Mix it Up with Machines
by Angie Miller
It’s that time of year when we’re inspired to dust off our fitness DVD’s and lace up our tennis shoes. With fresh goals in mind and a renewed sense of energy we’re prepared to get results. That being said, it’s also the perfect time of year to try something out of the ordinary. Something that will inspire us with the novelty of change and take us out of our comfort zone; which is the best place to be if we want to learn and grow. It happened to me recently and it inspired me to share what I learned with you. I was asked to research popular exercise machines that are available at most fitness clubs and even in homes. Being that I don’t use exercise machines as part of my normal routine, I was curious to see what today’s machines have to offer. After all, who am I to pass on the opportunity to challenge my brain and body differently? With my new project in mind, I headed to my local gym and picked out eight machines that would target most every major muscle group in a safe, effective manner. Here’s what I came up with:
I recommend doing the exercises circuit style. Start with the Elliptical, and then rotate through the other machines for three complete cycles. Before you begin, keep in mind that if machines aren’t a part of your normal routine they can be intimidating. But the good news is that today’s fitness machines are better than ever. With visuals and instructions they’re easy to use; and more so than free weights, body bars, and exercise bands, they provide stability throughout the exercise. They also guide your movement patterns, helping to keep your range of motion safe and effective and reducing your risk of injury.
Station One: Elliptical Machine
Start out with elliptical training for an active, full body workout. For a safe, proper warm up, stay on the elliptical for 10 minutes. If you have more time, increase the resistance or speed and add 10 more minutes for a quick cardio blast.
Tip: Watch your foot placement on the elliptical. For smaller women it may be best to step to the inside of the pedal for the narrowest, most comfortable stance. Use your arms to get a full body workout and to better engage your core.
Station Two: Rowing Machine
Now that you’re warmed up and ready to go, start with the large muscles of the back and challenge them with a machine that is fun, functional, and easy to use. Rowing machines are incredibly versatile. They strengthen your back muscles as well as your arms, legs, and core.
Tip: Depending on your fitness level, your initial rowing time may vary anywhere from five to ten minutes. Increase the time or level intensity as you feel stronger and your body feels ready for an additional challenge.
Station Three: Shoulder Machine
Next up, it’s time to train the upper body with a cable machine that trains your shoulders and arms while engaging your core for improved strength.
Tip: For added stability and support, perform a one-arm shoulder press in a seated position. Once you have that mastered try adding a two-arm press. When you’re ready for the next level perform the exercises standing.
Tip: Perform 16 reps of a bilateral (two arm shoulder press), or 8 reps each of a single arm shoulder press.
Station Four: Chest Machine
A total body circuit wouldn’t be complete without a chest workout that also targets the arms and front of the shoulders. For versatility and best results, perform both a chest press and a chest fly to target all of the surrounding muscles.
Tip: Perform 16 reps of a chest fly and 16 reps of a chest press
Station Five: Biceps Machine
You’ve targeted the large muscles of the back, chest, and shoulders. Now it’s time for single joint exercises that target the biceps.
Tip: Perform 16 reps of a bilateral (two arm) biceps curl, or 8 reps each of single arm biceps curl.
Station Six: Triceps Extension Machine
Say goodbye to bye-bye arms. Triceps are stubborn and hard to work, and that’s all the more reason to make sure you don’t leave the gym without a triceps challenge that will make you proud to show off lean, sculpted arms.
Tip: Perform 16 reps of a bilateral (two arm) triceps extension, or 8 reps each of single arm extension.
Station Seven: Glute Machine
Your glutes are your powerhouse. They improve your posture and assist you in everything you do. They’re also your back’s best friend, giving it the stability and support it needs.
Tip: Perform 16 reps with both legs, or 8 reps on each side.
Station Eight: Abdominal Machine
You’ve worked the back end, now it’s time to target the front. An abdominal machine will keep you safe and stable, giving you the six-pack of your dreams while keeping your alignment secure.
It’s a new year, and with that comes new opportunity. If you’re looking for a fun, alternative workout, machines can’t be beat. They’re safe and effective, and they give you the results you’re looking for without all the guesswork. Remember: It’s not the workout so much as the effort you put into it. So today, go all in!
Best to You in 2015~
Angie Miller is the star and creator of the Bedroom Body™ Workout and other top selling exercise DVD’s. Passionate about fitness and education, Angie teaches at Northern Illinois University and is a Certification Specialist for the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). She is a freelance writer, group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and proud mom. Learn more about Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com