Machines vs Free Weights
I am often asked, what is the best machine for me?, what is the best machine for this or that body part?. The answer that I always give is none. With the exception of a few specialized pieces of functional equipment, machines in your gym or home are designed to fit the mass population. So we go to exercise and are forced to contort ourselves into a machine that forces us to move in a specific pattern. The unfortunate fact is these patterns are almost always single joint movements (bicep curl). The problem with single joint movements is life involves multiple parts of the body functioning together. Any time isolation exercises are performed the joint and surrounding tissues are exposed to high stresses and loads. These stresses cause injurious forces to the tissues exposing the exerciser to joint and soft tissue damage.
Sadly some of the most loved machines actually don't work. I will list just a few of the most common ones, the first being the seated inner/outer thigh machine. What is not understood is the inner and outer thigh musculature are primarily stabilizers, and stabilizers need to be weight bearing to contract effectively, sitting to exercise them actually makes them weaker and does nothing for toning and shaping. Turn on the TV and you will see ad after ad for abdominal machines. Much research has been done and machines will make your abdominal muscles work, but the price is high. Abdominal machines cause very high stresses on the spine which will cause damage to the disks. No machine can ever make the core contract properly because as I have previously stated machines isolate and the abdominal wall like the hips was designed to stabilize and that is hard to do laying down. On of the most dangerous machines in the gym is the back extension. The spine has very little ability to move on it's own, it is influenced strongly by the hips and abs. The spine musculature consists of stabilizers that serve to protect the disks, and the extensors of the lower torso. Just like the abdominal machines performing a hyperextension on a machine or bench can cause up to 1000lbs of compressive force on the spine, there are better and safer exercises.
A rare commodity in health clubs today is floor space, and that is just what is needed for the best and most efficient types of exercise. In our next article I will go into detail how to exercise without expensive machines, decrease the risk of injury, and most importantly have a more effective and efficient workout. We go to exercise and are forced to contort ourselves into a machine that forces us to move in a specific pattern. Machines do not allow us the freedom to balance or to simply engage our 'core' muscles.
What if I said that all you need to exercise efficiently, effectively and safely is a stability ball, some light free weights and a resistance band. The amazing part is that all this will cost you under $100 dollars. With these three things we can mimic and even improve upon any gym exercise with the added ability to activate more muscles with each exercise. Consider this, a chest press on a machine or bench uses roughly 8 muscles of mostly the chest, shoulder and arm. A chest press lying on a ball activates every muscle in the body, stimulates balance throughout the body, core control and stabilization of the shoulder and trunk musculature. Life and sports are not performed sitting down, why exercise sitting down. Try performing your exercises standing, initially on both feet with the knees bent, then progress to one foot or stand on a foam mat, anything to make the body work harder. While standing on one leg you can train almost any body part in a much more functional manner than a machine will allow. The exercises you can perform are limitless and if you start to get board simply integrate in the ball to increase and challenge balance and rotational control.
At this point we must touch on the difference between rubber bands and free weights. Both are excellent mediums for resistance exercise that you must control in efficient and natural patterns. Bands allow you to mimic cable machines but if you have trained with bands before you know that the greater the movement the tighter the bands become. This means that the muscles work much harder at the end of the movement then at the beginning. Free weights stay consistent throughout the movements you perform with them, but they are gravity dependent. There are simply some exercises that can not be performed with free weights. Both bands and free weights are safe, effective and allow the user freedom of movement. Stabilizers must fire at all times, balance increases and the stresses on the joints are decreased because a machine is not dictating how you must move.
The bottom line is simple. Most commercially produced gym equipment forces us to exercise in set patterns that require only single joint movements. This causes increased strain on the tissues surrounding the joint and on the joint it's self. Life is not a single joint movement. It requires a symphony of balance, coordination, strength and endurance. Unfortunately none of those can be achieved on a machine. As a society we have become sedentary, we sit too much. Common sense dictates that we should exercise to counteract and correct the faulty postural patterns that we live in. The more muscles that we can activate, contract, at one time the greater the benefit from the exercise which means less work with more benefit. The bottom line is simply called functional exercise.
Bryan Fass,BA, ATCL, CSCS, NREMT-P
Daily Treadmill Workouts are a Great Way to Keep in Shape
Serious runners and walkers eventually turn to treadmill workouts so that they can exercise safely and conveniently at any time of day or night in their own homes. Fitness experts agree that one of the best ways to get in shape and stay that way is by running or walking every day, but the reality is that it isn't always safe or practical to do so on "the open road.
