Next, the core exercises in your program must consist of free weight exercises, not machines. Machines are good for isolating and fatiguing individual muscle groups, but they are only to be used after your main compound exercise work has been done. I don't know of anyone who has gained a substantial amount of weight using just machines.
The main reason for this is a lack of stabilizer muscle development. Since machines are locked into a specific range of motion and help to support the weight along that path, they fail to stimulate the muscles that surround the area you are working (stabilizers). This is a mistake. If your stabilizer muscles are weak, then the major muscle group will never grow!
Free weight exercises like the dumbbell press or squat, for example, put a very large amount of stress on supporting muscle groups. That's why you will get fatigued faster, and will not be able to lift as much weight as you did on the machine. But you will get bigger and stronger very quickly and have a true gauge of your strength.
If you use machines in your program, they should be used to work isolated areas and only after all compound exercises have been completed.
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