Every gym contains both cardiovascular and strength training equipment. Knowing your way around the range of strength training equipment available will help you to get the most from your fitness regime. Both types of machine will help you burn calories, but while cardiovascular machines focus on raising the heart-rate and increasing respiratory fitness, strength training equipment focuses on developing muscle mass. There are three options available:
A good choice for beginners, machines enable you to learn correct technique. They are also possible to use alone, as you won’t need a second person to ‘spot’ you. Some machines offer movements that can’t be duplicated using free weights, such as cable machines.
Barbells and dumbbells provide a broad range of exercise options for all the body’s muscle groups. Because they offer greater flexibility and variety, they are often preferred by more experienced exercisers.
There is a whole range of accessories available to increase the effectiveness of your resistance workout. Whether it’s a leather lifting belt to support you as you work with free weights, or a Swiss ball to increase the effectiveness of your floor exercises, accessories can help you to get the most from your exercise programme.
Don’t forget that you can do resistance work without weights too. Accessories such as resistance bands and tubes enable you to continue your fitness programme even when you can’t get access to the gym. Unlike a set of dumbbells, they’re small and light enough to fit inside a suitcase, and can be used in a hotel room. What’s more, using your own body weight to provide resistance instead of weights will engage a different set of muscles, and help you enhance your overall fitness.