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With the plethora of options that your local fitness center offers, it’s difficult to understand what each machine does and incorporate it into your daily workouts. While the most common ones including shoulder press, leg press, and cable machines are often the go-to’s for many people, there are some machines that are hardly if ever used. Each machine is different in the targeted muscle groups and has its benefits/downfalls. Listed below are 4 machines that you should begin using in the gym to reach your fitness goals.

Single-Leg Machines:
While most machines in the gym are designed to work both sides of the body in tandem with each other, isolation is the best method for hitting specific muscle groups separately and to fix any imbalance issues. A great example is leg curl vs single-leg curl, where the standard leg curl machine requires you to move both legs down and towards your body in a seated position, where single-leg curl only allows you to bring one leg towards your body in a standing or laying down position allowing for more concentration of the movement.

Dual Pulley Cable Machines:
While cables are not underused by anyone, the manner in which exercises are used limits its potential. Most people in the gym use cables to perform upper body exercises, and while it’s great for targeting upper body muscles with a different form of resistance, the lower body can greatly benefit from cable exercises as well. The added benefit of using cable machines is you can add and remove different attachments.

Stretch Machines:
Depending on the amenities of your gym, they may or may not have this piece of equipment. If your gym does have stretch machines, you should begin every workout and end every workout on the stretch machines or some form of manual stretching. Your body needs to warm up before doing strenuous exercises (particularly as you age), and using stretch machines will allow your muscles to become more flexible than without stretching. It will also increase blood flow from your brain down to your feet. If you have never used a stretch machine, they have detailed descriptions and illustrations on how to maximize your stretches for an optimal workout and recovery.