Using the right exercise machines in you fitness facility can be fast and effective in helping you to lose weight. In fact, studies show that resistance weight training can help boost weight loss by up to twenty percent when used in combination with diet and cardio training. There are many different varieties of machines available in most fitness facilities, and choosing the right one for you can sometimes be challenging. Today we will focus on some of the most effective machines available.
There are many different styles of machines available to choose from making resistance training safe and easy to approach. Styles include hydraulic resistance, plate loaded, weight stacks and resistance bands, but whatever you have available will be suitable for our purposes. Let’s look at how to get a full body workout with just a few single purpose exercise machines.
Chest press: This machine will simulate a bench press and comes in many varieties including inclined, declined and standard, but all these variations will work the same muscle groups: the chest (pectoralis major) is the main muscle worked during this exercise with the shoulders and triceps acting as support muscles. This is a great machine to use to effectively work one on the major muscle groups.
Abdominal Crunch: As with the other machines, this will come in a variety of designs, but they will all work to effectively add resistance to your abdominal crunch movement. As the name of the machine implies, it will work your abdominal muscles, (your rectus abdominus, specifically). There are abdominal machines that twist from left to right as well, working more of your core muscles, but it puts an unnecessary amount of strain on your lumbar spine without much benefit to your side abs (obliques); it’s not worth the possible strain to your spinal ligaments.
Lat Pull-down: This is another great staple of machine equipment. Acting as the counter-balance and “pull” movement opposite the chest press, this great movement will mainly work the large muscles of your back, (the latissimus dorsi or ‘lats’) as well as the biceps, middle back and shoulder muscles to a lesser degree. There are a ton of great variations on this one too, including behind the neck, reverse grip, wide grip and close grip. For starters, stick to the standard grip with hands a bit wider than shoulder width apart.
Leg Press: Another great compound exercise that can be performed safely and effectively on a machine will finish the full body machine workout. Being mostly analogous to a squat, (minus the stabilizing muscles), the leg press mainly works the quadriceps, as well as the calves, glutes and hamstrings. This is a great movement to hit most of the main muscle groups of the lower body.
All these movements can be done with free weights as well as machines, and as your strength and confidence in form improves, it is a great idea to mix up your routine and include barbell and dumbbell movements as well as machine exercises. All strength training will aid in weight loss, so don’t be afraid to try something new.