|The Lounge | Champions | The Wire | Schedule | Audio | Arcade | The Top Ten | Historical | Email | Video|
Free Weights vs. Exercise Machines
Anyone who has ever been in a gym before is familiar with the gleaming banks of shiny exercise machines. Coming in all shapes and sizes, they are usually cause for the newcomer to the gym to pause and ask, "What IS all of that stuff?"
Well, according to the price that the gym paid for any one piece of that equipment, I certainly hope that it not only stimulates your muscles, but also cooks your breakfast, washes your car, and brings the kids home from soccer practice! Now the question becomes whether or not those machines were worth the price, or if you'd be better off doing a home aerobics video with a can of soup in each hand?.
Personally, I would advise you to get the low-sodium version of the soup, serve it up alongside a tomato sandwich, and then go buy yourself some free weights. Yes, that is just my opinion, but it does come with some scientific reasoning behind it.
Natural movement vs. Controlled movement
One of the things that you need to remember is that when you are exercising, you are training for LIFE. You may spend an hour a day at the gym, but that still leaves 23 other hours for your muscles to function without the aid of that fancy equipment.
Whenever you do any given exercise, the movement of your body during that exercise is called the Range of Motion. The greater and more difficult the Range of Motion, the more effective the exercise is, because your body has to work harder to perform that movement.
Let's take a classic dumbbell bicep curl for our case study. If you aren't familiar with the movement, it is basically performed by standing up straight with your palms facing forward, and a pair of dumbbells held down at your sides. You concentrically contract your biceps (also known as flexing your elbow) to bring the dumbbells up to approximately shoulder level, and then repeat the movement for a prescribed number of repetitions.
Let's take that same muscle movement and do it using a bicep curl machine. You sit down, brace your upper arms on a pad, grasp 2 handles that are in front of you, and do that same fancy elbow flexing movement to move the handles in an upward motion. Pretty easy stuff so far, right?
Now let's examine the muscles that are used in this motion. Wait - I thought we were concentrically contracting the biceps? That is correct, and if you are using the bicep curl machine, that is pretty much ALL you are doing. For one, you are sitting down. You know, like you did all day at work, and then in your car on the way to the gym. Then, your upper arms are braced on a nice soft pad to keep your upper body stable while you pull the handles upwards. The machine has effectively limited the muscles used in this exercise to the biceps, as well as the muscles in your forearms and fingers as you grip the handles.
Let us now sidestep over to the weight room where the dumbbells are kept, and once again get in the start position for a standing bicep curl with the dumbbells. Notice the term "standing". You know, like you DIDN'T do all day at work, and hopefully also did not do in your car on the way to the gym. So before we even start the exercise, we are using more muscles than we did on the machine - namely the leg muscles.
Now let's pick up a 10 lb dumbbell in each hand. We've just added 20 lbs to our body weight. What is keeping us from losing our center of balance and falling clean over? The abdominal muscles and the muscles of the lower back and spine. Now we are using our legs, our abs, and our back. Flex those elbows and start to raise the dumbbells. Now our center of gravity has become a fluid state, and our legs, back, and abs all have to constantly compensate to maintain posture. Oh, and the biceps are also in on the action by this point, as are the forearms, the fingers, and the shoulder girdle.
We now have the dumbbells all the way up and it's time to start lowering them again, via an eccentric contraction of the biceps (also know as extending the elbow). What muscle group controls the extension of the elbow? The triceps on the back of the arm.
Did you lose track yet? It's okay if you did because you have illustrated the point:
Machine Bicep Curl: Uses the biceps, forearms, and fingersCost: Thousands of dollars
Standing Dumbbell Bicep Curl: Uses the biceps, forearms, fingers, legs, abs, back, triceps, and shoulders. Cost: $40 for a good set of dumbbells that can be used for dozens of other exercises
In a nutshell, free weight exercises simply USE MORE MUSCLES than machines do, which make them more effective. Does that mean that the machines are a complete waste? Absolutely not! In some circumstances it is BETTER to stabilize the muscles being used in any given movement. However, those circumstances are the exception, rather than the rule.
So what do you do? Change up your routine, and incorporate free weights as well as machine exercises. However, keep the machine work to a minimum - say 20% of your total time spent working with weights. Spend the other 80% developing your stabilizer muscles, your sense of balance and coordination, and if nothing else - just standing up!
After all, you can go home and sit down on the couch to enjoy your post-workout snack. The bicep machine already brought the kids home from soccer practice, remember?
Aaron Potts is the owner and creator of Fitness Destinations, a content-filled health and fitness website for consumers as well as professionals in the fitness industry. Aaron's experience in the health and fitness industry includes one on one personal training in many different environments, maintenance of several health-related websites, and authoring of many fitness-related products for consumers and fitness professionals. http://www.fitnessdestinations.com
Riding The Vision Fitness Elliptical Trainer
The Vision Fitness elliptical trainer comes in five models. Ranging from the low end to the higher end machine, the models are the Vision FitnessX6000 Folding, the Vision Fitness X6100 Folding, the Vision Fitness X6200 Folding, the Vision Fitness X6200HRT Folding, and the Vision Fitness X6600HRT Commercial Grade.
Free Weights Vs Machines - The Battle!
