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10 Different Circuit Machines and How to Choose the Right One

May 10, 2010

Personal trainers recommend that individuals workout on circuit machines because they help guide you to lift with perfect form. Each machine is designed to workout a specific muscle group. The circuit machines require very little setup or knowledge. The main design of the circuit machine is to allow for individuals to move from one machine to another in a short amount of time. A good circuit machine routine will have you strengthening all the major muscle groups in as little as 30 minutes.

Using Circuit Machines

One of the most important details to pay attention to when utilizing a circuit machine is properly adjusting the seats and arms. Circuit machines typically allow for the seats and many of the levers to be adjusted so that they are aligned properly to your height.

Most trainers advise circuit machine workouts where you complete 10 to 12 repetitions on a machine and then move to the next machine without stopping. Complete all machines in your circuit before resting. You can rest for 2 to 3 minutes between sets. It is recommended that you complete 2 to 3 sets of the entire routine for a full body workout.

To maximize the cardiovascular benefits of your workout, consider jumping rope, doing jumping jacks or squats between each machine.

10 Different Circuit Machines

1. The leg press machine is designed to specifically workout your quadriceps and hamstrings. Your glutes are worked as a secondary muscle.

2. The shoulder press targets the muscles in your shoulders. The specific muscles that this circuit machine works are your deltoids and rotator cuff.

3. The bicep curl machine is an isolated movement where you only workout your bicep muscles.

4. The chest press machine helps you isolate your chest muscles without using other muscles, such as your shoulders or back.

5. The seated row machine guides you through a compound movement where you focus on working your middle back. Additional secondary muscles worked out during this motion are your biceps, lateral back muscles and lower back muscles.

6. The leg extension machine focuses on working the quadriceps muscles.

7. The leg curl machine focuses on strengthening the hamstring muscles.

8. The hip abduction machine helps strengthen the gluteus medius muscle.

9. The hip abduction machine has individuals work their inner thighs, or hip abductors.

10. The seated calf raise machine primarily works out the gastrocnemius or calf muscle. A secondary muscle that is strengthened is the soleus, which is the muscle under the calf muscle.

Choosing the Right Circuit Machines

When selecting which circuit machines to use, you will want to select between 8 to 10 different machines that work different muscle groups. The best workouts have you switching between opposing muscle groups--for example doing bicep curls followed by a tricep workout.

For women, an excellent full-body workout would begin by working the lower body. Start the circuit with the leg press machine, move to the squat machine, then the leg curl machine, then the leg extension machine and finally the calf raise machine. 

After completing the lower-body portion of your workout, move to the upper-body circuit machines. A good upper-body circuit workout would begin with the chest press machine, then the shoulder press machine, then the bicep curl machine and finish with the tricep push-down machine. 

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