Don’t Be Intimidated by Machines

Let’s face it. The gym can be a pretty intimidating place, even for the most seasoned workout enthusiast. Whether you are a consistent gym goer or new to fitness, the weight machines at the gym are a great exercise to incorporate into your regimen. Lifting weights helps to build muscle and strengthen bones.

Machines can support a safe, controlled exercise for building muscle, especially for beginners. Before you get started, it is a good idea to check with the personal trainer at your gym to ensure proper technique and guidance when operating weight machines. For basic instructions on five different machines, check out the videos below.

Go through these five moves as a basic circuit. Try doing 10-12 repetitions on each machine three times through.

Leg Press

This exercise works all major muscle groups in the upper leg and the gluteus muscles of the buttocks.

  1. Adjust the seat back so that your leg is bent at a 90-degree angle with feet on the foot plate.
  2. Adjust weight.
  3. Place feet on the foot plate at shoulder width apart with toes pointing straight up.
  4. Back should be straight and hips should be firmly against the back pad.
  5. Grasp handles with your hands for proper position and stability.
  6. Extend legs slowly concentrating on the leg. Do not allow knees to bow out or in.
  7. Slowly bend knees back to 90-degree angle.
  8. Repeat for desired reps.
  9. Exit machine.

Vertical Chest Press

This exercise works the chest, triceps and shoulders by simulating a bench press.

  1. Adjust the weight, seat and position handles.
  2. Sit with your back pressed firmly against the back pad.
  3. Place your hands on the handles and extend the elbows, but don’t lock them.
  4. Pause at the top and slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for desired reps.
  6. Exit machine.

Leg extension

The exercise works the quadriceps on the legs.

  1. Adjust weight.
  2. Sit on the seat and adjust the roller pad to desired level of comfort (S-M-L).
  3. Place shins/ankles behind roller pad.
  4. Position your thighs at hip width pointing your knee caps straight to the front.
  5. Grasp handles with hands for proper position and stability.
  6. Sit up straight with your chest lifted, abs tight and a slight arch in the back.
  7. Tighten your quads and straighten your legs by moving feet forward and up.
  8. Slowly return to the starting position keeping tension in your quads.
  9. Repeat for desired reps.
  10. Exit machine.

Pec Fly

This exercise works the chest muscles (pectoralis major) and the front shoulder muscles (anterior deltoid).

  1. Adjust the seat, roller pads and weight to desired comfort and workload.
  2. Keep back straight and place forearms against roller pads.
  3. Be sure that upper arms are level with chest, palms facing forward and wrists straight.
  4. Slowly move your hands together, maintaining the elbow in a bent position throughout the movement.
  5. Slowly return to starting position keeping chest muscles tightened.
  6. Repeat for desired reps.
  7. Exit machine.

Leg curl

This exercise works the hamstring muscle on the legs.

  1. Adjust weight.
  2. Sit on the seat and align knees with machine axis. Pull back against hips.
  3. Adjust upper roller pad and ankle pad position (S-M-L) for desired level of comfort.
  4. Place legs between roller pads and reset upper position slot to LOCKED.
  5. Pull movement pad towards hips with ankles at right ankle.
  6. Pause for a moment and return slowly to starting position.
  7. Repeat for desired reps.
  8. To exit, return upper roller to OPEN.

Instructions were adapted from Nautilus NS4000 Owner’s Manual