What are Different Types of Weight Lifting Machines?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 January 2020
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Weight lifting machines are a type of customizable workout equipment that help users maintain correct posture and form while working a specific muscle group. There are dozens of different types of weight lifting machines for nearly every part of the body. Using weight machines as part of an exercise plan can be a good way to improve muscle tone and fitness level.

Core weight lifting machines target the abdominal and pectoral muscles as well as the back. In a chest press machine, the user lies on his or her back, grabbing handles that are slightly above and away from the body, and pushing up until arms are almost straight above the body. While this machine can also be done with free weights, using a weight lifting machine makes sure that the correct muscles are used and that the weight is distributed evenly across the chest.

To work the back, many people use weighted rowing machines, which mimic the movement of rowing. Some models are stationary, but others have a sliding seat that increases the range of motion. The handles of rowing machines are generally attached to a weight stack that can be adjusted to increase or decrease resistance. Sliding rowing machines have the advantage of also being used for cardiovascular workouts.


Arm-related weight lifting machines may target the shoulders, biceps, triceps, and forearms. Some of these machines may be combined with chest or back exercises to provide a more comprehensive move. In a shoulder press machine, the user is seated with handles at shoulder level. Pushing upward on the handles, the user tries to straighten the arms over the head, then lower the arms while resisting the weight.

Tricep and bicep press machines may look nearly identical at first glance, but actually focus on different muscles. Both may have a padded seat below a triangular or angled cushion, but the placement of the handles and the direction of movement set these machines apart. In a bicep press, the user starts with arms extended and bends them up toward the body, gripping the handle. For a tricep press, the elbows are bent at the beginning and arms are pushed down to a straight, extended position.

Weight lifting machines for legs often have much higher weight stacks, since the legs are usually the strongest part of the body. One slightly intimidating machine common in commercial gyms is for the gluteus muscles. This machine requires the user to lay face down with hips at the top of a triangular pad, arms gripping handles and resting on a lower pad, and calves pressing underneath a movable weight arm. The exercise is performed by pushing calves up in an attempt to curl legs up toward the glutes. Though it may look silly, this is a great exercise for a muscle group that is difficult to isolate.


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Post 3

@Iluviaporos - I think a lot of people, particularly women, dismiss weight training as something that is for specialized athletes and men who want to show off muscle mass. But it's an essential part of any fitness regime and access to weight machines can make it a lot easier and more fun.

One thing I will say, though, is that no one should attempt to use these machines without a little bit of guidance, even if it's only a close look at the instructions. Usually gyms will give people a free training session with a personal trainer when they sign up and that's specifically intended to help them learn how to use the machines to their advantage.

If there's one in

particular you are worried about using, don't be afraid to ask. In my experience, the other people in the gym will be happy to help you but might not feel comfortable approaching you to tell you what you're doing wrong unless you ask.
Post 2

@umbra21 - Weight lifting machines are usually going to be superior to body-weight exercises, simply because they can put more pressure on the right places. Advanced weight lifters in particular are going to need them to make any difference to their muscles, because they simply aren't going to be heavy enough to manipulate them otherwise.

Also, there are muscle groups that are very difficult to isolate without the proper equipment. The average person doesn't need to buy a full gym set, but they are still going to be able to benefit from using weight machines and if they are interested in playing a particular sport, then it might even be worth getting one for home, like a rowing machine.

Post 1

Most of the time weight machines are just an expensive form of fitness equipment that helps you to perform exercises that you can easily do using just body weight.

Before you pay for a gym membership that gives you access to a hundred machines that you don't actually need, take the time to find a few exercises online that work out the same muscles. At most you might need a couple of dumbbells to lift but they are much cheaper than getting a single machine for every muscle.

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