Perhaps knowing the exact names of gym machines is not your top priority when buying a machine for your home gym room. But, if you want to learn gym equipment names just to better understand what each machine does for your body, then keep reading. The main characteristic of gym machines is that most of them are explicitly designed to work with specific muscle groups in your body. In other words, they are designed for isolation exercises.
What are isolation exercises?
If you want to build specific muscles, there isn’t better way than doing isolation exercises. As the name implies, isolation exercises involve movements that target a specific joint or muscle group.
However, if you want to make the best out of any isolation exercise machine, you have to know and understand how each one works and what you can expect from any of them. Also, keep in mind that since isolation exercises target specific joints and muscle groups, it’s always a good idea to do them in combination with other exercises in order to have well-balanced workouts.
Isolation exercises can be also great for people who are in the recovery process or who want to correct some muscular imbalance.
The Most Popular Gym Machines:
This is a brief overview of the most popular and the most common gym machines:
1. The chest press machine
The chest press machine is probably the most famous piece of gym equipment. It is designed for chest workouts, but it trains shoulders and triceps as well. All machines in this category have adjustable seats and weight stacks and they are seated, incline or decline.
2. The chest fly machine
The chest fly machine (also called pec fly machine) only targets one group of muscles – the chest. Available in two models, seated and supine, these machines are equipped with pads for increased comfort and allow you to adjust the distance between the pads. Although exercises done with this gym machine also involve triceps and shoulders, these only act as stabilizers so they are not pumped and strengthen during the fly chest routine.
3. Shoulder press machine
As its name implies, shoulder press machine works the shoulders, but also tones and shapes the triceps. Handles are pulled over head with slow, controlled motions, and lowered back to ear level, elbows being kept bent during the exercises.
4. Lat pull-down machine
Lat pull-down gym machine is for compound exercises, working the muscles in shoulders, biceps, neck, upper and mid back. The natural arch in the lower back should be maintained throughout the routine to prevent injuries and muscles should be contracted during the movements for maximum benefits.
5. Cable row machine
Cable row machine is another machine designed for compound exercises. The cable row works mainly the upper and middle back muscles, but involves the lats, biceps and lower back muscles as well, strengthening and toning them. The grasp should be firm on the vertical grips and the body’s alignment should be maintained during the exercises to avoid back injuries.
6. Biceps curl bench
Biceps curl bench is designed for isolation exercises, its main purpose is to work your biceps. It is one of the easiest to use machine, the needed adjustments being limited to adapting the seat height.
7. Triceps extension bar
Triceps extension bar is an isolation tool for targeting the triceps muscles. This tool is also very easy to use. For performing the exercises correctly, the ABS should be maintained tight, the chest up and the back straight.
8. The leg press machine
The leg press machine is for compound exercises, working the quadriceps, calves and hamstrings at the same time. It is equipped with a backrest, an adjustable seat and a leg press. For correctly performing exercises with this machine, legs should be bent and extended slowly and knees should be maintained in a soft lock position.
9. The leg extension machine
Unlike the leg press, leg extension only targets and shapes the quadriceps. Besides keeping the muscles contracted while performing the exercise, you should also pay attention to respiration, exhaling as you straighten the legs and inhaling as you return to the initial position.
10. The abduction or adduction machine
The abduction or adduction machine is equipped with a backrest and a seat with adjustable pads. Routines performed on this machine involve, as the name suggests, abduction and adduction movements, the targeted muscles being the inner and outer thighs.
11. Abdominal crunch machine
Abdominal crunch machine is an isolation machine that only targets the abdominal muscles. This machine is intensely used for crunches by people trying to achieve ripped ABS. For noticeable results and for avoiding injuries, elbows have to be placed against the pads while the head and neck have to be maintained in a neutral position.
12. The back extension machine
The back extension machine is ideal for isolation exercises. This machine targets the lower back muscles, but does not work the abdominal muscles, although they are involved in the movements as well. Footplate should be adjusted to 90 degrees angle of knees and thighs should be positioned against the seat.
13. Cable Tower
The best thing about cable towers is that while it mainly targets your biceps or triceps, you can easily adjust the weights and do a whole range of varying exercise movements. With its weight stacks, adjustable cables and other attachments, you can shift the focus on any of your major muscles. For women, this machine is especially recommended since it can be much easier to handle, especially for beginners.
14. Smith Machine
This is one of the best gym machines, as it provides some of the most effective exercises for both upper and lower body. It’s a great machine for squats, but you will more often see people who perform chest presses on it. Many people consider this machine as a secure and advanced version of the bench press. It’s an excellent substitute for bench press if you don’t have a spotter, since you can easily plant the bar on the frames when you feel the need to do so. However, you do need to be very careful and make sure that you are in the proper position when using the Smith machine. If you use it improperly, it can put a strain on your flexors and tendons.
There are, of course, many other gym tools and machines, but these could be found in almost every professional gym. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to go to the gym to get the benefit of isolation exercises. Many multifunctional home gym machines have incorporated attachments for isolation exercises. You can check our home gym reviews to see what the best home gym machines have to offer.