By: Erin Kelly
Walking into your local gym or fitness studio can be intimidating. Most personal trainers look like they could crush you with their pinky toes, and the torture devices -- or as some people call them, exercise machines -- cast ominous shadows that make you second guess going near them, much less using them.
To help you navigate this confusing world, here are the only contraptions worth your time during your next gym sesh.
Many people avoid the rowing machine because it's unfamiliar. But with proper form and a learned, powerful leg drive, rowing is an amazing exercise for whole-body strength and power, says Garner Pilat, fitness manager at Orangetheory Fitness in Brooklyn Heights. "While rowing is a low impact exercise, it's also a full-body movement utilizing an estimated 80% of your muscular system. And it burns lots of calories!"
Want to pull off a pull-up, but finding it kind of... impossible? Don't just dangle there. An assisted pull-up machine can help accomplish your goal, says Mindy Kim, yoga instructor at TruFusion. The machine uses counterbalance weights to make the exercise easier, yet effective. Pull-ups involve just about every upper-body muscle between your waist and neck, meaning you'll get the same benefits of bicep curls, tricep dips, and side bends in one movement -- while building enough strength to eventually do the exercise on your own.
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