Dumbbells and barbells rule, but if you want to define the shape and improve your fitness, these machines may provide the answer you were looking for!
Fitness equipment has received a fair amount of undeserved criticism in recent years, but they have a lot to offer. I am far from thinking that you need to turn your back on your favorite free weights; I’m just saying that if there are other tools on hand, you should at least seriously consider using them. Do you want to dry out and show relief? Getting ready for a competition? Working on general functional training? A strategic move towards simulators can help achieve each of the stated goals.
Here are three machines to rehabilitate and return to your workout routine if you want to create relief and see results sooner.
Lower Body: Leg Press
The largest and strongest muscles in our body are the legs, and basic movements are great for developing these muscles. Yes, squats and deadlifts will help you build powerful quads and enviable hamstrings, but even these exercises pale in comparison to what the leg press has to offer.
The Leg Press is a great basic movement built into the machine that allows you to train your legs more efficiently and safer after doing squats, deadlifts, or both. Since the spine remains in a stable position throughout the exercise (regardless of the technique, but you shouldn’t neglect it), using this versatile trainer, you can lift a lot of weight without unnecessary risk and even train during the recovery period from injuries. It can even help you increase your free weight numbers.
If you think that the leg press is for quads only, you are greatly mistaken. Placing your feet in the center of the platform, shoulder-width apart, aim at the front of your thigh. But put them together on the top edge and you are using your hamstrings, which will have to do a fair amount of the work. Move your feet down to the base so your heels hang over the edge of the platform, and bang! – you can now turn your caviar into meaty hams.
Expert Tip: On the leg press, do 3-4 three sets of 15 reps using all three-foot positions. This is a killer ending for any leg workout.
Upper body: Gravitron (pull-up and push-up trainer)
Pull-ups and push-ups are two exercises that can be ignored for a long time. This is the most powerful upper-body tandem you can find. The only problem is that many people hit the ceiling of a certain number of repetitions for weeks, months, and even years. When that happens, you have options other than bumping into muscle failure over and over again!
The Assist Trainer will help you increase your pullups and dips, which will increase blood flow to your muscles and help you burn more calories during your workout. What’s as a bonus? If you are not yet strong enough to complete a clean approach without jerking or deteriorating technique, Gravitron is able to act as an observer/tutor who will help you master the basics of correct biomechanics. Perhaps one Gravitron will not be enough here, but it will definitely be useful!
When you finally outgrow these training aids, simply pull the stud out of the weight block and lower the movable platform to create a sturdy pull-up and push-up rack that you can use as much as you want. How can you not like it?
Expert tip: Pull up as many times as possible, to the point of failure. Increase the counterbalance weight in the weight block to pull up a few more times. In fact, this is a drop set for increasing pumping and muscle burning. Now, without rest, switch to push-ups and do exactly the same. Three laps with a minute of rest in between and you’ve done the coolest upper body superset.
Whole Body: Smith Machine
The Smith machine is criticized by many athletes, although it deserves much higher marks. The Smith is versatile because you can do almost any barbell exercise using the fixed trajectory created by this machine’s rails. All of these are especially useful if you are grinding a mold or recovering from an injury.
Substitute in Smith for various barbell exercises in which you have technical problems, or use it in exercises that exacerbate your injuries. It is literally an all-in-one machine that can be used for both upper body exercises such as bent overpresses and rows, and lower body exercises such as squats, deadlifts, or lunges. If you can’t reach a muscle, try Smith’s Fixed Trajectory to slow down and establish the vital brain-muscle connection. It can do wonders for your basic bench press and deadlift.
Another advantage of the Smith machine is that you don’t always need a belayer – although sometimes it’s better to enlist the help of a partner. When you hit a rejection, you just need to turn the bar so that the hooks fall on the supports, and you are safe. It follows that you can do a safe and hard workout even if you are doing it alone.
Expert Tip: Take a week – perhaps after a tough week in which you’ve broken your personal best or reached a peak – and replace the barbell exercises in your workout plan with the Smith counterparts. Focus on muscle contraction and repetition rate. Really slow down the negative phase! This will bring some relief to your joints that are frayed from free weights and provide valuable insight into how you can improve your technique.