A simulator is called a strength machine if it is aimed at developing strength and endurance. This is achieved by exercising different muscle groups with different weights mounted on such machines. Regular exercises help get rid of excess weight and improve posture.
Benches and Racks
Athletic benches and racks are designed for targeted training of press, biceps, back, and other muscle groups.
A flat bench press is a surface that is parallel to the floor or at an angle. The level of inclination can be adjusted – the greater the angle, the higher the intensity on the muscles. It is recommended for beginners because it can be used for basic exercises like Bicycle and Crunches (bends with the right elbow to the left knee).
The curved bench is made according to the same principle as the straight one but has a curved shape. This simulator trains more muscles during ab exercises and is recommended for experienced athletes.
A strong back, slim stomach, and tightened buttocks can be achieved with hyperextensions (back extensions) – bends down to a straight angle against the legs, and back to the straight body position. For this exercise, there are special hyperextension benches. They have a shorter surface and handles for a comfortable grip. Fitness equipment for this type of exercises is mainly popular among women.
All benches are usually equipped with footrests and elbow handrails for isolated biceps training.
A bench press is a basic tool for barbell and dumbbell exercises aimed at building back, chest and arm muscles. There’s a horizontal bench, with a parallel to the floor base, and an inclined bench with a backrest and seat pad. The wide base of the horizontal bench provides a comfortable position for the blades (they must be pressed against the surface) – this is necessary to ensure that the rod does not swing during the exercise. Adjusting the tilt and height of the seat will help to find the optimal position for training on the incline bench. The bench press is universal and is designed for all those who work with weights.
A rack is a support for the rods and dumbbells. It can be either a freestanding element or mounted to the bench. The safety rack (additional bar below the main bars of the rack and above the bench level) makes training without a partner safe for your health. In order to achieve the desired results over time, it is necessary to increase the training weights, so it is better to give preference to racks with a maximum weight load.
Free weight is a type of equipment that allows you to work with barbells, dumbbells, plates, weights, etc. All of them are called “free weights” and they not only train the muscle group the exercise is aimed at, but also the synergetic muscles that are also involved in the training process. Regular exercises on these machines stimulate the muscle fiber growth and help burn fats, so it is recommended to those who want to lose weight, acquire muscle relief or improve their strength factors.
Weightlifting machines with free weights are divided into simple barbell racks with adjustable width and height, and barbell racks complete with a bench and paddles for training individual muscle groups. These can be multi-purpose strength-training machines and exercise machines for a certain workout, so if you know the purpose of training, you can do without large equipment.
Cable Pulley Machines
For pulleys, flat weight plates which move along the guides are used. These machines are usually installed in gyms but are also suitable for home workouts. Pulleys are very effective because they allow you to perform a variety of exercises on different muscle groups, including specific exercises from bodybuilding: bench press, butterfly, chest press, cable pull through, split squats and many others. A special advantage of the integrated weight machines is the ability to quickly change the training intensity by moving the weight plate clamp.
Pulleys can also be in the form of multi-stations. And if used correctly, they can actually replace several other machines. This is a good option for those who are familiar with bodybuilding techniques or want to exercise with maximum weight on their own and without risk of injury. Along with multi-stations, there are cable machines aimed at doing a specific exercise and pumping certain muscles.
Tips for Choosing a Workout Bench and Weights
First of all, you should pay attention to the maximum weight for the machine, bench or rack. Not everyone trains at home with a 100 kg barbell, so it is not necessary to choose a model with the maximum available weight load, and it is better to save some money to buy accessories for your strength machine – plates from 0.5 to 20 kg. Barbell weights – from 5 to 20 kg, and 0.5 to 5 kg – for dumbbells.
If adjusting the rack height requires manipulation with a wrench, this is uncomfortable at least – there are a lot of quality benches on the market with comfortable and sturdy, easy to remove locks.
The width of a weight bench with racks is rarely more than 1 m, but the length of the rod for such a bench is almost 2 m. The levers of the machines also often go beyond the frame dimensions. This should be taken into account when buying such equipment.
If the weight loads and intensity of training is high, pay close attention to the pads quality, otherwise, the back will be very uncomfortable.
It is best to choose straight back benches for your own safety.