How cute is this?
This “Fit Spot” at our local park is designed for the 55+ crowd, and yet here we find littles hopping on the two person outdoor elliptical machine.
Take a look at the circuit laid out at the park.
Pretty easy to follow along, since the directions are posted on the side of the machine.
Let’s take a look at this machine in particular- the chest press.
See how on the left there is a seat and on the right there is empty space? These are ADA compliant, meaning you could roll up in your wheelchair and still be able to use it. Notice the handicapped symbol on the sign to indicate this feature.
Utilize the “handicapped” side of the machine, the part with no seat. What do I mean by that? Well, let me use my client Julie to illustrate three ways to use the machine best. We have a similar system at Club Sport Oregon.
Here we have Julie showing how most people do a chest press on a machine- by leaning against the back rest and sitting down.
Here we show Julie in a lunge position doing the same chest press. Look at how much more of her body is involved in the lift: lower body is stabilizing the upper body.
Wait. Isn’t that how real life goes?
Normal machines with all of their precision engineering take away from precious work, stability, and strength the body provides while executing a lift. Why would you take that away?
Here we have Julie using the “handicapped” portion of the machine. It is wide open space, and much easier to get into a lunge position without a) punching the machine or b) maneuvering around the seat.
The other nuance with chest press in particular is the option to completely decelerate the movement into your shoulder blades.
Decelerate the movement? What?
You’ve heard the term “range of motion”, right? Well, in this case, exaggerate how far back your elbows go and squeeeeeeze your shoulder blades together. That makes the chest muscle, your intended target, as long as you can possibly get it, and you can punch those fists together in a forward motion to maximally contract it.
How does this apply to the whole circuit?
Well, most machines that have the handicapped spaces actually allow your body to be more involved in the motion. Lots of machines have sitting down and standing up options; try doing a squat or a lunge or just stand there rather than sit. If you do five or six machines where the focus is on the upper body, but you are doing squats and lunges along the way, you really won’t need to do much in the way of a “lower body” workout. Additionally, really focus on using those shoulder blades when you are doing an upper body lift. I see them getting short changed all the time.
Talk about maximizing your workout time!
Let us know in the comments below if you have tried a standing option while lifting weights (look on the suggested poses posted on most machines!) and how you liked it!