With the rise of intense workout programs, gyms are changing their equipment and adding high-intensity workouts. Some common exercises include barbell deadlifts, sled pushes, Turkish get-ups, overhead presses, and kettlebell swings. But, these can be troubling for beginners. In this article, you come to know the best weight lifting equipment.
It’s crucial to ask if high-intensity workouts are suitable for newbies. While they offer many benefits, they might only suit some. As a trainer, your job is to help clients incorporate exercise into their daily lives, not just give them tough workouts.
Functional training, or training with a purpose, is about tailoring exercises to clients’ needs and interests. Even if you prefer specific workouts, like barbells and kettlebells, your clients might feel more comfortable with weight lifting machines. Machines can still help them get stronger and build healthy exercise habits.
Advantages of Weight Machines
Strength training has many benefits, and weight lifting equipment, like machines, maximizes resistance where muscles are strongest. This helps muscles grow effectively. Machine training is an excellent option to build big, defined muscles. Here are six reasons to consider adding weight lifting equipment to your clients’ routines.
Managing Overload and Motion Path
Mechanical overload, the force on muscles, is crucial for muscle growth. Compound barbell lifts need proper joint movement, or injury may occur. Weight lifting equipment controls motion, applying force where muscles are strongest, making it safer for muscle growth.
Targeting Muscle Contractions
Muscles consist of two main components: the elastic fascia and the connective tissue that shapes and transfers forces within the muscle, along with the contractile element made of actin and myosin proteins, which control muscle contractions. To enhance muscle size and strength, applying external resistance is crucial, stimulating the contractile element to generate more force. Machine training is highly effective in achieving this goal.
Generating Metabolic Overload
Metabolic overload happens when muscles get tired and can’t contract anymore. Muscle growth can result from either mechanical or metabolic overload. A popular method for fast muscle growth is using drop sets. This involves exercising until tired, then lowering the weight and continuing until tired again. Weight lifting equipment, like machines, is the safest and most efficient way to do drop sets, ensuring all muscle fibres are worked out completely.
Efficient Circuit Training Solution
Transitioning quickly between exercises with minimal rest and circuit training effectively creates both mechanical and metabolic overload for clients. You might incorporate various equipment like barbells, kettlebells, and weight sleds into circuits, encouraging clients to push to fatigue. However, using such equipment independently can take time and effort. A solution is to design machine-based circuits for clients to follow along, ensuring they still reap circuit training benefits without needing to master advanced equipment use.
Targeted Muscle Definition
Besides the health benefits like improved metabolism and stronger muscles, many clients aim to enhance their appearance through strength training. Muscle definition comes from muscles staying partially contracted. Weight lifting equipment, like machines, is designed to overload specific muscles mechanically, enhancing their definition. One effective strategy combines compound exercises like barbell squats with isolation exercises using machines, like hamstring curls, to exhaust specific muscles, resulting in more excellent definition.
Free-weight equipment such as barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls can be highly effective when used correctly. However, for individuals lacking strength or basic movement skills, there’s a risk of injury. Strong individuals can succumb to ego and lift weights beyond their capability, risking injury. Unlike free weights, machines offer maximal loads with minimal risk of falling weights causing harm.
Weight Lifting Equipment
Free weights encompass strength equipment not affixed to stationary objects, such as dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and household items like sandbags or weighted backpacks.
- Versatile in their applications
- Functional for everyday movements
- Provide tangible results
- Require a learning curve
- It can be not very clear to use
- Prone to poor form if not used correctly
- Muscle effort varies throughout exercises
Comparison to Weight Training Machines
- Free weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells are more budget-friendly and space-saving than weight machines.
- Unlike machines focusing on singular muscle groups, they offer exercise variety, targeting multiple muscle groups with one set.
Benefits of Free Weight Exercises
- Mimic everyday activities, engaging multiple muscle groups due to the need for body stabilization.
- Allow for visible and tactile progress as strength increases, motivating to continue lifting heavier weights.
Regarding weight lifting equipment, barbells come in two types: fixed-weight and plate-loaded. Fixed-weight barbells, commonly found in gyms, provide a set weight, while plate-loaded ones allow you to adjust the weight. Barbells are advantageous because they enable you to lift heavier weights, simultaneously utilizing both sides of your body. However, using barbell collars to secure the plates in place is essential.
However, there are drawbacks to using barbells. Since both sides of the body are engaged, the dominant side may do more work. For example, if you’re right-handed, your right arm might dominate during exercises like biceps curls or overhead presses. That’s why incorporating a mix of barbells and dumbbells is beneficial. A dumbbell rack can help keep your equipment organized.
Dumbbells offer the advantage of working each limb independently, which is beneficial for strengthening your non-dominant side. Additionally, they engage more stabilizer muscles because there is no fixed path for the weight. Controlling the movement throughout would help, resulting in more effective workouts.
