Fitness Equipment Guide

FITNESS EQUIPMENT GUIDE

Treadmill Hire

Our comprehensive guide to fitness equipment gives you advice on the all of our gym equipment available to hire. 

Treadmills are great for an all over body work out which exercises both the upper and lower muscle groups at the same time.  They're a great choice for anyone from a beginner who's new to exercise to an experienced athlete.  Hire a treadmill from us and you will see that it simulates the action of walking, jogging or running and a good aerobic workout can be achieved with all 3 activities.  Treadmills are essential to running enthusiasts as they compliment outdoor running; they're particularly useful when the weather is either bad in the winter, or just too hot and sunny in the summer.  Using a treadmill is not only less stressful on your joints than running on the road, it's also much safer than dodging the traffic or risking passing traffic on country lanes.

Good quality treadmills like ours have extra cushioned decks to help protect your knee joints and wide, long belts to give you space to run freely.  The belts can be set to varying speeds so you can choose to walk, jog or run, depending on your level of fitness and your requirements.  Good treadmills allow you to set the incline at a wide range of heights to simulate hill walking/running and to make your work out more challenging.  Our treadmills have massive inclines if required so you can push yourself to the limits in order to achieve your own personal fitness goals.

How to use a Treadmill

If you're new to treadmills, it's essential that you take it easy and start slowly.  Stand on the deck with your feet a comfortable space apart.  Attach the safety clip to your shorts or top so that if you move too far away from the console, the belt will immediately cut out and the treadmill will stop to avoid injury to yourself.  Set the belt speed very low at about 2 miles per hour; you can always turn it up once you're used to the movement.

You can hold onto the hand rails if you prefer but it's best to let go as soon as you feel stable enough, so you can exercise your upper body as well.

Keep your focus straight ahead of you to help maintain your balance and stand up straight with your shoulders back.  Walk or run as if you would normally and allow your arms to swing freely and naturally.

As you gain confidence or if you're already an experience treadmill user, you can increase the belt speed and incline to make your workout more challenging.  There are multiple exercise programmes that can be set on the console of a treadmill to vary your workouts and help you maintain motivation.

Exercise Bike Hire

Exercise bikes are a great way to get fit or to maintain your fitness levels.  If you hire an exercise bike from us you'll quickly realise that they're a safe low impact way to exercise with minimal stress on your joints and they're perfect for warming up or cooling down before and after sporting activities.  Exercise bikes are very easy to use.  Unlike traditional bikes, they're stable so you don't have to worry about balance.  You can make your workout more challenging by adjusting the resistance settings and most static bikes have a range of exercise programmes available from the console to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Because you're not braving the elements on an exercise bike, it's possible to cycle for very long distances, which is why it's important to choose only the best bikes like ours, which have comfortable padded gel seats which are fully adjustable. There are several different types of exercise bike to choose from depending on your requirements. There's the regular upright bike, the recumbent bike and the race/spin bike.

Regular upright bikes are great for beginners as they're very similar to road bikes except of course they're static.

Recumbent bikes are where you sit in the seat and rest your back against the seat back. This is particularly useful if you're hoping to cover some extreme distances in your workouts or alternatively if you're not able to sit up for long periods of time.

How to Use an Exercise Bike

If you're a beginner or new to exercise, remember to start slowly and build your speed and distance as you get more confident. Exercise bikes are great for beginners as they're very simple to use but are very effective in burning fat and toning.

Sit on the bike and hold onto the handle bars. Make sure your feet reach the floor (but not completely flat on the floor - if they are you need to raise the seat a little). Place your feet on the pedals and ensure the foot straps are fitted snugly around your trainers, look straight ahead and begin pedalling. Start slowly and increase resistance as you become comfortable with the action.

You can choose one of the built in exercise programmes to alter your workout and help maintain your motivation.

Elliptical Cross Trainer Hire

The elliptical cross trainer is the perfect non-impact all over body workout which burns calories fast - you'll soon find this out if you hire an elliptical cross trainer from us! Cross trainers simulate walking, running and stair walking/running all whilst exercising your upper body and your arms at the same time. It's great for strengthening core muscles and your lower back. There is no other piece of gym equipment that works as many muscle groups as the cross trainer so if you only want to use one piece of equipment, the cross trainer would be an excellent choice.

