The Best Muscle Building Gym Machines

11 Best Muscle Building Gym Machines

Best Gym Machines / Equipment

No two gym machines are the same in terms of the effect they have on your muscles. While some gym equipment can have a big impact in shaping your physique, there are certainly a few machines or pieces of equipment that are just useless.

It is essential you get rid of useless machines in your workout routines, and stick with the ones which will give you the best bang for your buck. In this article, we will be taking you through the best machines you can use for building each muscle group.

Please note: We will be using ‘machine’ and ‘equipment’ interchangeably throughout the article.


A favorite muscle to exercise amongst many gym goers. A well developed chest is something sought after by virtually every person looking to build muscle. What exercises or machines are the best for building up the chest? Let’s take a look!

Bench Press

Bench Press is the ultimate chest builder. It is typically also one of the first exercises you learn to perform when you join the gym. The bench press is one of the most basic pieces gym equipment and is present in almost every gym. It typically requires three things, weights, a barbell, and a bench.

American Barbell 20KG Training Bar is a versatile barbell that is rigorously tested for training and competition. A precision ground alloy steel shaft ensures quality, durability, and longevity.

Pec Deck

The inner chest and striations are the hardest to develop, flyes are a key component in building this area up. There are a few different things you can do for flyes; dumbbells, cables, or the pec deck.

In many gyms, the cable stack is often occupied, so that eliminates your ability to do flyes on the cables. When it comes to dumbbells, many people have an issue with dumbbell flyes as they do not feel it in their chest as much or it puts too much strain on the shoulders.

The pec deck is a good substitute for both of these situations. The pec deck allows for the lifter to get a good stretch and squeeze throughout the entire pec, and really focus on that inner chest area.


Dylan Wolfinger performing a back double bicep pose

A wide, thick, strong back does a lot for someone’s physique. A big back can make the waist look smaller as your upper body looks wider, sculpting that V-taper. Not to mention you look more well developed and proportionate, and overall you use your back every day for a variety of reasons, you want to make sure it is strong.

Seated Machine Row

The seated machine rows help in developing the thickness and volume in the back. Most people make the mistake of going too heavy on this exercise and load up the machine with more weight than they can handle.

Lat Pulldown

Lat Pulldowns build the width in your back. Performing the lat pulldowns with a strict form will help you get the best results. Avoid swinging, using momentum while pulling the bar to your chest as it recruits your shoulder and biceps.


Well developed shoulders can really take your physique to the next level. They make the upper body look wider, and really tie together how your arms look.

Machine Shoulder Press

Unlike using the dumbbells, the machine shoulder press helps in maintaining constant tension on your shoulders. Machine shoulder press is a substitute for the military presses and is great with people who have shoulder problems.

Grab yourself our top pick for the best dumbbells overall!

Reverse Pec Deck

You cannot forget to hit the rear delts. The reverse pec deck is exactly as it sounds, you sit on the pec deck facing the opposite way that you would for pec flyes. You move the weight towards your back, so you are hitting the rear delts rather than moving the weight to the front of you for chest.


Remember, triceps make up two thirds of your arms. They are also a key component in a lot of your lifts, specifically pressing movements. Let’s look at a good gym machine to really hit your triceps.

Dips Machine

The dip machine helps in the overall development of your triceps. If you don’t have access to the dips machine in your gym, you can use the parallel bars on the assisted pull-ups machine as a replacement.


Everybody wants perfectly peaked biceps. Despite making up less of the arms than the triceps, the biceps do certainly add to the beauty of the arms. What machine is great for the biceps?


Preacher Curl Machine

The preacher curl machine is a great bicep isolation exercise. Hold and squeeze your biceps for a second at the top of the movement. Doing this will fill up your biceps with blood and lactic acid. You can really break down the biceps on the preacher curl machine.


The literal base of the human body, the legs are something that people far too often overlook in terms of importance, or even under train. No one should settle for skinny legs, so let’s look at where the gains are made for this bodypart.

Squat Rack

Forget leg extensions and leg curls, the squat rack is where you should be spending most of your time on a leg day. Squats are a complete leg builder and are arguably the best leg exercise. Guys like Tom Platz, who had some of the best legs in bodybuilding, worship the squat rack.

RitFit Power Cage is a heavy-duty and stable rack with 12 variable positions to allow for many big lifts.

Leg Press

The leg press can be used to target your quads and hams from different angles. Don’t let your ego get the better of you while performing this exercise and use weights with which you can maintain a full range of motion.

Multipurpose Gym Machines

While there are plenty of machines and pieces of equipment in the gym that target specific muscle groups, which of them can be extremely versatile? Let’s take a look.

Smith Machine

Smith machine is one of the most versatile gym machines. Our favorite exercises to perform on the smith machine are incline and decline bench press, standing calf raises, lunges, and smith machine squats.

Cable Stack Machine

Cable crossover machine can be used to perform a range of exercises. It is also the gym equipment most used on the bicep and triceps day. Cables are great for maintaining constant tension on the muscle throughout the movement. Dumbbells and barbells put tension on the muscle on the concentric movement, but have no tension on the muscle on the eccentric movement.

Force USA G6 All-In-One Trainer is a great power rack for functionality with 17 attachments with a 9-in-1 strength training system.

Best Gym Machines and Equipment Wrap Up

Chances are your gym has a variety of equipment and machines that are there to target each muscle group. They provide different angles, weights, or just styles in general to really attack your muscles from every possible direction. This is a list of our favorite machines and pieces of equipment to exercise each muscle.

Which is your favorite gym machine or exercise? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.

*Header image courtesy of Envato Elements.

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I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.