Starting your fitness journey can be both exciting and overwhelming – especially if you’ve never used gym equipment before. So, to help you streamline your workout experience, we’ve compiled a list of the 7 best gym machines for absolute beginners.
Whether you want to strengthen your entire body, work on your cardiovascular health, or just improve your overall fitness, this guide will help you to navigate the gym with confidence.
Table of Contents
- 1 The 7 Best Gym Machines For Beginners
- 2 Anatomy Of Muscles: A Beginner’s Guide
- 3 FAQs About Machines For Beginners
The 7 Best Gym Machines For Beginners
- Stationary bike
- Lat pulldown machine
- Leg press machine
- Chest press machine
- Seated row machine
- Shoulder press machine
Below, you’ll find the best gym machines to ease you into a new exercise routine and kickstart your journey to a happier, healthier you.
Benefits of a treadmill
- Easy to use
- Reduced joint strain
- Complete control over your workout
Easy to use
Treadmills are extremely user-friendly and you don’t need to learn any special instructions before you use them. All you need to do is turn it on, adjust your speed, and start your workout.
You don’t have to worry about the controls, either. Most treadmills have intuitive controls that make it easy for people of any fitness and skill level to utilize.
Reduced joint strain
Most treadmills on the market or that you find at the gym have a cushioned surface to better absorb the impact from your feet. This means that using a treadmill puts a lot less strain on your joints than outdoor running does.
Complete control over your workout
With a treadmill, you have complete control over the speed, incline, and duration of your workout. In turn, you can customize your exercise regime to suit your specific fitness goals. You can also adjust the intensity levels as you get fitter.
Tips for using a treadmill
- Start slow
- Use the handrails – but not too much
- Do warm-up and cool-down routines
As a beginner, it can be tempting to push yourself to the limits to feel as though you’re putting ‘the right amount of effort’ into your workout. However, it’s best to start slow with the treadmill and work your way up to a more intense workout. Try starting with a shallower incline and slower speed until you feel ready to pick up the pace.
Use the handrails – but not too much
When you’re starting out using a treadmill, you can use the handrails to help you with your balance. Still, you should only use them lightly and avoid leaning on them too much for support.
For a full-body workout that incorporates your upper body muscles, you should ideally be letting your arms move next to your body as naturally as possible.
Do warm-up and cool-down routines
For the best results, it’s best to start your workout with a slow walk to warm up. Then, you can increase your speed or challenge yourself with a steeper incline. At the end of your routine, make sure to return to a slower pace for an effective cooldown.
In this video, you can learn more about how to use treadmills to get the most out of these exercise machines:
Benefits of a stationary bike
- Easy to use
- Improves overall fitness
- Good for low-impact workouts
Easy to use
Stationary bikes are really simple to use. It’s just like riding a bike – literally! The only difference is that you need to use the controls to adjust the resistance and speed for a more challenging or relaxed workout.
These exercise machines are great for beginners because you can use them without needing to consult a personal trainer. You can simply go the to gym and start your workout.
Improves overall fitness
By using a stationary bike regularly, you can improve your cardiovascular health or do some strength training for your legs. Over time, you’ll also notice a marked improvement in your endurance, which is crucial for effective workouts. The more endurance you have, the longer and harder you can make your workouts.
Good for low-impact workouts
Biking on a stationary bike is super gentle on your joints. This makes it the perfect choice for beginners and anyone recovering from an injury or who may have joint issues.
After a while, you can also use this exercise to strengthen your joints, meaning you can take on more intense workouts.
Tips for using a stationary bike
- Adjust the bike to fit your body
- Maintain proper posture
- Use proper footwear
Adjust the bike to fit your body
Before you get on the bike, you’ll need to adjust it to fit your body correctly. The seat of the bike should be at your hip level so that there is a slight bend in your knee when the pedal is at its lowest position.
You can also adjust the handlebars to a position that feels comfortable for you. Just be aware that when you sit on the bike, you’ll need to maintain the proper form for an effective workout.
Maintain proper posture
When you use a stationary bike, you’ll need to sit correctly to avoid injuring yourself and to really engage all of the muscle groups in your legs and core.
Ideally, you’ll want to sit upright with a straight back. Make sure to keep a relaxed grip on the handlebars and avoid leaning too far forward or arching your back. This will help prevent strain on your back, shoulders, and neck.
Use proper footwear
Although you’re not on an outdoor bike, having the correct footwear is important for keeping your grip on the pedals. Without it, your feet may be at risk of slipping off the pedals, which can cause you to fall or lose your balance. Proper footwear keeps you balanced and secure.
