Hammer Strength Vs Muscle D Power Leverage Line

When deciding on the best strength equipment for your gym, it’s natural to compare all your options. Our Power Leverage Line is a favorite with athletic sports clubs and strength training facilities around the world. We’re sometimes asked how it stacks up against other manufacturers’ products, such as Hammer Strength by Life Fitness. In this article, we’ll run through the key differences between the two ranges, so you can decide for yourself which is best-suited to your needs.

Sturdy Uniframe Bases

Our Power Leverage Line utilizes a consistent uniframe base across the entire range. Unlike the varied and inconsistent bases used on Hammer Strength, the uniframe base only requires minimal nuts and bolts to attach it together. This makes it more stable, durable, and easier to clean too. This also ensures assembly is quicker and simpler, whilst delivering a sleek look without any unnecessary clutter.

Easy Adjustments

Easy adjustments are crucial for a positive exercise experience. If people find machines difficult to adjust, then more often than not they’ll simply give up and move on. It’s therefore crucial that equipment can be easily customized to their height, size, or weight on the go. At Muscle D Fitness we design our products with exercisers in mind, which is why our pneumatic lift seats can be adjusted while sitting in them. This is something that many other manufacturers have failed to incorporate into their products, including Life Fitness. Hammer Strength equipment incorporates an old rack and pinion system which requires users to get off in order to make adjustments. There is also a tendency for the seats to rattle down while being adjusted.

Stable Construction Axels & Bearings

We consider the smallest details when designing our strength ranges. The axles and pillow block bearings on the Power Leverage Line are supported by 1/3 inch thick metal brackets. This minimizes any side to side movement and ensures maximal stability. However, Hammer Strength products feature smaller axles and pillow block bearings that are attached to side walls of the tubing (instead of being fully supported by brackets).

Consistent Pre-Stretch Experience

Prestretch is something that varies greatly between the Power Leverage Line and Hammer strength. On the latter, the level of prestretch on some machines is dependent on the user’s torso thickness. However, Muscle D Fitness products deliver a consistently high standard of prestretch across the entire range to ensure full muscular development.

Knee Stability Pads

Knee stability pads may be a seemingly small detail on strength equipment, but they can be a source of frustration for many exercisers. On Hammer Strength products, the knee stability pads that hold the upper legs down during exercise are cumbersome to adjust. However, Muscle D Fitness products include knee stability pads that are easily adjustable, so users feel securely held down in place.

Price

Price is a key consideration when purchasing strength equipment, so you’ll be pleased to know that Muscle D Fitness equipment costs significantly less than Hammer Strength. In many cases, our prices are 10-30% lower, enabling you to reinvest the savings into other areas of your business. Unlike Life Fitness, we also shop around to find the most economical freight shipping rates for our customers. This further decreases the overall cost in comparison to Hammer Strength products.

Our Power Leverage Line was designed with exercisers in mind and features keen attention to detail. It’s a rugged and durable range of plate-loaded products, that are all produced with performance at heart. Best of all, it’s available at a more competitive price than other products on the market, so you can make the most of your investment dollars. If you have questions about our Power Leverage Line or how it compares to other strength ranges, then get in touch with our friendly team.

Cable Crossover Alternatives for Chest & Back | Muscle D Fitness

There are plenty of cable crossover alternatives that can deliver a great workout. Large rigs aren’t for everyone, whether it’s due to space constraints or the budget available. So, knowing how to perform similar exercises with different equipment will help you get the results you want. Whether you’re after a wide back or strong pecs, there are effective cable crossover alternatives out there. Here are just a few…

Cable Crossover Alternatives for the Chest

If you’re looking for an alternative to cable that works your pecs, then here are some options…

#1 – Dumbbell Flyes

Dumbbell flyes can be done with just a bench and some free weights. Take a dumbbell in each hand and lie flat on a bench, keeping the weights over your shoulders as you position yourself comfortably. Raise the dumbbells towards the ceiling, with your palms facing inwards and still aligned over your shoulders. Take care not to lock your elbows and slowly lower your arms out to the side, breathing in as you do so. Then return to the previous position with the free weights high above your shoulders (and breathe out). This is one rep – repeat as needed in line with your training goals.

