QUESTION: I keep reading articles about functional strength training and the importance of doing full-body, multi-joint movements to maximize results. If this is the latest trend, does it mean that I should stop using the machines at my club?

ANSWER: Absolutely not! There are numerous strength training methods and modalities, and they all serve a purpose. Machines are perfect for beginners, since they often need guidance on proper exercise form. They’re also beneficial for those looking to strengthen particularly weak areas, since they allow you to isolate individual muscle groups. If you’re a big fan of functional workouts, and you typically do more full-body, multi-joint exercises, that’s great. However, even in this case, machines can provide some additional flexibility in your workout routine. After all, you want to continually challenge the body by changing up your program on a regular basis. Bottom line—the ideal workout program incorporates all of the training methods that are currently available, and this certainly includes exercise machines. The more varied your strength training program is, the better level of fitness you’ll achieve!

Andrea Ivins is the club manager and Zumba Instructor at Anytime Fitness in Palestine, TX. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at and

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