Resistance Machines 101
4 Easy Tips
Have you ever wanted to try weight training? Are you curious about how the machines in the gym work but felt too awkward to try on your own? This blog post is for you. Here we are going to give you some quick 101 tips for our first time Resistance Machine Users.
Don’t be afraid to read the labels on the machine
It is definitely okay to walk up to a machine and not know what it is or where to begin. That is why there are those awesome labels on each machine that will tell you what muscle group you are working, how to position yourself in the machine, and the direction/action of the movement.
Adjusting the Machine
There will be latches and knobs on all machines (usually a different color: one shade lighter, or a color that stands out). These handles usually do one of two things to let you adjust the machine: lift or pull out. For lower body machines your adjustments will usually be so you can recline back/forwards or move closer towards the front of the machine. The reclining position is to aid you in assuring you have the back support you need during the exercise and for any additional adjust with your leg and knee alignment. Your second adjustment will be for your legs. For most common leg machines, you want your starting leg position to be at a 90 degree angle where your knees are not going past your toes. Upper Body machines will usually have a main adjustment area of being the seat. The seat adjustment on upper body machines will usually allow for you to sit lower or higher. I always encourage clients to use that same method- keep the legs when seated at a 90 degree angle. This will ensure you are not over extending your upper body muscle group when performing the exercise. Using the 90 degrees at the legs method also helps secure yourself in the machine to where your form is protected when performing the exercise.
Setting your Weight
When deciding how much weight to start your exercise on it is always best to start with a light weight (you know your own body). If the weight feels too easy, then it is best to start increasing the weight by 5 or 10 pounds. The mantra you want to remember when setting your weight is: “Challenging, but doable.” Make sure you can complete the exercise with quality form with a good amount of effort applies.
How Many Reps should You Do?
The repetitions (reps) of an exercise is totally dependent on your exposure to machines and your health goals weight loss vs. toning vs. weight gain. For anyone I encourage you to start with 8-10 reps for 2-3 sets or rounds of the exercise. Remember, we want challenging, but doable when performing the exercise. When/If 8-10 reps start to feel like a walk in the park we want to increase your reps to 10-12. If you are feeling ambitious you can increase the weight by 5-10 pounds each set.
We promise it is easier than it looks. You got this!