What is a Weight Machine?

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  • Written By: Katie Schaefer
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2019
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Weight machines are exercise machines that typically are comprised of several smaller apparatuses, such as pulleys, levers, wheels, and inclines. These smaller apparatuses are the means of conveying and manipulating the amount of resistance a person wishes to work against. Weights also play an important role in any weight machine.

The stack machine, for instance, is comprised of several rectangular weight plates that are stacked and connected by a vertical bar drilled with holes at evenly spaced intervals. Holes in the bar coincide with a hole in each plate and are aligned by the placement of a pin or steel rod. Once a pin is placed in the connecting rod, the plates above the pin will rise when force is applied to the connected pulley, thus creating the desired affect of weight resistance. Plates typically weigh ten to 20 pounds and are labeled accordingly. Smaller removal plates of two to five pounds allow for further manipulation of weight resistance.

The Nautilus® series of stack machines essentially work the entire body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal, abdominal, and calf muscles in addition to the triceps, biceps, pectorals, shoulder, and back muscles. The plate-loaded machine, such as the Smith machine, is another popular form of the weight machine. Plate-loaded machines use standard barbells instead of plates in addition to lever and wheel apparatuses to convey the desired force.


A Smith machine consists of a barbell at either end of a fixed steel rail, allowing for vertical movement only. Because it cannot fall forward, backward, or sideways, the Smith machine generally is preferred over the standard barbell in regards to safety. In addition, the Smith machine consists of several vertical posts that are infused with slots in which the barbell can be secured at any time. This is especially helpful for people who exercise without a spotter or prefer to vary weight resistance throughout a routine. While the Smith machine is most often used for squatting, lunging, and various other leg strengthening exercises, it can also be used for push-ups, dead lifts, tricep dips, bicep curls, and rowing motions.

As with any weight machine, it can be important for a person to maintain form over added resistance as both a safety precaution and way of targeting the muscle group. Motions for both the stack weight machine and plate-loaded weight machine should be divided into three or four sets of eight to 15 repetitions. Rest periods of 30 seconds to two minutes between sets are generally recommended for anyone using a weight machine for exercise.


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Post 4

@Laotionne - I have no idea what your budget is, but you should try hunting for a used weight machine at a garage sale or at a yard sale. My girlfriend and I go to these sales often and I have seen most any item that you would want in your home.

I have seen many many different pieces of exercise equipment.

Some of the pieces are pretty old, but there are also some practically new pieces of equipment for sale. I think there are many people who think buying expensive machines is what they need to do to get into shape. Then once they make the purchases the machines ends up collecting dust as they go unused.

You can get really good deals on these items sometimes. You might also want to check online and see whether you can find a used weight machine at a reasonable price.

Post 3

I would like to have a weight machine like one of the weight machines mentioned in this article in my home. I like the idea of having one machine that can work all, or at least most, of my muscles.

Also, since a well designed weight machine is said to make exercising with them more efficient, I could lose pounds and tone my muscles with less effort than with some of the other ways of working out. Now if I could actually find a good machine that I can afford to buy, I would be ready to get into shape.

Post 2

I am not a traditional weight lifter or a bodybuilder. I am a busy mom who wants to exercise so I can still eat my favorite foods and not gain a ton of weight. I get intimidated when I go to a gym and see all of the people lifting the free weights. However, I think weight machines are less scary, and friendlier to the novice weight lifter.

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