cable crossover alternatives chest fly

#2 – Crossover with Band

Exercise bands can make great cable crossover alternatives since you’re able to position them at almost any height. Start by securing a band around a stable post and then hold both ends whilst facing outwards. Step forward a little so that there’s enough tension in the band to provide resistance. Raise your arms out to the side, whilst keeping your palms facing forwards to get into your starting position. Bring your arms across the chest (keeping them straight) and breathe out as you do so. Hold this stance for a second and then return to the starting position whilst breathing in. Repeat the required number of reps to meet your training needs.

#3 – Chest Dips

Dips provide a fantastic upper body exercise as they recruit muscles in the chest, shoulders, and arms too. A dip machine or rig attachment can provide practical cable crossover alternatives if this is the exercise you use it for most. Position yourself between the parallel bars and hold your body above them with your arms locked. Slowly lower yourself down with your torso tilted forward at a 30° angle to maximally activate the chest. You’ll feel a stretch in your pecs once this happens – from there raise yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat the required number of reps and sets.

dumbbells as cable crossover alternative exercises

#5 – Seated Cable Row with Band

Seated cable rows activate your trapezius which makes them ideal for developing a wide back. Start by securing a band at a low height around a stable post, then hold both ends whilst you sit facing it. Move back a little so that there’s enough tension in the band to provide resistance. Perform a rowing movement, bringing your hands in line with your chest whilst keeping them as wide as possible (palms down). Return to the starting position and repeat as needed.

#6 – Lat Pulldown

Lat pulldown machines make decent cable crossover alternatives since they allow multiple grip positions to target different back muscles. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, then pull the bar downwards in line with your collarbone. Slowly return it to the starting position for one rep. To further enhance back muscle recruitment, lean backward at around 30° whilst performing the movement.

The Best Alternative Machine to a Cable Crossover

functional trainer as best cable alternative

If you’re looking at cable crossover alternatives, then a functional training machine is your single best option. It features a smaller footprint and similar pulley setup, allowing you to do a wide variety of cable-based exercises on the one unit. You can alter the setup to perform flyes, crossovers, rows, and pulldowns, all on just a single machine. You can even do lower body exercises such as leg curls by setting a low pulley height. Or use a bar attachment to replicate the movement of barbell dumbbells. If you’d like to learn more about the best cable crossover alternatives on the market, then get in touch with our friendly team.

 

Muscle D Fitness at IHRSA Next Month!

IHRSA Muscle D

With IHRSA less than a month away, preparations for the Muscle D Fitness trade show booth are well underway. We’ve got some exciting new equipment in the pipeline so can’t wait to share our new range with you at the show!

This year’s IHRSA convention is taking place in sunny San Diego from March 21st to the 24th.  IHRSA is one of the fitness industry’s leading events globally and provides a unique opportunity to learn, network, and experience the newest product innovations. The IHRSA convention consists of educational seminars, networking events, and a trade show exhibition. Educational seminars run across the entire four days and cover an incredible range of topics. These include information on business strategy, sales, marketing, and accounting that’s specifically tailored for health club professionals. We’re particularly excited to hear this year’s keynote presentation on ‘making ideas happen’ by the founder and executive chairwoman of TaskRabbit, Leah Busque.

However, for equipment specialists like us, it’s the trade show that we really look forward to. It takes place for two full days (Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd March) and consists of over 350 exhibitors. This really is the premier fitness show of the entire year, where manufacturers preview all their new products to the market. No other fitness show in the world sees as many product launches, so it’s definitely not one to be missed. There’s even an early morning workout on the Friday where you can try out any of the training equipment for yourself. Between 6:30am and 8:30am the exhibition hall transforms into a gigantic gym facility with interactive classes on many of the booths.  At the Muscle D booth, we will have over 30 pieces of single and dual station machines, MultiGyms, leverage machines, benches and much more!