How to Use an Elliptical Cross Trainer

Cross trainers take a little more getting used to than a treadmill or exercise bike but they're certainly not difficult to use. Most cross trainers have two sets of handles - one set remains static and the other set moves allowing you to exercise your upper body.

As a beginner, you may wish to use the static handlebars until you're more used to the movement of the machine. Step onto the cross trainer but bear in mind the steps are a little like pedals on a bike and will move once you put weight onto them.

Make sure your feet are aligned with your hips and stand up straight. Keep a small bend in your knees and begin pedalling slowly. Still hold onto the static handle bars and make sure the resistance level is on a low setting to begin with; you can increase this to 3 or 4 and above once you're comfortable with using the cross trainer. When you're ready to start using the moving handlebars, make sure you keep your arms very slightly bent at all times - even when extended away from you. To make your workout more challenging you can choose one of the built in programmes to help maintain your motivation levels.

ROWING MACHINES

Rowing machines are a good low impact way to improve or maintain your cardio-vascular fitness levels. If you hire a rowing machine from us you'll quickly see that rowers simulate the action of being on a rowing boat on a river and most of the key muscle groups are worked during this type of exercise. Using a rowing machine is particularly great for toning up and strengthening thighs, bottoms and biceps. Rowing is often referred to as strength endurance exercise and is an intense calorie burning form of exercise which makes it a great choice if you're embarking on a weight loss programme. Rowing machines can be used by beginners or professional athletes and are easy to use. Some models fold in half for storage purposes so they're perfect for use at home when space is at a premium.

How to Use a Rowing Machine

If you're a beginner with the rower, sit on the seat, strap your feet into the foot pedals and take the handlebars with your palms facing downwards. Keeping your wrists flat, extend your arms out in front of you towards the flywheel then slide forward in the seat until your lower legs are completely vertical and 90 degrees to the floor. When in this position, lean forward slightly from the hips. Extend your legs and push off against the foot pedals keeping your arms straight and your back firm. As your legs straighten, slowly bend your arms whilst leaning back from the seat, finishing this part with a very slight backwards lean.

Then bend your elbows and pull the handlebars in towards your stomach whilst extending your legs. Lean back slightly. Extend your arms thereby returning the handlebars back towards the flywheel - lean your upper body forward and gradually bend your knees sliding forward in the seat back to where you started.

Tips: don't lean too far back or too far forward at each stage of the row and don't pull hard on the handlebars - maintain a smooth action with both your arms and your legs.

VIBRATION PLATES

Vibration plates are often misunderstood and the misconception is that you can get fit by standing on a vibration plate. That is not the case and all the usual floor exercises you do on a mat can and should be done on a vibration plate. The reason the vibration plate is such a revolutionary piece of fitness equipment is that the machine vibrates which means that while you're exercising your muscles will contract so much more quickly than your body can achieve naturally if you were exercising without one, thereby making your muscles work harder. That's why a full body workout can be achieved in just 15 minutes on a vibration plate which is why they're the perfect choice if you don't have much time to devote to a fitness regime. Hire a vibration plate from us and you'll be able to work out at home whenever you have a spare 15 minutes!

Vibration plates were originally prescribed to astronauts prior to going into space. After considerable research, it was found that after using vibration plates, astronauts' muscles were much stronger and they had more stamina and so were able to sustain longer periods in space.

The research found that vibration plates promote endless health benefits including the obvious weight loss, toning, cellulite reduction etc. In addition, they're a great way to strengthen muscles, increase bone density, increase metabolic rates and increase circulation.

How to Use a Vibration Plate

Using a vibration plate is extremely simple. There are lots of exercises you can perform on a vibration plate such as squats. Begin by standing in the centre of the plate with your legs slightly apart and your feet flat on the plate. Perform the squat as you would on a mat although you may wish to hold on as the vibrations may make you lose your balance a little. If the vibrations are too intense either reduce the power level/frequency or keep your knees slightly bent at all times to avoid the vibrations travelling upwards.

Push ups are fantastic on the vibration plate. Start with either your knees or feet on the ground and place your hands on the plate. To make the exercise harder, do the opposite by having your knees or feet on the plate and your hands on the ground.

Lunges are another good example of exercises on a vibration plate. Perform lunges facing the control panel and as you would on an exercise mat.

If you hire a vibration plate from us you'll receive a poster which details lots of exercises that can be done on the plate. You'll also receive attached arm/leg straps and handles for bicep and tricep curls.