Meet Your 5 New Favorite Pieces of Gym Equipment




Meet your five new favorite pieces of gym equipment At the gym, people are looking for equipment to enhance their workout experiences. Here is a list of five machines that just may become your new personal favorites. Lat pulldown A favorite among consistent gym goers and trainers, the lat pulldown is a staple for back and bicep training. In a tall seated position, using a traditional double overhand grip shoulder-width apart (same positioning as if you were doing pull ups), pull the bar straight down below your chin, no further, and control the weight on the way up. Pro tip: Do not allow your shoulders to shrug up and never pull bar behind your head — both are unsafe for your rotator cuffs and could result in injury. Leg press With many versions of leg presses, this particular variation is one where you can manually add weights and it keeps you seated at an incline with constant resistance to your legs. Do not add so much weight that you can only lower the platform a few inches. Strive to hit as much depth as you can while ensuring your lower back remains pressed against the seat. Pro tip: A narrower stance, with toes pointed forward, will recruit more quads, whereas a wider stance, with toes pointed outward, will recruit more adductors (the inner leg muscles in the upper thigh). Depending on how wide your squat/deadlift stance is, try to implement a different stance width on this machine to balance your leg workout. Chest fly machine A classic among chest exercises, this machine will help develop separation between your pectoral major muscle — a large muscle in the upper chest — and give nice definition within your pectoral minors — thin, triangular muscles in the upper chest. Stay seated in a tall position and keep a slight bend in your elbows as you squeeze the handlebars together. Pro tip: Do not lean forward and twist your torso to make the bars come together; this will take all the work out of your chest and could result in injury. Be sure to control the weight as you pull bars away from each other so your muscles are under constant resistance. Elliptical The elliptical is a very popular machine among runners, the older generation and those recently injured who want to raise their cardio levels. Users push and pull the long handlebars while their feet pedal around, providing a total body cardiovascular exercise. Pro tip: These machines often encourage people to get lazy, which can lead to improper usage. Be careful not to allow your knees to collapse inward as you move your legs, and do not shrug your shoulders or round your back as you push/pull the handles. Maintain a tall posture and actively engage your legs, arms and core. Cable row Another classic among upper body training, the cable row is especially good for engaging your rhomboids— upper back muscles — and biceps. Sit up in a tall position with your shoulders down and core engaged. Do not lean back to move the weight; instead, pull the bar towards you, squeezing your shoulder blades together to work those rhomboids. Extend your arms and control the weight as you complete the repetition, feeling a bicep stretch. Pro tip: Be sure to work your full range of motion for each row and keep those elbows squeezed into your ribs to further engage your lats — one of the largest muscles in the back that is divided into two segments and are configured symmetrically along the backbone. Source: Nikki Veit, specialist personal trainer at Lincoln Square, Chicago Athletic Clubs