Strength Training Machines
Strength Training Machines: specifications, types
Maximum user weight
The highest weight of an athlete that the simulator can normally carry for a long period of time (at least until the end of the warranty period with regular training). It is worth choosing a model for individual use according to this parameter with some margin — after all, during training, the weight can change noticeably, and upwards too; and if you are working to build muscle mass, then you should focus not on the current, but on the desired weight. And for the units used in public gyms, a large maximum weight is especially important — after all, people with a rather massive physique can use them. Well, anyway, you can’t exceed the weight limit, even by “a couple of kilograms”: it’s not a fact that the simulator will break right away, but off-design loads will increase the wear of the structure and can significantly reduce the life of the product, and breakdown can occur at the most inopportune moment and lead to injury.
As for specific values, in most modern simulators this limit is more than 150 kg, however, there are exceptions — models for 120 – 150 kg, or even 120 kg or less. So it is not worth completely ignoring this point.
General type of trainer. In addition to specialized weight machines, more specific varieties are found in modern times: Smith machines, Hack machines, block frames, multifunctional fitness stations, gravitrons, glut machines, multi-hips and torso machines. Here is a more detailed description of each variety:
— Power trainer. Under the classic power simulators, they mean models that have a rather narrow specialization, equipped with 1-2 types of devices (some options are described in the “Equipment” paragraph) and designed to train one muscle group. At the same time, the application options (see "Functions / Capabilities") in some models can be quite diverse, but this is not due to the abundance of equipment, but to the versatility of using devices of a certain type. Anyway, such devices are intended primarily for equipping gyms designed for many people, and are poorly suited for individual use — unless you need a unit with a specific narrow specialization.
— Smith's car. A variety of simulators designed to work with a barbell. A key feature of such structures is the presence of special safety mounts that allow you to safely perform various exercises without a safety net from an assistant....But in terms of functionality, Smith machines can be divided into two categories: traditional (with a fixed trajectory) and with a 3D base. The first variety has received the greatest distribution; in such simulators, the bar moves along a strictly defined trajectory along vertical or slightly inclined guides, which gives a number of advantages over free bar work. So, a constant trajectory allows you to clearly emphasize the load on a certain type of muscle; the amplitude of lifting the weight can be limited to the final section, the most effective, and not waste energy on the "extra" movement of the load; it becomes possible to work with one hand; and the basic technique for performing some exercises (squats with a barbell, bench press) is most conveniently worked out in a Smith machine with a fixed trajectory.
In turn, models with a 3D base allow the bar to move freely, without strict restrictions. See below for more details on the 3D base, but here we note that this option is relatively rare and is designed primarily for professional athletes who are not satisfied with the limited movements in traditional Smith machines.
— Fitness station. A distinctive feature of fitness stations is their versatility: such models have many devices, thanks to which they allow you to perform a variety of exercises for various muscle groups (see "Functions / Capabilities"). In fact, each fitness station combines several power simulators in one design (see above); in the most advanced models, the number of functions can exceed 10. Those who equip their personal gym should pay attention to such options: one device that takes up relatively little space and is relatively inexpensive can replace a whole set of bulky and expensive (in terms of total cost) simulators . But fitness stations are not suitable for large gyms: after all, you can use only one function at a time, the rest will be idle, and those who wish will have to wait in line.
— Block frame. Most block frames are based on a U-shaped frame: two vertical guides for weight blocks connected by a jumper at the top. The distance between the pairs of guides is such that during training, the athlete can position himself between them and perform exercises on both hands at once (in fact, such exercises are the main purpose of block pairs). There are also more specific design options, but they have the same general specifics and format of application. This type of simulators provide mainly the study of the pectoral, deltoid and trapezius muscles, as well as the muscles of the hands (mainly biceps and triceps). However, it is worth noting that some block frames have extensive additional equipment and, in terms of capabilities, are already approaching fitness stations (see above).
— Hack machine. The full name is "Hackenschmidt simulator". A specialized machine originally designed for a specific weighted squat technique; this technique has a number of advantages over traditional squats (for more details, see "Exercises for individual muscles"). In addition, hack machines are well suited for calf raises, and they may also have the ability to perform a leg press (see ibid.). Structurally, such a machine is an inclined frame with a fixed stop at the bottom and a pair of guides along which the movable block can move; weights are attached to this block if necessary. When working with such a simulator, the athlete stands with his feet on the bottom stop, lies with his back on the frame, rests his shoulders on the movable block and squats in such an inclined position. And when performing a leg press, the opposite position of the body is used: the athlete lies with his back on the lower support, legs to the frame, and with the effort of the legs raises and lowers the movable block with the load.
