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Weight Machines

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Old 09-28-2013, 09:30 PM   #1
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Default Weight Machines

how important are they?

my workout consists of elliptical, stairmaster, treadmill, zumba-once a week
I started adding in the weight machines-3x a week 3 reps at 10
is that good? do I need more?
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:56 PM   #2
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I have seen good results switching exclusively to weight machines....I ran for several years and enjoyed it, both outside and on treadmill, but stopped because I hurt my foot...so I switched to the weight machines...I like that I can challenge myself and really push on the amount of weights and ive seen a nice change in my body composition as well...this is what i'm doing:

3 sets of 10 reps each, hardest weight that I can handle at the moment:
- bicep curls 30 pounds
- inner thigh press 160 pounds
- outer thigh press 90 pounds
- chest press 85 pounds
- oblique twists 50 pounds
- ab crunches 50 pounds
- lower back extensions (2 sets at 145, 2 sets at 160 pounds)
- leg extensions 40 pounds
- leg press (1 set at 210, 1 set at 230, one at 250, one at 270, one at 290 pounds)
- then I stretch my back on a big ball because my lower back is a very vulnerable part due to injuries

I do this nearly every day and I do feel DOMS but it's not too bad
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Old 09-29-2013, 07:43 AM   #3
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The only time I use weight machines is when I have an injury. A weight machine will completely isolate a muscle or muscle group and keep the rest of your body at rest and not working at all. They work well if you want to target one muscle at a time but for me that's a mindless workout and I prefer to work out with free weights.

The benefit of free weights is that you use more than one body part at a time and you also exercise balance. For example, if I sat at a weight machine to do a shoulder press, I would sit down, and work out my shoulders without having to think about my form. But by using free weights, I have to stand which engages my core, burns more calories, engages my sense of balance and makes me actually pay attention to my form. I can make it easier by standing in a wide stance, or I can make it harder by standing on one foot which engages even more of my core and balance, or I can make it even harder by standing on a wobbly balance platform. I can combine it with other exercises like alternating one shoulder press and then going right into a bicep curl. Or I can do a shoulder press and a squat at the same time. My routine with free weights is quicker, harder and more dynamic. Going from one weight machine to the other is like a thoughtless process to me that takes forever to get through and since my muscles never have to work in conjunction with the others it's sort of pointless imo. In general I like workouts that engage my mind and body, I can't sit on machines for cardi or weights but since you seem to like cardio machines you might like weight machines too.
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:10 AM   #4
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Weight machines are important. Cuz you need the strength. I do recommend that you increase the weight every so often to challenge muscles.
.
but it also depends on goals. If you are looking to just lose weight, stay with weight machines. If you reallywant to tone use, Free weights. Personally, if i stop exercising fora while, iwill use weight machines for a while then move to free weights. It is a great stepping stone for harder challenge
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Old 09-29-2013, 04:08 PM   #5
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Strength training is extremely important; we don't think about it but carrying the extra fat actually has caused you to build extra muscle and denser bones to support the weight. During weight loss, we can actually lose muscle tissue and bone density. Strength training mitigates those losses. I can't recommend strength training highly enough. If you absolutely will not use free weights, then I guess machines are better than no resistance training.

I don't recommend weight machines at all; I strongly prefer to use free weights. As wannabeskinny mentioned, free weight engage more muscles at once. This builds more strength, muscle and balance. Furthermore, with free weights, you are actively engaged during both parts of the motion; with a machine, you can be lazy during the second part of a motion. So free weights help you engage both the "push" and "pull" muscles of a muscle group during one activity. A machine forces you to work on a single plane of motion, which doesn't work very well to strengthen the ligatures and connective tissue. So a person who only uses the machines might have a very strong set of quads, but their knee ligaments may not be strong enough to support a load when that person goes to actually lift a piece of furniture.

There is also a very selfish and lazy element to my preference: I can do a total body strength routine in 20 minutes with free weights, and I've used my arms, chest, back, abs, and legs all in push and pull motions. Less time in the gym is a happier HelloNurse.

If the free weights intimidate you, then I recommend body weight exercises. Squats, pushups, pull ups, chin ups, burpees and mountain climbers are all wonderful moves that will strengthen you and build muscles without any equipment needed, and if they get to be easy you can always add weight belts and plates to make it harder again.

Strength training is vital to fitness and health. Machine work is probably better than not doing any resistance training at all. I personally think body weight exercises are a more efficient and safe way of building strength. Free weights are even better for building strength, but get guidance from a trainer if you've never lifted free weights before. If you want to try free weights, check out the Starting Strength routine; it will give you some basic lifts to work on to get yourself stronger and learning to love the bar.
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Old 09-29-2013, 04:22 PM   #6
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I just realized you asked if what you are doing is "enough". Since I don't know your current level of fitness or what you're doing on the machines, I will give you my general guidance.

You need to work every major muscle group. This means arms, shoulders, chest, legs, glutes. Since muscles come in pairs, each muscle group needs to work at both pushing and pulling. Think about the difference in the motion for bench presses vs. rows; by doing both you'll engage the arms in both pushing and pulling.

You also need to work your core muscles, which means basically your back and belly, in order to be able to support everything. Some weight training activities will engage the core without any extra work needed, others can be modified to add a core component by balancing on an unsteady surface such as a Bosu ball or even a yoga mat while you work.

You need to be working every muscle hard enough that you feel a little weak and wobbly by the time you finish, but you shouldn't be working to muscle failure at this stage of the game. You should feel some soreness in your muscles the next day. This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It sucks, but it's also a positive sign. Don't try to work too hard through DOMS. Give yourself 1-2 days rest between strength sessions; the recovery period is every bit as important as the active workout when building muscles.

There are some excellent guides available on the internet for building a strength routine. I don't recommend inventing it as you go as a beginner, because I assume you want to get the most benefit possible out of your workouts.

Keep in mind that when you begin a strength regimen, it's important to eat enough calories, especially protein, and stay hydrated. You may also see a slight gain on the scale at first because of water retention while your muscles get torn down and rebuilt.
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Last edited by HelloNurse : 09-29-2013 at 04:24 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 09-29-2013, 04:54 PM   #7
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wow!! awesome info!!

I don't really know the names of the machines (new at this) but I know I do push and pull (arms and legs)
I don't feel any soreness the next day but I do feel tightening in my chest after I'm done! I am out of breath and feel wobbly...I usually do those last after the ellptical, treadmill or stair master
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:12 AM   #8
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From what I was told the weight machines hit isolated groups of muscles. So if there is something specific that you want to build then that really helps. You want to tear up and rebuild the muscle , but not obliterate it. The amount of weight and rep and all that should probably be discussed with a professional trainer. Just to be safe.
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