You just signed up for a gym membership. You’re amped to start working out until you see all of the machines and weights. It’s intimidating not knowing which machines to use, or if you should even use them.
Stationary machines are great for newbies because they introduce the range of motion for every move and help you stay in correct form. Once you gain enough strength, and confidence, you can start using free weights.
Try this workout that will help you feel comfortable at the gym and help you reach your fitness goal.
Have a question about any of the following moves? Contact Michael for more information.
Note: Photos by Martha Connaughton
Exercise Plan Overview1 of 14
This exercise plan is best performed in supersets, which are used to either emphasize the contractions of a muscle group or balance them out with the opposing muscle group. To perform a superset you do one exercise and then immediately do the other move. You don’t take a break until you finish the second exercise.
Do three sets of eight reps for each superset with 30 seconds of rest between them. Rest for one minute once you completed your three sets.
Glute Isolator (3 sets of 8 reps)
Leg Press (3 sets of 8 reps)
Leg Extension (3x8)
Leg Curl (3x8)
Hip Adduction (3x8)
Hip Abduction (3x8)
Pec Fly (3x8)
Triceps Extension (3x8)
Rear Delt (3x8)
Lateral Raises (3x8)
Ab Crunch/Ab Exercise (3x8)
Bicep Curl (3x8)
Glute Isolator3 Sets of 8 Reps 2 of 14
This machine will serve as an activator, which is a great way to prepare you for the leg press. Lean your elbows on the pad, place your foot flat on the plate, grab the handles in front of you, and push the plate back. Be sure to keep the sole of your foot facing behind you and don't let it rotate up or down. Once you're done with eight reps, switch to the other leg. After you've completed eight reps on both legs, go straight to the leg press.
Leg Press3 Sets of 8 Reps 3 of 14
Set yourself up so you can just see your toes past your knees. Push away from the plate until your legs are almost straight. It's important not to lock your knees because you could bend in the wrong direction, and that's a painful injury. After eight reps, rest for 10 to 30 seconds and then go back to the Glute Isolator. Repeat this superset three times and then move on to the next one.
Leg Extension3 Sets of 8 Reps 4 of 14
Sit down with your back flat against the seat. No slouching. Line up your knee with the pivot point. This will usually be marked with a sticker. In this image it's a red sticker. Grab the side handles to keep your body from shifting, slip your ankles under the pad, and straighten your legs until they're parallel to your hips. Slowly lower the weight back down to the start position.
Leg Curl3 Sets of 8 Reps 5 of 14
Lie down on you stomach with the lower part of your leg under the pad. Grab the handles in front of you for stability, move your heels toward your back, and slowly lower the weight.
Hip Adduction3 Sets of 8 Reps 6 of 14
Adjust the pads so that your hips are a comfortable distance apart. Hold the side handles and press your legs together. Slowly release the weight to return to the beginning.
Hip Abduction3 Sets of 8 Reps 7 of 14
The pads should be aligned so that your legs start close together. Press your legs outward as far as you can go and then slowly lower the weight down to the beginning.
Pectoral Fly3 Sets of 8 Reps 8 of 14
Adjust the seat so that your shoulders are at the same height as the handles. Your arms should be in a straight line, like a "T" position. Use your chest muscles to bring both handles to the center. Once both handles are directly in front of you, slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
Tricep Extension3 Sets of 8 Reps 9 of 14
Adjust your seat so your triceps rest right in the middle of the pad. Push the handles away from you until your arms are completely straight. Slowly return to the start position.
Rear Delt3 Sets of 8 Reps 10 of 14
You can use the same machine as the pectoral fly. The only difference is you face the backrest. Adjust the handles so they are directly in front of you. From here, grab the handles and move your arms out behind you until they are about parallel. Then slowly return to the beginning.
Lateral Raises3 Sets of 8 Reps 11 of 14
Adjust the seat so your arms slide comfortably under the pads. Raise the pads until your forearms are parallel to your shoulders and then slowly lower the weight to starting position.
Ab Crunch/Ab Exercise3 Sets of 8 Reps 12 of 14
If you use this machine, be sure to lead with your chest and use your abs. If you find yourself shrugging your shoulders, pulling at the handles, or rounding your back, then the weight is too heavy.
Bicep Curls3 Sets of 8 Reps 13 of 14
Adjust the seat so your arms rest on the square pad. Grab the handles and bring them toward you while bending at the elbows. If you find yourself leaning too far forward or lifting yourself out of the seat, then lower the weight.