Add lean muscle and burn body fat faster with gym machines
Are you new to lifting weights? Or maybe finding your feet in the weights room after previously only doing cardio? Then you need our complete guide to gym machines to build the bigger, stronger and leaner body you want, says New Body Plan creator and Men’s Fitness cover model Jon Lipsey
Using your gym’s fixed-path resistance machines and cable machines is a great way to learn the key movement patterns of the main weight lifting exercises in a safe and controlled way. That’s because machines are configured to allow only movement in a fixed path, so you can only lift and lower the weight in the correct way.
Build muscle on gym machines!
Using gym machines, such as the shoulder press machine or the chest press machine not only teaches you how to lift weights correctly. They are also very effective for building muscular size and strength, and forger a stronger mind-muscle connection. That’s a really important part of adding lean muscle to build the bigger and stronger body you want.
Another big advantage of gym machines is that they increase your confidence levels. So you can soon advance to the free weight gym moves that use dumbbells, barbells – such as the barbell bench press – kettlebells and other free-moving equipment. And, crucially, have a good idea of the weight you should use for each lift.
Read on to discover how you can use gym machines to build muscle, burn fat and build the better body you want!
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Use gym machines to lift heavier
Machines allow movement only along a fixed path, which makes them an effective tool for targeting specific muscles with heavy weights.
Why do gym machines make lifting heavier easier?
While free weights are an essential element in any quality muscle-building programme, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. That’s usually the small, stabilising muscles around a joint. When you use free weights you are limited by the strength of these stabilisers, but that’s not the case with machines because of their fixed movement pattern does the stabilising for you, so you can lift heavier safely to push a particular muscle to its limit.
Use gym machines to overcome injury
It’s inevitable that at some point during your training life you will suffer an injury, regardless of the precautions you take. And it’s when you return to training that machines can help you regain strength and stability lost during time on the sidelines, enabling you ultimately to come back stronger than ever.
Why do gym machines help overcome injury?
Thanks to the fixed movement range of machines you can specifically target a muscle without requiring support from any stabilising muscles. This means you can work, or rest, specific muscles with pin-point accuracy and perfect form to safely strengthen muscles or muscle groups without risking another injury.
Use gym machines to get explosive power
Muscles are made up of different types of fibres, and the more fast-twitch fibres you have, the quicker and harder they can contract to make you more powerful and explosive.
Why do gym machines build muscle power?
Using machines for explosive contractions – think of a fast but controlled movement to initiate a lift – is one of the most effective ways to build bigger, stronger and more powerful muscles, according to research from Loughborough University.
Use gym machines to maximise time under tension
All resistance machines allow you to maintain more tension on the working muscles – which results in greater growth – but none more so than cable machines.
Why do gym machines allow for greater muscular tension?
Cable machines are a halfway house between fixed machines and free weights because you have some control over the movement range. The best thing about them is that the weight you move remains constant through every stage of the rep, which isn’t the case with free weights where gravity has a big impact, so you can really concentrate on maximising the control of the weight and increase your muscles’ time under tension to build bigger muscles.
Use gym machines to overload the eccentric part of a lift
Have your strength gains hit a plateau? Using machines for safe eccentric lifting – which is when you lower a heavy weight slowly and under complete control – can shock your body into getting stronger.
Why do gym machines allow for better eccentric reps?
Eccentric reps are very challenging to do safely with free weights, especially if the weight is heavy and you’re feeling fatigued. But machines allow you to control the eccentric phase even under a heavy load when you’re tired. And the rewards are worth the effort: a study in the journal Frontiers In Physiology found that subjects increased their power output, lifting capacity, and muscle size and strength after just five weeks of eccentric lifting.
Try these five simple tips to build more muscle with every rep!
To find your perfect transformation plan, take the New Body quiz!
Take the New Body quiz!