|Original Article: Gym Appratus Guide
|Just what apparatus does a serious bodybuilder
need to work out with. Starting off with the
basics, you need a flat bench with stands and a pair
of squat racks. Next most in the list, maybe an
inclinable bench, leg curl machine, Chin up bar, pull
down machine and so on. It may seem a lot but a
home gym with just a flat bench, squat racks and a
set of heavy enough weights will allow you to do a
very productive workout if you know how to. For more
variety most people choose to join a public gym
which may range from $120 to $1200 per year.
Today vinyl-covered weight plates are seldom seen.
Vinyl-covered plates contain cement filling. They
usually last about 2 years before they split open and
become useless. Another draw back is that vinyl
plates are bulky and you can seldom load more
than 70 kg on a bar, often far less.
On the other hand, cast -iron weights hold far more
weight per unit length and comes in plates
weighing 20kg or even 45kg. Vinyl plates cannot be
obtained in plates more than 10kg. For those who
have a higher budget, I recommend rubber-covered
cast iron plates. These are kinder to the floor and
made less noise. Plus they look cool like they are
made of the same material as the first Batman's
suit. Nowadays, standard bars with smooth surface
ends are hard to find in Singapore, most shops now
carry screw thread bars. I personally still prefer the
first type with collars that have two buttlefly screw
each. But these are extinct already.
More and more public gyms have Olympic weights.
In spite of Olympic weights usually cost more than
double the price of regular cast iron, and that the
Olympic bar will be three to four times the cost of a
standard bar, serious trainers never fail to seize the
chance to use an Olympic bar in place of a regular
bar. The precision in an Olympic set made it the top
choice. Olympic bars allow plates to be loaded on
each side separately without it becoming tilted to
one side. Olympic bars also have revolving ends
that helps to stabilise the bar during lifting actions. 7
feet bars are good for big compound movements
like the presses, squats and deadlifts. For arms
exercises, shorter 5 feet Olympic bars and E-Z bars
are more ideal.
The best belts are nearly always made from thick
leather, although there are synthetic ones in the
market now. Belts are necessary to the bodybuilder,
especially for exercises like squats, standing
presses, rowing, cleans and deadlift movements.
The main reason for wearing a belt is to add
support to the lower back. There is no doubt that you
can lift more in most movements wearing a belt. For
example in squat, as your legs straighten, the
tummy is inclined to push outwards, while the lower
back may be under the pressure to round out.A
tight beltat this critical period will brace the entire
mid section, hold you in to give added stability to
your entire squatting action. As a consequences you
will be able to use more weight, which in turn
translate into more muscles.
You do not have to wear your belt for the whole
workout. You can hang it up when you don't need it
or simply wear it loose, tightening it just prior to
performing the aforementioned heavy exercises.
Weightlifting belts traditionally comes in 4-inch and
6-inch widths. The 4 inch version is the "official" one
permittedin Amateur competition . The 6 inch variety
is not permitted in the official competition because
of the greater supports it affords.
Dipping belts are very important to the serious
bodybuilders, and are worn around the hips and
occasionally around the neck. Their purpose is to
enable a bodybuilder to easily support additional
weights while performing such exercises as dips
and chins. Plates can be threaded on the chain part
of the belt or dumbells hung over the chain. A
dipping belt can make several nonapparatus
exercises into first-class progressive resistance
A muscular neck is very physically impressive and
helps to prevent neck injuries from accidents. Neck
work can be done after regular training sessions or
at home. Training neck with traditional bridging
exercises may result in neck’s vertebrae problems
later in life. Neck muscles can be developed and
strengthen by safer exercises.
Certain gyms have excellent four-way neck machine
(like those from Nautilus and Cybex). Head straps
can be very effective if they are used safely and
resistance applied very slowly. Low reps neck work
should be avoided. Be careful when doing neck
work. The neck is a delicate structure and is easily
strained. Never train neck to failure in a set. Just
stick to grind out sets of 10-15 reps with a moderate
weight and add weight in small increment when
comfortable. Neck training does not need to be
pushed like other body parts. There should be no
extremes of neck movement especially to the sides.
This apprarus effectively adds resistance to side-to-
side and fronr-to-back movements of the head.
The trouble of not using straps is that the grip will
fail before what the body can pull. That will hinder
the development of the back muscles. You will be
worried of the bars falling off your hand than repping
Wrist strap and hooks can usually enable you to pull
more poundage, whether it is on a barbell,
dumbbell, pulley or machine. While this hinders
improvement in gripping strength, and may lead to a
decrease in gripping strength, it does enable you to
work the target muscles more intensively.
Do not strap on for the first time and increase the
weight of exercise by 10kg-20kg. If you do, you may
injure your shoulder and elbow connective tissue
haven’t been conditioned to the poundage
increases. This is especially so if you’re yanking the
bar instead of pulling it. Increase the poundage in
small increments over a few weeks and keep the
form tight! That will prevent injuries.
This is a versatile and powerful equipment. It allows
partials. Using power rack as the mainstay in
training will help you realise your maximum
potential. Power rack is a tool that can take an
intermediate level bodybuilder to advance level.
Power rack can be used as a safety for novice
Jumping rope is great for calve and co-ordination
training. They are also a great warm up exercise 1-2
minutes is enough to get the body ready for training.
The longer you bodybuild, the greater will be the
poundages you use in each exercise. The heavier
the weights you use, the greater the strain on your
joints and the greater the potential of injuring one of
them. The heavier you train the more you need to
rely on belt and joint wraps. Most bodybuilders use
a weight lifting belt firmly around their waists
whenever they are doing squats, overhead presses
and heavy back exercises like deadlift, barbell rows
etc. The belt adds stability to the middle of the body,
protecting the lower back and abdomen from injury.
Joint wraps can protect a joint weakened by
previous injuries. Wraps come in 2 types, neoprene
or elastic fabric strips, which can be wrapped
around a joint. Neoprene are good for injury
rehabilitation as it trapped heat and the velcro type
can be tightened to provide support.
Wrapping a joint take a couple of turns around the
limb 4-6 inches above or below the joint, wrapping
over the first turn of the fabric to anchor one end of
the wrap. Then wrap upwards and downwards in
spirals, be sure that the wrap overlaps itself enough
so that you always have 2 layers of fabric over the
joint. When you finish the wrap tuck the loose end of
the fabric under one or two of the coils to anchor it
securely. You can put a rubber tube over the joint
first and then cover the joint with wraps with the
method previously discussed. The combination of
rubber and fabric wraps is very therapeutic,
because moist heat is kept around the joint as the
fabric support the joint while allowing you to perform
leg exercise without worsening the injury.