— Gravitron. A simulator designed mainly for performing pull-ups on the horizontal bar, push-ups on the uneven bars and some other similar exercises with "relief" — when the athlete works with his own weight, but not full. This is achieved in the following way. The design of the gravitron has a movable platform connected to a counterweight — it creates resistance when the platform moves down and returns it to its original (upper) position when the load disappears. Thus, when an athlete performs push-ups or pull-ups, resting their knees on the platform, when moving up, the platform additionally pushes them, reducing the actual load. This allows you to slightly change the format of performing such exercises, shifting the emphasis from high efforts to the number of times and speed of execution; and by adjusting the counterweight, you can choose the optimal balance between strength and speed. This feature is especially important for novice users, who often have difficulty working with full body weight (especially if this weight is large). And the main muscle groups worked out during such training include the pectoral, dorsal, deltoid and arm muscles (biceps or triceps), depending on the technique.
Other options for using gravitrons are also possible — in particular, pumping the buttocks, when an athlete, standing with one foot on the floor, presses with force with the other foot on the platform of the simulator.
— Glut machine. A specialized simulator for pumping the muscles of the legs (including the hips and buttocks), which is especially popular among the female audience, although it is quite suitable for men. Glute machines are used for hip abduction exercises, the technique for performing such exercises is as follows. In the initial position, the athlete lies with his stomach on the support pillow, holding his hands on special stops — so that the body is in an inclined or almost horizontal position. One leg rests on the floor or on a special stand of the simulator, and the second (working) leg is retracted, resting against a movable stop loaded with a counterweight. Depending on the design of the simulator and the execution technique, the main load on this may fall on the gluteal muscles, thighs and/or calves.
— Multi-hip. A multifunctional simulator for the muscles of the legs and lower body, especially the femoral ones. Allows you to perform weighted hip abduction exercises, as well as leg swings (see "Exercises for individual muscles"), thus loading different types of muscles (gluteal, adductor and abductor femoral, etc.). For such exercises, a special rotary stop loaded with a counterweight is used; in some models, this stop can be rotated a full 360°, which allows you to perform movements with almost any amplitude. When working on a multi-hip, the athlete usually stands upright, holding on to special handles; the supporting leg stands on the floor or a special platform, and the working leg moves the emphasis in one direction or another.
— Torso machine. Exercise machines designed to perform rotations of the torso under load. In such a simulator, the athlete is sitting, with a vertical position of the torso; holding on to special stops connected to the counterweight, he turns the body around the vertical axis in both directions, thus loading mainly the oblique muscles of the abdomen. Exercises in the torso machine are considered more effective than diagonal twists of similar purpose: the simulator fixes the lower body of the athlete, preventing it from making unnecessary movements, and the loaded muscles work at non-standard angles, which additionally contributes to their development. Among other things, such loads are considered especially effective for combating fat in the waist area.
The presence of a 3D basis in the design of the Smith machine(see "Type").
Unlike traditional trainers of this type, where the bar moves along a well-defined path along the rails, the 3D base allows the bar to move freely — both vertically and horizontally. Thus, models with this feature are not so much Smith machines in the original sense of the term, but mechanisms for additional convenience when working with a barbell freely. They are intended primarily for professional athletes who have clearly mastered the technique of performing exercises with a barbell and for whom a limited trajectory is a disadvantage, not an advantage. At the same time, we note that simulators with this feature may provide the possibility of blocking the horizontal movements of the neck — for working in the classic format, with a strictly vertical bar trajectory.
The method of creating an additional load, provided for by the design of the simulator.
— Cargo block. One of the most popular types of load nowadays: a set of loads connected to the working part of the simulator using a cable (cables) with a system of blocks. However a similar scheme of work can be applied with free weights (see below); Thus, a distinctive feature of block-weight systems is that they can only use special weights that are not designed for another application. One of the key advantages of this type of load is the ease of weight adjustment: for this, you do not need to separately look for suitable weights and select their number, just rearrange the special lock. However the adjustment is carried out with a strictly defined step — for example, 5 kg; so that the tuning accuracy in such systems is generally somewhat lower than with free weight. On the other hand, most often this moment is not a fundamental drawback. And the block system allows you to bring the cable to the working part of the simulator from any direction — accordingly, the force of the counterweight can be directed in any direction — up, down, sideways, and also at any angle of inclination.
— Free weight. Systems where the load is changed by adding or removing additional weights — usually pancakes for the barbell. Actually, a classic example of simulators where this option is used is Smith machines (see "Type")...; however, the matter is not limited to them, free weight is the second most popular type of load after the block load described above. This is primarily due to the extensive possibilities for setting the load: in such simulators, in fact, there is no fixed adjustment step, the matter is limited only by the presence of a set of pancakes with a particular weight at the athlete's disposal. On the other hand, the need to use separate weighting agents can also be attributed to the disadvantages of this option. In addition, in most free weight models, the force of the load is usually directed downward (vertically or at a certain angle); systems of cables and blocks — like those used in weight-block simulators — are extremely rare in such simulators.
