Monday, January 16


The Quad: A UCLA student’s guide to the most common gym exercises


(Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body)

(Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body)


When asked about my gym habits, I often joke that I spend a third of my time trying to decide which equipment to use, another third untying the knot in my earphones and only one third of my time actually working out.

With limited usage of only 30 minutes on each piece of equipment, it can be quite a daunting task trying decide your workout routine amid the variety of equipment choices in the John Wooden Center and Bruin Fitness Center. After experimenting with different types of equipment myself and doing research online, I’ve finally created this guide with five of the most popular pieces of equipment in John Wooden and B-Fit to help the lost gym-goers locate the fitness equipment best suited for them. Some of the data presented below is based on my own experience repeatedly with different equipment based on a body weight between 115 to 120 pounds.

1. TREADMILL
Brand in our gym: Life Fitness/Precor
Estimated calories burned per half hour based on personal experience: 200 (speed: 4.5 mph)
Estimated calories burned per half hour based on online research: 303 (body weight: 160 pounds, speed: 5 mph)
Muscle(s) used: Quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius and soleus, hip flexors, gluteal muscles and abdominal muscles.
How to use it: Get on the machine, insert your body weight and age, select your workout mode and start running. Be sure to start slow and gradually ease your speed up.

Exercise regime: Warm up for 5 minutes. Then follow this routine of speed bursts of working at your maximum speed and slow-pace recovery.

  • 1-minute speed burst, 4-minute recovery
  • 1-minute speed burst, 3-minute recovery
  • 30 seconds speed burst, 90-second recovery, repeat 6 times
  • 1-minute speed burst, 3-minute recovery
  • 1-minute speed burst, 4-minute recovery

2. ELLIPTICAL CROSS-TRAINER
A. Brand in our gym: Precor
Estimated calories burned per half hour based on personal experience: 250
Estimated calories burned per half hour based on online research: 183 (body weight: 160 pounds)
Muscle(s) used: Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and anterior tibialis.
How to use it: Place one hand on each handle, one foot on each pedal, and start pedaling. When the machine is activated, choose your workout mode. In order to put the elliptical to full use, don’t go hands-free – all your limbs should be moving.

B. Brand in our gym: Life Fitness
Estimated calories burned per half hour based on personal experience: 150
Estimated calories burned per half hour based on online research: 183
Muscle(s) used: Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and anterior tibialis.
How to use: Place one hand on each handle, one foot on each pedal, and start pedaling. When the machine is activated, choose your workout mode. In order to put the elliptical to full use, don’t go hands-free – all your limbs should be moving.

Exercise regime: Start by warming up for 3 minutes. Then follow the routine of speed bursts and slow-paces recovery below.

  • 5-second speed burst, 15-second recovery. Repeat once.
  • 30-second speed burst, 30 seconds of recovery. Repeat once.
  • 45-second speed burst, 45-second recovery.
  • 1-minute speed burst, 1-minute recovery. Repeat 3 more times.
  • 45-second speed burst, 45-second recovery.
  • 30-second speed burst, 30-second recovery. Repeat once.
  • 15-second speed burst, 15-second recovery. Repeat once.

These two brands differ in that the Precor Elliptical has less friction and is easier to pedal, resulting in more frequent pedaling and faster calorie burn than the Life Cycle Elliptical.

3. EXERCISE BIKE
Brand in our gym: Life Fitness
Estimated calories burned per half hour based on personal experience: 150
Estimated calories burned per half hour based on online research: 148 (body weight: 160 pounds)
Muscle(s) used: Quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius and soleus.
How to use it: Simply sit on the seat, secure your feet in the pedals, start pedaling and choose your workout mode.

Exercise regime: Start by warming up for 5 minutes. Next, follow this workout pattern.

  • 30-second speed burst, 30-second moderate speed pedaling, 1-minute recovery, repeat 4 times
  • 1-minute speed burst, 30-second moderate speed pedaling, 1-minute recovery, repeat 4 times
  • 45-second speed burst, 15-second recovery, repeat 3 times

4. ROWER
Brand in our gym: Life Fitness
Estimated calories burned per half hour based on personal experience: 200
Estimated calories burned per half hour based on online research: 219 (body weight: 160 pounds)
Muscle(s) used: Erector spinae, rectus abdominus, triceps, rhomboids, deltoids, trapezius, pectoralis major, wrist extensors and flexors, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, gastrocnemius and soleus.
How to use it: Secure your feet on the pads and sit back so your legs aren’t bent. Then grab the handles and pull back in until your hands are past your knees. Make sure the direction of your motion is horizontal to the floor. Then, bend your knees and go back up to complete the motion.

Exercise regime: Warm up for 3-5 minutes and follow the following pattern for speed bursts and recovery.

  • 500-meter speed burst, 2 minutes recovery. Repeat multiple times.
  • Cool down for 3-5 minutes at a comfortable pace.

5. Dumbbell
Estimated calories burned per half hour based on personal experience: N/A
Estimated calories burned per half hour based on online research: N/A
Muscle(s) used: Depends on usage
How to use it (a few popular dumbbell exercises):

A. Dumbbell Bent Over Row
Bend your body down from your waist in a 90-degree angle and also bend your knees slightly. With a dumbbell in each hand, keep in the bent over position, and with your back straight, repeat the motion of pulling both dumbbells up to your chest.

B. Dumbbell Hammer Curl
Stand up straight and place your arms at your sides. Hold one dumbbell in each hand and one at a time, curl each dumbbell towards the opposite shoulder.

C. Dumbbell Step-ups
Find an elevated platform. Then with a dumbbell in each hand, arms hanging at your sides, step up onto the platform with one leg. Then step down from the platform, switch to the other leg and step up again.

When working out, whether it’s using the equipment listed above or performing some other form of exercise, it is crucial to stretch and warm up in advance in order to avoid injury. A regulated workout routine is also important in order to burn fat instead of paying random visits to the gym. In the end, working out is not simply a body-building process, but a practice of persistence.

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Yixuan Jiang is a Daily Bruin blogging contributor. She is particularly interested in writing about issues concerning health, popular culture and media censorship.


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