me any good. (Also, for some really informative tips on real weight lifting technique, go visit Stumptuous. (Thanks for the tip, Jaime!) )
3. Resistance Bands.
The thing I don't like about them is that they sound so good and so I keep trying them over and over. Because after all, they're light-weight and cheap and practical and everyone swears they get a great workout with them. I even saw some study that says they do a fairly good job.
But then whenever I try them, they seem totally lame and worthless. What's wrong with me?
Through most of the range of motion, there's, like, no resistance at all. Then for about two inches, they're insanely impossible and, if you're trying to use them on your legs, they cut into your flesh. I end up doing these herky-jerky little two inch repetitions and cursing a lot and promising I'll never try them again.
Until the next time I read somewhere how great they are.
4. Almost Any Equipment Found at a Cheap-Ass Gym.
You know those gyms that buy crappy low-end equipment and/or don't perform any maintenance or ever do any repairs? I run into this on the road a lot. Tiny small-town gyms and and hotel fitness rooms are the worst.
Anyway, so you wait your turn and finally a cardio machine of some kind is open and then you find out it goes squeeeeek squeeeek squeeeek or thunka thunka thunkity thunk with every footfall. No matter how loud you turn up the music, you know other people can hear it and they hate you.
(No, it's not your fault, but trust me, they hate you. When I'm lucky enough to have the quiet one, I still hate the person on the noisy one for being so irritating.)
It's not just cardio equipment either. I hate wobbly weight machines, missing pins, broken cords, and a haphazard selection of equipment that leaves major muscle groups unaddressed. (On the plus side, you often get to skip a lot of stuff during travel-workouts without feeling guilty).
5. My Ipod.
Yes, this was on my best list too, because music is essential. And I have an ancient iPod, so perhaps all these issues have been resolved now. But I used to have a Nomad (back when mp3 players were roughly the size of dinner plates, not sticks of gum), and the interface seemed way more friendly. I could easily queue up music to last for hours, was not forever scrolling up and down through various menus.
Even better, before I met iTunes, I could actually share my music with the Lobster, which was only fair, since she actually paid for all those fine songs. But our iPods and computers don't seem to be speaking to one another, and we frequently end up buying the same damn songs twice.
Also, as it happens, I have a particularly satanic iPod full of little quirks:
It will turn itself on spontaneously, even when it's off and locked. Not only that, it will somehow manage to run down its battery even when plugged in and supposedly charging.
The iPod also likes to reboot for no particular reason and reset a bunch of settings. It's favorite is to turn down the contrast ratio, making the screen is unreadable. (Of course, this makes it virtually to impossible to find the contrast button again to fix it back.)
Even better, sometimes when it f*cks with the contrast, it will also change the language setting. Can you find the word "contrast," in nearly-invisible letters, in Czech or Dutch? Gosh, that's fun, especially when you're otherwise ready to head out for your run.
And finally, for some reason, it has a huge ego. When it's plugged into my laptop, which is already plugged into the wall socket, my arrogant iPod thinks it should supply all the power for both machines. Or something--the iPod will literally go from full to empty within ten minutes when I try to transfer songs from my computer.
I hate (love) hate my iPod. (And actually, I need a new mp3 player. Is there an alternative that won't mean losing the 300 plus songs I've already purchased from iTunes? Or am I Pod-slave forever now?)
All right, that's far more than enough of my whining (for today). Your turn! What do you guys hate? (Or heck be cheerful and like something, that's okay too.)