by Angie Miller
Sunshine, warm weather, and longer days have finally arrived, and with that come fresh goals and a renewed sense of energy. It’s the perfect time of year to take on a new challenge and shape our muscles to show them off for spring. Here’s a circuit workout sure to stave off boredom and deliver results. Whether you’re new to strength training or an old pro, mixing it up with machines is a great way to keep your body challenged.
Circuit Workout: start with the Elliptical and rotate through the machines for three complete cycles:
- Elliptical Machine for a warm-up and cardio.
- Rowing machine for the large muscles of the back.
- Shoulder machine.
- Chest machine for the pectoral muscles.
- Biceps machine.
- Triceps machine.
- Glute machine for a strong, powerful gluteal muscles.
- Abdominal machine.
Before you begin, keep in mind that if machines aren’t a part of your normal routine they can be intimidating. The good news is that today’s fitness machines are better than ever. With visuals and instructions they’re easy to use. Unlike 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
Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com