Multi Gyms keep improving in quality, sophistication and the options that are available. While still not as popular as lifting Free Weights, home gym use has grown by 80 percent since 1987, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association.
This increase in multi gym use has attracted new manufacturers to the market, giving the consumer more opportunities than ever before to find a system that perfectly fits his or her needs. Unfortunately, it also makes the search for the perfect multi gym that much more difficult.
A little research before venturing out to the Fitness Equipment stores could save you a lot of time in the long run.
The Multi Stack Multi Gyms are the old standbys of the home gym industry and consist of blocks or disks of weights attached to a lever or pulley system. Changing the amount you lift is easy, you just move a pin in the weight stack or add another plate in plate - loading models.
Using a weight-stack gym machine has several advantages. It looks and feels more like models you find in gyms, a definite plus for those who have lifted in the health - club setting. Weight stacks give you a point of reference; non-weight-stack models may turn them off because of their different feel.
Also, they let you know exactly how much you are lifting. Many non-weight-stack multi gyms make you guess at the amount, making it difficult to track progress. Be advised, though, that lifting 100 pounds on one multigym machine may not feel the same as lifting the same amount on another.
The different pulley systems on the various models often cause the actual amount you are lifting to vary slightly. many of the manufacturers have transformed their multi gyms in the past few years to address this. Changes include protective shrouds over the weight, ergonomically sound seats, the ability to accommodate large differences in body size and easier changes from one weight to another.
Manufacturers have also refined the pulley and cable systems to reduce noise and improve smoothness. They have tried to reduce the floor space multi gyms occupy without compromising the number of features as well.
There is no question that strength training has become tremendously popular. Men have always embraced it but now women have also realized its potential.
Strength training is critical for almost every goal, from injury prevention and post rehabilitation to better sports performance and weight loss.
However, to achieve success from any strength training programme you must choose the right equipment and use it properly. The most common purchase is the 'home gym' or 'multigym'. These multigyms use a 'selectorized' weight stack making them the safest and most practical way to strength train.
First, make sure you can use it. Some machines literally do not fit their users. Many gyms are designed for people between 5 feet, 8 inches and 6 feet, 2 inches in height; shorter or taller people could be in trouble unless it has adjustable seats. Other machines are too narrow for larger individuals to fit between the bars.Still, others don't fit the human body at all. Look for a multi gym with people-friendly angles rather than boxy, straight lines.
The resistance should fit too. Its settings should include weights light enough for the beginner user to train on and heavy enough to challenge the strongest lifter. We recommend at least a 150lb stack with a 10lb starting weight.
Features vary greatly, and you need to make sure they fit you as well. A good multi gym should allow you to do 12 or more different exercises without having to change the configuration.
Consider who will be using the multigym and what their specific goals are :
It is often the case that there will be more than one person in the family who will be using the multigym. Discussing each person’s goals will help make sure that you purchase workout equipment that will withstand the use of multiple family members and provide the adjustments to accommodate different size users.
Before you go to the store make sure you have the dimensions of the area you want to place the multigym including height, width and length-and take a tape measure with you. Also, keep in mind that the multigym may take up more space when in use and make sure you take these measurements into account as well.
This is one of the best indicators of the quality of the fitness machine. Each movement should feel silky smooth and be free of judder and ‘stickiness’. Try the most expensive multigym in a store and then the cheapest multigym; the results will speak for themselves. Unfortunately, cheap gym equipment feels cheap.
This basically means how the multigym fits your body. When you perform a specific exercise you should feel it in the muscles that the exercise was designed for and not in your joints or other unrelated muscles. You do not have to be an expert to appreciate this, as your body will intuitively let you know. If you are unsure of which muscles should be engaged, ask the store assistant to tell you where you should feel the exercise. This is where fitness machine adjustments to seats, backrest, chest-press arm and peck decks can change an ineffective and uncomfortable exercise into a correct and effective one. Pivot points are also important. On a leg extension, the pivot point should be perfectly level with your knee and on a peck deck in line with your shoulder joint.
Look for well-padded, dense foam upholstery that keeps its shape at all times. Some multigyms have polyurethane contoured pads that fit the shape of your lower back. Check the stitching and the finish on the back of the pads. High-quality upholstery won’t dry out, smell or crack with repeated use.
Look for frames made from heavy gauge steel as this will make the machine feel solid for a lifetime. Most multigyms today use powder coated paint, which will prevent corrosion. Good powder coating should not crack when you tighten a bolt against it.
Quality multigyms feature bearings at pivot joints, cheap multi gyms have nothing more than a bolt passing through metal or plastic sleeves. Bearings reduce wear and tear and guarantee a smooth movement and longer life.
