Machines restrict range of motion, period. I prefer using cable machines to work your core like chops, lifts, cable push/pull, pallof press. You can also use a barbell for landmines, barbell torso twist, etc. also medicine ball work is good too. I heard something about Russian Twists that it is not good for your low back (puts stress on your lumbar spine, which your lumbar spine wants stability, not mobility). too much lumbar spine mobility is asking for back pain.
That is just my opinion on this and others on here and other message boards and some well known CSCS (eric cressey, mike robertson, bill hartman, etc.) about ab machines.
More and more people are using barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls, bands, and cables to workout now rather than just machines. I think lat pulldown and seated row are ok (multiple joint exercises), but most machines are single joint and does not work the stabilizers (can create a lot of imbalances if stabilizers are shut off).
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