Training For Life – By Eric Noyes

Eric hangerWalk into any fitness club and you’ll see tons of equipment that do just about anything you could possibly imagine. Cardio equipment, resistance machines, dumbbells, barbells, cable machines BOSU balls and stability balls….. But what on earth do you need all this stuff for when you can accomplish your workout with just the cardio equipment and resistance machines right? Maybe the gym likes spending money on silly equipment that sits there and looks cool? Maybe they feel like they need to fill the space with something; so they buy funny looking half balls and big blue foam things? Or maybe there is actually a reason for having all of this stuff in a health club that people rarely use but everyone should be. The point I am getting at here is…. There is a reason and use for all of this equipment that people neglect as part of their workout routine.
Let me lay out a scenario for you…. Mrs. Jones is a 40 year old mother of two who comes to the gym 3 times per week. Her routine consist of 30 minutes on the elliptical, 15-20 minutes on the machine based exercises to tone up that butt, and an additional 10-15 minutes doing ab work to burn the fat around the stomach and get rid of the love handles. Now if this sounds similar to you, male or female is regardless…. this is great for a beginner who has never been in a gym before or has been away from the gym for more than a few years. If this is a pattern you see in yourself and you’ve been a gym regular for some time now…. you are setting yourself up for failure, plain and simple.
As a trainer I can tell you that most of you are using predominantly two types of equipment during your workout: Cardio and Machine based resistance. Don’t get me wrong, both of these are fantastic pieces of gear that I frequently have my clients use; however, they are not the base of most of my routines. Most of my routines are based around: Dumbbells, Barbells, BOSU balls, Stability balls and foam rollers.
The reason I prefer to use these with more advanced gym goers is simple… they train our bodies better to handle real life situations compared to resistance machines. Machines traditionally work in four directions… Forward, Backward, Up and Down. Again, great for beginners who need to develop basic muscular strength before engaging in free weight exercises. The benefit of free weight training is that it helps strengthen the tendons and ligaments of our joints by incorporating more balance and stability work into the exercise. The same goes with stability balls and BOSU balls, by doing exercises that incorporate these pieces of equipment, you are working the body in a way in which it is designed to work out in the real word. In addition to training more functionally, moving away from the machines and toward the free weights keeps you progressing and placing new challenges upon the body which I wrote about in my previous article about periodization.
Before everybody starts accusing me of hating machines…. I love machines and they have a place in everyone’s workout but the majority of a routine should be free weight based exercises.
To find out more about how to include free weights and other pieces of equipment into your routine please contact me today to set up a 15 minute consultation at eric@bodyfit.ca

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