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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    426
    One machine I like a lot is the Nautilus Pullover Machine. Arthur Jones back in the day likened it to the upper body squat. It works lats and front core a lot.

    I happened to buy one from a school for a few hundred dollars.

    Mostly I like free weights, dumbells, kettlebells, barbells, power rack etc...

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    3,510
    Quote Originally Posted by PRC 74 View Post
    I know free weights are preferred but what if only machine are available. Can you build muscle using machines only? I am ignorant about weight training but trying to learn.
    The following makes assumptions, and is speaking not just to you, but to anyone following or finding this thread who might find it useful.

    Goals drive strategy, strategy, available tools and strategy drive tactics, techniques and procedures.

    For pure hypertrophy, machines work. Anything that can provide progressive overload on the muscles will work. Some regimes (body weight exercises, dumbbells) work a little more slowly, and "top out" earlier, but as long as you can add work to the system without getting into repetitive strain injury territory, you can continue to lay down muscle.

    However hypertrophy and strength *aren't enough*.

    In this forum we are primarily concerned with The Fight, which for these purposes I will include the time immediately before and after. You need to be physically fit to get to the fight, win the fight, and get away or get past the fight.

    But you also need to live your life, so the secondary (and barely secondary IMO) is to balance the fitness for the fight with fitness for life. You can articulate this lots of ways, but I have come to prefer the phrase "optimizing the capability curve". Being as functional as possible as long as possible.

    Strength and hypertrophy is a big part of this. But so are lots of other things.

    One problem with machines is that most of them focus on one major muscle group, with maybe a few secondary muscle groups. While a similar exercise with the barbell will use the same muscle groups, but will use a LOT more stabilizer muscles, often in different parts of the body.

    Do this, find your max weight for 10 reps on the curl machine, and pay attention to where you feel the weight. Now go over to the dumbe bell rack and grab 1/2 or so of that weight, and work your way up standing, paying really close attention to your form (don't cheat the movement). While doing this pay attention to what other muscles are recruited as you curl. Then do the same exercise on your knees--not sitting on your heels, but just knees with your body erect. You get much more lower back and abdominal activation this way.

    The other thing is that because machines work one or two muscle groups (there are machines that are designed to replicate squats and dead-lifts in the sense of multi-joint movements and hinging, but they are way less common) you wind up spending more time to work the same muscles. Time is a consideration for a lot of us.

    Another thing to think about with machines--and this can be positive or negative depending on the machine and your goals, is that because of what you are doing--fighting gravity with a machine--they may not mimic the load as accurately as doing it with weights. And by that I mean that at different parts of the range of motion you may be doing more or less work than you would when moving actual iron through space. This can be good in that for some exercises with dumbbells you don't actually work the muscle equally through the whole range of motion, but with cables or a dedicated machine you do. The example that comes to mind is doing flys with dumb bells v.s. a machine. Because of gravity and geometry the top part of the fly is very easy, while the bottom is much harder. Cables smooth this out (however physiology, not gravity means the center portion of the movement will always be easier).

    Most of us have limited time to work out, and certain windows we can do the thing in. This means we have to also be efficient. If you think you can do that with machines, do it. Given my life, the gym I have ready access to, and the time windows I have to work out in, it's free weights.

    Moving on, strength and hypertrophy are but one leg of the "fitness" table. You also have balance, stabilization, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, and flexibility.

    I hate flexibility. Stretching and mobility exercises are boring, they suck, and it's hard to get good metrics on them. But if you wind up hands on with someone, range of motion and strength at that end range matters.


    "Long slow cardio" has all but been proven to be one of the best things you can do for long term health. No, not for weight loss (diet is for weight loss), but for your heart and your metabolism. There haven't been nearly as many studies on resistance training in regards to these things, but what has been done (that I've seen) suggests they just flat out don't help nearly as much as spending 45 to 60 minutes at the sort of pace where you can barely carry on a conversation.

    So machines have their place, but I think for complete fitness, and efficiency sake one should use a mix of barbells, dumb bells and machines *where appropriate*, and we all need to include some forms of exercise that challenge our balance, core stability and range of motion.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    593
    Quote Originally Posted by twinboysdad View Post
    Weighted dips for the win
    My absolute favorite exercise, and not only because it's the one my wife says she can tell when I stop doing them.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    593
    Quote Originally Posted by PRC 74 View Post
    I know free weights are preferred but what if only machine are available. Can you build muscle using machines only? I am ignorant about weight training but trying to learn.
    Yes, and you can also build a lot of muscle without using machines or gym variety free weights. All you need is something somewhat heavy to pick up, push around, press overheard, or pull toward your body. When you can do a bunch of those, find something heavier and start again. One of the major keys is to find a scheme/modality/method/program you like, so you stick with it.

    And, don't be afraid to ask more questions. We all started somewhere.
    Last edited by prestojo; 06-27-2022 at 01:39 PM.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    593
    Quote Originally Posted by cmcampbell View Post
    One machine I like a lot is the Nautilus Pullover Machine. Arthur Jones back in the day likened it to the upper body squat. It works lats and front core a lot.

    I happened to buy one from a school for a few hundred dollars.

    Mostly I like free weights, dumbells, kettlebells, barbells, power rack etc...
    That Nautilus machine has often been referred to as the best designed back machine ever produced.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    5,551
    Which model is best?
    Warrior for the working day.

    Es una cosa muy seria. --Robert Capa

    "...I rode the range in a Ford V8...Yippy Yi Yo Ki Yay." --Johnny Mercer (as modified)

    "What cannot be remedied must be endured."

    Vale et omnia quae.

    P:25

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    593
    Quote Originally Posted by Papa View Post
    Which model is best?
    The original one was the one I've read the most about, but I believe as long as it's a Nautilus brand that it's the nautilus-shaped cam they use that makes the difference.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    317
    I mix em up.But very little if any rest in between sets.

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