If you are a newbie to the gym, machine workouts are the best choice for toning muscles as they simplify each movement and allow you to train in a safe and controlled manner. There’s no need to worry about how to hold the weights or which way to move. Most machines are designed to guide your movements and control the weight so you don’t injure yourself. Are you ready to lose body fat, gain lean muscle mass and take back control of your life and health! Let’s get started with these awesome machine exercises.

  1. DECLINE CRUNCH

The Decline Abdominal Crunch is a great way to build strength and definition in the abs. If you are looking to improve your core muscles and get closer to a six pack, this is the perfect exercise to add to your daily workout.

Step-to-step instruction

START: Secure your legs at the end of the decline bench and lie down. Now place your hands lightly on either side of your head keeping your elbows in. While pushing the small of your back down on the bench to better isolate your abdominal muscles, begin to roll your shoulders off it.

FINISH: Continue to push down as hard as you can with your lower back as you contract your abdominals and exhale. Your shoulders should come up off the bench only about four inches, and your lower back should remain on the bench. At the top of the movement, contract your abdominals hard and keep the contraction for a second. After the one second contraction, begin to come down slowly again to the starting position as you inhale. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

  1. LEG PRESS

If your goals are just to look good or do some basic strength training, the leg machine is a good alternative option to free weight exercises. Leg press machines are common sights in most gyms. Used as an alternative to squats, lunges and other lower body exercises.

Step-to-step instruction

START: Using a leg press machine, sit down on the machine and place your legs on the platform directly in front of you at a medium (shoulder width) foot stance. Lower the safety bars holding the weighted platform in place and press the platform all the way up until your legs are fully extended in front of you. Tip: Make sure that you do not lock your knees. Your torso and the legs should make a perfect 90-degree angle.

FINISH: As you inhale, slowly lower the platform until your upper and lower legs make a 90-degree angle. Pushing mainly with the heels of your feet and using the quadriceps go back to the starting position as you exhale. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions and ensure to lock the safety pins properly once you are done. You do not want that platform falling on you fully loaded.

  1. STANDING LEG CURL

The Standing Leg Curl works the hamstrings, glutes and calves. The Standing Leg Curl is more beneficial than the Lying Leg Curl because it provides more resistance to the muscles by working each leg separately.

Step-to-step instruction

START: Adjust the weight stack accordingly. Stand with the pad of the leg arm on the back of one of your legs (just a few inches under the calve) and the front of the opposing leg on the top of the kneepad. Make any adjustments necessary to fit your height.

FINISH: Curl your leg up as far as possible without lifting the upper leg from the kneepad, staying bent at your torso while holding onto the handles to keep stationary. Pause at the top of each motion, squeezing slightly with each contraction. Slowly lower weight back down, but don’t let the weight stack touch at the bottom and keep a constant tension. Repeat for the suggested number of repetitions, and then switch legs.

  1. ONE-LEGGED CABLE KICKBACK

The Cable Kickbacks is one of the best butt exercises you can do to shape and transform your butt muscles. As an added bonus, this exercise also effectively works the legs.

Step-to-step instruction

START: Hook a leather ankle cuff to a low cable pulley and then attach the cuff to your ankle. Face the weight stack from a distance of about two feet, grasping the steel frame for support.

FINISH: While keeping your knees and hips bent slightly and your abs tight, contract your glutes to slowly kick the working leg back in a semicircular arc as high as it will comfortably go as you breathe out. At full extension, squeeze your glutes for a second in order to achieve a peak contraction. Now slowly bring your working leg forward, resisting the pull of the cable until you reach the starting position. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions. Switch legs and repeat the movement for the other side.

  1. WIDE-GRIP LAT PULLDOWN

The Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown is an upper-body strength exercise and variation to the traditional pulldown that targets the back. The wide-grip position targets the outer lats, and reduces the resistance placed on the biceps and forearms.

Step-to-step instruction

START: Sit down on a pull-down machine with a wide bar attached to the top pulley. Make sure that you adjust the kneepad of the machine to fit your height. Grab the bar with the palms facing forward using the prescribed grip. As you have both arms extended in front of you holding the bar at the chosen grip width, bring your torso back around 30 degrees and stick your chest out.

FINISH: Bring the bar down until it touches your upper chest by drawing the shoulders and the upper arms down and back. Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the bar; therefore do not try to pull down the bar using the forearms. After a second at the contracted position squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position. Repeat this motion for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

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