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There are a few basics that all gym machines have in common. In this tutorial I will show you what to look for as soon as you get on a machine so you don’t feel so ridiculous every time you sit down. Just going to the gym can be pretty intimidating when everything is new to you. Once you sort though all of the unknowns then you will start to feel right at home in the gym.

1. The Machine Label

Each machine will have a label with the name of the machine on it and usually three pictures. The first picture will show which muscles it will work on. Then the second will show the starting position and the last picture will show the ending position.

For instance, if it was a machine for squats. The 2nd picture would show someone standing up tall and the 3rd picture would show them in a squatted position. The first picture would have the quad and glute muscles highlighted.

2. The Weights

The weight on machines is usually in a stack of ‘bricks’ with a cable running down through the center of them and a pin that you can pull out and put into the weight of your choice. The pin is sometimes attached with a cord. Each machine will have different increments of weight based on how much you can typically lift with the particular muscle your training. You can place the pin into any of the bricks to choose a weight.

Sometimes there is an attachment that will ad either 2.5lbs or 5lbs extra to help split the weight increments up even more than the machine allows. For instance if you lifting 20lbs and it’s fairly easy but 25lbs is too challenging you can use the 2.5lbs attachment with the 20lbs and work on lifting 22.5 lbs before moving up to 25lbs.

Usually the attachment is an small separate brick that just sets on top the of brick stack. Sometimes it’s also built into to machine and you can engage it by twisting it, and disengage it by untwisting it.

Each machine can be a little different so take a couple of minutes to look at the ones your gym uses and get familiar with them.

3. The Size Adjusters

People come in all different sizes and shapes and gym equipment can adjust to accommodate those differences. There will be adjusters usually under or right next to the seat on every machine. They are typically a spring loaded pin. Pull it out, move the seat to your prefered height and let go. The pin will set into the nearest position.

Some machines have multiple adjusters. If you are doing legs abductors then you have a height adjustment and an adjustment for each leg as well. The lat pulldown will only have a height adjustment. Don’t be afraid to move them when you need to. Everyone changes them.

Whenever you sit down at an unfamiliar machine now you can look for the labels to know what exercise it’s for. You can choose your weight easily and you can adjust the machine to fit you. Remember that everyone was new at one time. Start using these gym machine basics today and you will feel comfortable at the gym in no time. You’ll do great!