Exercise Equipment

Exercise Equipment

Exercise Equipment
Exercise equipment such as ankle weights, elliptical machines, exercise bikes and treadmills can aid you in achieving your fitness goals. Each piece of equipment targets certain areas, so it is important to research which one is best for your fitness requirements.

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    A child can begin weight training at the onset of puberty (traditionally 13 to 14 years of age), says Gabe Clements, C-ATC at Centerpoint Medical Center. When a child begins weight training the key is to focus on technique and not on the amount of weight lifted. Light weights and body weight exercises are the best to begin with. Overall physical health, coordination and flexibility are great focus points with the younger lifters.

    This content originally appeared online at HCA Midwest Health.
    http://hcamidwest.com/about/newsroom/weigh-big-benefits
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    According to the Surgeon General and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity should be performed almost every day when health and wellness are the primary goal.  However, when adaptations such as improved endurance, lung capacity, as well as lactate threshold are a concern for elite level sports, I suggest combining higher intensity interval days, with lower ones. Interval training on the versa climber is a phenomenal way to teach the entire body to use higher percentages of fat, at higher intensities in order to allow you to perform longer and harder during your particular endurance sport. Start at a light level (65% of max heart rate) for five minutes, followed by increasing the speed and/ or incline to a higher level (80% of max heart rate) for 2-3 minutes, finishing at a peak level (85-90% of max heart rate) for one minute then reducing the speed/ resistance back to the starting level. Repeat this circuit for 15-20 minutes. Introducing higher levels of intensity, followed by intermediate and lower levels has been shown to improve endurance capacity, as well as increase fat loss.
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    The versa climber is great for versatility. For improved lower body endurance, I suggest removing the handle grips. This will allow you to target the muscles of the lower body (hips, glutes, thighs, hamstrings and calves) more effectively while still getting a great calorie burn. When targeting any area for endurance, I highly suggest interval or stage training. On the versa climber, begin at a light level (65% of max heart rate) for five minutes, followed by increasing the speed and/ or incline to a higher level (80% of max heart rate) for 2-3 minutes, finishing at a peak level (85-90% of max heart rate) for one minute then reducing the speed/ resistance back to the starting level. Repeat this circuit for 15-20 minutes. Introducing higher levels of intensity, followed by intermediate and lower levels has been shown to improve endurance capacity, as well as increase fat loss. As you reach advanced levels of training on the versa climber, I also suggest letting go with the hands here and there. This will really spice things up by adding a huge balance component, as well as really challenging the nervous system.
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    In order to improve your endurance, performing intervals on the versa climber will do the trick. Start at a light level (65% of max heart rate) for five minutes, followed by increasing the speed and/ or incline to a higher level (80% of max heart rate) for 2-3 minutes, finishing at a peak level (85-90% of max heart rate) for one minute then reducing the speed/ resistance back to the starting level. Repeat this circuit for 15-20 minutes. Introducing higher levels of intensity, followed by intermediate and lower levels has been shown to improve endurance capacity, as well as increase fat loss.
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    It all depends on the intensity. If you exercise on the bike at around 70% of max, and 75-80% on the versa climber, you may get “more bang for your buck” using the versa climber. This multifaceted machine also integrates more muscles as it involves upper and lower body movement, which translates to more calories burned during the exercise per given time. The “cross-crawl” rotary motion is great for the muscles of the back, glutes and legs. That being said, I also suggest rotating your cardiovascular exercises in order to prevent boredom which may slow down your progress. Try doing the cycle on day one, the treadmill on day two, followed by the versa climber on day three. It’s also important to keep in mind that your fitness program should be both fun as well as attainable leading you down your road to improved wellness and success.
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    Ankle weights may be beneficial if used with these 2 things in mind. 1.) The individual has no pre-existing joint/ muscle condition which may be made worse by adding the extra weight. For example, if an athlete has very tight hamstrings the added weight to the legs may exacerbate the tightness leading to more imbalance and ultimately injury 2.) The individual doesn’t over use the devices. In other words, don’t use them every training session. The use of ankle weights every training session will result in adaptation of the muscles, leading to “staleness” and hindered results. If used intermittently throughout a particular phase of training, the use of external resistance such as ankle weights, weighted vests, and/ or dumbbells to your training regime is a wonderful way to “spice” things up during your workouts. The added resistance will demand more from the large muscles resulting in increases in strength as well as larger calorie expenditure.
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    Ankle weights are normally sand filled devices that velcro around your ankle to strengthen while performing various exercises. Another way to use them is to put them around your wrist to strengthen your shoulders or arms. Ankle weights can be a good alternative for people first starting out exercising that do not want to go to the gym but need a little more resistance than body weight.
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    Despite popular belief, absolutely not. What you are referring to is spot reducing, suggesting that by performing let’s say, a hip extension (with the ankle weight on) for the glutes, the exercise will reduce the amount of fat surrounding the glutes. If this were the case, anyone who has ever performed countless repetitions of abdominal crunches would have washboard abs. In order to reduce the amount of fat around the glutes, the appropriate amount of exercises (resistance and cardiovascular) coupled with proper caloric/ nutrient intake must be determined. It is only when these elements are met and adhered to on a consistent basis that you will begin to drop body fat levels. It is also important to understand that when fat levels are indeed decreased, we cannot determine where the fat will diminish first; this is up to mother nature.
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    The use of ankle weights or any other form of external resistance such as medicine balls (not exceeding 10% bodyweight), as well as dumbbells are a great way to improve power outputs ultimately leading to increases in jump height. I suggest using any external resistance during power phases of training where technique, speed, and tempos are the main priority. This over-speed style of training will combine movements such as vertical jumping or bounding with the ankle weights resistance, followed immediately by removing the ankle weights and performing a similar jumping exercise with no rest in between. I suggest performing the first weighted exercise with a controlled speed for 5 reps, followed by the unresisted movement as fast as possible for 10 reps. Complete three to five sets total. Combining these two exercises  along with a few other combinations will undoubtedly assist you with the goal of increased power, leading to a lofty vertical jump height.
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    The use of ankle weights may not be the best way to increase running speed. An individual’s unique gait pattern (walking, jogging, and sprinting pattern) requires interdependence of muscles and joints, working together to create the motion. Adding extra weight at the ankles may disrupt your individual sprinting gait pattern. This disruption in your sprinting may not only hinder your performance, it may cause diminished results, and/ or injury. When trying to increase sprinting speed, I suggest using other sport loaded techniques such as the use of tubing and or a weighted vest. These are much safer as they don’t stress the tendons and ligaments as much. A relatively light weight that does not alter your mechanics is optimal when using this technique. Using a weighted vest, place it over your head and neck, strapping the sides’ snuggly as to prevent any loose areas. You may now begin your normal sprint routine. I suggest alternating your sport loaded days with at least a day of rest in between in order to get the most out of your training.