No matter how long an individual has been attending the gym, understanding how to set up a weight machine properly can be a challenging task.
In order to prevent injury and to maximize a workout, proper form and proper placement is the first step when strength training. Utilizing stationary machines while strength and resistance training is a great way to ensure proper technique is intact.
One of the key factors when setting up a weight machine is seat placement; in order to adjust the seat, there will be a lever underneath. Upon pulling on the lever, the seat will then have the ability to be adjusted either higher or lower depending on an individual's height. When adjusting the height of the seat, another component to keep in mind is where the handle bars should be in relation to an individual's body.
A generic rule of thumb for most chest/back exercises, the handle bars should be positioned at chest height, while for shoulder exercises, the handle bars should be positioned at shoulder height. For example, when using a row, rear deltoid/chest fly, or chest press machine, the handle bars should be positioned at chest height. However, for a shoulder press, the handlebar should be at shoulder height.
When using machines for lower body exercises such as a leg extension or hamstring curl, use the lever to adjust the leg pad right above your ankles or heels. When it comes to adjusting the seat, it is important that the seat is neither too far back nor too far forward in order to ensure proper posture while performing the exercise.
An additional key factor when using machines is making sure the weight chosen is not too heavy. Similarly to using free weights, proper form and completing full, solid repetition is more important than using that heavier weight. While most machines jump in increments of 20 lbs in weight, there is an additional lever above the weights that will allow an individual to adjust the weight in smaller increments of 5 lbs, 10 lbs, or 15 lbs. In order to adjust the weight, twist the lever to the right until the desired weight added appears.
Most machines provide the stability to execute most exercises more than free weights. For additional information or questions on how to properly utilize a weight machine in order to get the most out of your workout and reduce the risk of injury, locate one of the fitness professionals at your Merritt Club.
Alexandra Mancini is a personal trainer at Merritt Clubs Fort Avenue.