Bodybuilding is a stubbornly low-tech endeavor. The more that modern fitness trends toward the digitally-enabled and tech-enhanced, the more hardcore muscleheads pledge allegiance to old-fashioned iron. Wrestling a couple of big-ass dumbbells across the gym floor, hefting them to shoulder height, and pressing them until you can’t anymore connects you with a tradition that goes back at least as far as ancient Greece. Why mess with it?

And yet: gym owners don’t keep fancy strength training machines around because no one uses them. Sooner or later, nearly every strength and muscle athlete on the planet—no matter how hardcore—finds his or her way onto a machine. They’ll tell you it’s just to put the stopper on a workout, or rehab an injury, or bring up a lagging muscle group.

But we know the real reason: They’re fun. And low-stress. And easy as hell to use. You can strap yourself into the ergonomic seat, stick the pin on the second-to-last weight in the stack, and catch a quick, satisfying pump—no schlepping, cleaning, hoisting, or grunting required.

So that you don’t feel bad for injecting a little enjoyment into your workouts, we asked a handful of high-level coaches and athletes for their favorite strength machines—which we knew, secretly, they were using—and with only a little prodding, here’s what they said:

The 8 Best Muscle-Building Machine Exercises

The 8 Best Muscle-Building Machine Exercises

When it comes to getting maximum results from your lifting efforts, these machine exercises hold up ...

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