Selectorized Gym Equipment and Cable Machines - Selection & Uses
Integrating selectorized gym equipment into your free weight workout for maximum versatility and results.
While the basic barbell lifts still form the foundation of my training program, I’ve grown to appreciate some of the many benefits of selectorized gym equipment as I’ve pushed past age 50. Their gentler impact on joints is perhaps the biggest advantage the judicious use of cable machines in one’s training program offers to the aging trainee, or to anyone looking to get a good workout without getting beat up.
A few other benefits of selectorized gym equipment and cable machines include easy and quick weight changes (including drop sets), constant tension throughout raising and lowering the resistance, muscle group isolation, the variety of exercises that can be performed with different cable attachments, and the ability to train alone in safety without a spotter. Combination machines also offer cost and space savings, making them affordable not just for big-box commercial gyms but also for light commercial use in apartment complexes, physical therapy clinics, personal training studios, and even in well-equipped home gyms.
Many training facilities offer a dizzying array of weight stack machines and sorting through the choices to find the best selectorized gym equipment for your workouts can be confusing. Read on, and I’ll point out a few excellent choices and highlight some of their best features.
When I’m writing training programs for training clients, I usually have them start with a compound lift for the target muscle groups and then move on to isolation movements to ensure that all the fibers get thoroughly worked. Squats backed up by leg extensions for the quadriceps and deadlifts followed by leg curls for the hamstrings and posterior chain are two battle-tested approaches.
Enter the Legend Fitness Selectorized Leg Extension / Leg Curl Combo Machine, a space-saving two-in-one machine that can be used for both. With all of the bells and whistles, including a simple pop-pin adjustment to convert quickly between the two functions, dense foam padding that holds its shape and offers ample support, and 11-gauge steel, this beast will be providing great leg workouts for years to come.
Sticking with the combo machine theme, the Tuff Stuff Evolution Light Commercial Lat Pulldown / Low Row Combo Machine allows users to perform a variety of vertical and horizontal plane pulling movements to ensure complete back development. A few of the exercises this 200-pound weight stack machine accommodates include pulldowns with various grips for the latissimus dorsi, seated rows to target the rhomboids and mid-back, and upright rows for the trapezius and shoulder muscles. Those who crave variety in their arm workouts can even use the high pulley for triceps pushdowns and the low pulley for cable curls.
It’s also affordably priced for light commercial use in hotel gyms, corporate wellness centers, and rehab facilities. And as a home gym trainee, the number one piece of selectorized gym equipment on my wish list would be a combination lat pulldown / low row because of the immense versatility in exercise choices this one machine provides.
If versatility and space efficiency are high on your list of requirements, the TKO Achieve Duals Series 8800 Multi Press Machine is one of the best pieces of selectorized gym equipment available. In a compact footprint, it includes a chest press, an incline press, and a shoulder press, enabling you to thoroughly train your chest, shoulders, and triceps from a variety of angles. Pull-pin adjustments on both the seat and press arm allow you to quickly and easily change the angle of focus and amount of pre-stretch for safe and effective workouts.
Sure, you could fork over several thousand dollars for a stand-alone selectorized calf extension machine. But why do that when you can add the versatility of a leg press to train not only your calves but also your quadriceps and hip flexors in one compact footprint with the SportsArt DF201 Selectorized Seated Leg Press and Calf Extension Machine?
The clever 1:2 weight ratio means the resistance feels twice as heavy as the actual physical weight. In other words, the 220-pound stack weight affords you 440 pounds of resistance, while the actual product weight is kept to a minimum. Additionally, premium precision steel plates incorporate sound dampeners to keep the stack motion as quiet as possible, and the magnetized weight selector instantly locks into place, providing an easy-to-use and secure operation.
For head-spinning versatility, the Muscle D Fitness Multi-Functional Trainer affords you the ability to perform literally dozens of different muscle-building exercises for both your upper and lower body. If you normally blow past the little exercise placard, you might want to have a closer look in order to take advantage of some of the many capabilities of one of the best selectorized gym equipment pieces available.
Two 200-pound weight stacks ride on polished guide rods driven by aircraft quality cables and pulley wheels with sealed bearings. Each arm and swivel pulley moves independently of the other and is capable of rotating vertically and horizontally for nearly limitless cable exercise variations. Additionally, the open base of the MDM-MFT leaves plenty of room for incorporating compatible fitness equipment like adjustable weight benches and resistance balls.
While all of this versatility is nice, sometimes you just want to get a good pump for your biceps with a friendly staple exercise like preacher curls. The Body-Solid S2AC Pro Clubline Series II Arm Curl Machine allows just that with many excellent conveniences to help you train intensely but also comfortably. A few of these well-thought-out design features include step-in entry, contoured DuraFirm padding, multi-grip revolving handle, 6-position seat adjustment to accommodate users of all sizes, variable resistance cam for smooth movement throughout the strength curve, heavy-gauge steel frame with all-4-side welded construction, and a fully shrouded weight stack for both safety and attractiveness.
If you need help choosing between the excellent options highlighted here or any of the other selectorized gym equipment and cable machines IRON COMPANY offers, a sales rep will be happy to help further educate you on the best options available based on your fitness goals, budget, space constraints, and other considerations. Contact Us today for all your strength equipment needs.
Chuck Miller has been immersed in the pursuit of strength and the art and science of physical transformation as a coach, athlete, and writer for over thirty years. He is the author of Inside the Mind of an Iron Icon: on strength training and bodybuilding and is a monthly columnist for HARDGAINER 2.0 Visit CORE Strength and Conditioning to learn more about his background or to book a consultation.