There’s an even bigger reason that we’re so excited about the IHRSA convention.  This year’s event marks a new era in the development of Muscle D Fitness. For the last forty years we’ve been primarily known as a manufacturer of premium strength equipment. We were founded as Muscle Dynamics in 1977 and developed a strong heritage of private labelling benches, racks, and machines and our own brand, Maxicam.  We worked with the legendary Joe Gold of Gold’s Gym, Venice, CA, home of the famous Muscle Beach. Over time we’ve become renowned for the anatomical correctness of our equipment and the outstanding customer service we deliver to our customers and dealers alike. So we thought it was time to expand these business philosophies into the cardio arena. We’ve applied the same attention to biomechanical detail to our brand-new Cardio Lines and can’t wait for you to try them at IHRSA.

Muscle D Fitness Cardio Line for now will feature 2 commercial treadmills introduced for the first time at IHRSA 2018. It includes two state-of-the-art treadmills.  We’ve applied over forty years of industry expertise into the research and development of an exciting new range. It leverages the design elements that our strength equipment is renowned for such as durability, functionality, and accurate biomechanics.

Also, in cooperation with an internationally renowned manufacturer from Asia, Shuhua Co. Ltd, (ShuaFitness.com), we will also have 2 more models of treadmills, one commercial one light commercial, a rower, recumbent bike, and upright bike.  

Get in touch to make an appointment with us at the show or visit our booth on Thursday 22nd to Friday 23rd March.  

10 Best Glute Exercises – Targeting Those Hard to Hit Areas

The best glute exercises are well-targeted, highly effective, and challenge more than your strength. A solid glute workout routine will combine resistance movements with balance and coordination to deliver an all-around session. And it goes without saying that a good glute workout should be great fun too.

Glute strengthening exercises do more than just improve muscle tone. They increase blood flow which can help reduce signs of cellulite. Glute exercises can lead to decreased muscle fatigue during walking, running, and climbing the stairs. They can help you maintain a better posture and facilitate leg strength too, enabling you to run faster and jump higher.

A strong gluteus maximus can also reduce your risk of injuries like shin splints, knee pain, or a sore back. Some glute exercises also strengthen the core too. They engage your abdominal and back muscles which can help create a flatter stomach and stronger torso. They can also extend your range of motion, improving your flexibility or sports specific movements like kicking a ball. So here are 10 of the best glute exercises that’ll help you target those hard to hit areas.

#1 – Squat Pulse

squat pulse glutes exercises

The squat pulse is a more challenging variation of the classic squat movement. Begin in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your arms straight out in front of you and bend your knees until your thighs are at 90 degrees from your calves. Pulse up and down 10 times then return to your starting position. Repeat two sets of 12-15 reps.

#2 – Curtsey Lunges

curtsey lunges one of the best glute exercises

Curtsey lunges add a small amount of weight to your workout. Take a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your left foot and step it diagonally behind you, bending your front knee as you shift your weight. Use your front working leg to lift yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side to complete one rep of 15.

#3 – Booty Blaster

glute exercise on butt blaster machine

The original butt blaster delivers the most effective of all glute exercises. Not only does it precisely activate the glute muscles, but it offers different resistance options beyond basic body weight. This enables you to tone and develop your gluteus maximus to its fullest extent.

Adjust the resistance and position your knees, arms, and torso on the pads provided. Place your foot against the plate and extend your left leg up and behind you. Once fully extended, return slowly to the starting position. Repeat this movement 15 times and then switch sides.

#4 – Donkey Kicks

donkey kicks targeting glutes

If your facility doesn’t have a Booty Blaster than you can try this basic version. It creates the same movement but doesn’t offer the same possibilities for progression since there’s no resistance involved.

Kneel down on all fours with your arms and thighs positioned at 90 degrees to your torso. Keep your left knee bent and raise your foot towards the ceiling, as if your hip is on a hinge. The sole of your foot should be facing the ceiling at the top of the movement. Then return your leg to its starting position and repeat on the other side. Complete two sets of 12-15 reps on each side.