For a visual demonstration of how to use a stationary bike, you can check out this video:
Lat pulldown machine
Benefits of a lat pulldown machine
- Controlled and guided movements
- Improves posture
- Builds stronger back muscles
Controlled and guided movements
Lat pulldown machines offer you controlled and guided movements, which means that the machine guides you through the movement. The ease of use allows you to focus on mastering the exercise without compromising your form.
Lat pulldown machines strengthen your upper body, including the muscles that support your spine. This can help to straighten out your posture, reduce your risk of posture-related back pain, and enhance overall spinal alignment.
Builds stronger back muscles
These exercise machines are made to engage multiple muscle groups in your back, including the lats and the upper body muscles.
By targeting these muscles, you’re also boosting your upper body strength which can help to sculpt your chest and arms.
Tips for using a lat pulldown machine
- Adjust the machine
- Check your hand placement
- Start the movement with your lats
Adjust the machine
Part of using a lat pulldown machine correctly is adjusting it to fit your body.
To adjust the machine, you’ll need to ensure that the seat and the knee pad are at the right height. You should be able to secure your thighs under the knee pad with your feet flat on the floor. The bar should also be easy to reach when you’re sitting down.
Check your hand placement
When you’re pulling the bar down toward you, you should have an overhand grip that’s around shoulder-width apart. This helps with lat activation but also ensures that you’re getting the most out of your workout. You should also avoid leaning too far forward or backward to prevent putting strain on your back.
Start the movement with your lats
Rather than relying on your arm strength to pull the bar down, you should try to pull it down with your lats. Your lats are the muscles on either side of your upper back and need to be worked to strengthen your back. You can think of it as driving your elbows down rather than tugging on the bar.
This video is great for showing you how to use lat pulldowns to boost your muscle growth:
Leg press machine
Benefits of a leg press machine
- Easy to use
- Improves balance and stability
- Builds lower body strength
Easy to use
Leg press machines are simple to use, making them a good choice of gym equipment to start with. It’s also a safe way to exercise your lower body without putting it under too much strain. Just be sure to position yourself correctly and breathe through the movement and you’re good to go!
Improves balance and stability
Les press machines provide you with a stable platform for working out, which may be beneficial if you struggle with balance issues. If you’re new to the gym, you may still need to work on your balance and strengthen your core, so this is a big advantage for gymming newbies.
Builds lower body strength
As far as gym equipment goes, the leg press is one of the best ways to strengthen your lower body. This is because it targets major muscle groups like your quadriceps (quads), hamstrings, and glutes.
Tips for using leg press machines
- Start with a lighter weight
- Focus on your breathing
- Use controlled movements
Start with a lighter weight
When you’re just getting started, it’s advisable to start with a lighter weight before working your way up to heavy weights. Of course, this can save you from straining your muscles and allow you to focus on your form before increasing the load.
Focus on your breathing
Breathing is an important art to master for any exercise. Try to exhale when you push the weight away and inhale deeply and slowly as you bring it back in. Proper breathing is a good way to stabilize your core and support the overall movement.
Use controlled movements
Controlled motions are essential for targeting the right muscles. For the most efficient workout, you’ll want to avoid moving your legs up and down rapidly. Instead, try to lower the weight slowly and then press it back up, maintaining control throughout the movement.
To learn how to use a leg press machine safely, you can watch the video below. It’s a great way to get a better understanding of how to use this machine in a more controlled way:
Chest press machine
Benefits of a chest press machine
- Simple to master
- Safe for solo training
- Builds a bigger chest
Simple to master
Chest press machines are straightforward to use, which is why they’re perfect for beginners. The machine’s guided motion helps you grasp the exercise more quickly while promoting proper form and effectiveness.
Safe for solo training
Unlike free weights that usually require a spotter, chest press machines are designed for solo training. The fixed movement pattern reduces the risk of injury, making it a safe option for anyone who’s working out alone.
Builds a bigger chest
The chest press machine effectively targets the pectoral muscles (pecs) which is important for building strength and size in your chest. Consistent use and progressive resistance contribute to a more defined chest over time.
Tips for using chest press machines
- Listen to your body
- Maintain a proper form
- Adjust the machine
Listen to your body
If you’re using a chest press machine and you feel any discomfort or straining in your chest, you’ll want to reassess your form and reduce the weight if you need to. It’s crucial to prioritize safety and then gradually progress on your fitness journey.
Maintain a proper form
To ensure your form is correct, you need to keep your back against the pad and relax your shoulders with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Additionally, you should avoid arching your back or locking your elbows on the push motion.
Adjust the machine
Make sure to set the seat height so that the grips align with your chest. This helps to ensure proper alignment throughout the exercise and effectively targets the chest muscles.
