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What Machines Should You Use at the Gym to Tone Your Breasts & Butt?

When you want to tone your chest and butt, you need to do exercises that zero in on these muscles. Machines give you this ability, provided you know which ones to use. The important thing is that you match an exercise to the movement pattern caused by the muscle. The pecs in your chest function to move the upper arms inward and the glutes in your butt extend and abduct the hip. For the most effective toning, use machines that work these muscles using these movements.

The chest press is a pectoral machine operated from a seated or face-up position, depending on the machine. Both have handles attached to lever arms that get pushed straight out in front of or above your body. The seated version has an adjustable seat that slides up and down. Your hands should be about chest level when performing the exercise. Both machines give you the ability to change the resistance one of two ways. Either slide a pin into a weight stack or add weight plates to tube-shaped carrier bars. Weight plates run from 2 1/2 to 45 pounds.

The pec fly is a machine that specifically targets the inner chest. This is operated from a seated position and it has two upright, padded lever arms. Perform the exercise by placing your inner arms against the pads with your elbows bent and push them inward. In similar fashion to the chest press, the seat is adjustable. The resistance gets changed by sliding a pin into a weight stack.

A cable machine has two weight stacks about 10 feet apart that are connected by vertical and horizontal supports. Both sides of this machine are required to do cable crossovers and pec flys for the chest. You need a set of single handles to do both exercises. After you attach the handles to chest-high settings, stand between the weight stacks and grab a handle in each hand. To do cable crossovers, bend your elbows 90 degrees with your arms parallel to the floor at your sides. Move the handles across your body as you overlap your hands, then slowly move the handles back out. To do flys, keep your elbows fixed in a slightly bent position as you move the handles to the front of your body. One side of the cable machine allows you to do a glute kickback exercise. This requires an ankle strap attached to your lower leg and a low setting on the machine. Simply face the weight stack and kick your leg behind your body against the resistance.

The leg press is a lower body machine that targets the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. This machine has a seat, hand supports and steel plate that slides away from your body as you press against it with your feet. The key to targeting the butt is to place your feet in a wide stance with your toes turned out at an angle. This is often referred to as a plie leg press.

The seated abduction machine works the glutes as well as a muscle on the side of the hip called the tensor fascia latae. This machine has a seat with backrest, foot rests and padded levers. Perform the exercise by sitting on the seat with your outer thighs touching the pads. While grasping the support handles on the sides of the seat, press against the levers to move your legs out, then slowly move them back in. The resistance is changed by sliding a pin into a weight stack.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.