A Natural History Of Trampolines
Walrus skins - It has been said that the first type oftrampolining was done by the Eskimos who used to toss eachother up into the air on a Walrus skin; something like thesheet used by firemen to catch people jumping out of thewindows of houses which were on fire. In Anchorage Airport,Alaska, there are postcards depicting the Eskimos beingtossed up in a Walrus skin.
Using An Elliptical Trainer For Weight Loss And Fitness
My second favorite form of cardio exercise is using an elliptical trainer (First is mountain biking). Elliptical trainers make your weight loss cardio program quiet, low impact, and challenging.
Why Smooth Treadmills are Among The Best
Smooth is one of the better-known brands of fitness equipment. Smooth manufactures treadmills from high quality materials and premium components.
Best Home Gyms Tips
Best home gymsIt isn't always easy to find the best home gyms without a little trepidation. But have no fear as shopping through what are touted as the best home gym has been simplified.
Speed of Movement & the Mighty Metronome.
Tempo refers to the speed of movement and is usually represented by a 4-digit number: eccentric (negative) contraction - isometric (pause between negative and positive) contraction - concentric (positive) contraction - isometric (pause between positive and negative) contraction. For example, a tempo of 3-1-2-0 means to lower the weight for a count of 3, pause for a count of 1, raise the weight for a count of 2, and do not pause before starting the next repetition.
Features of Keys Treadmills
Keys treadmills have managed to build an impressive product range in the short time that they have been available on the market. They boast some impressive features however the remarkable thing about keys treadmills is the excellent warranties that they have to offer.
Cheap Elliptical Trainers From An Industry Giant
From its humble beginnings as a part time business for two college students in Utah, ICON Health and Fitness has grown into one of the world's largest manufacturers of fitness equipment. The company's credentials are impressive: 4000 employees in 11 locations around the world, nearly 200 patents, ISO 9001 certified and a portfolio of some of the best known brands in the fitness industry.
Choosing an Elliptical Cross Trainer
Elliptical cross trainers have been around for several years and their popularity grows continually. Elliptical cross trainers give you an impact-free, complete workout that seems less stressful than with other types of fitness equipment.
How To Build A $100 Home Gym That Delivers Results
So you want to save valuable time traveling to the gym by building your ownhome gym. Do to the long hours worked, and strenuous commutes,more and more people are opting to squeeze there workouts in by exercisingin the comfort of their own homes.
Whats The Best Way To Care For Your Trampoline?
Your trampoline can be an expensive item, so it's importantto properly care for it. Here's some useful tips :* Don't Let Kids sit/stand or play with the frame pads.
Treadmills - Keep On Running
There are benefits to the use of treadmills as part of your exercise program. A treadmill provides a wonderful cardiovascular workout for your heart, your lungs, and your circulation.
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.
Treadmill Best Recommended List
Runner's World Magazine conducts an evaluation, to come up with their treadmill best recommended list. Unlike other sports-related products that the athletic magazine reviews on an annual basis, treadmills, they explain, are not extensively and continually redesigned and upgraded.
Experience The Smooth Ride Of True Treadmills
True treadmills are one of the top of the line treadmills for home or commercial fitness equipment. Exceptional standards of excellence go into the manufacture of each treadmill and each one is tested before it leaves the factory floor.
Treadmill Consumer Guide
When looking for a treadmill consumer guide, you won't have to look much farther than the Internet, or the nearest bookstore's magazine display. Just a quick online search delivered eleven different experts, folks who used their knowledge of athletics and exercise regimens to produce their own unique treadmill consumer guide.
Treadmill Reviews - Helping You Find The Best Treadmill For YOU!
With a multitude of different treadmills available today, it can be extremely difficult to know which one might be the best one for you - it can be so overwhelming that you simply don't know where to start! If you go to one of the wide variety of treadmill manufacturer's websites, you will be greeted by a whole array of different models that include a variety of features and characteristics that simply boggle the mind, and inevitably enough, each manufacturer is going to say that theirs is better than all the rest. What you need to help you navigate your way through the overabundance of information is a helpful and unbiased informer, and thankfully, help is not too far away.
Wholesale Room Humidifier
Room HumidifierA room humidifier can help raise the level of humidity or moisture in the air. Increasing the humidity in the home helps eliminate the dry air that can irritate and inflame the respiratory passages in the nose and throat.
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.
Workout Shoes - Shoes for Strength Training
I've always worked out in just a plain pair of tennis shoes. Rarely to I see or even think that using special shoes would make any difference at all.