This article was originally published here.
Who hasn't felt confused surrounded by all the available fitness equipment, not knowing what each one actually does... What machine should you use? What exercise for which muscle?
Use this advice to find a series of exercises for you!
• The machines to use: the chest press.
• The right exercises: The bench press with a barbell or dumbbells. Lying on a bench, hold the bar at shoulder width and lower it down to your chest. Breathe out and push the bar up. Remember to contract your abs and keep them tight during the exercise. Do 4 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions, with 1 minute of recovery between each set.
• The machines to use: the biceps machine and the dips machine.
• The right exercises with a barbell or dumbbells:
The straight-bar curl for the biceps: while standing, holding the bar at shoulder width with your palms facing upwards (supine), breathe out and bring the bar to your chin, while trying to keep your elbows in contact with your bust. 4 sets of 8 repetitions and recover for 1 minute between each set.
The bar to the forehead for the triceps: while lying on a bench, take the bar in the supinated position (palms pointing upwards) and keep your elbows tight. Breathe in, flex and bring the bar back to the forehead, breathe out and push the bar up. Remember to keep your elbows in a vertical position and do not let them move apart. Do 4 sets of 8 repetitions, with 1 minute of recovery between each set.
• The machines to use: the vertical pull.
• The right exercises using your own body weight: pull-ups: depending on your grip, try to get your collarbone up to the level of the bar with your back straight, shoulders low and do not arch your back. Breathe out when pulling yourself up and breathe in as you descend. Do not hesitate to vary the handhold to exercise all the back muscles. Do 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions and recover for 1 minute 30 seconds between each set.
• The machines to use: the shoulder press.
• The right exercises with a bar: the overhead press: while standing, holding the bar at collarbone level with your hands shoulder width apart, breathe out and push the bar above your head. Do 4 sets of 8 repetitions, with 1 minute 30 seconds of recovery between each set.
• The machines to use: the ab bench.
• The right exercises:
The plank: resting on the forearms and toes, raise the pelvis to the point where your legs, hips and upper body are perfectly aligned. Contract the buttocks and tummy to position your back properly and hold this position. Breathe slowly and deeply, while maintaining the plank position. Make sure that your hips are properly tilted by contracting the buttocks and abs throughout the exercise.
Crunches: lie on the floor, bend your legs and bring them up to your belly to form a right angle. Hold your hands behind your head to relieve the neck (do not pull the head forwards). Breathe in and then breathe out as you roll the upper body forwards (remember to tuck in the chin). Contract the abs and keep the lower back in contact with the floor at all times. Return to the initial position smoothly.
The leg lifts: lying on the ground with your legs straight in a horizontal position, breathe out while pushing your legs upwards and return to the initial position by controlling the descent of the hips to the ground.
• The machines to use: the leg press.
• The right exercises: squat with a barbell or using your body weight depending on your level of ability. While standing with your feet hip-width apart, breathe in and bend your legs while pushing the hips slightly backwards, then breathe out and push up. Stop before your legs are fully extended. Do 4 sets of 10 repetitions, with 1 minute 30 seconds of recovery between each set.
You now have some basic exercises to help you choose the right equipment in your gym. To exercise properly and give your body time to recover, give yourself at least 2 days of complete rest during the week. Ideally, do not train for more than 2-3 days in succession. Do not forget to switch between muscle groups from one session to the next, e.g. exercise 2 different muscle groups per session. Enjoy your workout!