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Best Exercise Equipment For Building Muscle

the top fitness machines for getting bigger muscles

Although some people think that you should only use free weights to build muscle, there are also several exercise machines that can be used for this purpose, especially if you are a beginner.

If you don’t currently have a full range of motion, or full balance or strength, using exercise equipment can be safer than using free weights.

Exercise machines enable you to isolate muscles to work on and to lift weights safely without needing a spotter.

With all of this in mind, the following are the best exercise equipment for building muscle. Each one of these machines will help you build muscle and strength safely and effectively.

If you’re looking for a machine that features almost all of these workouts in one, then be sure to check out our list of the top-rated home gyms for this year.

Our Top 8 Machines for Getting Bigger Muscles

1. Horizontal Seated Leg Press

the horizontal seated leg press

This machine works your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quads. Many trainers consider this to be the go-to machine for working the lower body.

It can be used to help you build up strength so that you can do squats or to keep building strong legs by continuing to use the seated leg press.

2. Lat Pull-Down

lat pulldown machine

This machine works the muscle in your back called the latissimus dorsi as well as your shoulder girdle. If you are not strong enough to do pull-ups yet, the lat pull-down machine is a good place to start.

It will activate your posterior chain and start building up your back muscles.

If you are a beginner, you can get started by using an underhand grasp (with your palms facing you). This grip tends to be a bit easier and uses more of your bicep muscles.

Your hands can be brought closer together, or to make the movement more challenging, you can spread them further apart so that you are arms are in a “V” shape.

This is one of the best exercise machines you can use to build up your back muscles.

3. Bicep Curls

bicep curl machines

This exercise machine works your biceps. It can be a great alternative to dumbbells to help you avoid the swinging that often occurs when lifting free weights. You get the most from these movements when you slowly lift and lower the weight.

The cable on the cable biceps bar helps to force you to do exactly that. You can use this equipment to build up to working your biceps with dumbbells and other free weights or continue to use the machine.

4. Cable Triceps Bar (Alternative: Triceps Pushdown)

This exercise machine works your triceps. Similar to the cable biceps bar or lat-pulldown, you can switch your grip – using a rope, V-bar, or straight bar- to help vary the movement.

It is very important to build strong triceps to maintain strength in your arms and for performing exercises like pull-ups and push-ups.

This is another machine that can be used to help you build strength before moving on to use free weight or bodyweight exercises.

5. Chest Press

chest press machine

This exercise machine works your triceps, biceps, and chest. The motion used by the chest press machine is similar to performing a push-up.

If you are a beginner, then it can be helpful to build up your triceps, biceps, and chest before moving onto compound movements after you have built up some strength and muscle.

6. Hanging Leg Raise

This exercise equipment works your hip flexors and core. This machine is easy to use and a great way of working your abs through just lifting your legs up without swinging them.

7. Smith Machine

The Smith machine was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favorite exercise machine during his bodybuilding days. It is one of most versatile exercise machines that can be found in a gym. It has a barbell that vertically slides across guide bars.

It eliminates the need for you to balance yourself, and there are safety catches that can be put in place so that you can perform heavy exercises alone safely without needing a spotter.

The Smith machine allows you to do shrugs, standing calf raises, squats, should presses, bench presses and other classic exercises.

8. Rowing Machine

In addition to building muscle, it is also important to build cardio endurance for a total body workout. The rowing machine allows you to do just that.

Unlike a treadmill, a rowing machine gives you both the lower and upper body aspects that resistance training provides to give you a more balanced and complete body workout.

Check out our top-rated rowing machine here.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a number of effective pieces of exercise equipment that you can use to build up strength and muscle.

These machines also have the advantage of not needing to have a spotter and are a great way for beginners to get started.

These exercise machines can be used to teach you proper form and provide you with a safe way to build up to using free weights and bodyweight exercises such as pushups and pull-ups, or you can keep using the exercise machines to continue to build muscle and strength.


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