If you are not practicing proper techniques when lifting with Nautilus equipment, then you are putting yourself at a high risk for injury. Using machines for strength training seems very simple, however, when we are not focusing, become fatigued or act lazy our form begins to suffer. Incorrect strength training methods are a main cause of injuries such as sprains, dislocations, and tendonitis. People who continue with unsafe techniques develop bad habits which may lead to chronic injuries including nerve damage, rotator cuff pains or muscle overloads. We need to take our time and focus on every machine, set, and repetition. Below are Nautilus technique tips that, when used properly, can maximize each machine’s intended benefits without harming the body.
Tip No. 1 – Seat Level: The first step in working Nautilus machines is adjusting the seat levels to fit your needs. For example, if you are using a preacher curl machine, then you need to change the seat so your elbow is bending on the axis of rotation point (instructions given by the machine show where this point is located). Raising or lowering the seat level, even one or two notches, will prevent incorrect use of the elbow and unwanted injuries. Also, it will enhance the intended muscle, in this case, the bicep.
Tip No. 2 – Posture: Always sit straight up and maintain good posture throughout the exercise. Do not jerk while lifting the weights. The more you jerk the lift, the more you invite injuries to the lower back, spine and neck. When a resistance is jerked, up to four times the forced used is directed in the joints and other muscles.
Tip No. 3 – Range of Motion: Each repetition performed should be as complete as possible, from full extension to full flexion. If you are not contracting the muscle completely, then the entire muscle is not being used, thus not producing results. However, when you are at full extension never lock. Always leave the elbow or knees with a little flexibility so that you can minimize injury to the joint.
Tip No. 4 – Breathe: Remember to breathe normally while you strength train. Regular exhaling while you lift can prevent your blood pressure from reaching dangerous levels.
Tip No. 5 – Pace: You do not have to go fast on the machine, try using the muscle and not the momentum. When in doubt, move slower, not faster. If you make an attempt to go at a nice and steady pace, then you will probably not ruin your posture, lock a joint or forget to breathe.
Tip No. 6 – Gripping: Completely grip the handles with your thumbs wrapped around the handle. Most people just push the handle without gripping around it. By doing so, you might lose control of the exercise and have the weight fall back towards you causing an injury. Keep your grip firm, but not too tight because holding that firmly can raise blood pressure.
These are basic, strength training tips that you should remember as you begin your Nautilus workout. For any assistance or more information, stop by Clark Fitness Office and ask for a fitness trainer.