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A straightforward fitness machine training plan for beginners



Setting foot in a gym for the first time can be an intimidating experience. Most people gravitate toward a cardio machine like the treadmill or exercise bike because we all know how a bike and our legs work. That’s all well and good, but there is one other set of fitness machines that we recommend if you find your feet – the weight machines.

“Weight machines are really easy to do,” says Dan Petersen, health and fitness manager at DW Fitness First on Tottenham Court Road in London. “They usually follow very simple lines of movement. For example, a chest press is a direct push away from the body, and because stability is less important than free weights, people find it a little easier.

“They are what we call compound movements ̵

1; two or more joints in action. When you squeeze the chest again, the elbow and shoulder joints move, which works your front shoulders, pecs, and triceps. So with strength machines you can hit large amounts of muscle at the same time.

“It’s also easy to adjust the weight for safety, and most power machines usually have instructions.”

Petersen is quick to point out that weight equipment shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of a sports-goer experience. “I like to involve new people in bodyweight exercises and teach them how to squat and squat properly. Weight machines are in a very firm sitting position, and especially for people who sit all day, sitting on fitness equipment isn’t very proactive. “

But if you want to do it on your own, or your gym doesn’t offer one-to-one tuition, or you can’t afford it, here is a simple, progressive plan to follow to get started in the gym.

Fitness training plan for beginners

Sets and repetitions explained

The following workout uses sets and repetitions to order the session. The repetitions (short for repetitions) indicate how often you should do an exercise before taking a break. These repetitions are grouped together and called a set.

The structure for all of the exercises in this workout is three sets of 10-15 repetitions, resting for 60-90 seconds between sets. Here’s what that means for each exercise.

  1. Do 10-15 reps (the first set)
  2. Let rest for 60-90 seconds
  3. Do 10-15 reps (the second set)
  4. Let rest for 60-90 seconds
  5. Do 10-15 reps (the third set)
  6. Let rest for 60-90 seconds

How to choose the right weight

“It’s a tough one for the people who come in. The first piece of advice is to do this with the help of a personal trainer who can give rough guidelines on how to get started,” says Petersen. “However, if you’re on your own, start with a specific range of repetitions and then use the Rate of Percepted Exertion (RPE) scale. Target repetitions for general fitness or weight loss would be around 10 to 15 per set. If you can do 15 reps and your RPE is less than eight out of ten, you’re adding weight. If the RPE is ten out of ten and you can’t even get 10 reps, you are likely getting a little too heavy and need to reduce the weight accordingly. “

How many times a week to do this workout

“This workout is a quick and easy introduction to strength training,” says Petersen. “Most people could do it three times a week if they had a day off in between. Training on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday suits most people. “

How many weeks to do this workout

The short answer is until you reach your limits and stop improving. “Most training programs typically last eight to 12 weeks,” says Petersen. “You will adapt to the movements very quickly, and over time you can gradually increase the weight and repetitions as well. It will get to a point where the weight or repetitions stop increasing for a few sessions, which suggests you are reaching a small plateau. “If you don’t have a good memory, it is worth keeping a training diary of reps, weights used, and an RPE to refer to.

Hopefully after a few months you have had an opportunity to try out other classes and parts of the gym and are confident enough to try new things. “We run gym classes called Freestyle Group Training. I always advise beginners to get into these classes as it will introduce them to different types of movements. “

The workout

There can be subtle differences between weight machines in different gyms. So read the instructions and adjust the sitting position every time.

Warm up

Spend 10 minutes preparing your body for light cardio and dynamic stretches. As an example, try this gym warm-up routine.

1 chest press

Sets 3 Representative 10-15 Rest 60-90sec

Aims: Chest, chest and triceps

2 lat pulldown

Sets 3 Representative 10-15 Rest 60-90sec

Aims: Lats, back and biceps

3 leg press

Sets 3 Representative 10-15 Rest 60-90sec

Aims: Glutes, quads, and hamstrings

4 shoulder press

Sets 3 Representative 10-15 Rest 60-90sec

Aims: Deltoids and triceps


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