6 types of weight machines

Personal/Fitness Training Blog

Weight machines are normally safer than free weights and, in addition, are easier to utilise. This makes them advantageous for beginners who are learning a specific movement. Some of the weight machines are more efficient as opposed to free weights at isolating a particular muscle or muscle group. This is essential when you’re strengthening a specific body part or rehabilitating an injury.

Weight machines guarantee the correct movements for a lift, assists with preventing cheating when muscle fatigue sets in. In addition, weight machine workouts can take less time because you can move easily from machine to machine and changing the resistance is easy.

So with the numerous benefits of weight machines, let’s learn a bit more about them.

Types of weight machines

There are two main types of weight machines. These are:

  • Plate loaded, as well as
  • Pin loaded.

The machines which are pin-loaded (or stack machines) have stacks of rectangular weights with a hole in them for the pin. The lower down you insert the on the more weights which are lifted. The advantage of these types of machines is that you do not need to load weights on and off between sets.

With plate-loaded machines, there are no weights attached to the machine. You need to put the weight plates on the machine yourself. May plate-loaded machines offer a higher range of motion than stack-loaded machines.

Cable machines

These machines come in a number of different shapes and sizes. However, almost always these are stack loaded. Cable machines will have a handle that is attached to the end of a cable and this is then pushed or pulled in various directions depending on the particular exercise. These can be great for assistance exercise to your barbell or dumbbell lifts as unlike other weight machines these still allow free range of movement.

Pull-Up Bar

You would be surprised how many gyms do not have a good pull-up bar. There are several places to look if you don’t see a freestanding pull-up bar right away: at the top of the cable machine, power rack or (alternatively) the smith machine. Some offer a number of grip options without offering a straight bar. The two primary grip options, which are the most useful, are a straight bar and a neutral grip. The latter is where your palms are facing each other.

Dip station

At times dip stations are freestanding while others are affixed to the cable machine or power rack. Handles which are adjustable are nice for those of us who are smaller while a wider dip station puts our bodies in a poor position.

Assisted pull-up station

This is a stack-loaded machine. You select a weight and then stand on a platform that offers a specific amount of help on your pull-up or dip. These can be helpful if you can’t do a pull-up or dip yet though we recommend the use of bands instead.


There are a number of types of benches:

  • Standard flat benches, and
  • Adjustable ones.

The adjustable benches allow you to exercise at an incline or decline. These are one of the most frequently used pieces of equipment in the weight room. This means that it’s always good if there are at least three or four.

Bench press

Some gyms (especially smaller gyms and CrossFits) just use a squat stand or squat racks for the bench press. Most commercial gyms have benches that are specially made for the bench press (with a stand attached).

There are several other types of resistance training equipment such as collars and clips. The purpose of this equipment is simply to hold the weight securely on the bar.

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