Slimming down to achieve a sleek physique just got a whole lot easier with strength training on the deck. (After all, a study from the University of New South Wales found that you can lose about 1.4% of your body fat by doing strength training.) While your workouts should focus mostly on free weights, you don’t want also skip the machine exercises. Working out with different machines is a solid way to burn fat and build muscle. We have some top recommended leaner exercises that will have you moving from machine to machine. Grab your water bottle and get ready to sweat in the gym.
In some cases, machine exercises can even dominate free weights and can help you maintain better tension in the target muscles. You’ll want to choose machine exercises that target the major muscle groups in your body. For most people, I recommend prioritizing your legs and back. Although they are the most challenging areas to train, this will help you achieve a slimmer appearance as these body parts continue to improve. Once you’ve completed training them, you can complete another focus area, such as your biceps.
Here’s a list of leaner machine exercises that you can incorporate into your workout routine. Perform three to four sets of each of the following movements.
Machine Hack Squats
Our top recommended exercises start with the machine hack squat. Position yourself on the machine with both feet in front of you and slightly turned. Push yourself up before hitting the switches to unlock the machine. Then lower your body using control as you would for a standard bodyweight squat. Lower yourself until your hips are at an angle of at least 90 degrees. Push up through your heels, flexing your quads and glutes to finish. Perform three to four sets of 10 repetitions.
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Begin lat pulldowns by gripping the lat pulldown bar with your hands just outside shoulder-width apart and your palms facing away from your body. Lean back slightly and pull the bar down toward your sternum with your elbows, squeezing your lats at the bottom of the movement. Resist on the way back, keeping tension in your lats. Let your shoulder blades rise at the top of the movement so you get a nice stretch. Perform three to four sets of 10 repetitions.
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Wide Grip Seated Row
To prepare for this exercise, grab the wide-grip attachment on a seated row machine and place your feet firmly on the tread. Pull the handle and then straighten your legs completely. Keep your chest high and drive your elbows back toward your hips, squeezing your back and lats hard to finish the move. Straighten your arms and give a firm stretch to your shoulder blades before doing the next repetition. Perform three to four sets of 10 repetitions.
Seated machine leg curls
Sit on the leg curl machine, placing your ankles over the roller. You have the top with a padlock. Press your back flat into the seat and keep your chest high. Drive the weight down through your heels, bending your hamstrings hard at the end of the movement. Resist the rise until you return to the starting position. Perform three to four sets of 12 repetitions.
Bicep curl machine
This last exercise begins with you sitting on the machine with your arms on the pad, completely straight. Grab the handle and perform a biceps curl. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top of the movement, then lower the weight under control until your arms are fully straightened once again. Perform three to four sets of 12 repetitions.