Stretching Myself on the Rack

While my title might imply torturous methods, I’ve found a way to expand my work out regimen that’s helping me make progress and I’d like to share it with you.

I’ve been going to the gym 3-5 times a week for the last 6 months. When I started at the gym, I got an introductory session to acquaint myself with the equipment, including the weight lifting machines because I was determined to do weight lifting along with cardio.

Using weight lifting machines has been a great way for me to reshape my body. Slowly, over these past 6 months, some of my body fat has been transformed into muscle. (I know that’s not what actually happens, but you know what I mean.)

And weight machines are an excellent way to get started because the machines are easy to use, and have more controlled movements than free weights. I also liked how I could see my progress on the weight machines as I was able to increase the amount of weight over time.

I had a lengthy discussion with the primary trainer at the gym about how I seem to have hit a plateau on the weight machines. Even though I’m doing my regular workouts, I don’t see the kinds of results I got in the first six months. My body has adapted to my workout, and I haven’t changed things up enough.

The trainer suggested it was time for me to head over to the weight rack, and begin using free weights. He was nice enough to show me several exercises, and explained how I could do all of the exercises I was doing on the machine with free weights.

One thing that immediately surprised me was the extreme difference in the amount of weight I could lift. With the free weights, I felt like a wimp! The trainer said that’s normal. He said that I might be able to lift 30% of the amount of weight I was doing on the machine because free weights require more muscle groups to be engaged since there is no machine there to limit and control the movement of the weight.

But guess what? After only a few sessions with lighter weights at the free weight rack, I’m already seeing a difference in my workouts at the machines! (Yes, I’m still working out on all the machines I’d been using, plus adding new exercises with the free weights.)

I’m very excited about this new breakthrough I seem to be having with the free weights. I’ve got to be patient for the results, but I’d like to see where I am in another 3 weeks of doing free weights plus the weight machines, plus my cardio.

So, if you’re exclusively using weight machines to do your lifting, consider going to the rack!

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