Kettlebells offer a unique workout experience compared to traditional dumbbells and barbells. While dumbbells and barbells focus primarily on strength and muscle building, kettlebells place more emphasis on power.
With kettlebells, exercises often involve dynamic movements like swinging the weight, offering a versatile workout targeting various aspects of fitness, including strength, power, endurance, and cardio.
However, there is a learning curve associated with kettlebell exercises. It’s advisable to seek instruction from a video tutorial or a professional trainer to ensure proper form and technique.
4. Medicine Balls
Introducing a medicine ball into your workouts brings a fresh dimension of variety. These balls are available in various weights, catering to different fitness levels. They offer versatility, allowing you to perform almost any exercise with dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells. However, their focus lies more on enhancing balance and coordination.
5. Resistance Bands and Tubes
While resistance bands and tubes could be classified alongside free weights or cable machines, they are the most versatile option. They are lightweight and budget-friendly compared to other choices.
These bands and tubes come in various colours, indicating the level of tension they provide. For instance, SPRI bands offer yellow for light resistance, green for medium resistance, and red for higher resistance. Some bands even include a door attachment, allowing you to secure them in a door frame for exercises like chest presses or lat pulldowns.
Pros of Resistance Bands
- Compact and lightweight
- Versatile in their applications
- Improve coordination and functionality
Cons of Resistance Bands
- Prone to snapping
- Challenging for beginners to use
- Resistance levels can vary
Weight Training Machines
The gym’s machines are standard, arranged in rows and designed to target specific muscle groups. You’ll typically encounter two types of machines, and your selection depends on your fitness level, comfort, and goals.
1. Stack Machines
Among the most commonly seen weight-lifting equipment are machines featuring rectangular plates, allowing easy weight adjustments by inserting a pin. These machines are user-friendly, requiring minimal adjustments such as seat height modification. This simplicity makes them particularly attractive to beginners as they operate along a fixed path.
For instance, the handles move outward consistently during a chest press with each repetition. This differs from dumbbells, where one must control the weight’s path and maintain proper form. Something that may pose a challenge for new exercisers.
2. Plate-Loaded Machines
Like stack machines, plate-loaded machines also operate on a fixed path, but the difference lies in manually loading the plates onto the machine. This aspect can be advantageous for individuals aiming to increase strength and muscle size, as they have precise control over the weight lifted. However, the drawback is the need to load the plates themselves, which can be a workout in its own right.
If you’ve ever frequented a gym, you’ve likely encountered the inconvenience of unloading a machine left behind by someone else, an example of poor gym etiquette.
Pros of Machines
- Easy to operate
- Provide support during exercises
- Reduced need for a spotter
- Offer controlled movements
- Minimize the risk of injury
- Safer to use
Cons of Machines
- Follow a fixed path of motion
- Limit the range of movement
- Designed for individuals of average size
- Can become monotonous
Cable and Pulley Systems
Cable and pulley machines are a common sight in most gyms, providing diverse options for strength training. Unlike traditional machines, these machines do not follow a fixed motion path. This requires the engagement of stabilizer muscles to control the movement of the cables, leading to increased muscle activation and calorie expenditure.
Additionally, unlike free weights, cable machines adjust the resistance throughout the entire range of motion of the exercise. For example, during a cable biceps curl, the resistance varies as you curl the weight up and down, providing consistent resistance throughout the exercise compared to the single peak moment with dumbbells.
Pros of Cable Machines
- Effective strength-building resistance
- Versatile with various attachments
Cons of Cable Machines
- Steeper learning curve
- Intensity may be higher
- Potential for confusion
In conclusion, weightlifting equipment is your ultimate tool for building muscle and achieving your fitness goals. The options are diverse and versatile, from free weights like dumbbells and barbells to machines and cable systems. Incorporating weight lifting equipment into your workout routine can effectively target different muscle groups, increase strength, and enhance overall fitness levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, these tools provide the resistance and variability needed to progress and see results. So, embrace the variety of weight lifting equipment available and start sculpting your ideal physique today!
1. What types of weight lifting equipment are best for beginners?
Weight lifting equipment like dumbbells and machines are ideal for beginners as they offer stability and ease of use.
2. Can weight lifting equipment help me build muscle without going to the gym?
Yes, weight lifting equipment such as resistance bands or kettlebells can be used at home to build muscle effectively.
3. How do I know which weight lifting equipment suits my fitness goals?
Consider your fitness goals and preferences; free weights like barbells and cables provide versatility, while machines offer targeted muscle isolation.
4. Are there any safety tips I should follow when using weight lifting equipment?
Always start with lighter weights and gradually increase as you build strength. Additionally, ensure proper form and technique to prevent injuries while using weight lifting equipment.