A Straightforward Gym Machine Workout Plan For Beginners

Setting foot in a gym for the very first time can be an intimidating experience. Most people gravitate towards a cardio machine like the treadmill or exercise bike, because we all know how a bike and our legs work. That’s all well and good, but there’s another set of gym machines that we recommend trying while you find your feet – the weights machines.“Weights machines are really easy to execute,” says Dan Petersen, health and fitness manager at DW Fitness First on Tottenham Court Road in London. “They typically follow quite basic lines of movement. For example, a chest press is a straight push away from the body, and because it doesn’t require so much focus on stability compared with free weights, people find it a little easier.“They’re what we call compound movements – two or more joints in action. Taking the chest press again, the elbow and shoulder joints move, which gets to work your front shoulder, pectorals and triceps. So with weights machines you’re able to hit large volumes of muscle at once.“From a safety point of view, it’s easy to adjust the weight as well and most weight machines tend to have instructions.”Petersen is quick to point out that weights machines shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of a gym-goer’s experience. “I like taking new people into bodyweight exercises, teaching them how to plank and do squats properly. Weight machines are in a very fixed seated position and especially for people who sit down all day, sitting them on a gym machine isn’t very proactive.”But if you’re intent on going it alone, or your gym doesn’t offer individual instruction or you can’t afford it, here’s a simple, progressive plan you can follow to get started in the gym.Gym Machine Workout Plan For BeginnersHow To Select The Right Weight“It’s a tough one for people coming in, so the first bit of advice is to do it with the support of a personal trainer who can give rough guidelines on where to start,” says Petersen. “But if you’re on your own, start with a certain rep range and then use the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) scale. Target reps for general fitness or weight loss would be around 10 to 15 per set. If you can complete 15 reps and your RPE is less than eight out of ten, increase the weight. If the RPE is ten out of ten and you can’t even get to 10 reps, you’re probably going a bit too heavy and need to reduce the weight accordingly.”How Many Times A Week To Do This Workout“This workout is a quick and easy introduction to weight training,” says Petersen. “Most people would be able to do it three times a week if they had a rest day in between. Training on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday suits most people.”How Many Weeks To Do This Workout ForThe short answer is until you reach your limits and stop improving. “Typically, most training programmes are eight to 12 weeks,” says Petersen. “You will adapt to the movements very quickly and over time you’ll be able to gradually increase the weight and the repetitions will go up as well. It will get to a point where the weight or the repetitions aren’t going up for a couple of sessions, which would indicate that you’re hitting a bit of a plateau.” Unless you have a great memory, it’s worth keeping a training diary of reps, weight used and a RPE score you can refer back to.After a few months, hopefully you’ll have had a chance to try other classes and parts of the gym and will be confident enough to start trying new things. “We run gym floor classes called Freestyle Group Training. I always advise beginners to come into those classes because it gives them an introduction to different types of movements.”The WorkoutThere can be subtle differences between weights machines in different gyms, so make sure you check the instructions and adjust the seat position every time.  Warm upSpend 10 minutes getting your body ready to work with light cardio and dynamic stretches. As an example, try this gym warm-up routine.1 Chest pressSets 3 Reps 10-15 Rest 60-90secTargets: Chest, pectorals and triceps2 Lat pull-downSets 3 Reps 10-15 Rest 60-90secTargets: Lats, back and biceps3 Leg pressSets 3 Reps 10-15 Rest 60-90secTargets: Glutes, quads and hamstrings4 Shoulder pressSets 3 Reps 10-15 Rest 60-90secTargets: Deltoids and triceps

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