— Hydraulic. Loading systems based on the use of closed cylinders filled with a special liquid; the actual load in such systems is created due to the resistance that occurs when the piston moves in such a cylinder. This provides a number of advantages over units using dead weight systems or free weight. Firstly, hydraulics allows you to create a more uniform load, moreover, directed strictly along the piston. Secondly, resistance arises when moving in both directions — thus, the hydraulic simulator provides pumping of two muscles of the opposite purpose at once (the so-called antagonist muscles). Third, hydraulic cylinders are small and light, especially when compared to traditional weights.
Among other things, simulators with such load systems are widely used in express training clubs, where people do not so much for professional body shaping, but for pleasure and relaxation. The main disadvantages of hydraulics are a rather high price and difficulty in repair.
— Combined. An option that assumes the presence of two load systems at once — a block-weight and a free-weight system. Both of these varieties are detailed above; here we note that the combined load is found mainly in Smith machines with advanced features, as well as individual weight machines and fitness stations (see "Type"). This feature expands the capabilities of the simulator, but significantly affects its cost and dimensions.
— Aerodynamic. Systems based on the use of a special flywheel: during rapid rotation, it experiences strong air resistance, which creates the necessary load. A rather rare and specific option: such systems are not well suited for strength training with high efforts, but they are convenient where you need to combine a certain resistance and high speed when performing exercises. One of the varieties of units with an aerodynamic load is specialized simulators for skiers (for working out hands), although there are also more multifunctional options, up to advanced fitness stations.
— Flexible rods. Loading systems of this type usually use cables and blocks, as in block solutions (see above); however, it is not a set of weights that is responsible for creating resistance, but special rods that bend when the cables are pulled (similar to how a bow bends when a bowstring is pulled). The load is usually controlled by changing the number of rods involved. Simulators with such systems are noticeably lighter than weight-block ones, they create less noise, but they take up more space and, usually, have more limited ability to adjust the load. Therefore, this option has not received much distribution.
— Magnetic. Another type of load using a special flywheel — as in the aerodynamic systems described above; however, in this case, the resistance is created by a magnetic field that decelerates the flywheel during rotation. Magnetic systems operate almost silently and allow very precise adjustment of the load; on the other hand, they are expensive, which is why they are rare. As for the application, this option, again, is similar to “aerodynamics” — it is designed mainly for exercises that require both speed and some additional resistance, and is found mainly in crossovers.
Maximum load weight
The largest weight of weights that can be installed on a simulator of the appropriate design (see "Loading System").
When choosing according to this indicator, it is worth considering both the expected intensity of training and the characteristics of specific exercises. Detailed recommendations regarding this choice for different types of exercises are described in special sources. Here we emphasize that it is definitely impossible to exceed the maximum load weight: even if the simulator does not break down immediately, an “accident” (fraught with serious injuries) can occur at any time.
As for specific values, in most modern simulators the permissible load weight does not exceed 100 kg — this is often quite enough. There are also many models where this figure lies in the range of 100 – 150 kg ; less common options for 150 – 200 kg ; and in the most “heavyweight” models, it is allowed to use loads of 200 kg or more.
Load adjustment step
The minimum step with which the simulator allows you to adjust the workload. For example, if this figure is 2.5 kg, then the unit can be set to 2.5 kg, 5 kg, 7.5 kg, and so on.
The smaller the adjustment step, the more accurately you can set the load, the lower the likelihood that the optimal weight will be between two preset values. On the other hand, too small a step also creates more problems than comfort, moreover, such a feature would complicate the design and increase its cost. Therefore, in most models, this parameter is from 2 to 10 kg, this range is considered optimal in terms of accuracy, convenience and general feasibility. Occasionally there are also smaller values — up to 0.5 kg inclusive, but larger ones are extremely rare.
Note that in individual simulators, the adjustment step may be different for different load ranges. For example, weight up to 2 kg inclusive can be adjusted in increments of 0.5 kg, then in increments of 1 kg. For such cases, this paragraph indicates the minimum step, and further details are specified in the notes.
The ability to adjust the seat of the simulator at the request of the athlete.
Note that in this case we are talking only directly about the "seat"; the backrest setting, if any, is specified separately (see below). As for the possibilities, the seat adjustment allows you to adjust it at least in height — this allows you to choose the optimal position, taking into account the height of the user. However, another option may be provided — horizontal adjustment by shifting back / forward; and in some simulators, these options are combined.
The ability to adjust the seat back. Specific types of adjustment may be different — in height, in distance from the edge of the seat, in inclination, etc. However, anyway, this function provides the ability to adjust the seat of the simulator to the characteristics of the physique of the athlete and the requirements of the exercises performed.
Handle height adjustment
The ability to change the height of the handles used for some exercises — for example, vertical traction (see "Functions / Features"). Since athletes can vary in height, the optimal height of the handles in the initial position will be different.
The ability to adjust the emphasis of one type or another installed in the simulator.
