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  1. #1
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    Default Do Nautilus Machines Work?

    I am brand new to lifting and really would like to build some muscle. However, I don't really have anyone that I can go work out with. Since I don't have anyone to spot me, I feel like if I am going to be lifting heavy weights that that would be dangerous. However, the gym I go to does have some nautilus machines. Since those don't require a spotter, I was wondering if those work as well as free weights?

    I have never seen a serious lifter using the machines before but I can't tell if that is because they don't work, or because of some macho thing that compels people to use free weights instead. I am still in the process of finding a good routine but the ones I have been finding talk about free weights and I just didn't know if that would be safe for me as a beginner without a spotter.

  2. #2
    Moderator Scrutiny's Avatar
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    Default

    Welcome to the forum mate.

    As a beginner to training, you should be looking to use mostly free-weighted exercises.
    Free-weighted exercises are superior to weight machines, as free weights will enable your body to recruit the use of important stabilizer muscles and enhance co-ordination and proper joint and ligament strength.
    Free weights can also allow a much greater natural range of motion.

    The problem with machines is that they generally isolate a muscle group, and restrict the use of stabilizer muscles and the recruitment of surrounding tendons, through the machines' limited range of motion.

    Machines certainly do have a role in a workout routine, don't get me wrong.
    But the emphasis should be on free-weights.

    As a beginner, you shouldn't be lifting heavy anyway.
    The opening 8-12 weeks should have a great emphasis on correct exercise technique and allowing the body to safely and properly adapt to lifting weights.

    If a spotter is an issue, try using dumbells as these are fair easier with dropping the weights.

    Check out the beginners workouts from this site, you'll notice that they have a vast majority of free weighted exercises.
    http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner.html

    Hope that helps.
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  3. #3
    Watchin what yer doin! tadolfi's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bushkanaka86 View Post
    I am brand new to lifting and really would like to build some muscle. However, I don't really have anyone that I can go work out with. Since I don't have anyone to spot me, I feel like if I am going to be lifting heavy weights that that would be dangerous. However, the gym I go to does have some nautilus machines. Since those don't require a spotter, I was wondering if those work as well as free weights?

    I have never seen a serious lifter using the machines before but I can't tell if that is because they don't work, or because of some macho thing that compels people to use free weights instead. I am still in the process of finding a good routine but the ones I have been finding talk about free weights and I just didn't know if that would be safe for me as a beginner without a spotter.
    Bush,
    Welcome to Muscle and Strength.
    Scrutiny is right and has you pointed in a very good direction.

    Nautilus in my opinion is a good line of equipment that specializes in re-hab, sports injury recovery and some specialization for specific body parts.
    These machines in general do help a person start a program but what happens through time is what Scrutiny mentioned about the stability of the body and getting the core built to support overall strength and movement.

    So, depending on the individual and their feeling of security, they may never want to venture away from this eqiupment and then their progress stalls and they lose interest in working out.

    On the free weight side, you build a solid base of both core strength and confidence in yourself to be able to handle these weights and have more control over how you lift, how much you lift, how you manage the form of the movement (machines can control your form for the most part - you do not) and how the range of motion or grip varies to hit a specific area.

    If you feel you need to start with machines, that's fine, but I would ask you to venture in to some free weights within the first 3 or 4 weeks. Even if you do just one free weight exercise for a certain body part and then adopt another the next week and then a third the following week...that's progression in to the free weights and gives you the ability to do all that I wrote about above.
    Last edited by tadolfi; 02-09-2011 at 01:01 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Default

    Thanks for the helpful advice on this.

    I picked the 12 Week Beginners Training Routine from the beginner's workout list because when I click on "Most Popular", this is what showed up.

    I also read through the Beginner's Guide forum post. With this workout I picked, I am supposed to only do 15 reps on each exercise. Do I need to do the warm up lifts as mentioned in the guide? Also, my goal for lifting is to gain muscle mass (and eventually to give it a good shape) so should I start taking the whey protein and counting my calories with this routine?

    Final question, how much should I be lifting? Should I be struggling by the time I finish my 15th rep or should it start to feel tough but not be too bad? If I am going to take the time to go to the gym I just want to make sure I am getting the most bang of my buck!

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
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    I wouldn't sub free-weights for the smith machine. If you are doing bench; learn your limitations. If your doing squats, learn to ditch the bar. If you're doing deadlifts, learn to let go and step back.

    I train heavy, almost all the time. I rarely need a spot, and if I do ask for a spot on bench, its because I'm pushing myself past my limitations.

    Rehab training is one thing, but a fully functional trainee should have no challenges with using proper equipment.

  6. #6
    Coming Up The Ranks heyvail's Avatar
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    Default

    As stated above, concentrate on form. And keep a log, write everything down. If you do 15 reps and it is fairly easy, write it down and go heavier next session. Progression is key!! In the beginning IMO I feel it is better to err on the lighter side and keeping/learning proper form. There are a lot of gains to be made in the beginning, but concentrating on having proper form will prevent injury and keep your lifts progressing!!! If you have questions on form the videos on this site are really helpful!

 

 

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