#5 – Squat Jumps

squat jump exercise example

Squat jumps add an explosive element to your glute workout routine. Start from a standing position with your feet wide apart. Squat down and raise your arms forward as you move. Then jump straight into the air bringing your arms down to your sides as you do. Repeat two sets of 12-15 reps.

#6 – Chair Kicks

chair kicks for butt muscles

Using a chair can provide extra stability, enabling you to push your glute exercises a little further. Stand an arm’s length away from a tall chair with your hands placed on its backrest. Lean forward and raise your right leg behind you, keeping it straight and squeezing your glutes as you do so. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat two sets of 12-15 reps on each side.

#7 – Sumo Squat

sumo squat moving from side to side in squatting position

Sumo squats test your balance and add a more dynamic element to your glute workout. Stand with your feet wide apart and your hands on your hips. Lower down to a squat position and then shift your weight to one side. Lift the opposite leg to the side whilst staying low, and then return it to the floor. Repeat on the other side and then return to a standing position. Repeat two sets of 15 reps.

#8 – Stability Ball Leg Curls

stability ball leg curl example

Stability balls can be incorporated into almost any workout and glute exercises are no exception. Lie on your back with your ankles on top of a stability ball. Lift your torso off the floor and push your hips upward, then contract your glutes so that the ball curls in towards you. Slowly return back to the starting position, then repeat two sets of 12-15 reps.

#9 – Single Leg Squat Kicks

squat glute exercise with side kickSquat kicks are an upright version of the sumo squat. Begin in a standing position with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Hold your arms straight out in front of you and lower down into a squat. Stand back up and lift your left leg as high as you can to the side in a lateral movement. Lower it down and return to a deep squat position, then repeat with the other leg. Complete two sets of 15 reps on each side.

#10 – Doggy Hydrant

doggy hydrant exercise

The doggy hydrant is exactly what it sounds like… Kneel on all fours so that your hands are aligned with your shoulders and knees are aligned with your hips. Open your left leg out to one side whilst maintaining the 90-degree angle at your left knee joint. Once your thigh is parallel to the floor, squeeze your glutes and return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times on each side.

Top Tips for Effective Glute Exercises

With all glute exercises, there are some fundamental principles to remember. Following these tips will help you to perform each exercise as effectively as possible and get the most out of your workout…

  1.       Maintain proper posture throughout the exercise to reduce the risk of injury.
  2.       Tighten your abs and glutes as you exercise for maximal effects.
  3.       Gradually add weights or resistance to grow your glute muscles.
  4.       Rest for 24-36 hours between sessions to give your muscles adequate recovery time.

Ask Us A Question

If you have any questions about strength training equipment or accessories then feel free to get in touch using our contact form. Our team of specialists have over 100 years of combined fitness experience and can answer any queries you may have. We’d love to hear from you!

Functional Trainer Exercises: 10 Movements to Mix It Up

Functional trainer exercises not only work your major muscle groups, but engage the smaller stabilization muscles that surround them too. They’re an amazingly effective way to target varied areas of the body and a popular style of workout in any gym. However, most people do the same old exercises on a functional trainer machine – tricep extension, bicep curl, and chest press. So in this post, we wanted to share a few alternatives for you to try next time you hit the gym!

Our Top 10 Alternative Functional Trainer Exercises

Cable Reverse Lunge

Most of us are comfortable with the classical lunge movement, but doing the reverse motion can really challenge our strength and balance. With the cable pulley on the lowest height setting, position yourself in a lunge position with one knee bent at a right angle. Hold the rope attachment over one shoulder and extend your legs into a standing position, pulling the rope with you along the way. Then return to the lower lunge position and repeat for the desired number of reps to really work your hamstrings and posterior muscle chain.

cable reverse lunge exercise

Plank Triceps Kick Back

This exercise works the core, legs, and triceps too. Place the pulley on the lowest height with the D-handle (single grip with rotating handle) attachment. Assume the plank position facing the machine and grasp the handle with one hand. Pull the handle back towards your hips as you straighten your arm in a tricep extension movement. Repeat on one side and then switch.  This is one of the top functional trainer exercises to also engage your core along with the primary muscle group (triceps). 

plank kickback exercise

Standing Leg Curl

Using the ankle attachments allows you to try an even wider variety of exercises on the functional trainer machine. Place the pulley on the lowest height setting and attach the ankle strap to your leg. Face the machine and extend your leg behind you to really target your hamstrings and glutes. Keeping your leg straight and your core tight, return your leg to the standing position. Repeat the desired number of reps on one side and then switch over.

