When you go into a big box gym most of the weight room space is filled with machines such as a seated chest press, seated row, leg extension, etc. Then there is usually a small space dedicated to do more functional exercises that doesn't involve a machine, like dumbbells, suspension trainers, medicine balls, BOSUs and so on. This is the area you should be spending the majority of your time. Why? With the functional equipment you have to engage and recruit more muscles. We are all busy, so isn't it better to take an hour workout and do it in half the time while getting the same benefits or more? Let's look at a seated chest press. First of all you are sitting. Need I say more about that one. The muscles worked are chest, a little tricep and shoulder. Now let's look at a push-up. This puts you in a plank position, so already we have to recruit core, glutes, and inner thighs along with shoulders, chest and triceps. The demand on the chest, shoulders and triceps are greater than the seated chest press. Even if you did the push-ups on your knees or at an incline, you are recruiting more and using more muscles than sitting at a chest press machine.
Many gyms have exercise machines because they sell memberships. If people walked in and only saw dumbbells, TRX straps, stability balls and a bench or two, they would walk away. The main reason is they are not sure what to do. Machines are usually easy to maneuver and for the most part the chance of injury is minimal. If you are in this situation I suggest getting a session or two from a personal trainer and learn a few workouts using a suspension trainer, such as a TRX strap and a few other functional pieces of equipment. You will be amazed what it can do for you.
My "short on time" workout program uses these methods. You have an app and each exercise in videoed. You can take it to the gym and learn how to do these great workouts. They will also get your heart rate up so you are burning more calories and once again getting more bang for your buck. My favorite kind of workouts!
is the owner of The Good Body Personal Training. With a Bachelors of Science degree in the fitness field and 25 years experience in the fitness industry, she has become an expert in the field of exercise science and a well known personal trainer.