Gym machines are often thought of as for beginners or people without the strength to take on free weights, but where does this all come from?
Free weights, of course, are highly effective due to the level of control you need to perform exercises and continue to pick up a heavier weight during your set, but machines are also highly beneficial to your workout and not only because they are “safer”.
Machines help to guide you towards training better. This is especially important if you’re coming back from injury or simply getting back into training. The issue with free weights is that although they build muscle more effectively, the exercises often require you to have a full range of motion, strength, stability and balance. If you are missing one of these crucial components your workout could potentially turn dangerous due to you not being able to perform the movements required correctly. This is also true for not being able to work out with the proper form, which is extremely important if you want to build strength and your muscles properly.
Weight machines also have the added benefit of normally having guidelines of how to perform exercises on them, either in written form or in images, usually in both. And are effective when you intend to isolate your exercises and target specific muscle groups as the machines are designed this way. This ease of use makes it less daunting to do exercises and makes it easier to build your strength and progress into using free weights.
Once you have built enough strength, you can alternate between using machines and free weights for a variety of exercises to keep your body guessing and adding difference to your routine.
Get our Fitness Hacks for Beginners guide.
So, which machines are the best to use for a full body workout?
Targets the latissimus dorsi muscle and deltoids with your biceps, traps, rhomboid muscles and serratus anterior muscles as secondary muscles. Use different attachments to change it up and add a little bit of variation to your lat pull down. Helps to strengthen your back and shoulders and can potentially help improve posture.
Incline chest press
Main target is the upper portion of pecs major with secondary muscles being triceps and deltoids. Do this if you want to target increasing size of the upper pecs.
Overhead tricep extension
Targets triceps and secondary muscles being your lats. Strengthening the triceps can help in variety of sports such as tennis and basketball.
Assisted pull up
Targets latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, deltoids and biceps. It’s a good start that will allow you to focus on technique and build up strength.
Standing calf raise
Targets gastrocnemius and soleus. Will help with increasing ankle stability as well and can play a part in improving jump height.
Seated leg press
Targets quads, glutes and hamstrings. Very good alternative to doing squats because it can take a little bit of the load off the knees and spine.
Great way to get in a run without needing to find a track or path to run on.
Great aerobic workout while giving the upper and lower body a good workout too.
It’s great for upper and lower body training and is lighter on your joints so less stress being put onto the joints while giving you a good cardio workout.
Helps with increasing strength of the lower body as well as it being a good cardio workout. It will also help with maintaining balance.
Keeps the strain off your knee and ankle joints. Will definitely work out your muscles in your legs as well as your core.
How much cardio can you take? Find out with Body Fit, our fitness plan that lets you know where your training strengths are.
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