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Training

Weight Machines for Legs, Biceps & Triceps

Weight Machines for Legs, Biceps & Triceps

In the last article we discussed the pros and cons of using weight machines over free weights for chest, back and shoulder exercises. This time we’ll talk about some machine work you can incorporate for your biceps, triceps and all areas of your legs. Let’s get to work!


Exercise #1: Preacher Curl Machine

After hitting a big compound movement for the biceps like the barbell curl, it’s great to really isolate the bicep peak. The preacher curl puts the biceps in an excellent position by resting the triceps on a bench out in front of you and only allowing the biceps to curl up the weight.

Sometimes with a bar or with dumbbells your core or front deltoids want to take over the work. Use the preacher curl machine to really isolate the biceps and focus on the squeeze and contraction rather than stabilizing the weight.weight machines

  • Set up the preacher curl machine seat to allow your triceps to rest on the bench pad while keeping the shoulders in neutral position
  • Curl the weight all the way up to the top and turn the handles out at the top to really hit the short head peak of the biceps
  • Squeeze and contract at the top and slowly lower all the way back to the bottom but keep constant tension throughout the movement

Sets and Reps: 4 x 12-15

Top Tip: To work more of the outer head or brachialis lower the weight back down with the handles rotated in. You will feel this on the outside of biceps.


Exercise #2: Machine Triceps Extensions

This exercise will really smack the rear head of the triceps especially after a larger compound movement like skull crushers or close grip bench press. You will have to be careful with the insertion points on this one – make sure you’ve got the seat adjusted correctly and that you never feel too much pressure on the elbow joint itself.weight machines

  • Get the seat far enough down to ensure elbow will bend almost perfectly at 90 degrees
  • Press the weight up and out with triceps ensuring the shoulders don’t come in to play
  • Squeeze and contract at the top and slowly lower back down but maintaining tension through the entire pressing movement

Sets and Reps: 4 x 12-15

Top Tip: To ensure you’re getting maximum pump out of this movement try to incorporate some half reps. Do one full rep then lower the weight only halfway down then back up to the top and all the way down. This will count as one 1 rep – killer pump!


Exercise #3: Leg Extensions

This is one of the greatest exercises to fully develop the quad without incorporating your core or the glutes. When lean enough it will also help to develop all 4 muscles individually and make them separate incredibly. This exercise is more about the squeeze and contraction at the peak of the movement rather than the weight because it can apply some unwanted pressure to the knee.weight machines

  • Set up leg extension machine to where the pad makes you sit at almost 90 degree angle and the pad in front hits just above the top of your ankle (lower part of the shin)
  • Extend the leg out in front and squeeze at the top trying to focus on all areas of the quad firing correctly
  • Slowly lower the weight back down and repeat

Sets and Reps: 4 x 12-15

Top Tip: To isolate more of the vastus medialis (that teardrop muscle on the inside of the knee) rotate your toes externally at the peak of the movement. This will burn like crazy!


Exercise #4: Hamstring Curl Machine

Best used after an exercise like stiff-legged dead lifts or good mornings, the hamstring curl machine isolates the hamstring and also takes the glutes out of the movement. Like the leg extensions, make sure the pad in the back is positioned correctly because the lower back can also come into play.weight machine

  • Adjust pad to have your back at almost a 45 degree angle to ensure that just the hamstrings are coming in to play
  • Pull the weight in to your glutes by squeezing the hamstrings to hit every muscle fiber within the back of the legs

Sets and Reps: 4 x 12-115

Top Tip: To keep pressure off the knees and directly on your hammies, keep your toes flexed throughout the entirety of the movement.


Take-Home Message

Although free weights definitely have their place, machine weights are not something to shy away from. They will allow you to isolate the muscle you’re trying to work and help avoid some injury when the proper form and weight is used. Keep the movements slow and controlled and make sure the setup is correct to avoid injury through the wrong insertion points. Get to growing!



Tyler Stark

Tyler Stark

Writer and expert


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