The specific design and purpose of the stops — and, accordingly, the possibilities for their adjustment — may be different in different models. For example, with a vertical pull, the stops are located in the area of the knees of a seated athlete, not allowing the body to stretch upwards towards the load; when bending the legs, one stop is located under the knees, the second — above the ankle; in gravitrons (see "Type"), a stop usually means a movable platform, etc. However, anyway, this feature is highly desirable for any simulator where stops are used at all: their optimal location, usually, can vary markedly depending on the height and physique of the athlete.
A feature primarily found on chest press machines (see Single Muscle Exercises) and some other varieties.
The physical features of the load systems used in most modern simulators are such that it often takes much more effort to start a movement than actually to continue the movement. Thus, in the initial phase, the working part of the simulator moves in a jerk; this creates imbalances in the load, reduces the effectiveness of exercise and does not contribute to safety. The easy start mechanism eliminates this phenomenon: it provides a smooth and easy start, without jerks and excessive effort.
Additional devices provided for in the design of the simulator or regularly supplied with it.
— Scott's bench. Device for training biceps with a barbell, dumbbells or your own weight block simulator. It usually looks like a seat, complemented by an emphasis in the form of an inclined shelf — a music stand; the emphasis is set in such a way that the athlete's hands above the elbow rest on it when working.
— Bench for the press. A device for training the press with the help of twists. Usually it looks like a characteristic inclined board with leg mounts at the top. When performing the exercise, the athlete lies with his back on this bench, clings to the fasteners with his feet and lifts the upper body with the force of the press. At the same time, due to the inclination of the bench, the athlete’s head in the initial position is lower than the legs, which allows you to create a greater load than when twisting on the floor. And many benches have an angle adjustment, which allows you to change the load.
— Emphasis for the press. The design of the press stop is similar to the bars: two parallel horizontal bars, usually with soft pads (for comfort and safety) and two vertical handles. During classes, the athlete hangs on the support, holding on to the handles, so that his forearms lie on the planks (this is what the lining is for), and the support goes...to the elbows; this position allows you to perform various exercises for the press, primarily lifting the legs.
— Twister. A twister is a horizontal disk of such dimensions that the athlete can stand on it with both feet (or knees). The disk is able to rotate freely, so you can perform exercises with torso twists.
— Horizontal bar. The classic horizontal bar is a regular horizontal bar, designed primarily for pull-ups. However, in modern simulators, this device can have a more advanced design: for example, many horizontal bars have ends bent down with additional handles for more effective pull-ups with a wide grip.
— Bars. In simulators, this device is usually made in the form of two parallel handles. In general, it is similar to traditional gymnastic bars, however, it is practically not suitable for swing elements and in this case is designed for strength training — primarily in the form of push-ups.
— Stepper. A stepper is a device in the form of two parallel pedals; during training, the athlete stands on these pedals and moves their legs up and down. Due to this, movement uphill is simulated. Steppers are found mostly in fitness stations (see "Type"); their functionality is much more modest than that of individual stepper trainers, however, they also take up less space.
— Rack for the bar. The presence in the design of the simulator mounts for installing the bar during training. This function is extremely important for working with the barbell: it is much more convenient and safer to install the projectile on the mounts than to put it on the floor, and in some cases (for example, when doing the bench press), you cannot do without a rack at all.
Note that Smith machines (see "Type") by definition have bar mounts, but this feature is not considered a rack.
Maximum rod weight
The maximum weight of the bar that the corresponding rack (if any, see above) can be guaranteed to carry — in other words, the maximum weight under which the bar rack will not break for a long time, comparable to the life of the entire simulator. It is not worth exceeding this weight, otherwise a breakdown may occur at the most unexpected moment, and in the worst case, the consequences of this may be a serious injury. Therefore, it is worth choosing a model by the weight of the rod with a certain margin, taking into account either a possible increase in the load in the future (if the simulator is bought for one person), or the needs of all possible users (if we are talking about installation in a public hall).
Exercises for a muscle group
Exercises for a specific muscle group that can be performed using a simulator (there are also exercises for individual muscles, they are described in detail below).
The most popular types of exercises for muscle groups found nowadays include different types of traction ( vertical, horizontal, lower, T-shaped, lever, chest, deadlift), pullovers, lunges, pull -ups, push-ups and back extension. Here is a more detailed description of each option:
— Vertical thrust. Vertical traction is in some way similar to pull-ups — only in this case, the athlete does not pull his own body to the crossbar, but sits motionless, pulling the movable crossbar or handles towards him. This allows you to choose almost any level of load, including a fairly low one (whereas when pulling up you have to work at least with the weight of your own body); so vertical pulling can be especially convenient for beginners, especially those with a large body mass. However, this exercise is also appreciated by professional athletes. Most machines provide the ability to use a different grip when...performing vertical traction, which allows you to develop different muscle groups of the arms, chest and back. For example, pulling with a wide grip on the head develops mainly the latissimus dorsi, but also involves the upper back, biceps, individual muscles of the shoulder girdle, and some others.
