8 Machines You’re Afraid to Use at the Gym (And How to Use Them Correctly)

Step up your strength training routine by learning to use these key pieces of equipment

No one should be afraid to admit it; the gym can be an intimidating space, especially if you’re new to working out. Even after being a long-time member, you might still feel like a newcomer if you’re not sure how to expand your workouts beyond the most common cardio machines.

Before I had the chance to work with a personal trainer, I was terrified to go anywhere near the free weights or cable machines. I had no idea how to use them. I was afraid I might embarrass myself if I did something wrong while trying to figure it out on my own (even though most machines have detailed instructions).

Of course I could see other members using the equipment. It seemed like maybe I could replicate their moves. Sometimes I would at least muster the courage to check out a new machine, but I’d usually back out because I didn’t know where a certain lever should be placed, how to adjust the seat for my height, or worst of all, that I’d do an exercise wrongly and get hurt.

So, I continued a repetitive routine of being best friends with the treadmill and shunning every type of strength training, simply because I was scared. That was an inefficient way of working out, though. No wonder I was having trouble achieving my goals.

It wasn’t until I asked for help to learn the ropes that I started to see change. Learning how to use those machines that looked so scary changed the game for me. That’s because strength training is an important part of every exercise regimen, especially for those with weight loss goals. Here’s a hint, once you learn how to use equipment the right way, everything doesn’t look so scary anymore. Oh yeah, and if you’re worried about what other members might think, don’t give it a second thought. Most are probably way too wrapped up in their own workout to worry about what you’re doing on the lat pull-down machine.