According to the McKinley Health Center, one of the largest disadvantages of exercise machines is the need to have a membership to a fitness club or gym or expendable money to purchase a machine to make use of one. While exercise machines can create great results when used consistently, they are not functional to everyday movement and only isolate small muscle groups, making the use of several machines necessary.
When using an exercise machine, the muscles worked do not mirror that of regular physical activity or active sports involvement, according to the McKinley Health Center. While this is not necessarily a disadvantage on its own, exercise machines do not offer the full-body workout that many active forms of exercise and sports can provide.
Increasing weights and improving performance while using exercise machines can also prove difficult, according to the McKinley Health Center. On many types of exercise machines, the weight can only be increased by a whole or half plate, meaning an increase of 10 to 15 pounds per step up. For many people, this weight gain is too vast and makes it very difficult to increase weight levels and continue to grow in strength without more gradual weight-increasing capabilities. However, unlike when lifting free weights, exercise machines allow the user to exercise without a partner for spotting when lifting weights.