Because it's January, I'm guessing that your gym is pretty crowded right now. Instead of waiting in line for the always popular treadmill or elliptical machine, use this time to try something new.
So many great pieces of cardio equipment get overlooked even though they provide the same (if not better) results as the old standbys. Here are five machines that give great workouts but won't keep you waiting in line to use.
- Rowing Machines: Since I'm trying to build more strength in my upper body, I'm all about the rowing machine. It gives my arms an incredible workout, keeps my heart pumping at a steady pace, and engages my core and leg muscles. If you're concerned about calories, don't worry - in an hour, a 130 llb. woman can burn up to 560 calories!
Arc Trainers: The Arc Trainer is a modern day throwback to your parents' Nordic Track. When moving, it looks like a mash-up of the elliptical, treadmill, and stair climber.
You get onto the two platform steps and swing your legs back and forth in a scissor-like motion. It's a great machine because it doesn't put a lot of impact on your joints and it's really easy to up your workout by adjusting the speed and resistance.
Stationary Bikes: If I need a quick workout before I strength train, I hop onto a stationary bike. I like it because it doesn't put a lot of impact on my knees or ankles and there's quite a few workout options. It's great for burning calories, pumping up the heart, and creating some serious tone in your legs.
The next time you're at the gym, try doing interval sprints on an exercise bike. The challenging pace will keep you from getting bored and your heart and lungs will love you for it.
The StepMill: The StepMill is sort of like a perpetual escalator to nowhere - the stairs keep moving and moving with no end in sight. This is a great workout that gets your heart rate jumping and your legs nice and strong.
A little trick I like to do is to walk sideways up the steps - it's a great way to work the inner and outer thigh area.
Here's a great interval workout for the StepMill to try next time you're at the gym.
VersaClimber: The VersaClimber mimics what it's like to vertically climb up something. To start, you grasp onto the upper handles with your hands and put your feet onto two steps. From there you work against the resistance to push and pull your hands and legs up and down.
At my gym, I always see the fittest looking people working out on the VersaClimber, and I do mean working out. By the time they get off of it, they're usually dripping in sweat and out of breath. It's a great machine for interval training, gives you one hell of a cardio workout, and strengthens both your upper and lower body.
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