Getting to Know Your Gym

woman doing abs training at gym

The latest trend to achieve fitness and stamina is visiting a gym where there are workout programmes to achieve total body training using barbells, dumbbells, strength training machines and gym machines. But you must look out for a gym that is clean, well maintained and which ensures safety, hygiene and comfort during exercise. At a gym you get to workout on weight-training and gym machines, which help to work on your overall fitness as well as concentrate on problems areas such as abdominal muscles commonly called abs, buttock muscles and so on. Whether you use a total body workout or split training routine, these exercises can give you a total gym training leaving no body part untrained.

You sweat out with floor exercises, abdominal crunches and stretches. Aerobic fitness equipment like treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary cycles and mini stair steppers are around for stepping on and start exercising. Weight-training or strength training is among the hottest picks to develop muscles.

Most importantly, all training is done under the watchful eye of fitness instructor. The fitness ‘mantra’ is incomplete without the fitness ‘gurus’. Fitness studios and gyms have personal trainers or fitness counselors who sign you in each day, map your exercise and make sure that you follow that routine each day. They claim to get you a muscular body, help you lose weight much faster and even create personalized diet and exercise programs just for you. Every gym has dieticians helping out planning a diet plan as per your goal.

Most gyms offer weight loss programmes, which include cardio, toning up, resistance training, steam adipose massage, slim fast diets, body sculpting, building physique with protein packed diets, detox diet, probiotic enhancement diet and antioxidant combat diet.

Whatever exercise programmes you choose, if you cannot get your nutrition right, there is no point in spending hours at the gym. You need to follow a nutritious diet plan with most of your calories coming from complex carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals and plenty of water. Excess saturated fat consumption is not good for health. Gyms promote protein shakes but see that you do not go overboard. Quick-fix solutions such as fasting starvation diets, intake of fat burners, etc. to lose weight can prove dangerous.

frisbee model throwing it

Get, Set, Go!

Before beginning on any exercise program in the gym it is essential for you to get a medical check-up done, especially if you are over the age of 35. The exercises at a gym begin with stretching all muscles. You sweat out with floor exercises, abdomen crunches and stretches. This can be followed by cardio workouts followed by core muscle exercises including concentric and isometric muscle exercises.

Core Muscle Exercises

The ‘core includes many different muscles that hold the spine and pelvis and run the entire length of the torso. These provide a foundation for movements in the extremities and help in the control of movement, shift body weight and move in any direction. Core muscle exercises require muscles contraction. There are mainly four types of muscles contractions. These include isotonic, eccentric, isometric and isokinetic. Concentric contraction is a type of isotonic contraction.

All lifting exercises need isotonic contractions when the muscle shortens as it contracts. The typical example is that of when you flex your biceps or your triceps muscles in your arm.

Example of Isotonic contractions:

  • Lifting objects above the head—front shoulder muscle; anterior deltoid shortens
  • Lifting up from lying position—chest muscle shortens
  • Lifting your body up from the squatting position—quadriceps muscle shortens as the legs extend
  • Doing a sit up-abdominal muscles shorten
  • Throwing a ball or swinging a bat—shoulder muscles shorten

Concentric exercises make the muscles to shorten in length and develop tension. Examples of concentric contractions are raising of a weight during a bicep curl, the upward movement of a dumbbell in a biceps curl or as you spring back from a jump landing, extending you knees and jumping back up in the air, the quadriceps are shortening as they create force to push you off.

Eccentric Contraction is the opposite of isotonic contraction. The muscle lengthens as is gains tension. These exercises are not as beneficial as the isotonic ones. Examples include running downhill, climbing down or jumping to land in the ground.

When there is tension on the muscle but no movement, isometric contraction of the muscle occurs causing the length of the muscle to remain the same. The muscle is activated, it cannot expand or contract and is held at a constant length. This type of contraction is also known as a static contraction. Examples of isometric exercises include, trying to lift an immovable object, wrestling movements or holding a weight at an arm’s length.

Isokinetic contraction is similar to isotonic contraction. Which causes the muscle to shorten as it gains tension. An isokinetic contraction requires a uniform speed over the entire range of motion. This type of exercises requires special equipment. The best example of isokinetic exercise is an arm stroke while swimming; the even resistance from the water offers a constant speed at maximal contractions.

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