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Fitness

Make the Most of the Weight Machines at Your Gym

This simple what-to-hit, what-to-skip weight routine takes the guesswork out of getting a sexy, sculpted physique at the gym. Consider this your guide to the best machines in the weight room.
Cable Machine Standing Leg Lifts Cable Machine Standing Leg Lifts

Targets: Butt, hips, inner thighs, and outer thighs

Why it's key: The seated adductor and abductor machines (aka the inner and outer thigh machines, respectively) may be favorites with women, but your legs can do better. "Standing to do leg exercises with the cable machine forces you to work the thigh muscles more, and the cable lets you hit all the angles," Esco says. "Plus, the seated machines don't really target the butt muscles as well."

How to use it: To work your outer thighs, set the pulley at the lowest level, then stand with your left side facing the machine and put the cuff around your right ankle. Hold on to the machine with your left hand and, keeping your right leg straight, bring your right foot directly out to the side as high as you can. (To hit extra muscle fibers in your hips, start with your right foot pigeon-toed and turn it outward as you lift.) Do all your reps, then work your inner left thigh (as shown in second photo):

Cable Machine Standing Leg Lifts

With your left side to the machine, put the cuff around your left ankle and hold on to the machine for balance. Bring your left leg across to the right side so that the left foot is to the outside of the right. Do all reps, then repeat both exercises with the opposite legs.

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