The first step in selecting a workout plan that will help you reach your goals is to determine what type of equipment and what location will be best for you. In this article, I’ll discuss 4 types of the best exercise equipment for seniors, other than free weights. Two will be for gym workout plans. The other 2 can be done for at home workouts, or at gym workouts.
Questions that are important to address:
- Is that type of equipment effective for building strength and improving overall fitness?
- Is it especially safe for people over 60 years of age?
- Can it be used at the location of my choice; at a gym, at home, or, anywhere?
What is a Weight Machine?
If you are new to strength training, you might be wondering, what is a weight machine? Weight machines are designed to hold weights in place while the person exercising is moving the weights as designed to work various muscle groups. There are two types of machines for weight training. One type is with weight plates stacked within the machine. A pin is used to select the desired weight. The other type is designed so normal olympic weight plates can be mounted on the machines.
For guys over 60, weight machines are both effective for building muscle and strength, AND, they are safe compared to working with free weights. You are able to move as much weight as you care to without concern of losing balance.
With weight machines that use a pin to make changes to the weight, you can set them up to make partial movements if that is more comfortable. For example, suppose you wanted to do chest press but did not want the movement as deep as normal because you have discomfort in your shoulders if you do that. It is very easy and quick to put the machine settings to limit the movement to what is most comfortable for you.
Yet another benefit of using weight machines that use a pin, is, you can potentially complete your workouts more quickly. You don’t have to be picking up and putting back plates.
By using weight machines that use olympic plates you can still limit the extent of the movements, but not have as much limiting ability as weight machines that use a pin. For example, if you were using one of these types of machines to do chest press you could not adjust the point at which the movement begins and ends. However, you still have the safety aspect of not having to balance the weights. Also, just as with machines that use a pin, if you suddently let go of the handles you would not be hurt. The machine would just return to its starting position.
Some advantages of weight machines:
- Available in most health clubs
- Because you don’t have to balance the weight as you do with many free weight exercises, you are less likely to be injured.
- Also, not having to balance the weight, more weight can often be used becuase small, supporting muscles are not employed. If you are using more weight, the larger muscles can exceed growth of free weights.
What is a TRX Suspension Trainer?
Several years ago I was talking with a personal trainer at my local health club. He told me about this equipment I could train with and take it with me when I travel. I had never heard of them. I asked, “What is a TRX Suspension Trainer? TRX uses specially designed bands that are attatched to an ‘anchor’. An anchor can be a door, a pole, a tree or anything else that is strong enough to bear your weight. The many training movements employ the bands and your body weight. I have encorporated TRX bands in my workouts and they have added advantages I don’t get from other types of resistance training.
Suspension Training by TRX makes gravity your resistance, so adjusting the level of difficulty is as easy as moving your hands or feet, and progression is limitless. They have workout plans for all kinds of fitness goals. For example, they have workouts designed specifically to improve your golf game, or tennis, or joint health, strength, flexibility and much more.
Widely used,TRX is available in over 40,000 health clubs. It is used in all branches of the military. It’s used by many professional sports teams, MMA fighters, Olympic athletes and more.
There are videos and apps and tons of support and training for all levels. It is extremely safe. They have training videos you can watch on your computer, tablet or phone. TRX can be used anywhere, in the gym, at home, in a hotel room, outside, and more.
There are an abundance of workout plans to fit your individual workout goals. TRX is effective in building muscle, improving flexability, balance and cardiovascular health. It’s also relatively inexpensive.
Some advantages of TRX Suspension Training Systems:
- Safe. Because I use my body weight it’s easy to adjust to movements that are as light as I need them to be.
- Lightweight and can be kept in the compact bag. So, I can workout at home, while traveling or at the gym.
- There is an abundance of training videos and support
Click on the link to learn more: TRX SUSPENSION TRAINING SYSTEMS
What is a Resistance Band?
Until recently I couldn’t answer the question, “What is a Resistance Band?” Resistance Bands are elastic. The thickness of the bands determine the amount of resistance each band provides, usually measured in pounds. The set of bands that I use can be “stacked” to provide as much as 150 pounds of resistance. They come in different colors, each color to represent the different amount of resistance. They are light weight come with handles, and fit in a small bag for carrying or storage.
I have only discovered how fantastic resistance bands are since the Covid-19 shutdown. And, I’m not the only one! Many of the various manufacturers of resistance bands were sold out in recent months as so many gyms and health clubs closed and people had to figure out how to work out at home.
I was skeptical about the efficacy of bands before I used them. They didn’t look like they would be able to provide the kind of resistance I was used to. That skepticism vanished as soon as I started to do some exercises with them. I quickly learned I could do the same exercises I would do at the gym and the resistance was as great as the weights or machines I was used to.
I found there were advantages with bands over the weights and weight machines I was accustom to:
- I can get a great workout, working all the muscle groups and the bands fit in a compact nylon bag.
- The set I use was inexpensive at $70.
- I can use them when and where I want to. They are lightweight and easy to take with.
- I don’t experience some of the joint discomfort that I do with some exercises using weights.
- There is a consistent resistance where there is not in some types of weight training.
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More commonly known as a “Smith Rack”, these machines are found primarily in health clubs. There are versions designed for home use but I have found them to perform well below the standards of professional quality Smith Racks found in health clubs.
An Olympic size barbell is built into the machine. It glides smoothly up and down. That is the only option for movement. Smith machines are commonly used for exercises such as bench press, incline press and overhead press. They also used for squats and single leg squats.
Because the barbell glides so smoothly and there is no need to balance it as there is with the free weight version, it is usually possible to have more weight on the bar. This can be advantageous for challenging the larger muscle groups with more weight, hence more growth.
Doing your resistance training doesn’t have to be confined to any one type of equipmement. You could use all three of the types of equipment described above AND free weights too. I hope you’ve found this article helpful as you seek the best exercise equipment for seniors to further you overall fitness. I welcome your comments or questions below.-