New to the Gym & Daunted by the Machines?

When you’re starting a membership at a new gym, or you’re joining one for the first time, the sheer volume of equipment might seem daunting. You might recognize a few of the big machines, such as the treadmill and rowing machine, but be completely lost when it comes to the others.

What’s more, if you’re somebody who isn’t comfortable putting yourself out there in new situations, you might be reluctant to try them out.

At Beckwith Health Club, we don’t want this to be the case! Avoiding some of the machines could make you lose out when it comes to your fitness. We strive to make sure all of our members feel comfortable in our gym. Moreover, our personal trainers and gym staff are incredibly friendly and always around to help.

You can also opt for a gym induction when you join to ensure you get shown around all of our equipment!

However, if you prefer to come to our gym prepared and already knowing which machines will suit your workout needs, we’ve prepared a brief overview of five of the most common exercise machines.

Weight Training: Chest Press

Obviously targeted at your chest area, this machine also works out your triceps and shoulders. It is also a good machine to use for these muscle groups if you’re not a fan of the bench press, or if a shoulder injury has prevented you from using one.

Ensure the weights on both sides are the same, hold the handles, and be sure your elbows don’t go past your torso.

Fully extend your arms by pressing the weights away from your chest, and then reverse the motion slowly and with control. Make sure you’re not rounding your shoulders and keeping your back straight.

Weight Training: Lat Pull-Down Machine

This is an ideal machine for those who can’t quite manage a pull-up yet, or don’t like them, but still want to develop their lat muscles.

Sit facing the machine and hold on to the wide-grip handle. Keep your back straight, your arms fully extended at the top, and your feet firmly planted. Pull the bar down to your collarbone while leaning back slightly, squeeze your shoulder blades together, then release with control.

Be sure to not lean back too far, as this will mean your bodyweight will be doing the hard work and you might not see the same results. Leaning back only slightly will also help you to avoid straining your back.

Weight Training: Leg Press Machine

This machine fully works out your legs and glutes and is a great alternative to squats.

To use it, select your weight, sit in the machine and press your feet against the platform. The leg press is equipped with a release lever, which you can pull at any point during the exercise for the machine to take control of the weight if needed.

To use the machine, bend your knees to bring the weights nearer to you, and then push them back. Don’t lock your knees – maintain the tension in your legs throughout the exercise. When you’re bending your knees and bringing the weight towards you, bend as far as 90 degrees.

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Cardio: Rowing Machine

You’ll find a rowing machine in every gym (we have several at Beckwith Health Club!), so it’s a good one to know how to use.

Rowing is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, especially as it targets the whole body. This includes the legs, arms, back and your core, as well as improving your endurance.

Strap your feet in, hold the rowing bar, and sit up straight in the seat with your knees and ankles flexed so that your shins are vertical. Push back to straighten your legs and lean back at 45 degrees. The last part of this movement is to use your arms to pull the bar towards your torse, to a few inches above your belly button.

The rowing machine movement includes four separate motions: legs, core, hips and shoulders, then arms.

Remember to use your core throughout and to keep your back straight to avoid straining it.

The rowing machine is a low impact exercise and perfect to get your heart racing!

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Cardio: Elliptical Machine

Another very common and effective piece of cardio equipment, the elliptical machine is a good one to add to your gym repertoire.

The elliptical, like the rower, is also a low-impact machine, and so is perfect for people suffering from joint pain. It combines exercises such as cross-country skiing, cycling, and the stair-stepper, and so is a great workout for your legs.

To use the elliptical, step onto the machine. Start pedalling with your feet and pushing the handles to turn the machine on. You’ll be able to control the resistance with a pre-set workout on the machine, or manually edit the resistance yourself depending on the desired intensity of the exercise.

Keep your back straight when using the elliptical, your gaze to the front, and pedal forward to more easily maintain your balance and to avoid putting too much pressure on your knees. Also, remember to not grip the handles too tightly!

Elliptical training is ideal when combined with weight training exercises, as this will balance out your fitness regime between weight training and cardiovascular activity.

Ready to Try These Out?

If you feel ready to try out these machines after reading this blog, we look forward to seeing you soon at Beckwith Health Club!

Remember, our friendly and professional team are always around to answer any questions you might have, or to demonstrate any of our gym equipment.

And of course, don’t forget the most important part: warm-up and cool down! For some tips and suggestions on warming up, read our blog here.