3 Ways to Pick a Weight Machine at the Gym
You’ve signed up for a gym membership and decided to start strength training. Congratulations! It’s a great way to stay healthy and stay in shape—and you’ll have plenty of company when doing it, since strength training is one of the most popular types of exercise. But now that you’re there, and all those intimidating weight machines surround you, how do you decide which ones to use? Don’t fret; we’re here to help! Here are three ways to pick a weight machine at the gym:
- Ask for help. If you’re not sure how to use a particular machine or if it will be helpful for your goals, ask someone who works there whether they can show you what it does. This person might be a trainer or simply a person who knows the equipment well. In addition, many gyms offer sessions with personal trainers that can guide you through machines and other aspects of exercise; when working with them, simply ask about any machine that interests but intimidates you.
- Try out different machines before committing fully to any one workout program. The best way to find out what works for your body is by actually trying various exercises. Do a few reps on each machine so that they begin feel more familiar; this will also give you more confidence when it’s time to hit the weights hard during your workout routine.
- Tailor your workout routine specifically towards your needs and goals. Instead of using every single machine in sight, work on building muscle or increasing flexibility in areas where it matters most for your day-to-day life (or whatever else is important for reaching your fitness goals). Are there activities where having strong shoulders would help? Or maybe legs are more important…it depends on the individual!
1.Know Your Goals
It’s important to be clear about what you want to get out of strength training. Are you trying to lose weight? Bulk up? Increase flexibility? Get stronger and more resilient for your next athletic competition?
It’s easy to get caught up in the goals of other people, especially in a group setting. Don’t let them influence you if they don’t align with what you hope to achieve. Be honest with yourself, and set realistic goals that are achievable within three to six months.
To use a machine, you sit or lie on it and perform an exercise movement. The machine guides the path of the weights and provides some degree of stability. This makes it easier to learn proper form while helping to prevent injury. You still need to focus on keeping control over the weights and moving them in a smooth, controlled motion through the full range of motion for each exercise.
There are many types of machines, such as plate-loaded machines with weight stacks (pulleys with attached plates), selectorized machines where you insert a pin into the weight stack (which stops your ability to pull more than that amount), and hydraulic resistance machines that push against your own strength.
The following criteria will help you select safe, effective machines:
- Choose multi-purpose equipment whenever possible.
- Don’t use a machine if it hurts your joints, even slightly.
- Avoid any machine that causes you to hold your breath during an exercise.
- Select machines that are easy to get in and out of.
- Think about how much weight you can lift before deciding if a certain piece of equipment is right for you.
3.Start an Exercise Program
- Warm up. A warm-up period of 5 to 10 minutes is a good idea before starting any exercise session. This can take the form of a brisk walk, stationary cycling, or marching in place. Get your heart rate up and get the blood flowing to your muscles.
- Cool down and stretch. To help prevent stiffness in your muscles and joints after exercising, gradually cool down by walking or cycling more slowly, then stretch with some slow, easy movements. The best time to stretch is while your muscles are still warm from exercise; afterward they’re likely to be tight and less responsive.
- Start slowly and build up your reps (repetitions). When you’re first starting an exercise program, do fewer repetitions than you think you can do; it’s better to start slowly so you don’t overdo it or get injured than to have too much enthusiasm at the beginning only to find yourself unable to continue later on — which will discourage you from continuing altogether! As soon as you feel comfortable with the exercises, gradually increase how many repetitions you do so that eventually you can work out for longer periods of time at once (without undue discomfort) but doing about the same amount of total work over that longer period of time. Every little bit helps!
- Remember to breathe! Breathing properly during strength training exercises is important because it helps deliver more oxygen into the bloodstream and improves muscle relaxation between contractions (which helps protect against injury). Exhale when lifting a weight or pushing away from a wall; inhale when lowering a weight or coming back toward the wall.
4.Strength Training Exercises You Can Do at Home
- Pushups: These are an excellent all-around upper body exercise.
- Planks: This exercise is a great core workout.
- Squats: These, along with lunges, are the best exercises for your thighs and butt.
- Crunches: This exercise is ideal for working your abdominal muscles.
- Bridges: Get prepared to feel the burn in your lower back and glutes!
- Wall sit: Make sure you’re in a good spot for this one—you’ll be holding it for a while! (Wall sits are meant to build endurance, after all.)
- Burpees: While some people enjoy burpees either despite or because of how hard they are, they’re still one of the best total body workouts out there.
- Tricep dips: If you thought that triceps were just small supporting muscles that didn’t need much work, this exercise will show you otherwise!
Find something you enjoy and get started on your strength training program!
Start by finding an approach to fitness that you actually enjoy. If you hate the feeling of a dumbbell in your sweaty hands, skip the weightlifting and try a class at a nearby gym. If your neighborhood doesn’t have much in the way of gyms, try an online yoga practice or find a dance studio that offers classes.
It can also be helpful to have someone on hand to help motivate you—someone who can get you excited about working out, or give advice if you’re struggling. This person might be a personal trainer; this person might be your partner; this person might even just be a friend who’s willing to check in on your progress from time to time. You know yourself best, so think about what would make getting fit most fun for you!