Gym Machines 101

Let’s face it, the machines at the gym can be intimidating for even the most seasoned fitness enthusiast. If you find yourself doing the same machines or same workout every time you go to the gym, it’s time to mix it up. Utilizing a variety of machines will allow you to work your muscles in a different way which in turn will make your workouts more effective and rev up your calorie burn.

  • Assisted Pull-Up Machine: Pull-ups work the back, shoulders, and biceps but are a difficult move for most people to complete. The assisted pull-up machine gives you the assistance you need to perform the exercise correctly and as you get stronger you can change the weight. Use a wide grip to work more of the upper back muscles and a close grip to work more of the middle back.
  • Leg press: The leg press uses more muscle fibers than any of the other leg machines. It requires movement at both the hip and the knee and mimics daily movements (walking up stairs, etc.) better than the other leg machines. Put your feet higher on the plate to work the buttocks more or put your feet lower to target the quads.
  • Prone Hamstring Curl: Typically, our hamstrings are only about 50% as strong as our quads. So training hamstrings is a must. The prone hamstring curl works the hamstrings better than the seated one because it allows you to fully contract the muscle.
  • Smith Machine: The bench press works several upper body muscles at once, but it can be pretty intimidating. The Smith Machine tones the scariness of this machine down by adding a safety net. If the weight feels too heavy, you can plant the bar in the nearest set of holes. The Smith Machine also can be used for squats and lunges.
  • Stability Ball: OK, it’s not a machine. But the stability ball works your core better than any machine you can find at the gym. It also is more effective than doing crunches on the floor as it adds an element of instability, requiring the abs to work harder to stabilize you.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be an exhaustive examination of the subject matter nor a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your primary care physician or healthcare provider before beginning any diet or exercise program.

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