The main benefit of weight machines is that they are easy to use and are comparatively safe. They are suited to beginners, because in many ways, the machines dictate the exercise. In many cases, by guiding the movement, they automatically initiate proper form and help prevent injury.
The weight’s position and route of travel—that is, the body motion required to move it—is controlled, and some trainers believe this helps beginners avoid mistakes in form. Have a trainer or a weight-room staffer set you up for proper alignment on each machine and record the adjustments in your notebook. The discipline imposed by machines also means that, if you follow your program, you will work all the muscle and muscle groups by completing a circuit of all the prescribed apparatus in the gym.
Weight machines are for everybody—sort of. Some brands are not designed to accommodate women under 5’3″ or men over 6’2″. A bad fit can mean bad form—or possibly even injury. Another drawback to machines is inconvenience. Unless you have a well-equipped home gym, you have to go where the machines are. Sometimes you might feel you don’t have time to get to the gym, work out, shower, and get back home or return to the office, so you might skip a workout. At peak times, there might even be a queue for the weight machines.
Another problem some people encounter with machines is boredom. Weight equipment does not always face a television set the way aerobic machines frequently do, weight rooms don’t always have music, and you can’t read while you are working out. Being tethered to a machine with little diversion can be very tedious for some exercisers.