Look to the less- used ma­chines for a work- out

The Witness - Wheels - - FEATURES HEALTH -

GYM go­ers seek­ing to boost their work­outs might do well to aim for the lessused equip­ment be­yond the busy rows of tread­mills and el­lip­ti­cal train­ers that dom­i­nate the cen­tre of the car­dio floor, fit­ness ex­perts say.

What the rower and the mov­ing stairs may lack in traf­fic, they can make up for in ef­fec­tive­ness and in­ten­sity for peo­ple will­ing to think out­side the box.

“What’s the best piece of car­dio equip­ment? My short an­swer is the one no one’s us­ing,” said ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist Tom Hol­land, au­thor of Beat the Gym. Peo­ple tend to do what they’re good at and what they see oth­ers do­ing, he said.

Hol­land’s favourite un­der- ap­pre­ci­ated ma­chine is the mov­ing stairs.

“It’s tougher than the tra­di­tional step­ping ma­chine, harder to cheat on and usu­ally hid­den away in dark re­cesses of the gym,” he said.

The tread­mill is the most used ma­chine, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Health, Rac­quet and Sportsclub As­so­ci­a­tion ( IHRSA), fol­lowed by re­sis­tance ma­chines and el­lip­ti­cal train­ers.

Stair climbers and re­cum­bent cy­cles are among the most ig­nored, it says.

Hay­ley Zawadzki, per­sonal train­ing manager at the New York Health and Rac­quet Club ( NYHRC) fit­ness cen­tre chain in Man­hat­tan, favours the row­ing ma­chine.

“It burns a high num­ber of calo­ries in a short amount of time, ac­ti­vates large mus­cle groups and is also good for train­ing car­dio en­durance for marathon­ers and triath­letes,” she said.

Zawadzki be­lieves the rower is not very popular be­cause it takes some guid­ance to use prop­erly. “As a warm- up, it’s a great way to loosen up the body, break a quick sweat,” she said. “Our train­ers use it in cir­cuit train­ing as a car­dio burst be­tween strength- train­ing in­ter­vals.”

Nasario Meija, vice pres­i­dent at Crunch Fit­ness, says that just as the rower is not only for ath­letes, the re­cum­bent bike, which puts rid­ers in a laid- back po­si­tion, is rec­om­mended for begin­ners.

“It does not re­quire as much dy­namic move­ment as a rower or a tread­mill,” Meija said. “It’s a good start­ing point into a pro­gres­sive car­dio rou­tine, or for peo­ple with lower back or knee prob­lems be­cause it’s very soft on the joints.”

Hol­land says its a mis­take al­ways to do the same ma­chines in the same or­der. “We need to mix it up,” he said. “Start ev­ery work- out with an ex­er­cise you don’t like, or use one piece of equip­ment you’re not used to, and the body will re­spond.”

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Next time you go to

gym, try the mov­ing stairs for your car­dio

work- out.

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