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HEALTHY LIVING: 5 underrated pieces of fitness equipment

HEALTHY LIVING: 5 underrated pieces of fitness equipment

WALLINGFORD — Each gym has countless useful machines designed to optimize workouts. The wide range of equipment is designed to enhance strength building, cardiovascular endurance, and plyometric exercises. 

Unfortunately, many of these machines go unused by the majority of gym-goers for various reasons. As a result, members miss the opportunity to create workout programs best suited to their goals. 

Here are 5 underrated pieces of equipment you should be using.

1. Single leg machines

Machines designed for isolation exercises help to target specific muscle groups. 

The hamstring curl and quad extension machines are a favorite for many gym members. Using both legs to press down on the hamstring curl or lift upwards on the quad extension can cause a dominant leg to bear more weight.

However, the single-leg counterparts of these machines allow you to further isolate the muscle groups by focusing on one leg at a time. The single-leg version enables you to correct muscle imbalances.

2. Back extension/ Roman chair

Roman chairs work much like seated back extension machines used for hyperextension. 

However, Roman chair machines require you to stand on a slanted platform as you lean your pelvis into a padded slate. 

These machines are height adjustable and can be used for lower back strengthening as well as leg work. 

By keeping the glute and hamstring muscles tightened while bending forward, this exercise engages muscles in the erector spine all the way down through the backs of the legs.

3. Stability balls

Stability balls can be used for a variety of exercises.

Using the ball as support for the back increases range of motion during crunches and helps tone the abdominals without compromising the integrity of the lower back.

To work on enhancing the depth of your squat while maintaining your form, wedge a stability ball between your back and a wall as you slowly bring your glutes down towards the floor.

Stability balls can also be used for chest flies and overhead presses.

4. Cables

While cables are a popular piece of fitness equipment, they are primarily used for upper body exercises. 

These machines are capable of giving gym members full-body workouts.

One of the reasons why cables are so versatile is because there are a number of attachments that can be secured onto the snap hooks at the end of these devices.

Ankle cuffs and triangle handles can be used for glute kickbacks. Rope attachments can be used for crunches and deadlifts.

Cables adjust to various heights to meet your training needs and there is typically a wide range of weight that can be pin holed, making it simple to switch from one movement, to the next.

5. Stretch machines

Adjustable stretch machines are one of the most highly underutilized pieces of fitness equipment in gym facilities. 

These machines can look intimidating, but most typically have detailed directions for users complete with pictograms.

The incline traction control, seated back extension, and standing full-body stretcher can all be calibrated to meet the unique flexibility needs of users.

These machines are best used before and after your workout. 

Kristen Dearborn is a Wallingford native, NASM certified personal trainer and author of the blog dearfitkris–