Let us say from the start: In most situations, free weights reign. Doing exercises with dumbbells and kettlebells allows for more range of motion than most static exercises machines, a wider variety of exercises, a focus on functional movement, and they require more balance and stability (i.e., your core gets stronger, faster). And while you only need a set of dumbbells and a compound exercise — like a thruster — to get a total-body workout with free weights, using machines may mean hitting up eight or nine stations to target the whole body. But machines aren’t all bad. They can be superior for homing in on specific muscles and perfecting a new movement while gradually adding weight. And, sometimes, they can even offer an equivalent workout — or at least a good substitute for moments when machines are your only option. Here, a half dozen that you can feel good about using them.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!