Machines got a bad reputation back in the early days (e.g. 80’s) due to hardly any of them following the bio-mechanics of the body. Because of this, half the time joint issues proceeded, and/or the user was not able to progress in load very far (= no gains). That’s why every book you read nowadays make them out to be a curse from the devil and only for pussy’s (and people on the internet continue to spew out rehashed crap that they’ve read somewhere).
With the advent of better machines (e.g. hammer strength etc), the user is able to progress in loads very comfortably. In fact, it could be argued that some users will be able to make better long term gains because of continuous gains with lack of injuries (good machines allow a neutral grip, and more natural movement of the joint and don’t always depend on spotters).
Many mistakenly assume that machine always = isolation. Since when do you isolate your pecs, or thighs while pushing, machine or not?? Big weight added over time = good gains. An exercise that allows this is a good one, simple as
I’ve not used a lot of brands but the best machine I ever used was Body Solid’s freeweight leverage equipment. I’ve only used one piece of Hammer Strength and its their deadlift platform which I don’t care for but I’d be interested in knowing if anyone has used a lot of Body Solid’s equipment vs Hammer Strength’s equipment which one is better as they are quite similar.