You can improve your fitness level by beginning a weight training program using weight machines. Weight machines offer a good way to target a narrow range of muscles, track how much resistance you are creating for each group of muscles, and for many exerciser’s, it does feel good to “pump iron”. Weight training will improve your fitness level and is important for building muscle mass, of course, but weight training also helps you strengthen your bones, so if you are in a risk group for osteoporosis, it’s doubly important for you to add resistance to your workouts, and weight machines are a safe way to start a weight training program.
Your gym’s fitness trainers are your first resource in learning to use weight machines. If your gym membership comes with a personal fitness training session, use it to learn proper form. Even if you need to pay for the session, the injuries and overuse of muscles you will avoid is well worth it. If you haven’t signed up for a formal session, some fitness trainers may be willing to get you started on one machine or two. Just don’t expect them to provide a full fitness training session that you haven’t signed up for.
If there’s a machine you have your eye on trying at your gym, but you can’t get anyone to show you how to use it in person, note the name of the machine- they often have signs listing the name and proper use of the machine. Then look for online videos showing fitness trainers demonstrating how to use the weight machine- several fitness trainers have short instructional videos you can watch. Look at several videos- the different camera angles may help you get a better idea, and if one trainer has bad form, the others will be able to show the contrast between good and bad form.
Weight machines also have signs with illustrated instructions showing you how to use the machine. Some are better than others, but most are enough to help you get the hang of it. Don’t attempt to lift the maximum weight you can manage on a machine you’re unfamiliar with, especially if you only have those signs to go by. While the illustrations can give you a basic idea of what the move is supposed to look like, any errors in form will be compounded by the strain you are putting on your muscles.
Using weight machines will be even more enjoyable if you warm up your muscles first, focus on large muscle groups, followed by smaller muscles, then a cool down. For those who aren’t experienced with weight machines, they can seem a bit intimidating, but once you get to know them, they aren’t any more challenging to work than a treadmill.