— Horizontal thrust. This exercise involves pulling the loaded handles "onward", in a horizontal or almost horizontal direction (hence the name). In the classic form, the horizontal pull is performed while sitting, holding the handles in a vertical or almost vertical position and pulling them either to the stomach or to the neck. In the first case, due to this, the trapezius muscles of the back are worked out primarily in their middle and lower parts; also a significant load falls on the biceps, the lower part of the latissimus dorsi and the rhomboid muscle. Traction to the neck, in turn, gives the main load to the latissimus dorsi, and an additional load to the biceps. Other variants of horizontal thrust are also possible, with other accents; however, the main muscle groups involved still remain virtually unchanged.
— Lower pull. An exercise to pull the weight up, vertically or at an angle — like working on traction with a barbell, kettlebell, etc. Some simulators use a separate lower block for this, others provide the possibility of rearranging the block for horizontal traction. The muscles being trained can be different, depending on the specific exercise.
— T-shaped traction. Deadlift performed using a T-bar. Such a neck has a sufficiently long length, at one end it is fixed in a swivel mount at floor level, at the other end there is a handle and a seat for installing pancake weights. The classic way to perform T-Rows is standing, with the body tilted about 45 ° relative to the projectile, the handles in front of you and the neck moving up and down between the legs. Another option is a pull to the stomach on the simulator, when the athlete is reclining, face down, resting his chest and stomach on a special bench; this technique makes the exercise safer. Anyway, when performed correctly, the T-shaped thrust provides, first of all, the study of the back muscles — the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboid, rear deltoid, etc.; the specific emphasis of the load may be different, primarily depending on the grip.
— Lever pull. Pull, usually performed in a horizontal direction with a weighted rocker arm. At the same time, the athlete sits with the body in an upright position. The exercise can be performed with one or both hands, in addition, in most simulators with this function there is a chest support, which allows you to keep the body in a stationary position. Anyway, the main emphasis with leverage falls on the muscles of the back, in particular, the latissimus dorsi. A similar function is performed by the T-bar row and dumbbell row with one hand in an incline, but the lever traction has one important advantage: it is safer for the spine.
— Draw to the chest. This term can mean different types of exercises, depending on the design of the simulator. So, one of the most common options is the pull of the block to the chest while sitting, in fact, one of the varieties of the horizontal thrust described above. This exercise is aimed mainly at developing the latissimus dorsi, in addition, it also works out the back of the deltoid muscles, biceps, and partially triceps and forearms. Another option is a pull that is close to vertical, but carried out with a reverse grip, by bending the arms at the elbows, and with the direction of movement not strictly vertical, but at an angle. This technique places increased stress on the arms, particularly the biceps, although it also puts a noticeable strain on the back and the stabilizing abdominal muscles.
— Deadlift. One of the fundamental, most famous and popular exercises for working with heavy weights. Initially performed with a barbell; therefore, most models with this function are Smith machines (see "Type"), although there are also power simulators and fitness stations where the appropriate handles of the weight-and-block system are used instead of the bar (see "Loading system"). The general essence of the exercise is to lift the weight from the floor to the level of the pelvis. There are several techniques for performing such traction, but anyway, it is a complex exercise, it puts a load on most of the muscles of the body, and also has a noticeable developmental and strengthening effect on the body as a whole.
— Pullover. Exercise, the basis of which is lifting the load from behind the head. One of the advantages of this technique is that it allows you to simultaneously work out three muscle groups at once: pectoral, lats and triceps. But the degree of load on each of these groups may be different, depending on the technique for performing pullovers. So, when performing an exercise lying on a horizontal bench, the triceps are mainly worked out, the pectoral muscles are less involved, and the lats do not strain at all to the degree necessary for training; to work out the latissimus dorsi, the position on an inclined bench is better with the head down, etc. Specifically, the devices for performing pullovers in modern simulators can be either the simplest benches for working with dumbbells or other free weights, or block systems designed to perform "pulls from behind the head".
— Lunges. One of the basic exercises for the muscles of the legs — primarily the buttocks and quadriceps. The essence of the exercise is to move from a vertical position to a pose similar to squatting on one knee, due to a wide step; the knee of the back leg does not touch the floor. Lunges with additional weights in the form of a barbell are very popular; therefore, most machines with this feature are Smith machines (see "Type"). Block stations with this function are somewhat less common; more specific options for performing attacks may be provided there; this point should be clarified separately.
— Pull-ups. Traditional pull-ups, usually performed on the horizontal bar (see "Additional equipment"). The specific types of muscles involved in this exercise depend on the type (direct, reverse) and width of the grip, as well as some features of the technique. However, anyway, pulling up intensively loads the latissimus dorsi and large round muscles of the back. With a direct grip, the shoulder, brachioradialis, rhomboid and trapezius muscles are also involved; this technique is considered one of the most effective for forming the characteristic V-shaped silhouette of the male torso. The reverse grip, in turn, loads mainly the back and biceps.