Side Plank Cable Row

This exercise activates the core, shoulders, and lats, while improving your overall balance too. Attach the D-handle and position the pulley on the lowest height setting. Assume a side plank position, with your body supported by your forearm and foot. With your free arm, pull the cable towards you whilst maintaining a strong core and not allowing your body to rotate. Repeat the desired number of reps on one side before switching to the other.

side plank cable row

 

Cable Front Squat

The cable front squat engages the quads, glutes, and hamstrings for a complete lower body workout. Place the pulley on the lowest height setting and face the machine. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and grasp the rope attachment with two hands in a goblet position. Lower down slowly into a squat, keeping the rope at shoulder height. Then push back up to standing with an explosive movement. Repeat the desired number of reps and sets, remembering to maintain explosiveness throughout each set.

Wood Chop

The wood chop is one of the more classic functional trainer exercises that challenges your core and shoulders across several planes of movement. Position the pulley slightly above shoulder height and attached the D-handle or rope. Stand at a 90-degree angle to the machine and pull it down and across your body to the floor, in a motion that’s similar to chopping wood. Return it to the start position and then repeat for the desired number of reps before swapping sides.

cable wood chop exercise

Cable Step Up

This exercise activates the hamstrings and glutes. Place a step or box in front of the functional trainer machine and set the cable pulley to the lowest height. Face away from the machine holding the rope attachment over your shoulder, and step up on to the box. Keep your core tight as you step back down and then repeat starting with the opposite leg. Keep switching legs until you’ve completed a full set to ensure that you build equal stability on both sides.

cable step-up exercise

Single Arm Row

The cable chest press is a favorite with most people, but have you thought about trying the reverse pulling movement to activate the shoulder and lats? The single arm row does just this and allows you to target each limb independently. Place the cable pulley at shoulder height and attach the D-handle. Step back an arm’s length from the machine and then pull the handle towards you whilst keeping your core tight. Return it slowly back to the machine and repeat for desired number of reps.

cable single arm row exercise

Bridge Curl

Bridge curls target the core and biceps, yet not many people think to incorporate a functional trainer machine into the exercise. Position the pulleys at the lowest height and then lie on the floor facing the machine with your knees bent. Grasp a handle in each hand and curl them towards your shoulders as you lift your hips from the ground. Then return slowly to the starting position in a controlled manner. Repeat the desired number of reps and sets.

bridge curl on ground

Cable Crunch

Cable crunchies are popular with bodybuilders and an incredibly effective way to target the abdominals. Position the pulley at chest height and add the rope attachment. Kneel in front of it and grasp the rope behind your neck, then fold forwards towards the ground pulling the cable as you go. Return to the starting position and keep the core strong throughout.  This is one of those functiona trainer exercises that you’ve probably seen done a thousand times incorrectly.  Make sure to use lighter weights and slow down the repetition speed to ensure you are making the most out of the movement.

cable crunch exercise on functional trainer

Bonus Exercises That Don’t Require A Functional Trainer 

If your facility doesn’t have a cable unit, then here are a few alternative functional trainer exercises that you can try instead…

#1 Burpees – a favorite amongst PTs and Bootcamp instructors, burpees raise your heart rate fast and work all the major muscle groups. Crouch down and jump your legs out behind you into a plank position, then do a press up. Jump your legs forward so you return to a standing position and then jump explosively as high as you can. This is one rep – repeat as many as you can in one minute.

