Having a structured machine workout routine is not just for those new to the gym scene. Following a predetermined plan makes it more likely that you have a well-rounded routine (no neglected muscles here), and that you get the maximum benefit from your gym time.
This gym workout routine is meant to help you cut down on any time spent wandering around, trying to figure out which machine to do next. It’s also a very balanced routine because it hits all antagonistic muscle groups.
Weight Machine Circuit Gym Workout
Lat Pull Down
Inside Thigh (Adduction Machine)
Outside Thigh (Abduction Machine)
Break the upper and lower body circuits into two different workouts done on two different days. It works really well to train the upper body while the lower body is still sore, and vice versa.
Example Workout Program:
Monday: Lower Body Circuit
Tuesday: Upper Body Circuit
Wednesday: Rest or Cardio & Core Exercises
Thursday: Lower Body
Friday: Upper Body
Saturday: Optional Cardio
Reps, sets, & how to do a weight machine circuit
The exact number of reps and sets that you do of each exercise depends on whether you are trying to build mass and gain strength, or tone your body.
Number of reps & sets for toning
If toning up is what you’re after, do 3-4 sets of between 12 and 18 repetitions (you can even go higher if you like). Whatever the number of repetitions you complete, choose a weight that makes it difficult for you to complete the last 2-3 repetitions. Proper form in executing any exercise should be a priority.
Number of reps & sets for strength
For strength, complete three sets of 6-10 reps. As is true with toning, the last few reps when training for this goal should feel very challenging. If you are pursuing mass or increased strength, give perfect form precedence; never sacrifice precision for a higher lift weight.
Cardio and your weight machine workouts
You should ideally begin every single workout with a bit of cardio in order to warm up your muscles. 10-15 Minutes is sufficient for prepping your muscles for more demanding physical activity (like the circuit training workouts above).
On the days where you only do cardio workouts, aim for between 30 and 60 minutes of at least a 5/10 perceived exertion level. Always make sure to stretch your muscles when you finish workouts, especially when doing a strength training routine; the damage caused by the ripping of the muscle fibers can cause them to bind and tighten up.
Do venture outside of your weight machine gym workout
Weight machines are most ideal for beginners, particularly those who have not had the opportunity to spend any one on one time with a personal trainer. However, it’s important to realize that though machines initially do a really good job of helping you navigate the gym, they are limited in the number of calories that they can burn, and their range of motion in relation to your body’s natural movements.
Functional strength training using bodyweight exercises or dumbbells gives you the most natural range of motion and develops your strength, coordination, and controlling muscles most comprehensively.
If you have the time and resources, it pays to invest in a few sessions with a quality personal trainer when you are new to working out. If you don’t want to hire a personal trainer, check out our library of free full-length workout videos here, where we walk you step by step through each exercise.