T Nation

Homage to Your Favorite Machine


Machines have seemingly gotten a bad rep somewhere along the way. In the 70's Nautilus was all the rage, and pick up any muscle mag from the 80's or early 90's and its a good bet a majority of the pictures will show bodybuilders blasting out reps on a machine. Then came the era of Swiss balls, rotator cuffs and "supporting muscles". You'd hear people spouting "oh, stay off that bench machine, you'll blow off your rotator cuff and your supporting muscles will atrophy! Come do one-armed instability presses on this pink ball!".

Bullshit, I say. There are some stellar machines available that are good enough to form the cornerstone of many routines.

For me, nothing beats the Hammer Strength Mid (MTS) Row. I LOVE this machine and if I didn't have a fiancee that was into interior design I'd try to find a way to tastefully incorporate it into my living room. I can honestly say that I've experienced more growth and soreness from it than doing bent over rows.

What about all of you? Sell us on your favorite machine


I like the pec deck but I never train in gyms that have one. It gives me a good stretch and there's tension throughout the motion compared to dumbbell flyes. It also gives me a massive pump in my chesticles and lifting's all about the pump.


The plate loaded HS dip machine thing.

Normal dips make my shoulders hurt like a bastard, this machine is a god send. Now I just have to figure out how to strap myself to the seat, because I'd rather think about the dips then hooking my feet in to hold myself down.


Straight up/down smith (or maybe even an angled one, haven't tried those much) with no counter-weights for In-Human Presses or WRGB, both for triceps... Offers the advantage that you can press towards your feet as well as up and thus engage the tris and especially their long-head a lot more while sparing the shoulders.

Also, if you train tris after chest and/or delts, you won't have any stabilization problems with these exercises, which is rather nice.

I can't free-weight close-grip worth shit after chest or delt-training...

And of course it provides alternatives for guys using an exercise rotation etc... And you don't need a spotter and whatnot.

Smith high incline presses (angle at 70-75 or so) with a wide grip are a fav of many pros such as Rühl, McGrath, etc... Great delt exercise.

Depending on your build (I suppose), one can also rack-pull quite well in the smith (for bodybuilding purposes). Keeps the bar from jumping forward or backward after being set down etc... Not necessary, of course, but it does work rather well in my case. (setup is a tad different from regular rack pulls, same goes for smith rows).


Seated Dip machines.

Feels so good to strap yourself in and muscle down a couple hundred pounds.

Also the Seated Bent Knee Calf Raise cause the Soleus needs love too.


Outstanding screen name!

For anyone who doesn't get the reference,


Your comes with a seat belt???

You lucky dog...


I think you're right. there are some machines that serve monster purposes. Cable stack is hard to go without esp for dealing with injuries.

Another hottie is the leg press. I dont use it for leg presses much but i use it for single leg plyometric presses. You see how far up the angle you can kick the platform. A good hack squat setup can run pretty good to.

And for conditioning the versa climber and C2 rower are king of robots.

But the machine I love the most is still the one pictured. I like the colors.



x2 for kilos of awesomeness.

"Body massage machine!"



Me myself I like free weights.It takes more muscle to control free weights then a machine. Each to his own what ever works for you is good. I am just old school in my beliefs.Machines to me are good if you are recovering from an injury.


d.y. row


While I don't necessarily disagree with you, I think it's critical to be smart about how and when you use machines. For instance - I do Low-Incline Smith benching for my first exercise on Chest day. I then do DB flat presses. I've definitely seen better strength gains then I ever did when freeweight incline benching.

My point is - I don't think it's right to say that one is better than the other. I know big guys who use a lot of machines - and I know big guys who use only free weights. It's just prefference in the end, really.


Off topic a bit, but what are In-Human Presses? I see thm mentioned on here now and then but google produces nothing.


this is to Standard Donkey nice looking machine but I'll stick to free weight rows like I said what ever works for you and free weights work best for me.


Hammer Strength Decline Press, Pec Deck, and of course the other Pec Deck that switches to work rear delts, I like that one too.


Every Hammer Strength machine is wonderful. Also, props to the lat raise machine.


Loved the HS machines, too bad my current gym doesn't have any. And I don't understand what is up with the hate on smith machines. Used properly they can be a great tool. I like the slightly inclined smith machines because I can do slight incline or decline bench presses on them without actually using incline or decline benches (my gym don't really have that many benches).



machine bent over rows come in handy after your lower back is shot from deadlifts.

I certainly prefer free weights as well, but that is not what the thread is about.


Your win!:slight_smile:


I've really been liking the HS shoulder press lately. It provides two great benefits when doing overhead presses:

  1. Allows me to go heavy without a spotter.
  2. Don't have to worrying about cleaning or kicking up heavy weights up to my shoulders- this is probably the best advantage to me.

These advantages can also be provided by the standard shoulder press machine, but I like HS better right now.