#2 Pistol Squats – an even more challenging version of the classic squat, these independent movements target your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Lift one leg in front of you and then lower yourself down into a squat position on the other leg. Since your entire body weight is supported on one leg instead of two, you’ll find it a lot more challenging. Repeat an equal number of reps on each side.

#3 Handstand – you might think of this as a playground move but fans of calisthenics swear by it for strengthening the upper body and improving stability. Try it against a wall to begin with until you can confidently hold your own weight upside down. Then move a little further from the wall until you no longer need it to balance.

Looking for more functional trainer exercises or workout ideas? Our team are industry veterans and can provide all the guidance you need – get in touch here.

Smith Machine Bench Press vs Barbell Bench Press

The smith machine bench press is a safe and secure way to progress your lifting capabilities. Bench presses are great exercise movements as they seriously work out your triceps, shoulders, and chest. It’s considered by some to be the most effective compound movement for a full upper-body workout. Depending on the variation and technique used, it can also activate your core, back, and legs for stabilization.

A lot of the appeal of a bench press is that the movements are simple. You just have to ease the bar down towards your chest and then press it back up. Although it’s a simple straight up and down movement, it produces excellent results. The decision for many people is whether they should do their bench press using a Smith machine or barbell.

There has been a long battle between whether a cable machine or free weights are better for bench presses. Each side greatly praises the benefits of each (and conveniently downplays the cons). For those who are unfamiliar, barbell bench presses involve Olympic flat benches and free weights, whereas the smith machine bench press used a bar that is attached to the machine.

The path of the bar is different for each bench press. With free weight barbell presses, you can move the weight in any direction – straight up and down, or side to side if need be. This means that move stabilization muscles are recruited to control the movement, however, it also allows for the possibility of injury if performed incorrectly.

man doing barbell bench press with no smith machine

For the Smith machine, the weight can only be moved up and down so there’s less scope for accidental misuse.  Users are also more able to fully isolate the target muscles (chest, anterior deltoid and triceps).

Safety

The safety of these two pieces of equipment is quite different due to the differing range of movement for each one. If you feel like you can’t complete an exercise on the Smith machine, you can just lock the bar into place by sliding the barbell into its hooks. When you’re struggling to complete a repetition with a free weight, you need a spotter there to help you.

Difference in Technique

For a regular bench press, your form goes in two directions. When the bar is lifted, your arms are straight and the bar should be directly over your shoulders. When you lower the bar, the bar is inched down your chest just a tad. It’s at this point in your movement that the bar should be touching the lower half of your chest. At the top of the movement, your arms are straight and the bar is directly over your shoulders. You repeat this movement for however many reps you see fit.

The Smith machine doesn’t allow you to move the bar backwards or forwards so you don’t have the motion of moving the bar to rest on your lower chest. While you can’t move the bar yourself, the bar still needs to land in that position so you have to move your body into the correct position so that the bar will touch your lower chest when it comes down. While you lose a little bit of power working on the machine’s fixed plane, you’re able to work your chest and shoulder muscles a little more. This machine also limits how much you can lose control with the movements as it is fixed. However the Olympic flat bench does not provide this stability, so you need extreme control when bench pressing with free weights to help minimize the risk of serious accident or injury.

Difference in Barbell Weight

The weight of a standard bench press barbell is 45 pounds. The bar used in a Smith machine bench press is often lighter. The machine has been made to glide the bar easily up and down, so is sometimes considered easier to move.

The Olympic Bench Press

If you’ve ever been to a gym or seen a movie with a workout scene, then you’ve seen an Olympic bench press. If you love to workout, you’ve probably even used one before. It’s the movement that comes to mind when most people think about working out.

When you use the Olympic flat bench for exercise, you focus on your lower and mid pectoral muscles, the triceps, and the anterior deltoid.

Pros

  •   Stability. Compared to lifting other weights such as kettlebells and dumbbells. When you use those types of weights, you risk imbalance as you can raise and lower the weights at different speeds.

In the same vein, other machines and weights remove the use of quite a few stabilizer muscles. You want to activate these stabilizers as often as you can to build strength.

