You know that old saying, ‘All the gear, no idea.’ Well doesn’t that little nugget ring true in the gym scene? Tell me you haven’t wondered the same thing, especially when you come across one of those “spot reducing” machines on the lifting floor! I mean, why??
Today I chat with Zap Fitness PT Matt Corbin, who breaks down for us the usual suspects in the gym that will ensure you get a great workout, the equipment you need to take a wide berth on and the game changing equipment that you might be walking right past!!
First up is the equipment that most of us are introduced to when we first begin at the gym. It’s the Free Weights and the Machine Weights. When it comes to free weights, we are talking about dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells etc. According to Matt, “Free weights create a greater demand on stabilising muscles, not just the big mover muscles.” He adds, “There is also more ability to adapt to your individual needs. Such as altering your grip, stance or direction.”
When it comes to Machine Weights, these are the sure-fire great starters, especially for beginners. In fact, you should check out an earlier blog where we breakdown the Top Five Gym Machines and Why You Should Use Them. As Matt explains, “Machine weights offer a great introduction to the basic movements of resistance training. They are quick, easy and safe.”
Now for some hard truths…and if you find these babies on your program maybe consider switching them out with some awesome alternatives served up by Matt.
First up is the Ab Curl Machine or the Crunch Machine. This is a classic piece of equipment that appears to deliver but, in all honesty, offers very little. “Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot fat reduction, such as getting rid of belly fat. Generally, these machines have a “one size fits all” set-up and can be incredibly hard for clients to activate the correct muscles properly” says Matt.
How about trying planks? And if ‘belly fat’ is truly a problem area, well you’re going to have to tackle it the old-fashioned way, let’s hear it Matt…” Consistent healthy nutrition. Consistent resistance training and conditioning. Consistent sleep and stress management. Notice the word consistent.”
Here’s another machine that is certainly eye catching…but for all the wrong reasons. The Inner/Outer Thigh Machine. Once again for the cheap seats…we can’t spot reduce! Aside from being a good option for rehabilitation client, the only thing this machine does is make other gym goers incredible conscious of not making eye contact with you!! But all jokes aside, there are a whole bunch of other bodyweight movements that will attack the same area but are oh so much more beneficial to you. These include squats, lunges and hip thrusts or glute raises.
Let’s move on. Because now we want to tell you about all the fab equipment, you’re walking right past…and why you should start using them.
First up, the Sled. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these it an amazing tool for simple yet effective strength and conditioning. “I use a 2-minute sled test instead of beep test, try it for yourself and let me know. Oh, and its perfect if you have a car that’s prone to break downs!” laughs Matt.
Another great, and under-utilised piece of equipment is the TRX. As Matt explains, “The TRX is an easy to use body-weight equipment. You can adjust the difficulty by simply moving your feet forwards or backwards. They also allow for progression from a standing ring row to more challenging pull ups.
Lastly, the Deadball. This nifty piece of equipment comes in a variety of weights and is essentially a non-bouncy ball…because its full of iron shot or sand. Matt believes the Deadball Slam is great because, “The Deadball Slam is a full body exercise. It encompasses a squat plus an overhead press followed by a slam. Similar to the sled, it is a time efficient conditioning tool. It can put in a circuit and is definitely a good ‘stress reliever’.
Here’s to spicing up your next workout!
– By Prue Houston
Contact Matt Corbin at Zap Fitness Surrey Hills
Address: 607 Canterbury Road, Surrey Hills. VIC. 3127
Phone: 0421 526 409