It seems like everyone has an opinion on this debate. Which is better- free weights or machines? I asked my trainer friends what they thought and it was pretty much split in half.
Ironman Treadmills - For The Guy Who Does The IroningIronman Treadmills are produced by Keys Fitness Products, which also produces Keys, Alliance, Discovery, Healthtrainer, and Encore treadmills. Ironman treadmill models are in two series, the newer Ironman T Series and the substantial Ironman M Series.
Elliptical Trainer Reviews Dont Get The Facts Straight
There are many misconceptions regarding elliptical trainers. I believe this is a result of the large number of elliptical trainer reviews Websites popping up on the Internet each and every day.
Cardio Zone Elliptical Trainers
CardioZone makes a number of similar elliptical trainers, falling into the lower price range than the Nautilus or Octane brands. They have four types of trainers, and each one is suited to different workouts and user needs.
What to Look for When Buying a Home Gym
When buying a home gym there are several things you will want to educate yourself on before making a final purchase in order to ensure you buy the best home gym for you and your family. While there are many things you will need to consider, your budget, goals, space, and personal needs are some of the most important topics to keep in mind.
Aerobic Equipment - Find The Best Deals On The Best Equipment
The benefits of aerobic exercise are well documented. Aerobic exercise is defined as any number of activities that use the large muscle groups and force the heart and lungs to work harder than while at rest.
Blood Pressure Monitor - Is Youre Blood Pressure OK?
The focus on reducing high blood pressure in today's society is more so then ever now we now know that living with a high blood pressure can result in having a stroke or a fatal heart attack.High blood pressure is the most common cardiovascular disease amongst the older generation aged 60 plus - high blood pressure actually effects 2 in 3 in those aged 70 or above and often comes without warnings, lending it the name 'The Silent Killer'.
How to Pick the Right Pair of Running Shoes
Are you ready to start a new healthy habit of running or a seasoned runner looking to replace an old pair of shoes? Either way, it is very important to buy the right pair of shoes for you - not necessarily the ones that are the most technically advanced or on the sale rack!At least for me, it is so tempting to hit the sale rack when I begin my search for new shoes. It kills me to spend anymore than I absolutely have to, but with running shoes, I have found, it is one thing to not spare any expense.
Electric Scooter Wholesale - Passport For Freedom
Electric scooters wholesaleAllowing for unprecedented mobility for the disabled and many seniors depends on being able to buy electric scooters wholesale. Rapidly developing technology and innovation are providing a variety of choices and sophisticated options for many disabled persons.
Is A Treadmill The Best Exercise Equipment For You?
The #1 fear people have when buying a treadmill is that they won't use it. (That's the #1 fear when buying any piece of exercise equipment).
Horizon Treadmills Offer Top Features For the Lowest Price
Highly rated by numerous experts in the fitness field, Horizon treadmills offer a well-constructed piece of excercise equipment for a reasonable price. Created by the Johnson corporation, Horizon treadmills are aimed towards the commercial, and middle range home use markets.
"So You Want To Build A Home Gym"
I walked into the commercial gym yesterday after a long day of work excited to begin my workout. After warming up I proceeded to the squat rack to start my resistance training workout.
What You Must Know About Trampoline Safety
Tumbling on the trampoline caught on like wildfire in theearly 1960s, and still enjoys great popularity today, butthe sport also still involves the same potential dangers.Trampolines in the last 45 years have gone from being aninstitutional or recreation center piece of equipment, tosomething that is found in many homes, in a variety ofsizes and quality.
Proform Treadmills and iFit Technology - The Right Combination for Workout Success!
We all want to achieve the toned and slender look that working out gives your body, right? Strong and sleek and ready to be shown off - what's not to love! Unfortunately, achieving that gorgeous body can sometimes be harder work than it would be in an ideal world, and working out can just get plain old boring after a while. And while the incentive to exercise is always there, it sometimes simply isn't strong enough to drag us through those predictable, repetitive sessions.
Star Trac TR4500HR Treadmill - A Review
When you're searching for a treadmill for your home or club,you'll find Star Trac treadmills at the top of your shoppinglist, and for good reason. StarTrac has garnered areputation for quality and superior machines since theirappearance on the treadmill scene in the 70's, and hasbecome sort of the Cadillac of treadmills.
Proform XP 590s Treadmill
The Proform XP 590s Treadmill - Storage Is XPedientThe Proform XP 590s treadmill is one of the XP series treadmills produced exclusively by Proform for Sears.Proform XP 590s treadmills, along with the 542e, 542s and XP 800VF, are designed for use in the home gym and are suitable for use in fitness, training and weight loss programs.
The Epic T60 Treadmill Rocks
The Epic T60 treadmill, an economical choice for both running and walking exercise, is available only to Costco members. This members-only discount warehouse retail specialist has locations all over the globe - 37 U.
Who Says You Can't Use Commercial Treadmills At Home?
Commercial treadmills are the machines that you see in gyms and fitness centers. Although they are more expensive than the brands sold for use as home gym equipment, there is no reason why you can't have commercial treadmills for use at home.
Home Treadmill Review: Things To Watch Out Before Buying A Treadmill
Treadmills are known to be the most popular and most effective home exercise and fitness equipment with 33% of the sales and is capable of burning around 850 calories per hourTreadmills basically serve two purposes:a) Walking.b) Running.
Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us
Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.