Want to see how to use chest press machines? Then be sure to check this video out:
Seated row machine
Benefits of a seated row machine
- Good for all fitness levels
- Builds power and endurance
- Good for total body workouts
Good for all fitness levels
A seated rowing machine is extremely versatile and can be adjusted to accommodate people of different fitness levels – even newbies! As a beginner, you can start with lighter resistance and, as your strength and endurance increase, you can slowly adjust the intensity.
Builds power and endurance
Seated row machines are great for full-body workouts since they engage multiple muscle groups. They also promote both power and endurance in your entire body. If they’re used correctly, they can target the muscles in your back, arms, and core to contribute to your overall strength and stamina.
Good for total body workouts
If you want a full-body workout that is still beginner-friendly, using a seated row machine is a good choice. By incorporating your core, upper and lower back, and arms, you’re guaranteed a comprehensive workout that will strengthen your upper body.
Tips for using a seated row machine
- Adjust your grip
- Extend your arms
- Maintain the proper posture
Adjust your grip
Before you start the exercise, make sure your grip on the handles is comfortable and allows for a full range of motion. You can experiment with different hand positions to effectively target different muscles in your back.
Extend your arms
When you’re pulling on the bar, try to extend your arms forward while keeping a slight bend in your elbows. This helps to achieve a full range of motion for optimal results.
Maintain the proper posture
When you’re using a seated rowing machine, you’re going to want to sit with your back straight and your shoulders pulled back. Make sure to keep your chest up and your spine as aligned as possible without discomfort.
If you’re interested in incorporating a seated rowing machine into your workout routine, then this video will help teach you how to use it more efficiently:
Shoulder press machine
Benefits of a shoulder press machine
- Lower risk of injury
- Improves posture
Lower risk of injury
The shoulder press machine helps to guide and control your movement, which reduces the risk of injury compared to using free weights. It also helps you to keep the ideal form so that you can target your muscles without pulling or straining them.
Using a shoulder press machine regularly strengthens the muscles in your back. After a while, a stronger back leads to better posture and a more aligned spine.
Shoulder press machines come in several designs. This means they can offer some versatility for your workout. For example, you can use a sitting shoulder press to help with balance and stability, or a standing machine to work your back and core more effectively.
Tips for using a shoulder press machine
- Warm up beforehand
- Keep your movements controlled
- Adjust the machine
Warm up beforehand
Make sure to prepare your shoulder joints and muscles before your workout. You can do this with a short warm-up like shoulder rotations or gentle stretches.
Keep your movements controlled
When you use a shoulder press machine, you should always use controlled, deliberate movements. Try and avoid using momentum to lift the weights. Rather, engage your shoulders by activating your shoulder muscles at the start of the movement.
Adjust the machine
Staying comfortable throughout your workout starts with adjusting the machine. Start with tweaking the height of the seat before lifting your arms and holding them at the starting position. If it feels as though your shoulders are straining, try to readjust the seat height and try again.
For a more comprehensive look at how to use this machine, make sure to check out the video below:
Anatomy Of Muscles: A Beginner’s Guide
- Quadriceps: Located at the front of the thigh, these muscles extend the knee.
- Hamstrings: Situated at the back of the thigh, they help to bend the knee and extend the hip.
- Calves: Your calves control your ankle movement and aid in walking, jogging, and running.
- Abdominals: The rectus abdominis assists in flexing your spine, while your obliques contribute to rotation and lateral flexion (moving your body from side to side).
- Lower back muscle group: Erector spinae muscles help to support your spine and allow you to stand up straight.
- Latissumus dorsi (lats): These broad muscles are on either side of the back and are responsible for certain shoulder movements.
- Rhomboids: Rhomboids are the muscles between your shoulder blades and help to retract and stabilize the scapula.
- Trapezius: These are upper back muscles that support shoulder movement and neck extension.
The pectoralis major is responsible for your shoulder movement, rotation, and how you move across the midline of your body.
There are three parts of the deltoid muscle group: anterior, lateral, and posterior. They’re also responsible for how your shoulders move.
- Biceps: The biceps are in the upper arm and help to flex your elbow and twist your forearm.
- Triceps: The triceps are on the back of your upper arm and are designed to help you extend your elbow.
FAQs About Machines For Beginners
For beginners, the choice between weight or cardio machine exercises depends on what you want to get out of your workout. Weight machines are good for isolation, while cardio machines focus on endurance and weight loss.
Beginners can use free weights like dumbbells to build muscle and boost their strength. However, if you’re going to use these weights, it may be best to consult a personal trainer to learn how to use them correctly.