— Push ups. In this case, push-ups on parallel horizontal bars are usually meant (see "Additional equipment"). This function is practically mandatory for gravitrons (see "Type") — in fact, such simulators were originally created, among other things, to optimize the performance of push-ups. Somewhat less common are other types of simulators with bars — fitness stations, as well as block frames with advanced functionality; in such models, push-ups are performed in the classic format, with full body weight and weights if necessary. Anyway, the main muscles worked out through this technique are the pectoralis major, as well as the triceps.
— Back extension. An exercise also known as "hyperextension". In simulators, for its implementation, the so-called Roman bench is usually provided — a horizontal or inclined bench with special footrests. The athlete lies on such a bench on his stomach (if the surface is inclined — head up) and fixes his legs in the stops; while the body in the initial position is tilted down, and the edge of the bench is located in the middle of the thighs, below the pelvis. When performing the exercise, the athlete lifts the body up, straightening the back, due to which the main load is provided. The muscle groups being worked out depend on the technique of performing the exercise, there are two main options here. If you perform hyperextension with a straight back, the main load goes to the gluteus maximus muscle and the hamstring muscles, if you also bend and unbend your back in the process, the muscle that extends the spine is connected to the work. Anyway, hyperextension perfectly strengthens the supporting apparatus of the back, while it is very safe and suitable even for beginners and people with weak backs.
Exercises for individual muscles
Exercises for individual muscles that can be performed using a simulator. The difference between such techniques and exercises for muscle groups (see above) is obvious from the name: they give a limited load and are intended mainly for the targeted study of specific muscles.
The list of single muscle exercises found in modern machines includes shoulder press, chest press, shrugs, butterfly, arm curl, arm extension, arm adduction, arm abduction, torso rotation, crunches (abs), hip abduction, leg swings. leg curls, leg extensions, leg presses, squats , leg raises, leg raises, calf raises, and delt raises. Here is a more detailed description of each exercise:
— Shoulder press. Exercise for lifting weights from shoulder level; hands are located on the sides of the body. It involves all three b...undles of the deltoid muscles: the actual delta, trapezius muscles and triceps. The exercise can also be performed with free weights (dumbbells), but the simulator with this function allows you to ensure the correct, strictly defined trajectory of the movement of the hands.
— Chest press. An exercise to move the load from chest level in the "forward" direction (if we take the vertical position of the body). The chest press in the simulators can be performed in two main ways. The first option is the bench press, when the load moves almost vertically. All Smith machines have this function (see "Type"), however, the bench is not necessarily included in the equipment of such a simulator, often it has to be installed separately. The second option provides a sitting (vertical or slightly tilted back) position of the athlete, and the working part of the simulator has the form of two levers connected to the load system. However, anyway, such an exercise is primarily aimed at developing the pectoralis major and minor muscles, although it also (to a lesser extent) involves the triceps and anterior deltas.
— Shrugs. An exercise based on lifting the shoulders with an additional load with the arms lowered (the name itself comes from the English shrug — “shrug”). Shrugs can be performed with free weights — dumbbells or a barbell; therefore, by definition, this type of exercise is indicated for all Smith machines (see "Type"). However, there are also block models — power simulators, fitness stations — with such an opportunity; in them, the system of lower blocks is usually responsible for creating the load. In general, shrugs are considered an almost perfect isolated exercise for the trapezius muscles.
— Butterfly. It's a "butterfly". Exercise to reduce the hands in front of the chest in a horizontal plane (sitting) with a load. Promotes the development of large and small pectoral muscles, also affects the anterior deltoid and serratus muscles. Note that the terms "butterfly" and "reduction of hands" are not identical — the butterfly is only one of the varieties of mixing exercises. However, sometimes these terms are used as synonyms in the description of simulators, and they even call the butterfly a variety of hand reduction, which was not originally related to "butterflies". See below for details.
— Flexion of the arms. Exercise for bending the arms in the elbows with weights. In the classic version, the fist holding the weight is placed horizontally with the palm up, and the main load goes to the biceps, but another grip option is also possible — vertical (hammer), aimed mainly at the brachioradialis muscle. Note that Scott benches (see "Additional equipment") are by definition designed for flexion work, primarily with free weights; so in simulators with Scott benches, bending of the arms is indicated only if such a simulator has its own (usually weight-block) load system for this exercise and allows you to do without "third-party" weights.
— Extension of the arms. Exercise for extension of the arms in the elbows under load. It can be performed with different grips and different types of projectiles — in particular, with a horizontal handle of the upper block or a rope head (the latter allows you to additionally reduce and spread your arms). Anyway, this exercise is mainly aimed at developing the triceps; and it depends on the specific execution technique which part of the triceps will be worked out the most.
— Reduction of hands. Various hand exercises. One of these exercises is the butterfly described above, but the matter is not limited to this — the simulators also use the reduction of hands on the crossover. The latter option involves the starting position, in which the hands are on the sides of the body, at shoulder level or higher, holding the handles of the cable simulator, and when performing the exercise, the athlete brings his hands together in front of his stomach. It is possible to work on the reduction of hands and lying on a bench, with lower blocks. In both cases, the main study goes to the large pectoral muscles.
