A Beginners Guide To Gym Equipment Part 2 0
in Fit on the Side

A Beginners Guide To Gym Equipment Part 2

beginners guide to gym equipment

A beginners guide to gym equipment part 2.  Last week was an attempt to demystify some of the leg machines that you see at your local gym, so today let’s examine the arm and upper body machines.

beginners guide to gym equipment


Lat Pull Down Machine. This machine works your upper back muscles and is not unlike a chin up, except that you don’t have to actually lift your body weight.  I’ll be honest that it often pains me to see people working out on this machine, as they jerk their bodies backwards and forwards, often grunting and looking like they are in pain.  When adjusting the seat, ensure that your feet are flat on the floor and that you are sitting up straight. Then, standing up, grab the bar with your hands wider than shoulder distance apart. As you sit, pull the bar down to roughly chest level, then let it up in a controlled manner and keeping your shoulders down. Focus on isolating your back muscles and engage your abdominal muscles to keep your body still. Unless you are working with a trainer, it’s probably best not to pull the bar behind your head. Start with a light weight and work your way up. You should feel fatigued after 8-10 reps.

Seated Overhead Press Machine. This machine works your deltoids and upper back muscles. Start in a seated position, upright with your abdominals engaged. The bar should be around shoulder height. Exhale as you press the bar upward. Remember to keep your shoulders down and really focus on a controlled movement. This is one one of those fantastic exercises which will help protect your shoulders as you age, when simple tasks like lifting a box or putting away some plates may become a challenge. As with all shoulder exercises, pain is not good, so start with a lighter weight and work your way up.

Pectoral Machine (Peck Deck Machine). This machine works your chest or pectoral muscles. Start by sitting upright and leaning gently against the backrest. Keep those abdominal muscles engaged and your arms bent at a 90 degree angle as you gently squeeze the pads in front of you, without letting them slam together. Release in a slow and controlled movement.

Chest Press Machine/Incline Press/Flat Press. This machine(s) works your chest muscles. In most gyms you’ll see three variants of this machine, which work a number of your upper body muscles including your pectorals, triceps, lats and deltoids. When starting the movement, make sure that your hands are in-line with your chest and keep your stomach muscles engaged.  There’s a lot of discussion about which of these machines is best, but for the average gym goer, it’s probably easiest to stick with the flat press.

Cable Cross Over Machine. This machine is a post in itself, as it is so versatile. You can do pretty much every exercise I’ve mentioned on this machine. It’s just a matter of adjusting the pulleys and the weights and suddenly you have a whole body workout.  What I like best about this machine, is that you have the control of machines but the freedom of free weights. Your core gets an additional challenge, since the exercises are performed standing upright.

Seated Row Machine. This machine works your mid back muscles. Start your workout by sitting upright, stomach muscles gently engaged and your gaze forward, keeping your ears between your shoulder. As you pull your arms back, feel your shoulders squeeze together without arching your back, then slowly return to your starting position.

beginners guide to gym equipment

Tips. Remember that for each machine and each arm motion, you are using your muscles in a slightly different way.  If you are unsure about the movement, put the machine on the lightest possible weight and try the movement. If you feel that you are jerking your body forward or back, adjust the seat. You can usually move it backward or forward so that the machine matches your range of movement. Never lock your arms when straightening them and always use your breath exhaling on exertion.  Keep your motions slow and controlled and add more weight in small increments as needed. Your upper body is comprised of many small muscles that don’t always like to engage when they should. Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask for help that’s what the staff is there for!


What’s your favourite upper body exercise?


