If you are unsure about a machine, ask a fitness trainer to show you proper usage.
The abs, butt, legs and arms are common parts of their bodies gym-goers want to tone. Luckily, every gym is packed with machines that target these areas. Weight machines provide a quick and effective way to work certain muscles without having to give too much thought to proper form, and they often have instructions for proper use posted on them so you don't have to guess.
Cut to the Core -- Abs
Your abs, along with your upper glutes and lower back, make up your core. A strong core is essential for maintaining appropriate posture while exercising and for everyday activities like walking. The abdominal crunch machine allows you to execute slow and controlled movements that focus on contracting and engaging your abs. Select a light resistance to start and sit down, placing your feet under the pads. Grab the top handles and rest your triceps on the pads provided. This is your starting position. Simultaneously lift your legs up as you crunch your upper torso while exhaling. Pause for one second, then return to starting position. Perform from one to three sets of 15 repetitions, depending on your ability.
No Butts, No Glory --Glutes & Legs
Strong, tight glutes don't just look good, they increase balance and flexibility. Two machines that target your legs and glutes are the leg press and lever squat. For the leg press, sit on the machine with your back flat against the back rest and place your feet on the resistance plate, adjusting the seat so that your knees bend at 90 degrees. Grab the side handles and contract your abs while slowly pressing the foot plate away from you while exhaling. Stop just short of locking your knees.Control the return to the starting position as you slowly exhale. To perform the lever squat, adjust the amount of weight, then squat down to place your shoulders under the padded lever provided. Your feet should be directly under your shoulders and shoulder-width apart. Lift the lever up by extending your knees, then control the motion as you lower back into a squat. Do between one and three sets of 15 repetitions.
For toned arms you need to hit the triceps at the back, the biceps in the front as well as your forearms. The cable biceps pull down works the biceps and forearms. Sitting at the lat pull down machine, position the bar attachment directly above your head. Grip the bar with your palms facing you and pull it down to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides. For triceps extensions, stand facing the high pulley on the cable machine and grasp the bar with your elbows fully bent and held tight into your sides. Your palms should be away from you. Extend your arms to pull the cable down, ending just in front of your thighs. Slowly return to the starting position. For the biceps curl, simply move the bar attachment from the high to the low pulley. With your back straight, keep your elbows tucked into your sides. Start with your arms extended and your shoulders rolled back. Bend at your elbows to bring the bar up toward your shoulders, then control the return. For each of these exercises do between one and three sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Tighten Quads and Hamstrings
Challenge, tone and strengthen your quadriceps using a seated leg extension machine. Sit straight with your back flat against the back rest set so that the ankle pad sits just above your shoe laces. Holding on to the side bars extend your legs in a slow and controlled motion and return to the starting position. Pay close attention to posture, not letting your back round. For your hamstrings, do the leg curl. Set the seat so the pad hits just above the top of your shoe when you rest your ankles on it. Start with your legs extended and bend your knees to press the pad back as far as you can. Complete one to three sets of 15 reps.