Note that some manufacturers confuse the concepts of "butterfly" and "reduction of hands." So when choosing a simulator with such capabilities, you need to pay attention to its equipment: characteristic stops are used for butterfly, and crossover mixing is usually provided in block frames (see "Type").
— Breeding hands. Arm extension exercise with weights. A kind of opposite to the butterfly described above: similar in execution technique (for this, the same set of stops can even be used, switched to different modes), but the main effort is directed in the opposite direction. However, the technique for performing arm dilutions in different simulators can be different: sitting with straight arms, with bent arms, or lying down. In these options, the target muscle groups will also differ. So, doing the exercise while sitting helps primarily strengthen the back of the deltoid muscles, as well as the development of the rhomboid and trapezius muscles; and work lying down loads mainly the pectoralis major muscle.
Note that this exercise (primarily lying down) can also be performed with free weights, however, the simulator gives a more uniform load, with less likelihood of injury.
— Torso rotation. An exercise to rotate the upper body in a sitting position around a vertical axis, with weights. Most machines with this function are of a specialized variety — torso machines (see "Type"). And the exercise itself involves almost exclusively one type of muscle — the oblique muscles of the abdomen; among other things, it is considered very effective for correcting "excess figures" in the waist area. You can also perform such exercises with free weights (the traditional option is a barbell bar on your shoulders), but the simulator is still more convenient for this: it allows you to do without excessive load on the shoulders and spine, and also does not give inertia when turning, in contrast to same vulture.
— Twisting (press). Basic exercise for working out the abdominal muscles (mainly upper). Twisting with weights promotes muscle growth, without weights — burning fat. In modern simulators, different types of equipment can be provided for performing these exercises. Most often, this is an ordinary bench with footrests, and additional weights, if necessary, must be taken separately; however, a special mechanism for creating weights may also be provided — usually in the form of a swinging lever, which must be pushed by the body when moving to twisting.
— Hip abduction. Exercise to abduct the hip to the side or back under load. The specific embodiment depends on the type of simulator. So, in glut machines, which were originally created for such an exercise, the hip is retracted back (for more details, see "Type"); the load goes mainly to the buttocks, most of these simulators are designed to work out this muscle group in isolation (although there are models that allow you to noticeably load the calf and posterior femoral muscles as well). In multi-hips, lateral (lateral) hip abduction is often provided with a straight leg; it has a similar purpose, and by changing the position of the legs, you can change specific areas of the gluteal muscles, which account for the greatest load. And among the fitness stations you can find models with devices that allow you to train both legs in this way at once — two stops that are bred to the sides due to the movement of the hips.
— Swing your legs. This term most often means swings with straight legs back and forth with additional weights. This is the standard type of exercise for multi-hips (see "Type"), although it is not limited to this, and a similar way of working can be provided in other varieties of equipment. Such swings load mainly the gluteus maximus and minimus, as well as some thigh muscles. Some manufacturers also include side swings in this category, although this exercise is more correctly called lateral hip abduction (see above).
— Bending the legs. Exercise for bending the legs at the knees under load. In the traditional version, when performing it, the athlete lies on his stomach on a special bench, resting his ankles on the movable lever of the simulator, and bends his legs in an upward direction, overcoming the resistance of the lever. Other variations include the standing leg curl (where you work with one leg at a time) and the seated leg curl (here, the legs are in the starting position horizontal and tilted down when bent). Anyway, this exercise mainly involves the back muscles of the thighs and, to a much lesser extent, the muscles of the legs.
— Leg extensions. Exercise with the main load on the extension of the legs. Traditionally, it is performed as follows: the athlete sits on the seat of the simulator, places his feet under the movable stop so that the rollers are on the ankles (the legs are bent in the initial position), and unbends the knees, overcoming the resistance of the stop. This is an isolation exercise for working out the quadriceps — the front muscles (extensors) of the thigh.
— Leg press. An exercise for the legs, similar in technique to squats: the main load occurs due to pushing the working part of the simulator with your feet away from you. The specific design of simulators with this function may be different. So, in most models, the bench press is carried out while sitting, in a horizontal direction; however, there are also Hack-machines with this function, in which the athlete lies on his back, and the effort is directed upwards (for more details, see "Type"). Anyway, the leg press works mainly on the thigh muscles — quadriceps and biceps, similar to the same squats. However, this technique is safer, since it loads the spine and lower back less, besides, it allows you to work with almost any load (whereas squats are performed at least with the athlete’s own weight).
