There are numerous benefits of strength training. Fortunately, gyms are flooded with weight machines that target your abdominals, glutes, arms and legs. It is better for you to focus on major muscles, such as arms and legs, on different days of the week to allow yourself recovery time.
A strong, toned core is beneficial to your health and everyday life. Work your abs with the abdominal crunch and seated twist machines. Avoid using your arms and legs to help perform repetitions and keep your lower back pressed against pads. For best results, you must also participate in cardiovascular activity, watch your diet and perform strength training exercises.
Many women want tight glutes, also known as the buttocks. Besides looking good, a firm rear will help prevent lower back pain and improve your posture. The leg press, cable standing hip extension, lever squat and the cable rear lunge all target the glutes. These machines not only help you achieve buns of steal, they also work your quadriceps and hamstrings. For these exercises to be effective, you need to maintain proper posture and equally distribute your weight.
Targeting both the forearms and the upper arms is essential for toned arms. The cable bicep curl, cable tower and lat pull-down machines target the biceps. The triceps extension and triceps push-down focuses on the rear upper arm. Both the cable bicep curl and triceps extension machines require you to stand, which will also improve your balance and strengthen your core. It is important that your lower body not move during repetitions. Your movements should always be well-controlled. If you prefer not to use a cable machine, the vertical chest press and the (preacher) biceps curl are efficient alternatives.
Strong legs provide better balance and improve speed. Some machines used to target the glutes also work the leg muscles. Machines that focus on the front thigh, also known as the quadriceps, include the leg, or knee, extension and the leg press. Strong hamstrings help avert knee injuries. The lying hamstring curl and seated leg curl primarily work the hamstrings. Other leg machines include the hip abductor, reverse calf raise and standing leg raise. When using these machines, always be careful not to raise your hips or buttocks off the padded seat and not to lock your knees on the extension.
- NSCA'S Essentials of Personal Training; Roger W. Earle & Thomas R. Baechle
- Fitness Magazine: Make the Most of the Weight Machines at Your Gym
- ExRx.net: Cable Curl
- Mayo Clinic: Lying Hamstring Curl with Weight Machine
Mary Pruett holds a Master of Education with an emphasis in English/language arts from Rockhurst University. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism at Southern Methodist University, where she contributed to "The Daily Campus" newspaper and "Criteria," a required text for freshmen English majors. Pruett's work has also appeared in "D Magazine" and various trade magazines.