  •   Great capacity to hold and bear weights. It’s the purpose of the Olympic bench press existence. You can start off small and as you get stronger, you can put more weights on.

Cons

  •   The biggest drawback of using the barbell bench is the safety risk. You want to see results when you work out. You don’t want to risk any injury. The safety issue can be taken care of if you have a trusted spotter with you.
  •   You have to keep your form perfect. If your form is off by even a little, you become prone to injuries to your chest and rotator cuff.

Smith Machine Bench Press

What is a smith machine bench press? Its name doesn’t immediately conjure up a mental image, but you probably have seen it before. The Smith bench press machine has the same movement as the Olympic variation, but it also has a few differences related to how it engages your body. This machine can also be found in most gyms and takes only a few moments to learn how to use. They’re designed to allow you to lift heavy weights safely.

Pros

  •   Safety. While a regular bench press has safety as it’s number one concern, the Smith machine bench press puts safety first. It allows you to stop the bar way before an injury is possible. You don’t have to worry about it falling on top of you. You don’t need a spotter with this machine and can therefore work out more intensely.
  •   Stability. The machine provides a good stability and you don’t have to worry about form as much as with other workout equipment.

Cons

  •   Stability. While you don’t have to worry so much about form with the Smith machine, you’re not activating the other muscles that you need to. Without the use of these muscles, you’re not getting the most out of your exercise.
  •   A big investment. For those who are looking to build a home gym, the Smith machine requires a bigger investment, especially when compared a simple Olympian flat bench. If you’re willing to make the investment or plan to workout hard without a spotter, you’ll enjoy the Smith machine.

Which Option Should You Go For?

This honestly depends on your needs. They’re both very good at producing the results, but it comes down to how intense you want your workouts to be. You can find both options pretty easily in gyms, but if you’re looking to buy one these bench presses then call a representative at Muscle D Fitness to purchase directly from the manufacturer.

Ab Equipment – The Search For The Perfect Abdominal Crunch

Looking for the perfect piece of ab equipment that’ll actually get you results? With such a huge variety of fitness products to choose from, the search can sometimes feel overwhelming. So in this article we’ve summarized the best rated abdominal exercise equipment available, along with some training tips to help you get the most out of your purchase…

Different Types of Ab Equipment

Shopping channels and late-night TV are awash with different types fitness equipment that make bold statements. Many adverts claim to give you a sculpted stomach, melt away the fat, and improve your cardio fitness at the same time. But some are better than others, so how to you separate the ineffective products from ab machines that work?

In our experience, there are several different categories of equipment that effectively target the abdominals…

Sit Up Benches

These benches are basic tools that facilitate sit-ups and crunches. They’re standard ab equipment at the gym thanks to their ease of use and excellent results. Ab benches can be used by advanced exercisers or novices alike, but do require correct technique. Performing sit-ups improperly can place excessive strain on the back, so it’s important to use the right form.

Ab Wheels

Ab wheels are a simple yet effective way to work out your abs at home. They not only target your midsection but also work the muscles in your lower back. Ab wheels may appear easy to use, but they actually require a strong core to operate which can make them difficult for beginners to master.  The key to this piece of ab equipment is to not overextend and keep form tight while engaging your core the entire time.

Vertical Knee Raise (AKA Power Tower)

vertical knee raise power tower for abdominals

Engaging your lower body during ab exercises can really help with their development. A vertical knee raise station enables you to do this, as well as working out other parts of your body.  The key workout exercises include low knee raises which can be done with knees pulled in or extended as well as other exercises like dips that don’t target the abdominals specifically (triceps & chest).

Abdominal Crunch

abdominal crunch motion done by man without ab equipment

The Abdominal Crunch is one of the best rated abdominal exercise equipment options on the market. It’s specifically designed to streamline the crunch movement and ensures that you’re using the right technique. This means you fully activate the muscles which will lead to greater results, whilst minimizing the likelihood of injury.