If you have ever used professional gym equipment you will have noticed how solid it feels when in use. That is because the gym equipment is welded together. Generally speaking, the more welds the more strength and stability. Home multigyms have to have bolted pieces because they have to be delivered in boxes. However, the rule of thumb, fewer bolts, less wobble.
Cables and Pulleys
Look for nylon or steel bearing pulleys rather than plastic. Cables that are plastic coated give a smoother feel and should have at least a test strain of 1000kg.
Metal weight stacks feel better than plastic. They glide more smoothly along their guide poles and last longer. The weight of the plate is also exact but plastic plates can be out by as much as a kilogram. However plastic weights make less noise and are economical. Some multigyms come with two or more stacks so that more than one-person can workout at the same time and this is the true name of multi gym originates.
Accessories and Attachments
Good multigyms will come with a variety of accessories such as ankle straps for working the inner and outer thigh and straight bars and stirrup handles for arm exercises. Ask the staff at the Powermax fitness equipment store what the multi gym offers and can they provide further accessories if required. Some multigyms allow you to add attachments, which mean’s the multigym can ‘grow’ with you. These include additional weight plates to add to the basic weight stack and leg presses for more serious leg workouts.
Remember the must-haves when buying a Multi Gym
Make sure the multi gym will fit into your designated space and only look at multigyms that fit your space requirements comfortably even when in use.
This relates to ergonomics mentioned earlier. Do you feel comfortable using the multigym? Can you reach all the arms and pads without stretching or getting into painful positions? You must test the multigym in as many positions as possible to determine this and if more that one user is going to use the machine they too must test it.
This will help overcome some of the fit problems. The seat, backrest, peck deck, chest press, all these can be adjusted on the quality multigyms. You should also be able to make these adjustments quickly and easily.
Without a doubt, safety is the major factor when choosing weight equipment. Home multigyms provide safety and convenience that cannot be found in free weight equipment. There are no weight plates to load and unload, no collars to remove, and because the lifting positions are already pre-determined and the weights safely out of the way the possibility of injury is drastically reduced. When buying fitness equipment, gym equipment or any type of workout equipment safety must always be a priority.
Physically shake any multi gym you are thinking about purchasing if it moves or wobbles easily, then choose another one. You don't want to worry about the multi gym moving in the middle of a workout. Look for heavy gauge steel tubing to eliminate flexing and improve movement quality.
If you've decided on a weight-stack multi gym, be aware that open stacks pose the safety hazard of weights crushing someone's (especially little children's) hands. If you have children, keep them away from the multi gym while you are using it and buy a shroud for the weight stack (available with most multi gyms). If a shroud is not available and you have small children at home, look for a different model, you do not want to jeopardize your children’s safety.
Finally, examine the cables. They should be strong enough that they won't break when you lift heavy weights and have a quiet and smooth motion rather than a dragging, noisy one. Buy models with covered cables as this will prolong the life by up to 5 times.
Weight Stack Shrouds
Quality multigyms have weight shrouds that enclose the stack, minimizing the chance of fingers being pinched.
Weight Stack Pins
Get used to selecting the weight with the weight stack pin making sure that the pin locks in place. Select a lightweight and practice a few moves just to be sure. Some pins are shaped to make insertion easy and then turn to lock the pin in place.
Equipment Adjusting Pins
Look for spring-loaded, self-locking pins for adjusting such things as seat height, backrest, and leg units. These pins automatically find their locking position and then you turn a knob to tighten everything up. Even left loose they will prevent anything moving out of position so preventing nasty surprises.
A good quality multigym, if you are using the gym at home, will require very little upkeep. The upholstery pads will just need to be wiped down occasionally to remove sweat. The weight guide rods need to be lubricated with a silicone-based lubricant every six months to prevent the weights sticking. You may need to do this more often if the machine is in strong direct sunlight. Check the cables every month to make sure they are still running the pulleys properly and no wear or tear is visible. As long as the machine is assembled correctly and used properly there is very little that can go wrong.
Strength training requires focus and proper form and if done properly can at times be a little uncomfortable. However the rewards far out way any mild discomfort. If you are new to weight training then you may need something to help you stay on track and guide you through the exercises.
A home gym should come with a wall chart or booklet showing you the full range of exercises that can be performed and how each exercise should be executed. Some multigyms even come with DVD. This is like having your own personal trainer.
Never feel intimidated by what you don't know. A good fitness equipment store will have salespeople who will show you each exercise and explain its purpose. If the multigym feels wrong to you let the salesperson know.
Shopping for weight equipment can be quite daunting as it is the least understood portion of the exercise. Look for manufacturers with a history in this market. These companies will have a depth of knowledge of knowing what the consumer wants and needs and just as importantly what they don’t need and what does not work. In addition, they will have experience in biomechanics, ergonomics, and durability.
Remember the shopping phase is the foundation to make sure you choose wisely and protect your investment.
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