Every month we ask our panel of experts their opinion on what’s hot in health and fitness. This month we ask: What level of machine work do you include in your muscle building workouts?
I’m not opposed to using any machines, but I don’t tend to. However, they can be great for beginner and intermediate routines alike, especially for isolation training.
I prefer using free weights, with the exception of the staples such as lat pull downs or the leg press. I find that i’m able to engage my muscles much more effectively when i’m holding an actual weight. People can get sloppy when using machines, mainly because there isn’t a weight that can be dropped so they lift something that is far too heavy and their form is off.
It depends on the muscle group. If I’m working legs, there are days that I’m on machines the whole time. For example: leg press, Smith machine, leg extensions, leg curls, kickbacks, and calf raises are all exercises that utilize machines.
Only 25% of my workouts are done with machines, but they’re great when I really need to focus my attention and isolate a single muscle group.
I feel like they are not made for short people like myself, so I tend to stick with free weights, cables, bars and bands. I recommend trying machines, though, ensuring you adjust each one and see what feels comfortable.
I keep the majority of my training to free weights, but the controlled movements of machines are great for isolating that body part that needs work. In the end, I’ll still lean towards free weights.
I primarily use leg machines such as the seated leg curl, lying leg curl, and the leg press. I won’t usually use any upper body machines because I find that, in my workouts, I can lift much heavier weights with a barbell or dumbbell.
Find expert opinions and more in every issue of TRAIN for HER.