Abdominal Crunch Machine

Abdominal Crunch machines are extremely easy to use. They let users have a full range of motion that isn’t always possible without specialized equipment. The guided motion also ensures that your abs experience an adequate amount of resistance – it’s this stress that causes fatigue which then promotes muscle growth. Controlled muscular stress is the key to developing a killer six-pack, so it’s crucial that your workout equipment delivers it.

These units balance comfort with biomechanics, to ensure your body is perfectly positioned throughout the workout. Using an abdominal crunch machine (the staple piece of ab equipment) avoids placing stress on your neck, which is something often experienced when doing sit-ups on the floor. It also avoids the risk of unwanted lower back stress which abdominal benches can sometimes cause. An ab crunch machine ensures that each crunch is performed properly – every single time.

Pros

  •   It allows for proper muscle resistance with its anatomically correct cam.
  •   It’s precise which allows for smooth operation.
  •   The pads for your elbows and arms help to promote ab crunching action.
  •   The foot pads allow for maximize ab development as it locks the user in.

Cons

  •   The machine only focuses on ab workout.

If you’re looking to buy the Abdominal Crunch, you can call a representative at Muscle D Fitness to purchase directly from the manufacturer.

Using The Abdominal Crunch Machine (The Most Popular Ab Equipment)

To use the abdominal crunch machine, first select a light resistance or weight that you know you can handle easily.. Sit down on the machine and place your feet under the pads while grabbing onto the top handles. You want to make sure your arm is bent at a 90-degree angle, by resting your triceps on the pads that are
provided.

Begin by lifting your legs as you lift your upper torso. As you would do if you were lying on the ground, use slow and controlled movements while you focus on your breathing. After a moment, return to your starting position slowly and then repeat.

How to Do a Perfect Abdominal Crunch (With Or Without Equipment)

Crunches are a staple in the workout community and the go-to way to get ripped abs. The workout has been a mainstay is ab workouts for more than a few decades and for good reason. Crunches are a great way to specifically target your abs.

When you do crunches, you’re targeting the rectus abdominis located on the front of your torso. The rectus abdominis is what most of us refer to as the muscles that make up the six-pack. When you reduce belly fat enough, you’ll see your abs carved into the shape that many people crave.

While most people have done hundreds of crunches at one point or another, they’re probably doing them wrong. Whether it’s in school when we’re younger, or attempts to get fit when we’re older, crunchies are the go-to stomach exercise. They are deceptive in that they look easy to do, but doing them correctly is actually really hard. Most of us have probably been doing them wrong for so long that we don’t even notice.

Common mistakes that people make when doing crunches include straining their neck by pulling on it, crunching too high and too fast, and relaxing when they’re coming down to the ground.

To do the perfect crunch you want to lie on your back, bent at the knee, and hands either across your chest or behind your head. If you’re wary of pulling on your neck then go for the arms across the chest method. If you choose to put your hands behind your head, making sure your fingers are gently cradling your head. You want to support your head and neck without taking away from the contraction of your abs when you come up. Suck in your stomach, pulling your belly button towards your spine to prepare for your movement upwards.

Bring your shoulders an inch or two off the ground to contract your abdominals slowly. Breath out when you come up, keeping your neck straight and your chin up. Hold your position for a few moments before going back down. Remember, do not relax your movements while you’re doing this. Repeat these motions for 15-20 repetitions. Be mindful of whether you’re keeping the correct form.

Tips to Remember the Perfect Form

You want to keep your movements small. A crunch is not the same as a full sit up. Limiting your range of motion to just a small lift off the ground makes the exercise an excellent way to build endurance and strength in your abdominal muscles.

Remember that the quest for a six-pack of abs is a hard one. You’re not going to achieve your goal by just doing crunches alone. You also need to maintain a healthy diet that allows you to burn calories while you work out, and keep your fat percentage low.

There are derivations of the crunch that you can also use to get a good ab workout. You can enhance the intensity of your crunches through other exercise equipment like a Swiss ball or workout machinery.

Getting perfect abs isn’t as unobtainable as it may seem. It will take hard work but by combining proven training methods with effective ab equipment, you can achieve great results. For advice on the best exercise machines to meet your needs, contact us.