One Machine = Total-Body Workout

Crank out a killer full-body workout without budging from one machine.

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Nothing’s a bigger buzzkill than waiting for the guy next to you to finish repping out on the cable machines, especially when you’re pressed for time. What’s a girl to do? Stand still, that’s what. This one-stop workout can be done in a single location: the lat pulldown machine.

“The lat pulldown station is so versatile, it’s easy to mix things up by simply switching out the attachments,” explains Dara Mazzie, an NASM-certified personal trainer and owner of Dara Mazzie Fitness in Redondo Beach, Calif. “With just a couple different handles and a pair of dumbbells, you can hit every bodypart from head to toe.”

Do this workout using straight sets for a terrific total-body session, then finish up with the high-intensity cardio bursts to burn an additional 100 calories.* As for weight: Use enough so that you can’t get any more than 15 reps per set. “Your body doesn’t know numbers; it knows failure,” Mazzie says. “If you can complete 15 reps of any exercise easily, add more weight or progress the exercise, like changing from an incline push-up to a standard or decline push-up.”


Top tip: Try out this workout at a low-volume time at your gym. When it’s less busy, you’ll have a better opportunity to use the one machine without feeling rushed.

* Based on a 130-pound woman

Crisscross Crunch and Lunge


Attachment: single D-handle

Muscles Worked: abdominals, quads, glutes, adductors

Setup: Stand sideways to the machine and take an underhand grip on the handle.

Action: Simultaneously lift your right knee up while driving your left elbow down to meet it. Then extend your arm and take a big step out to the side with your right leg, dropping into a lateral lunge. When your thigh comes parallel to the floor, push back out of your heel to return to the standing position. Do all reps on one side before switching.

Tips: Try to link all your reps together, transitioning smoothly between the knee up and the lunge portions. Also, place your left foot against the bottom of the bench for max stability.

Hi-Low Reverse Flye


Attachment: single D-handle

Muscles Worked: posterior deltoids, rhomboids, lower lats

Setup: Stand facing the station and hold the handle in your right hand just above your head with your palm facing you, arm bent at 90 degrees. Place your opposite hand on your hip for stability and bend your knees slightly.

Action: Keeping your arm locked, pull the handle outward and downward across your body until your right hand is to the outside of your right hip and your palm is facing away from you. Slowly go back the way you came, resisting the weight stack on the return. Do all reps on one side before switching.

Tip: The rear delts are small muscles and fatigue quickly, so use a lighter weight to ensure proper form for the entire set.

One-Arm Lat Pulldown


Attachment: single D-handle

Muscles Worked: latissimus dorsi, teres major, trapezius, rhomboids, biceps

Setup: Take an overhand grip on the handle with your right hand and sit down, arm extended and palm facing away from you. Place your left hand on your thigh for support.

Action: Keeping your wrist straight, drive your elbow down and pull the handle to the outside of your right shoulder. Pause a moment at the peak contraction and squeeze before slowly returning to the start.

Tip: Change up your grip to target different muscles.

Elevated Lunge


Muscles Worked: quads, glutes, hamstrings

Setup: Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides and stand a couple of feet away from the station seat with your back to it. Place your right toes on the seat and stand tall with both legs straight.

Action: Bend both knees and drop your right knee toward the floor, keeping your chest lifted and your shoulders back. When your front knee makes a 90-degree angle, extend both legs to return to the start. Do all reps on one side before switching.

Tip: Don’t pitch forward over your front leg; keep your weight centered and moving straight up and down.

Bonus: For variety, hold a medicine ball with both hands above your head to challenge your balance and fire up your core.

Squat Jump


A quick and easy way to add your cardio to your routine.

Setup: Stand facing the machine, feet hip-width apart, arms in front.

Action: Bend your knees as you squat toward the floor until your knees are almost parallel to the floor. Explode into the air, landing in the squat position. Repeat.

Tip: Do this (and any other cardio burst) at the end of the workout away from the machine if the gym is busy at the time. Always try to be considerate of fellow gym users!

Overhead Triceps Extension


Attachment: rope

Muscles Worked: triceps

Setup: Attach a rope to the cable and stand facing away from the machine with your legs in a split squat. Take an overhand grip on the rope and pull it over your head, elbows bent at about 90 degrees.

Action: Bend forward at the waist and press the rope away from you, squeezing hard at the peak contraction.

Tips: Keep your elbows close to your head throughout to best target the triceps. For variety, try using the V-handle or the bar attachment. Leaning away from the machine allows better clearance of the cable over your head. For a better burn, flip around and do a few triceps push downs facing the machine.

One-Arm Supergirl Curl


Attachment: single D-handle

Muscles Worked: biceps

Setup: Stand sideways to the machine and take an underhand grip on the D-handle with your left hand, palm facing upward. Allow your arm to extend fully and place your opposite hand on your hip.

Action: Slowly pull the handle in toward your head, flexing your elbow but keeping your shoulder immobile. Squeeze hard at the peak contraction and slowly return to the start. Do all reps on one side before switching.

Tip: Keep your arm at an incline throughout each set to maintain continuous tension on the biceps.

Cable Crunch


Attachment: Rope

Muscles worked: abs

Setup: Kneel on the bench facing away from the machine, feet underneath the kneepad. Place the rope behind your neck and hold onto each side, leaning slightly forward.

Action: Contract your abs and bend forward until you’re almost parallel to the floor, then return slowly to the start position.

Tip: Keep your legs anchored under the kneepad at all times, and keep the movement smooth and controlled.

Decline Push-Up


Muscles Worked: pectorals, triceps, core

Setup: Place your hands flat on the floor just outside shoulder width and extend your legs behind you so your toes are on top of the station seat. Your head, hips and heels should be in line, abs tight and head neutral.

Action: Bend your elbows and lower your upper body toward the floor, keeping your torso straight. Extend your arms and go back to the start position.

Tip: Never let your hips sag; fight to keep them lifted throughout the move.

Incline Triceps Push-Up


Muscles Worked: core, pectorals, triceps

Setup: Get into a plank position with your hands on the machine seat, elbows close to your side and your legs extended straight behind you. Lift your hips so they are in line with your heels and your head.

Action: Bend your elbows and press down toward the bench, keeping your elbows close to your side and hold for one count.

Tip: For more of a challenge, raise one leg as you press.

Cardio Kicker

Want a little extra burn? Mix in these cardio bursts to burn an additional 100 calories after the workout, and increase your post-exercise oxygen consumption, aka “afterburn,” to incinerate even more calories.*

Squat Jump: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and do a squat, allowing your arms to swing back. Extend your legs quickly and jump into the air, raising your arms overhead as you leap. Land softly and repeat right away.

Mountain Climber: Get into a plank position and alternately and quickly bring your knees underneath you toward your elbows. Keep your hips low and your back straight.

Burpee: Squat down, place your hands on the floor and hop your feet behind you into a plank. Quickly hop your feet back to your hands, stand and leap into the air to complete one rep.

Jumping Jack: Jump your feet apart while raising your arms out to the sides and overhead. Quickly return to the start position and repeat.

Speed Skater: Leap laterally to the left and land on your left foot while crossing your right leg diagonally behind your body and swinging your arms to the left. Continue, alternating sides.

Plyo Split Squat: Get into a wide lunge. Bend both knees, then leap off the ground and switch legs in midair, landing with your opposite leg forward. Continue, alternating legs.

High Knees: Jog in place, bringing your knees to hip height and landing on your toes with each step.

Butt Kicker: Jog in place, kicking your heels up to touch your glutes with each rep.

* Based on a 130-pound woman