Looking at buying or hiring some new gym equipment? Wondering what on Earth all of these dangerous looking contraptions do? When you start getting into shape it's understandable that you would find it somewhat daunting choosing which equipment to get, especially when it all looks so much like torture devices, and when it costs a fair whack. Here then is a guide to a few of the common machines you might end up looking at.
Bench Press: Your bench press is your very standard bench for pressing weights on. Generally this will be a soft rubber covered bench for you to lie back on and it will probably also come with a stand for your barbell to be place on and lifted off of. While bench press is the 'main' exercise you use a bench for, it can double up in many other scenarios and be used for curling weights while seated, or for pullovers so is a highly useful item to have and possibly one of the most important.
Dumbbells and Barbells: These are the two main kinds of weights that you will lift, press and curl. The dumbbells are the smaller weights that you hold in one hand, while the barbells are the longer weights that you will use with two hands. The best kinds to get are adjustable weights that allow you to add or remove more weights to the middle handle as that way you can build up as you increase in strength.
Resistance Machines: Resistance machines are any machines that allow you to train your muscles through a set range of motion. Once you have your weights you will be able to train most parts of the body from the arms to the pecs to the legs, but it is going to be something you do free form and at your own leisure, whereas a resistance machine has you sitting in a specific position and pressing or pulling a pad or a handle. This then will work out specific muscles and 'isolate' them for more focussed growth while at the same time keeping you safe from injury.
Some of the most common types of resistance machines are the lat pull down which is used for training your lats by pulling against a bar attached to a cable, the chest press which is a seated version of the bench press, the pec deck which has you bringing two pads together to train the chest, the leg extensions for your quadriceps and the hamstring curls for your hamstrings - though there are many more besides these ones.
CV Machines: CV machines are machines that you use in order to increase your heart rate and thereby improve physical fitness as well as burning fat and toning up the muscle. The most obvious example of this is a treadmill, though you can get the same benefits from an elliptical trainer which has you making a 'skiing' like motion on the spot while holding two handles. This has the advantage first of all of creating no impact for your knees, and is also useful as it trains the arms on top of the legs. Other CV machines include rowing machines for instance and stationary bikes.
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