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Why not go for a mix of a traditional machine and the flexibility and motion you get from free weights? For home gyms this is a great combination especially if you have some space restrictions. Plate loaded fitness equipment has been popular since the 80's and in the last few years has seen a definite shift towards a more stylish look alongside the practicality. A plate loaded machine offers the robust build of the 'frame' and bench with the freedom to use a barbell and weight discs for the exercises.
A plate loaded machine is a weight lifting machine that combines the features of a traditional weight machine with the free range motion of free weights. These machines have a large frame with a standard barbell where the weights are held. How much weight is loaded on the barbell is up to the user. This is different from traditional weight machines as you can completely customise the weight you work with.
A main advantage is that plate loaded equipment is significantly less expensive than selectorised machines. It is also easy to maintain, there are no pulleys or weight stacks that can get damaged or need to be repaired. They also allow for a lot of versatility, some come with free floating levers which allows you to customise the way the machine moves. In fact customisation is the key differentiator between plate loaded machine and other weight machines.
They also allow you to work each side of your body separately. As you load the weights on each independent arm of the plate machine you can work each limb separately and even lift a different weight on each limb.
They are also fairly safe compared to free weights. If you lost control whilst lifting a free weight you could drop it on your body or foot. When using plate loaded equipment you are forced to complete a lift with the correct bio-mechanic form.
Many users perceive that plate loaded equipment is bulky and only for experienced weight lifters. The truth is that they can be really useful to men and women of all abilities whose primary goal is to add strength and muscle.
Almost all traditional weight machines can now be bought as plate loaded machines. The most common plate loaded machines are the leg press, chest press and lateral pull down. In addition you can get a 70 degree leg press machine, 45 degree leg press machine, a hip kicker and power squat machine.