Help with machine selection for home gym

HypertrophyCoach Joe Bennett Forums Anything Else Help with machine selection for home gym

  • This topic has 5 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by Mark.
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    Hello Joe,

    This is a bit longer question but, I know you like machine ones, please respond at your convenience.

    I am considering purchasing a few more machines for my garage gym, some fresh new pieces and some upgrades. I already have a power rack, adjustable bench, bars, plates, dumbbells, belt squat, decent functional trainer, GHD, plate loaded leg curl/ext, seated calf raise, and plate loaded cable lat pulldown/low row.

    I could potentially purchase all of the following machines if I put my deadlift platform and GHD in the backyard however, the configuration for the garage might involve placing the pendulum squat right in front of the water heater. If something happens (not from frisbee tossing a 45 at the water tank just normal wear and tear) I don’t want to have to move that behemoth to repair it or in the case of an emergency leak. I’d rather something smaller and easier to move. Not to mention the overcrowding in my 20 x 20 two car garage.

    I will likely try and sell the GHD (maybe put it in the backyard), leg curl/ext, calf raise, and lat pulldown/low row. Then integrate the belt squat into the rack to save a bit of space. (I can do hip loaded calf raises on the hip belt squat.)

    Now for the new pieces.

    – Atlantis Pendulum Squat
    – Atlantis Seated Leg Curl or the Life Fitness one you have if it’s available
    – Atlantis Lying Leg Curl/Leg Ext or Prime Plate-loaded Curl/Ext
    – Atlantis Vertical Chest press
    – Atlantis Chest Supported T-bar
    – Atlantis Front Pulldown or Nautilus Xpload if available

    I’m certainly sold on the pendulum. Now for the rest of the items due to space constraints I may have to remove one.

    I definitely want one of the leg curls. I don’t do extensions often so it’s more about seated or lying curls. Is there any benefit to training leg curls in a prone position versus seated in regards to the hamstrings relation to the hip angle? Does seated train it the same but, with added stability? The disadvantage of lying is the instability however, I don’t have much experience with seated, though I think I’d like it.

    The vertical chest press would be nice although I feel back and legs can benefit more from machines as chest, shoulders, and arms get good work from bars, dbs, and cables. Eugene Teo brought this up and I’m inclined to agree. Still a great piece.

    I’m having trouble finding a good compact chest supported t-bar and figure Atlantis makes a good one. Do you think the seat is basically useless and if it is, at the very least does it not get in the way? Is there another one you recommend?

    I’m not sure how I feel about the front pulldown. It’s definitely better than the plate loaded cable one I have. Eugene has this unique lat exercise he likes over a typical cable lat pulldown (he says it hits lats better while the standard exercise is more upper back), which feels good however I’m unsure if it’s up to par with a dedicated machine. Ultimately I want a machines that is really going to hammer the lats. The t-bar will hit upper back well with the wide elbow flared grip (main way I will program it) and lats too quite nicely with the vertical narrow grips. Maybe even switch one of these back machines out for the Prime chest-supported row you like?

    Basically, I can choose to either drop one of the leg curls, chest press, or back machines. Leaning towards removing a curl, before I make a decision, could you please provide your input?

    Thanks in advance Joe, I love your detailed content.


    Thanks Bryce I’ll consider getting the Prime seated row and seated leg curl first!


    Hi Bryce,

    I had a few more questions.

    I took some measurements again and I could make the Nautilus pulldown fit if I really try but I will probably get a narrower unit like the Atlantis Front Pulldown, what is your opinion on this piece?

    Is the Atlantis Seated Leg Curl pretty much the same as the Life Fitness?

    If you could only have one press would you definitively take the incline over the flat?

    Thanks for your help.


    Thank you again, sir!

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