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7 Machine Exercises Trainers Swear By for Rapid Weight Loss

Get lean in a hurry with the only machine exercises you should use.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

You want to lose weight and you want to lose it fast—we hear you. Well, we will tell you right now: You can skip most machine exercises. Those typical machines you see in the middle of your gym are no match for free weight or bodyweight exercises. Why? Because they stabilize the weight for you and force you into fixed, two-dimensional movement patterns, which is not how your body is designed to move. Thankfully, there are some excellent machines at the gym you can use to get great fat-burning results while still being able to get a total-body benefit. Gear up for seven machine exercises trainers swear by for rapid weight loss.

The below exercises encompass some great cardio options as well as strength ones for more muscle and metabolism. Read on to find out more, and next, be sure to read 7 Simple Dumbbell Exercises To Lose Weight in 30 Days.

1. Treadmill Sled Pushes

If you're looking for a butt-kicking interval session, look no further than sled pushes—sprinting while pushing against resistance. Unfortunately, not every gym, however, has a sled or artificial turf. In that case, use a treadmill! While the machine is off, just grab the handles and start "running" by pushing the belt backward. Unlike sprinting on a treadmill, using these pushes strengthens your posterior chain—glutes, hamstrings, etc.—for even better results.

2. Smith Machine Inverted Rows

Rows are unbeatable to build strong back muscles, improve your posture, and, of course, burn calories. The great part of using a Smith machine is you can easily adjust the height of the bar—to make it easier or harder—and track your progress to tell if you're getting stronger.

Grab the bar from underneath, pull yourself up, and touch your chest to the bar. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and keep your body straight like a plank.

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3. Airdyne Bike

man performing air bike sprints to burn more calories than running

An Airdyne bike is a machine where you can use both your legs and arms to push against resistance. This gives a total-body cardio workout, which will smoke your body and your lungs for tremendous fat loss. (Trust us.) You can do it slow and steady for a longer duration (20 to 30 minutes) or you can go all-out for 15 to 30 seconds and catch your breath before doing it again with interval training.

4. Rowing Machine Intervals

muscular woman rowing machine workout

The rowing machine is another great calorie-burning tool, but don't let the name fool you—a rowing machine is a total-body workout because your lower body is just as important as your upper body in this exercise.

Sit tall with your chest out, your shoulders squeezed, and your lower back flat. Start by fully extending your legs, and then row; then reverse the movement, and repeat.

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5. Seated Cable Rows

illustration of seated cable row

A cable machine is arguably the best gym "machine." Because they use pulleys, they offer constant tension and resistance throughout an exercise unlike free weights, which tend to be hardest in the middle and easiest toward the end (depending on the exercise).

Start the movement by squeezing your shoulder blades together. Row and touch the bar to your chest with every repetition. Do not lean backward to cheat—you'll put unnecessary stress on your lower back. To emphasize your back muscles, use a wide grip; to get more arm work, use a narrow grip.

6. Pull-Throughs

Pull-throughs target your glutes and hamstrings for stronger, sleek legs. Also, they teach you how to properly bend your hips while keeping your lower back safe, which carries over to virtually every physical activity.

Face away from a cable machine, set the height to the lowest setting, and grab the ends of the cable-rope attachment between your legs. While maintaining a neutral back and straight elbows, start with your torso almost parallel to the ground with slightly bent knees. Extend your hips, and stand tall.

7. Lat Pulldowns

lat pulldown illustration

If you can't do bodyweight pull-ups, a lat pulldown machine is a great alternative—especially if you don't have a band for assistance (or can't be bothered). That way, you can gradually build more strength and eventually transition to doing bodyweight pull-ups.

Sit at a lat pulldown machine, and grab the handle about shoulder-width apart with your palms facing away. Keep your torso upright, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and pull the bar toward your collarbone. Keep your chest up as you pull.

Anthony J. Yeung
Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert featured in Esquire, GQ, and Men’s Health and the founder of GroomBuilder, the destination for men who want to transform their bodies for their weddings. Join the free 5-day course to burn fat and build muscle for the big day! Read more about Anthony