*For more on a beginners guide to gym machines part 2 follow me on instagram and pinterest*
*images courtesy of Dollar Photo Club

You Might Also Like

Best Gifts For The Fitness Lover

How To Keep Your Diet On Track

5 Cardio Myths Debunked

Why Exercise Is Good For Your Skin

Great Metabolism Myths

The Basics Of Hip Stretches

Natural Energy Drinks

Best Exercises For A Desk Job

How to Stick With Your Diet When No One Wants You To

Ultimate Foot Guide And How To Relieve Foot Pain

What To Look For In A Smoothie

20 Minute Workout From FitWise

Best Exercises If You Do Manual Labour

Morning Stretches True North Fitness Guide

Do I Really Need To Workout

Foot And Ankle Exercises

Killer Foam Roller Ab Workout

How To Feel Confident About Your Diet

Muscle Imbalance And Knee Pain

How Much Weight Can You Lose In A Month

Stretching Mistakes You Might Be Making

Cute Workout Gear For Every Body Shape

How To Alleviate Back Pain

Should I Use A Heart Rate Monitor

How To Deal With A Bad Workout

How Important Is A Warmup

Your Workout Motivation

Free Weights VS Machines

Why You Shouldn’t Weigh Yourself

How To Be A Better Athlete

How To Maximize Your Gym Time

Best Headphones For Working Out

How To Stay Healthy In Winter

Pros And Cons Of The Elliptical

Best Exercises For a Toned Back

Your Guide To Killer Abs

No Gym Arm Workout

Is being thin enough

Exercise And Your Skin

Sports Drinks VS Water

Caffeine And Working Out

Diet And Fitness Tips You Need To Ignore

Best Complimentary Activity For Your Workout.