— Squats. A simple yet effective exercise that focuses primarily on the development of the quadriceps of the thigh (although some techniques allow you to develop other muscles — in particular, the inner thigh). Machines are mainly used for weighted squats, this exercise can be performed in three versions. The first option is the cable-loaded squat, available in many block frames and some weight machines and fitness stations (see "Type"); in this case, the load is provided by cables with weight blocks, the handles of which the athlete holds in his hands. This is a fairly effective and safe technique, but it puts additional strain on the muscles of the arms and shoulders (due to the need to hold the handles). In addition, squats are, by definition, available in all Smith machines, as well as Hack machines (see ibid.). Such simulators are good because the load in them moves along a fixed trajectory, which facilitates the correct execution of exercises, and the load falls mainly on the pumped muscles. At the same time, the Smith machine additionally uses the buttocks during squats, and the Hack machine — almost all the muscles of the legs, as well as the lower back and the press.
— Reduction of the legs. An exercise to reduce the legs (usually bent at the knees) with additional effort. Usually, it is performed in a sitting position, and the working part of the simulator is a pair of movable stops in the area of the knees or shins. Due to this exercise, the adductor muscles of the thighs (both superficial and deep) are worked out.
— Breeding legs. Exercise for breeding legs bent at the knees with additional effort. Most often, simulators with this function use movable stops, similar to those used to bring the legs together (see above); often these functions are combined in one device, and switching between them is carried out by changing the operation mode of the stops. As for the effect, the spread of the legs creates a load mainly on the small and medium gluteal muscle.
— Get on your toes. Exercise in the form of lifting on socks with additional weights. It primarily affects the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the lower leg. It can be performed both standing and sitting — in the first case, the athlete works with all his weight plus weights (this is an option for a fairly advanced level of training), in the second case, only weights are used (this method is more convenient for beginners). Also, simulators with this function can be of different types (see above) and have different designs and functionality. In particular, in Hack machines, the exercise is usually performed while standing, and the weight is provided by the same shoulder pads as in squats; a similar format of work can be provided in separate power simulators. In Smith machines, the bar is responsible for the load. And among the power simulators that involve lifting on toes while sitting, there are models with stops for the knees and even designs where the athlete's legs are horizontal and when performing the exercise, he pushes the movable stop away from himself with his socks.
Let's go to the deltas. An isolation exercise designed, in accordance with the name, to work out the deltoid muscles. It involves raising the arms (primarily the shoulder part) to the side, through the sides, with additional weights. In simulators for such lifts, a pair of movable stops is usually provided, the rollers of which are located in the middle of the shoulder. This allows you to load the target muscles, practically without using the "extra".
The presence of a display-counter in the design of the simulator.
In accordance with the name, the main purpose of such a display is to show how many times a particular exercise has been performed. In this case, the specific functionality of the counter may be different. In some models, it works in the simplest format, showing only the number of movements since the last reset. Others may provide various additional features: summing up the results of an approach or training, “quality control” (when only technically correct executions are taken into account), a signal that a given amount has been reached, etc. Anyway, this function greatly simplifies the life of an athlete and makes it easier load accounting: if a person can lose count, then for electronics this is extremely unlikely.
The presence in the design of a special stand on which you can place a bottle of water. Thus, thanks to the bottle holder, you can always have a supply of liquid on hand, and the bottle itself will not be lost or interfere with training.
The presence of wheels or other similar devices in the design of the simulator. Transport rollers greatly facilitate the movement of the unit: the weight of the structure, even without load blocks, can be quite large, and rolling it on the floor is much easier, more convenient and safer than carrying it by weight (and it requires fewer people).
Cover on the block
The presence of a protective cover or other similar device on the simulator unit. The block in this case is the part responsible for creating the necessary resistance; at the same time, in load block load systems (see "Load"), massive weights move inside the block, in other types of systems moving parts can also be provided. So the casing on the block anyway provides additional safety and reduces the risk of injury. This feature is especially desirable for machines used in public halls.
Outdoor weight machines are designed for outdoor workouts. They are installed on sports grounds or in the yard of private households. Against the background of their peers, street models of sports equipment are distinguished by their structural strength, resistance to weather vagaries and exposure to ultraviolet radiation, and installation methods.
Country of brand origin
The country of origin of the brand under which the product is presented on the market.
There are many stereotypes associated with the “nationality” of a particular product, but they are practically unfounded. First, as the country of origin indicate the "homeland" of the manufacturing company or the country of location of its headquarters; the actual place of production may be located in another country (this is often resorted to nowadays to reduce the cost of the process). Secondly, the actual quality of the goods nowadays depends solely on how carefully this quality is controlled by the manufacturer, and is not related to geographical factors. Therefore, it makes sense to pay attention to the country of origin of the brand only if you fundamentally want or do not want to support a company from a certain state. And to assess the quality, you should focus primarily on the reputation of a particular brand.
The dimensions of the equipment in the assembled and ready to work state. It is important to note that in fact more space is needed for comfortable and proper operation of the simulator. This is due to the need to have space for the person himself, the removal of arms and legs when performing exercises and using additional equipment. If we are talking about a gym, then people working nearby or placed equipment, etc., can become a hindrance. Therefore, it is recommended when choosing to calculate that in addition to the dimensions of the simulator, you may need an additional metre of free space on each side.
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