The first time you walk into a gym, it can feel a little overwhelming what with all the various machines being used that all look different and do different things. The exercise machines all serve different - and important - purposes. Fit adults should be performing moderate-intensity cardio exercise for 30 minutes per day, five days a week or intense exercise for 20 minutes a day, three days a week. All gym equipment can help you do that, but check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise regime.
Increasing Your Heart Rate
Machines that are in the gym for the purpose of building your cardiovascular endurance - called cardio machines - are made up of the stair climber, the treadmill, the stationary exercise bike, the elliptical and the rowing machine. The elliptical and treadmill machines have the option of manually adjusting the level of resistance you exercise at as well as the incline level. The rowing machine and exercise bike also have these resistance settings.
Free weights such as dumbbells and barbells range in weight and size, allowing for a much more customisable workout. You can use them to work any particular muscle group in a range of motion of your choice. Free weights replicate the movement you use in everyday life, which is advantageous for increasing strength for daily activities. You can use any of the benches available to you in front of the free weights for these exercises, enabling you to sit or lie flat or at an incline. These exercises include bicep curls, shoulder presses, bent-over rows and chest presses.
The cable crossover machine is a large piece of equipment, likely the biggest machine at the gym. It has two sides with pulley cables and settings for various height adjustments. The sides are separated by a bar that is positioned overhead allowing you to do pull ups. The machine has different types of handles to attach to the pulleys, so you can perform exercises such as the standing row, bicep curls, and triceps pull downs. Most of the exercises on this machine will require you to stand, but you can add in a core exercise workout by sitting on a stability ball while completing any exercise that is compatible with the machine.
All weight machines enable you to strengthen one muscle at a time, so they are particularly effective for building muscle and strength. They are also able to keep your range of motion in check, since won't allow for much free movement. Most gyms will generally have at least two weight machines for each of the major muscle groups - biceps, triceps, chest, abdominals, shoulders and both the lower and upper back. Remember to always read the instructions on the machine for the proper seat height and placement of your body so you can avoid injury.
All of this equipment is able to offer you a variety of workout options so you can keep your workout engaging and prevent your body from getting used to the same exercises. Using the same machines and doing the same exercises all the time can increase the risk of injury and can potentially hinder the benefits you are gaining from your workouts. This is what is known as reaching a plateau. To avoid this, you will need to change your routine every so often, as well as the type of movement and amount of weight you use, so that you will achieve better results from your workout.