Working Out After 40

Best Stretches For Runners

4 Ways To Turn Your Walk Into A Workout

Best Exercises If You Are On Your Feet All Day

Fitness Fanatics Shopping Guide

Fitness Terms You Should Know

Toning VS Bulking Up

What To Eat Pre And Post Workout

5 Stretches To Do Before Bed

How To Incorporate Exercise Into Everyday

8 Ways To Learn To Love Running

What Is Your Perfect Workout

How To Stay Healthy While Traveling

How To Make Exercise A Habit

Must Do Morning Stretches

September Ab Challenge Week Three

How To Keep Gym Clothes Fresh

High Impact VS Low Impact

Shoulder Stretches

Yoga VS Pilates Which One Is For You

Why Do I Need To Stretch My Calves

Losing Weight In Your 40s

Diet Foods To Avoid

Theraband Workout

Best Low Impact Workouts

Get Fit The Easy Way

Post Workout Beauty Hacks

FitWise Straight Talk About Getting Fit And Healthy

10 Easy Ways To Get More Fit

Tips On Working Out In Summer Months

5 Best Abdominal Exercises

Benefits Of Walking

Why Not Drinking Enough Water Can Make You Fat

Best Stretches For Relaxation

Why Should You Meditate

Ballet Inspired Leg Workout

Working Out Diet And Your Period

How To Have Energy After Lunch

How To Cut 500 Calories A Day Without Exercise

5 Day Workout Plan Part 2

Losing Weight In 2017

Wrist Exercises For Bloggers

A Fool Proof Easy Way To Lose Weight

How To Wear Athleisure

Are you Over Exercising

Urban Hiking The New Workout

How To Get Your Diet Back On Track

How To Easily Get Fit And Healthy

The Truth About Protein Shakes

When To Listen To Your Body

How To Deal With Muscle Cramps

Underactive Thyroid And Weight Loss

The Truth About Abs

How To Choose The Best Running Shoes

Cold Weather And Muscle Pain

How To Improve Your Posture

Why What You Wear To The Gym Matters

Why You Are Doing Your Ab Workout All Wrong

Everyone Can Learn To Love Exercise

What To Do Post Workout

How To Treat Sore Muscles

Why Is Sitting Too Much So Bad

Summer Health And Beauty

All About Pilates

How To Increase Your Endurance

Top 10 Songs For The Gym

Muscle Imbalances And Upper Body Pain

What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Exercising

How To Feel Confident When Working Out

Why You Should Take A Dance Class Now

How To Become A Runner

How To Detox Your Body Naturally

Killer Abs Ball Workout

11 Most Common Workout Mistakes

Succeed At Working Out

How To Increase Your Bust Size

Beginners Guide To Gym Equipment Part 1

What To Eat Before A Party

How To Make A Short Workout Count

Why You Need To Cool Down Post Workout

Should You Exercise When You Are Sick

How To Increase Flexibility

Frequently Asked Fitness Questions

How To Maintain Weight Loss

Everything You Need To Be A Runner

October Fashion Beauty And Fitness Picks

What If I Hate The Gym

Ballet For Fitness: Is Back In Style

The Only Diet You Need Is Balance

Eat Carbs And Lose Weight

5 Day Workout Plan Part 1

My Gym Bag Essentials

How To Buy Workout Clothes

Is Running Bad For Your Knees

How To Start Running

How To Come Back After An Injury

FitWise A Sneak Peek

Best Arm Exercises For Summer 2015

How To Love Your Body

How To Relieve Joint Pain

How To Know If You Are Exercising Too Much

The Importance Of Cross Training

6 Tips To Stop Bloating

Talk Fitness With An Expert

Hit The Gym In Style

Run Better With These Easy Tips

How To Stay Healthy For The Holidays

What Is Pilates

How To Work With A Personal Trainer

Stay Fit And Healthy For The Holidays

Muscle Imbalance And Back Pain

September Ab Challenge Week One

Which Style Of Yoga Is Best For You

September Ab Challenge Week Four

How To Incorporate Pilates Into Everyday

What Is The Deal With All These Diets

7 Times It Is Okay To Skip A Workout

Tips On Getting And Staying Fit In 2016

How To Ease Sciatic Pain

Traveling With A Sensitive Stomach

7 Healthy Morning Habits for Looking And Feeling Your Best

Lean Greens Review

5 Daily Habits That Hurt Your Health

How To Deal With Bloating

Best Exercises To Tone Your Glutes

Muscle Pain VS Injury

Why Should Women Lift Weights

Fitness Myths Debunked

Why Your Workout Suddenly Feels Hard

September Ab Challenge Recap

How To Speed Up Weight Loss

Your Summer Fitness Guide

Is CrossFit Right For You

Tips For Getting Back To The Gym

Why Is Exercise So Important

How To Buy The Best Running Shoes

Is Training Harder Better

What To Do When You Plateau

6 Best Exercises For Runners

How To Feel Good About Your Body

How To Strengthen Your Bones

How To Actually Lose Weight

All About Your Knees

September Ab Challenge Week Two

What You Should Know About Fitness

Your Must Do Morning Workout

How To Get A Shapely Butt

Foods That Reduce Stress

How Breathing Can Improve Your Workout

Health Fitness And My Thyroid

Get Fit While Watching TV

Why You Are Not Losing Weight

Treadmill Running Charts

How To Workout In The Morning

Best Travel Workout

The Importance Of Stretching In Style

How To Curb Emotional Eating

How To Boost Your Metabolism

Best Foods To Give You Energy

Running Outdoors in Winter

Best Recipes For Food Sensitivities

Best Warmup For Your Workout

Can I Lose Weight And Still Eat Sweets

20 Minute Workout By FitWise

Best Stretches If You Sit At A Desk All Day

Best Stretches Pre And Post Swim

Why Do We Focus On Weight

When You Don’t Have Time To Workout

At Home Quickstart Workout

Home Gym Must Haves

How To Eat Healthy Without Trying

Pocket Fitness Guides

How To Choose A Personal Trainer

Top 5 Fitness Posts of 2015

Your At Home Workout Routine


  1. This makes me want to get a gym membership so badly. I need to actually do this. It could probably help with all my back problems I’ve been having, considering I have zero back muscles after spine surgery.
    Jenny // Mish Mosh Makeup

    1. I used to have a gym in my building (very common in Vancouver) and now that I don’t I miss is so desperately. If you have back issues you should definitely sign up with a trainer for a few sessions.

  2. Thanks for sharing..

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

    1. My pleasure!

  3. I seriously need to motivate myself this new year

    1. I totally know what you mean!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.