Pack A Full Body Workout Into One Machine
How much room do you have in your house or apartment to dedicate to a home gym? Are you lucky enough to have an entire spare room? Are you keeping equipment in a guestroom? Or in the corner of the sitting room?
Perhaps you have taken over the garage or shed and compete for space with the tools and spiders! Most of us do not live in lavish properties and have to be economical with space.
When looking at workout gear, we must consider all the usual points like functionality, price, durability, and ease of maintenance but, ultimately, if there is no room for the machine then we have to pass.
Trade-offs between machines can be difficult, is it more important to train the upper body or lower body if you only have space for one piece of kit? Up until last year, most of us ‘solved’ this problem by going to our local gym.
However, with easy gym access off the table for the foreseeable future, we must grapple with this issue again and come up with a real solution. This is where all-in-one machines come into their own. In this post, we are going to explain what a multigym is and give you a template for a full-body at-home workout.
Exercises on a multigym: are they a proper workout?
A multi-gym, AKA an all-in-one, is a piece of fitness equipment that combines several types of gym machine into one. The primary reason people buy multigyms is because they save on space. Another sensible reason for purchasing a multigym is that they save on cost too, as compared to buying separate standalone pieces.
Obviously, our main concern is whether they deliver an effective workout – short answer, they do – but it is always good to have other rationales to support your purchase decision.
After all, if the perfect machine is too expensive and too cumbersome for you, then it’s not the perfect machine for you.
Can you build muscle with a multi-gym?
Multigyms are for strength training. Our favourite ones typically include pec decks, pulldowns, and leg extensions, or something similar. We have previously blogged about the importance of building muscle mass for your bone health and movement, as well as for the metabolic boost that muscle mass naturally creates and the physical appearance of being toned.
To maintain a balanced figure, it is important to regularly train the upper and lower body, even if your main body goals are only focused on one. Do not be the person who ‘skips leg day’!
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What exercises can you do on a multi gym?
While it’s going to depend on which home gym you buy and there are many different exercises each one can do, there’s a few core stations that any good multi-gym should include:
- Bench press – Pushing the weight away from your chest. Works all upper body muscles, especially chest.
- Pectoral ‘fly’– Where you pull two bars towards your chest in a circular motion. Great for training chest.
- Bicep curl – Most all-in-one gyms will have a curl bar connected to the stack for building biceps.
- Pull down bar – Reaching up, grabbing this bar and then pulling down will develop back muscles.
- Leg extension – The seated leg extension is another staple of home gyms. Good for your quad muscles.
Getting started: Multi gym workout plan for beginners
Are multi gyms good for beginners?
Provided you don’t go all ‘Arnie’ on your first session, and take things super-light on the weight stack, home gym machines are a great way to build your strength. The restricted motion of something like the bench press means there’s little room for error and injuries are less common.
To give you an idea of how easy it is to train with a multigym, we are going to now suggest a readymade training guide that you could follow. All-in-one machines vary in what they include, so bear in mind that this might need to be adjusted to suit your purchase.
Training your chest: the pec-dec
Starting with the pec-dec, this equipment works your chest muscles and the muscles at the front of your shoulder. Choose a weight appropriate to your ability and check that the height of the seat allows you to comfortably use the handles and arm pads.
You can also adjust the handles and pads to begin further back, depending on how flexible you are and how well developed your muscles are. When using the machine, keep your back straight and in contact with the back pads, your feet should remain grounded throughout.
Holding onto the handles, use your elbows to squeeze the pads together, maintaining control over the weights at all times. Do sets of 10-15 reps with 60 seconds of rest in-between. These can be adjusted as you become stronger.
Pulldowns engage your lats, which are the muscles on either side of your upper chest area. Sit comfortably in the seat after choosing the appropriate weight. Keep your shoulders back (no hunching!), lean yourself back slightly and pull down on the bar until your elbows come in towards your core.
You should feel your lats being engaged as you do this. Pause for a second or two before lifting your arms back up and repeating the move. Repeat in the set from above.
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Multi-gym leg exercises
Leg extensions require two careful settings that must be adjusted to suit your body. First, the back pad should angle you at a backwards-L (90-degree angle). Second, the lower back should touch just above the ankle when at rest.
Use a workout video if you need more detail on what this looks like. Sit back in the chair, look straight ahead, keep your toes pointing up and hold onto the handles next to your seat. Bring your legs up, hold for a second or two, then start a controlled downwards movement and pause again just before you hit rest.
Repeat in the set from above.
Mixing things up: multi gym cardio and more
Adding variation to your workout might seem difficult when strength machines are designed to be used in a careful and exact way, but what is really important is changing how your muscles are engaged.
Your benefits will plateau if you do not push yourself because muscle growth requires stress. To do this, change the length of the sets by adding more reps. Also, try shortening rest times between sets.
Add more weight and, for the pec deck, adjust the handles to begin further back. Playing with these factors can add variety to your workout, while still performing the same moves on the same machine.
To really mix things up, engage in active recovery between sets by adding in some cardio (we discussed the benefits of active recovery in this post). Jogging on the spot, jumping jacks or even grabbing a skipping rope for a few minutes will allow for a really beneficial active recovery.
There you have it! A simple, adjustable workout that will get you started on a multigym. All you need to do now is choose your workout playlist.