If you’re looking to create a dedicated space for your home gym, you’ve most likely been thinking: what is the most effective exercise machine?
While an effective machine will target your muscles and keep your heart rate up, the answer to the question above largely depends on what you hope to receive from your workout.
Let’s explore four machines that will not only give you results but ensure you actually use your home gym.
1. Leg Press
The leg press is a weighted exercise that uses resistance to build strength in the legs and targets various muscle groups such as the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. You can also modify your foot position to activate the abductors and calves.
Common types found in fitness centers include:
- Horizontal leg press. This machine is parallel to the ground and the weight is pushed directly in front of you. It’s simple to use, making it a great option for beginners as it’s less challenging on joints.
- 45-degree leg press. This machine is at a 45-degree incline and the weight is pushed diagonally, enabling you to carry a lot of weight as you’re seated back.
Using a leg press as a substitute for squats is ideal for those who are injury prone or suffer from lower back pain; it keeps the weight away from your upper body and isolates the muscles in your lower body.
Although straightforward in its use, it can be tempting to pile on more weight than you can handle when using a leg press which can result in injury. Moreover, it’s important to understand how a leg press functions so you can have an effective home workout.
Begin by sitting against the backrest and bending your knees as you place your feet on the footrest. Slowly move the weight by straightening and bending your legs in a fluid motion. To put extra emphasis on a specific leg muscle, simply adjust your footing on the footpads.
2. Rowing Machine
It may not be apparent at first glance, but a rowing machine isn’t just for your arms — it engages numerous muscles! In fact, an effective indoor rowing workout requires 65-75% leg work and 25-35% upper body work.
In contrast to other cardio machines, a rowing machine facilitates a full-body workout without impacting your joints, and its small size and relatively inexpensive price make it essential for every home gym.
But not all rowing machines are the same. Your options include:
- Hydraulic rowing machine. This machine receives its tension from air or fluid compressed with a cylinder which can be adjusted. While it’s a sound economic choice this machine uses a different technique than other rowers as it doesn’t allow you to pull in a natural rowing position. Instead, it places you in an exercise position.
- Magnetic resistance. By the name of this machine you already know where its resistance comes from — magnets. With each stroke no friction is produced, making for an almost silent ride.
- Water rower. If you like to row outdoors, this machine is for you. A water rower creates a natural feeling of being on the water as its fan blades sit in water, creating resistance as you move back and forth. Moreover, you can adjust the resistance by adding or removing water and increasing or decreasing your speed.
3. Chest Press
A chest press is an upper-body strengthening machine that targets your pectorals, deltoids, and triceps.
In contrast to a bench press, this machine doesn’t put you in any compromising positions as you’re not underneath a pile of free weights — which can collapse on you at any moment — thus reducing your injury risk. And because a chess press can only move so far in a direction, it’s easier for you to learn how to engage your muscles properly, making it safe and effective to have at home for strength training.
From building upper body strength to enhancing your overall fitness level, the benefits of a chest press are plentiful. Consistent use guarantees muscle gain and fat loss and will even help you burn calories when at rest.
A chest press also offers variety for your workout so you’ll never be bored when going after those gains. These include:
- Seated chest press. This machine requires you to sit and push the handlebars away from you.
- Cable chest press. Rather than handlebars, this machine uses weighted cables for resistance and gives you more range of motion.
- Incline chest press. This machine requires you to lie at an incline. You can also adjust the angle of the bench to change the chest muscles you wish to target.
4. Stationary Bike
A stationary bike is an excellent cardiovascular machine to add to your home gym as it strengthens your heart, legs, and lungs while putting less stress on your joints. This is an attractive option for those who are looking for a low-impact workout or are in recovery from an injury.
But don’t expect to be coddled by this machine — adjusting the resistance will have you sweating buckets by the time your workout is complete. Moreover, a stationary bike is also great for interval training, i.e., short burst of exercise followed by long stints of less intense exercise. Not only will this strengthen your endurance but it will also burn more calories.
Moreover, there are a variety of bikes to choose from for your cycling needs. These include:
- Recumbent bike. This machine requires you to sit in a reclined position, fully supporting your body for a less intense workout. This bike may be appropriate for those with limited mobility.
- Upright bike. Similar to the typical bicycle, this stationary bike allows for a cardio workout that strengthens your core and leg muscles and can be used in a sitting or standing position. A drawback, though, is that the seat can be uncomfortable.
- Indoor cycle bike. When you think of group cycling classes, this is the stationary bike that is used. Its seat is elevated and resistance is created using a flywheel on the front. This machine can also mimic the motion of outdoor elements such as wind and hills.
If you are looking for an effective and efficient workout, then a rowing machine might be the right choice for you. With so many different machines to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is the best fit for your needs. We’ve highlighted four of our favorite machines that we think will help you achieve your fitness goals. Have you tried any of these exercise machines? Let us know in the comments below!