Image by: Jennifer C.
By Jake Bradshaw
One of the common misconceptions people have when they go to the gym is that they need to lift free weights or run that extra mile on the treadmill to see fast, steady results. This can’t be further from the truth. Sure these methods of working out are beneficial, but there are other pieces of exercise equipment which are, unfortunately, left untouched by many gym-goers.
Often, these pieces of equipment have more benefits than free weights since they force you to not just have correct angles, but can prevent muscle pulling which allows for better results. So the next time you’re at the gym, stop and pay attention to the lonely machine everyone seems to be ignoring. It might be the very thing you’ve been searching for to get the results you need.
#1) Slosh Bar
Gym chains like 24 Hour Fitness and LA Fitness have recently added new pieces of equipment which most people are starting to use more often. One of them is the slosh bar. It looks like a shorter barbell without the weights and depending on the color, they can weigh from 5 – 25 pounds each.
This is a nice piece of equipment because it’s portable. You can take it into the aerobic room and have a private workout by yourself. Here are a few routines that work:
- Ab Lifts – Start out laying on a mat with your feet straight in front of you, holding a 5 or 10 pound slosh bar over your head on the ground. In unison, raise your legs and arms (holding the bar) till the almost meet at a 90 degree angle. Slowly come back down.
- Warrior Punches – Take a 20 pound slosh bar and hold it almost like a baseball bat with the grip being mostly in the middle. Set the outer end of it on the ground to your right side as if you were about to put a golf ball. Then, like a warrior staff, shoot it to the opposite side and put it back in place. Repeat as many times as you need, then alternate sides.
#2) 45-Degree Back Extension
This is a great piece of exercise equipment because it all works with your own body weight. By placing your legs underneath the stirrups provided, you bend over the padded cushions which support your upper legs to a near 45-degree angle towards the ground, then back up. To add a bit of weight, grab a ten or 15 pound weight and grasph it tight on your chest like you were praying.
One of the biggest misconceptions about this machine is that it can hurt your back. In fact, it helps to align your spine when you do it correctly. This will make all of your other workout regiments much more beneficial since it will force you to have a better posture during repetitions.
#3) Rowing Machine
It’s easy to skip the rowing machine for more seemingly better ones, i.e. the treadmill or elliptical. Yet the rowing machine has much more benefits than the other two put together. It strengthens and extends your muscles while also providing a great cardio workout. Many gym rats know the secrets of this machine and often use it as a means to cut their cardio time in half.
The different resistances it provides (usually from 1 to 10) offers levels of training to fit your needs. A harder resistance will give you a killer workout for both your upper chest and knees, right where they meet the calf. If you plan on wearing shorts sometime soon, it’s probably a good idea to step up the rowing. You’re legs will thank you for it.
#4) Cable Crossover Routines
This is the machine you often see in the corner. They consist of two chords on either side, hanging freely and adjustable. As you grasp them, you pull them in to your chest till they meet, emulating a “bench pressing” motion without the free weights.
This is one of the greatest machines because you can change its height and angles according to what areas you want to work out. The crossover routine allows you to choose the path of motion, instead of being forced to do a machine’s. Some arms are longer than others which makes it easier to settle into whatever motion you give yourself.
#5) Ab Roller
It’s a no-brainer why this one is hardly ever used by people desperate for a six pack. The fear of humiliation will prevent even the bravest of us to commit to an ab roller, but the benefits are uncanny. For men who want the famous V-shape, the ab roller is an easy way to attain it.
- Just grab the roller with your knees directly under your hips and hands under your shoulders on the wheel. Roll out till you feel you can’t go anymore without falling and roll back. It’s important to keep your back straight tight, otherwise you will likely strain.