What are the Different Types of Resistance Training Machines?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 January 2020
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Resistance training is any type of strength training that forces the muscles of the body to contract as they oppose a force, or resistance unit. Resistance training machines can help a person participate in such exercises, and the range of machines include very simple elastic bands called resistance bands, as well as more complex machines that feature cables and pulleys to activate resistance units. Any machine in a gym or fitness center that uses resistance in the form of elastic bands, hydraulics, or weights can be considered one of the many resistance training machines available.

Multi gyms are resistance training machines that feature a variety of exercises based on a cable system. The cables run through pulleys and feature hooks at the end of the cable upon which different handles can be affixed to vary the types of exercise performed. The cables attach at the other end to a slotted bar that slides into plates of weights. The user can slip a pin through the weights and the bar to adjust how much resistance a particular exercise will utilize, thereby allowing for growth and progress in one's workout. The specific exercises available on a multi gym depend on how the apparatus is designed: seats, supports, cushions, and strategically placed pulleys throughout the frame can allow for biceps curls, fly exercises, calf and leg exercises, chin-ups and pull-ups, and so on.


Other resistance training machines may focus on one exercise or one part of the body. Some gyms have several machines set up in a row to allow a person to do a circuit training workout, in which aerobic exercise is combined with strength training. The strength training machines focus on one part of the body but sometimes offer more than one type of exercise. A squat machine, for example, allows a user to strengthen the legs and core, and the weights are adjustable. A chest press machine will work similar to the multi gym, but it will only offer that one exercise. A cable machine can work the arms, chest, and back, and the adjustability of the unit will allow for several exercises rather than one.

Some of the simplest resistance training machines are not really machines at all, but instead simple elastic bands with handles on each end that allow the user to attach one end to a fixed object and pull on the other. The middle of the band can also be looped around a foot, and both handles can be pulled on for biceps curls. Several other exercises can be done with these simple, inexpensive, and portable bands.


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