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Types of Strength Machines

Types of Strength Machines

Conventional Weight Stacks

With conventional weight stacks, there is less chance of injury since the machine isolates specific muscles and supports the back, etc. These machines are more user friendly - the machine assists dramatically in posture and motion.

Many machines come with cams (engineering that varies the resistance through-out a motion) that varies the resistance through your muscle's natural strength curve. This cam, used properly, will cause a progressive loading of resistance on the target muscle.

  1. No need for a spotter so you can increase weight resistance without the need of assistance.
  2. Machines are usually easier to learn, more comfortable and well suited to train beginners, elderly and for rehabilitation.

Power Rods

Power rods combine the stability of "conventional" machines with real-life motion of "functional" machines. There is less chance of injury since the machine isolates specific muscles and supports the back, etc. A better choice for people over the age of 50.

An added benefit is the use of the stabilizing muscles that free weights incorporate, as the cables are free to move and not constrained by tracks, hinges, or grooves. There's no need for a spotter so you can increase weight resistance without the need of assistance. These machines are more user friendly - machine assists dramatically in posture and motion.

Bowflex (the maker of the Power Rod gyms) is owned by the Nautilus company, a landmark company putting fitness equipment in health clubs for decades.

To understand how this technology works, imagine a bow and arrow. When you begin pulling the bow string back with the arrow, it is relatively easy to begin with, but gets much more difficult as you fully "load" the arrow. The power rod technology is similar. For instance, imagine you are lifting (or pressing, or pulling down...) a 100 pound rod. During the initial 1/3 or so of the repetition, you are only lifting 60 lbs. During the second 1/3 of the rep, you're lifting 80 lbs. Finally at the height of the rep, you're lifting the full 100 lbs. As you get to this height of the rep, the power rod gets tighter and tighter.

Power rods and cables combined are extremely effective at creating ranges of motion that progressively load the resistance, and even better, place muscles in the worst leverage disadvantage possible (a good thing).

Cable Machines

An added benefit to using cable machines is the use of the stabilizing muscles that free weights incorporate, as the cables are free to move and not constrained by tracks, hinges, or grooves. This creates a full range of motion.

Lever Machines

With lever machines there is no need for a spotter so you can increase weight resistance without the need of assistance. These are usually a less expensive option to cable or stack machines. You can use existing free weight plates and they're more user friendly - machine assists dramatically in posture and motion.