Multi Gym exercises are often seen as very black and white and even quite limited with the features they offer. Once you get past this, though, they are awesome pieces of equipment for building muscle, and they have so much to offer. As the name suggests, and there’s actually an incredible level of more variation than you might think!
We’ve gone past the usual boundaries of standard multi-gym exercise programmes to compile what we think are the ten best multi-gym exercises, all in one place. Some may seem obvious, and some may you may not have considered, but they are all incredible exercises in what they can offer. Let’s get into it.
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- Negative Rep Chest Press
- Single Arm Crossovers
- Kneeling Shoulder Press
- Straight Arm Pull Downs
- Cable Woodchops
- Bicep Curl
- Tricep Pulldown
- Front Squat
- Single-Leg Extension
Negative Rep Chest Press
The chest press is one of the first things that will come to mind for most people when they think of multi-gym exercise programmes. The pecs are often the most popular muscle group to work when strength training, and the multi-gym definitely accommodates them. This exercise puts a different spin on things.
Negative reps are an interesting angle to take on weight training, but they are effective at making leaps in progression. The idea is to thrust the handles forward rapidly and explosively to make things easier, but really take your time when bringing them back to the resting position. This increases the time your muscles are under tension and creates the micro-tears in muscles responsible for growth when they repair.
Single Arm Crossovers
Staying on the chest, crossovers are another awesome way to hit them hard. It can be common to see flyes being done in gyms or even on some multi-gyms, but they aren’t the best way to go about doing things. Crossovers, however, are a different game. They are far more functional and much safer.
As you’re doing single-arm crossovers using the cable situated above the seat with a D handle, you can take each side of the chest individually to keep things concentrated and still avoid posing a risk to your shoulders or causing any damage to any other ligaments or joints involved in the process.
Kneeling Shoulder Press
Shoulder presses aren’t often considered when it comes to multi-gym exercise programmes, but they are more than doable with the right equipment! They’re one of the staple upper body exercises, and they’re an awesome compound movement, so they’re easily a top 10 exercise!
All you need to do is to grab a long bar and attach it to the chain at the bottom/front of the machine. Kneel with the bar in front of you and an appropriate weight selected and thrust upwards slowly and carefully. You will need to be seated or ideally kneeling on something supportive for this to work!
Straight Arm Pull Downs
When looking at back exercises, lats are often the first thing that comes to mind with a multi-gym. As a result, so is the lat pulldown exercise. Understandably so, it’s an incredibly effective exercise. Keeping things fresh, though, we’ve opted to go for the straight arm pulldown instead. Same muscle group, just a different movement.
You’ll probably need to be stood to do this one. Gripping the long bar placed above, keep your arms straight with little to no bend in them. Pull the bar down with a forward and downward movement until the bar is straight out in front of you. You’ll quickly see why it’s made the cut.
Sticking with back exercises, rows have to be on the list. Rows are one of very few single-arm back exercises, and they’re good at what they do. What more needs to be said? Single-arm exercises are always useful for finding and dealing with any weaknesses or imbalances that you might see in your training. So this could be the answer to your problems and a huge strength builder.
Using the D handle again on the lower cable, bend over so that you are straight-backed and in a proper and sturdy stance, and pull the handle. Your arm should stay parallel with your core throughout, so don’t flare your elbow and keep your lats in mind as you’re doing them.
Moving on to the next muscle group, we have cable wood chops. They’re one of the few core exercises that you can manage with a multi-gym as the centre of attention, so they’re more than worthy of their place on the list. Your core is so much more than just your abs, like so many people think it is, and it’s a powerhouse of stability if you build it up properly.
Wood chops are awesome because of how they hit your entire core in some way or another, and that’s exactly what’s needed for a top 10 exercise. Using the D handle and the high cable again, grab the handle above you, standing to the side of the machine and pull it down, across your body, as if you were swinging an axe. Take it slowly and consistently for proper results.
Some of the best multi-gym exercises are still the classics. It’s hard to argue against them. Bicep curls are a perfect example of this because of how effective they are. There are different ways to go about doing them, depending on the type of multi-gym you have to work with, but this one is universal.
Using the short bar on the lower cable from a standing start is the usual way to go. Keep your elbows pivoted to your sides, so they don’t flare or move forwards or backwards with the motion, as this takes the contraction away from your arms. Pull the weight up slowly and bring it down even slower. It’s a classic for a reason.
The tricep pulldown is another one of those multi-gym exercises that you just can’t contest. Your triceps are needed for so many different exercises, especially when you’re looking at working your chest or shoulders, so they need to be in good shape to help you hit the rest of your body properly.
Using the high cable and the short bar again, keep your arms pivoted so that you don’t get tempted to start using your deltoids to move the weight. Grab the bar, pull it down again slowly and carefully to get the best results, and don’t move those elbows!
Squats are a real wildcard for multi-gyms, but a great multi-gym exercise, nonetheless. They are usually not something that you can even consider doing with a multi-gym without the know-how before trying it, but they’re a viable option. They help you to be able to hit your quads and your glutes. This isn’t always an easy feat with multi-gym exercises, and the variation you can take on your stance can even result in you using your hamstrings more too!
Using the front cable and the handle of your choice is what makes this exercise so unique. Hold the bar in front of you somewhere comfortable at a squatted resting position and drive your body upwards. The cable will help you come back down slowly with support to prevent any form issues and the build-up of momentum.
Last but not least is the leg extension. Your quads might not be getting the attention they need because of the limited number of exercises you can do with limited equipment, but leg extensions are always an option.
This is an awesome way to isolate each leg individually again to reduce imbalances or weaknesses on either side, and it allows you to really strengthen your upper legs. Place your leg correctly on the extension attachment, and simply push your leg upwards and outwards. That’s about all there is to it, really.
All of these moves within our multi-gym exercise programme are incredible and more than worth your time. You can fit them into your existing exercises or even use this on its own as a full-body workout. It’ll help you progress regardless, which is what you’re looking for at the end of the day! As far as multi-gym exercises go, this is top-tier stuff! If you’re struggling to do any of these exercises or you’re just starting out, there are other routes you can take to build up to these exercises. Try using our 6-week beginner’s multi-gym workout (watch here), but make sure you make the most of your equipment.
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