If you want to get into shape, and you don’t mind being in an open environment with other people, the gym might be the place for you. When you step through the doors, you will find multiple pieces of equipment, shined up and ready for use. Now all you need to know are some exercises to add into your workout plan.
A bench press targets your chest, triceps and shoulders. It is performed with a workout bench and weighted barbell. To do this exercise, lie flat on the bench in a face-up position with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Once into position, grasp the bar with a wide grip and push it off the supports. After moving it to a point straight above your body, slowly lower it down to lightly touch your chest. Once you feel a strong contraction in your chest muscles, push the bar back up and repeat. When you raise the bar up, do not fully lock out your elbows.
Seated Shoulder Press
Seated shoulder presses are done with a workout chair and a set of dumbbells. To perform this exercise, sit up straight in the chair while holding dumbbells right above your shoulders with your palms facing forward. After tightening your core, push the weights directly above your head and toward each other. Once the weights are an inch apart, lower them back to the starting point and repeat.
Wide-grip pulldowns are back exercises that are performed with a lat pulldown machine. After attaching a straight bar to the high setting on the machine, sit on the chair and lower the padded support down onto your knees so there is a snug fit. Once you have done that, reach up and grab the bar with a wider than shoulder-width grip. After leaning back slightly, pull the bar down to chest height, squeeze your shoulder blades together, raise the bar back up and repeat. When doing this exercise, keep your back straight and eyes looking forward.
Triceps pushdowns are executed on one side of a cable machine. After attaching a straight bar to a high setting, face the bar, place your feet shoulder-width apart and grab the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip. After tightening your core, lower the bar down to chest height and brace your upper arms against your sides. Your palms should be facing forward at this point. In one smooth motion, push the bar down to the top of your thighs, squeeze your triceps forcefully, raise the bar back up and repeat.
Chinups are bicep and back exercises that are performed with a pullup bar. To perform this exercise, jump up and grab the bar with an underhand, slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. After bending your knees and crossing your legs behind your body, contract your core muscles and pull yourself up toward the bar. Once your chest reaches bar height, slowly lower yourself down and repeat.
Leg presses are done with a leg press machine, and they work your glutes, quads and hamstrings. To perform a leg press, sit on the seat with your back comfortable and your feet placed shoulder-width apart on the platform. After pushing up on the platform and moving the safety levers to the sides, slowly lower it down towards your body. Once your knees form a 90-degree angle, push the platform back up, stop just shy of locking your knees and repeat. If your knees go past your toes when you lower the platform, make a quick adjustment and move your feet higher up.
Stability Ball Crunches
Stability balls are fitness tools found in gyms that are inflated with air and commonly used to work the abs. A crunch is a basic exercise that targets the upper abdominals. To do this exercise, lie face up on the ball with your shoulders and head slightly lifted. After placing your hands on the sides of your head, curl your body up in the air. Once you are looking forward, squeeze your abs forcefully, lower yourself back down and repeat.
About this Author
Kevin Rail has worked in the fitness industry since 2001 and has been writing since 2004. He has professional experience as a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, motivational engineer and freelance fitness writer. He currently writes a monthly column for Ron Jones High-Performance Health. Rail has a bachelor’s degree in sports management: fitness and wellness from California University of Pennsylvania.