Weight and Resistance Training - New to the weight machines

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08-19-2013, 11:58 PM
I'm thinking about doing more work on the weight machines at the gym because I'm letting a bad blister heal. Therefore no running for a little bit.

I want to focus on abs/midsection as well as arms. There are a bazillion weight machines at my gym and I'd rather go in knowing what to look for, rather than spending my time wandering aimlessly around.

I don't want to do the free weights. I am NOT comfortable in that area of the gym and simply don't plan on going that far out of my comfort zone. I know lots of ppl recommend free weights over the machines, but I'm not going there at the moment.

What are some good weight machines at a typical gym that will work abs/midsection and arms?

08-20-2013, 08:28 AM
I'm going to be a little difficult here for a second..

Does your gym have an area, where you'd feel comfortable that has mats and some dumbbells? Most gyms I've seen have an open area that isn't part of the free weights that has this. If not an empty class room that has a variety of dumbbells and a mat would be suitable too. If that fails you, then hopefully they have a cable machine.

For the arms (and strictly arms) and abs, machines generally are very poor. The arms are composed of smaller muscles and I always found the machines that you did find to be a bit uncomfortable and unsuited for women in general (larger weight increases).

I read a few years ago that there was a study done on a variety of ab exercises including machines and plain old crunches was the winner. Planks (regular and side) are also a good complimentary exercise. If there is no mat area to use at your gym, then I'd recommend doing crunches and planks at home.

One of the best overall arm and upper body exercises is the pushups which you can do on your knees or on an incline (such as steps or an exercise step) if you aren't able to do a full pushup. I do mine on my steps at home but the gym I went to used to have some various sized steps I used as well.

Other than that, there is the good old bicep curl which can be done with dumbbells and tricep kickbacks.
http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/exercise-library-details/2/44/ (this shows sitting down but I'd recommend standing up)

So if there isn't a mat area or ability to grab a couple dumbbells, then I'd look for a cable machine. Cable machines are multifunctional and usually have a cable hook up above you and one near the ground. It may also be adjustable to where you put the cable.

The bicep curl and a tricep pushdown can be done on the cable machine. Also realize that if you are standing up with your back against nothing, you are most likely working the stabilizer muscles in your abs.

Also, one of the best exercises overall for the upper body is the pullup which most women unless they are near goal would not be able to do. Luckily, the cable machines usually have a seated bench too or your gym may have something called an assisted pullup machine. They work your arm muscles and your back muscles.

I know that isn't exactly the answer you were looking for but based on the muscle groups you specified, that is what I'd recommend.

08-20-2013, 04:19 PM
thank you :) I will look around the gym tomorrow if I have more time....today is the first day of school here so my school program is getting off the ground today....basically i'm working all day 645 a.m. to 6 p.m. and am only home for a few minutes...i'll have some time tomorrow I think

08-20-2013, 05:54 PM
For what it's worth, I started out exclusively using my Bowflex and did build a lot of muscle. I also use free weights now, but I found that the Bowflex was an excellent place to start.

As far as core/ab goes, there are also a LOT of exercises to work your core using a stability ball, so you might want to see if there are any of those there?


08-21-2013, 04:50 PM
I spent about a half hour at the weight machines today....I did biceps, another arm push machine, shoulder presses, thigh presses(?) in both directions, an oblique twist machine and an ab crunch machine where you pull yourself forward in a crunch motion against the weights...I felt like I could have done a lot more but I don't want to get too sore being as how I still have to move today lol....it felt like a good start anyhow although I sure missed being up on the treadmill

also.....I don't work out outside anymore this summer due to all the bears around here this time of year

08-22-2013, 11:10 PM
I have the same issue as you.I just don't feel comfortably using the free weight area in my TINY gym. I stick to the machines. On strength days, I do a circuit of the following:

Leg Press
Cable Row
Leg Extension
Lat Pull Down
Bicep Curl
Shoulder Press

I do crunches at home before bed. I don't know if this is the BEST plan, but I have developed definition in my arms and my calves.

08-22-2013, 11:58 PM
im working on a routine...i'm trying to do 3 sets of 10 reps at the highest weight I can handle...today I did those on: bicep curl, inner thigh, outer thigh (where you squeeze them in or out), arm push (where you push levers out from an angle), shoulder raises(?), oblique twist machine, ab crunch machine, lower back extension, leg extension and leg press....im sorry I don't know what half these machines are really called...but it was a good workout and I will be sore later :) the highest weight I can do is 170 pounds on the leg press for 10 reps