Weight Machines or Nah?


5/30/20212 min read

Have you returned to the gym yet?

I haven't. Shrug I probably won't either until I know that I'll be able to get enough out of it, like if there's a couple of Zumba(R) classes per week given by my favorite instructor, that I can ACTUALLY attend, then YES, I'm there.

But there isn't much else that I'm going to use anymore, because besides classes, mostly all they have are machines. So let's talk about that for a minute.

Machines are good for some people, and they are not good for me. Who are they good for?

-Those who are driven by numbers and increasing by small increments with their sets and reps.

-Those who are not intimidated by them and know exactly how to configure the machine's setup for their size.

-Those new to strength training who might benefit from the machine's restrictions, thus helping their form, maybe?

-Those that are tall enough to use them.


Weight machines are mostly designed for the male physique, which, proportionately speaking, may not fit the average female very well, especially those under the average American male height of 5'9".

Women, especially petite women, are gonna struggle to be comfortable! It's not to say that someone like me CAN'T use a machine, but to be confident that I am performing the action on certain machines completely safely is maybe not the most honest of statements!

Years ago when I was a five-day-a-week gym rat, I gave up machines when the 3 slow sets of 15 reps were easy and I struggled to rerack the weights without feeling joint strain. Something wrong there. I switched to the four cable machines until I got bored, then switched to TRX until they told me I wasn't allowed to, then they raised my rates from overuse and I quit completely.

I worry that other women, especially petite women out there think they are using weight machines with no issues, but what if that day comes that suddenly it just - hurts? Or that something feels wrong after upping the weight? Will there be a knowledgable trainer on the floor to help?

So some advice as you're mulling this over: consider cable machines. Sure, there is more margin for error in form, as there would be with free weights, but lighten the weight a little, watch your form in the mirror, pay attention to how EVERYTHING feels, tighten your core, go SLOW, and ask for help or someone to spot you to make sure you're not missing something. Spend some time on that lighter weight, just to make sure you're establishing correct muscle memory with the movement in an exercise.

And guess what? You won't need to rely on the pads of a machine to restrict your movement to one or two muscles. You get to incorporate more muscle groups, resulting in a better workout. Talk about efficiency!

In the meantime, I'll just use my bodyweight exercises. Those have made me way stronger than those big old silly machines! LOL!

Have any of you had a complaint about weight machines at some point? I'd love to hear about it. Drop me an email at pafenutritionandfitness@gmail.com.

Weight Machines or Nah?

Some things to consider upon returning to the gym, especially if you're a woman.