GEL THE MOST FROM YOUR EXERCISE MACHINE: WEIGHT-TRAINING MACHINES
There are great variations in home weight-training machines. Some come with adjustable hooks that you move around to increase the resistance of the exercises. Some come with a bench so that you can do presses and other arm/chest work. At the top end of the scale are the "Total Gym" (a brand name, in fact) or "Total Fitness Gym" machines.
Weight-training machines can often be the right choice, especially for beginners, since they
i) Are safer — you can't drop a weight on your foot.
ii) Enable you to isolate a specific muscle group fairly easily.
iii) Control the direction of the movement — particularly for
workouts like the leg lift.
iv) In the case of Nautilus-type machines, provide a more even
workload through the full range of motion.
When You Buy
This is an expensive piece of equipment, so check out a floor model thoroughly before you invest in it.
Also, keep in mind the amount of floor space you can afford to give it at home.
When You Use
Practise correct breathing technique. As a rule, breathe out during the strenuous parts of each lift, then breathe in (through your nose) as you lower the weight.
No workout should have you up on your toes or leaning into the exercise — both are signs of bad form.
When you're doing a bench press, your feet should stay flat on the floor, your buttocks should be touching the bench at all times. And your back should not be overarched during the movement; if it is, it puts your back at risk and also gives you an inaccurate measure of your progress. It means that you're trying to lift more weight than you can properly handle.