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Machines are useless, unless you are rehabilitating and need assistance with stabilizing a load. Use Barbells, Dumbells, Kettlebells,Clubs and Maces. Even Calisthenics. Just not machines. Your Instructor sounds like he doesn't know what he is doing NOR like he is meeting your specific needs. Ill list a few good sources at the very bottom of post.
Machine exercises are virtually useless. There are 3 axis of movement. X, Y and Z. This is going to get a little rambly, and simplified at times, but please bear with me.
X is the direction you wish to work to move a load or exert force. Y and Z are the forces you have to fight to stabilize the load you wish to move. In every real world application of strength, you are resisting Y and/or Z with your stabilizers, when you are both moving and static, along the X plane.
Machines hold you responsible for X work only. They completely eliminate Y and Z stabilization and also distort the load you are bearing through:
1) Pulley Systems
2) Neglecting Stabilizers
This means, that 100lb load will feel more like an 80lb-90lb load and will not prepare you to deal with a real 100lb load as you will not build stabilizer strength.
Barbells let you work against X and Z axis, but since you are anchored at 2 points along the Y axis, it is negated and you get some, but not all stabilization work. This is still good real-world work, since you will sometimes have 2 anchor points when utilizing strength outside of your conditioning.
Lastly, single anchor weights (sometimes can be used as dual anchor weights, as in 2 handed Mace or Kettle work) will give you the best bang for your buck. They not only allow you to work freely along the X,Y and Z planes, but can also be used for rotational work and uneven load work.
eg. when you arm curl a barbell your obliques don't have to work to keep your posture. When you arm curl a single dumbell (no dual wield) your obliques and other core stabilizers have to work to keep your spine aligned while you curl, since your shoulders will be pulled towards whichever side you are holding the bell, as well as the bell pulling the same side's shoulder forward, which you will resist with your rotational stabilizers. A barbell will pull both shoulders forward, but you miss out on fighting rotation and lean.
If you want real strength avoid machines at all costs.
Calisthenics (bodyweight) are good. Engage your WHOLE body when doing them.
Barbells also good. only having 1 direction to stabilize can let you lift heavier
weights while still getting in some stabilization good work.
Ketllebells, Dumbells, Clubs and Maces are best. They may not feel as rewarding because the weights are much lower, but the quality of work that you get done is superb. Especially useful if your strength goals are partially motivated by self-defense training.
If you want an example of how asymmetrical loads behave compared to symmetrical loads:
I have a 24kg (53lb) Kettlebell.
Even though it is only half of 106lbs, it is the same work stress as benchpressing a 125lb barbell.
My 32kg(71lb) kettlebell being pressed, provides the same stress as benchpressing roughly 165lbs barbell, rather than a 142lb barbell.
All while working a wider range of muscles than similar movements with symmetrical loads. plus they are much more convenient in my home gym for space and ease of moving.
Good Sources for using-your-body-in-a-proper-manner:
Pavel Tsatsouline; His book "the Naked Warrior" is a good beginners guide to Calisthenics and Using your body properly. It can be found with a simple google search of: "Naked Warrior PDF". His book Simple&Sinister is a good introduction to kettlebells and is a simple routine developed specifically for fighters. This one is a bit harder to find. Might have to Torrent if you don't want to buy it. I usually email it to friends/coworkers but I won't email it to you, nothing personal.
As for Mace/club work, check out the Onnit Academy's videos on their website and YouTube.
Good luck in your journey OP.