Bellingham Athletic Club

(360) 676-1800

Equipment Spotlight – Matrix Leg Press

One of our newest pieces the Matrix Leg Press is one of BAC’s most versatile pieces of equipment.

It provides a variety of adjustments with which each user can use to accommodate their size as well as the type of workout they wish to perform.

All the adjustments are highlighted in yellow and there is a menu of all the available adjustments listed above the weight stack.

The Matrix Leg Press features a large foot platform with marked quadrants so that the user may align their feet. It’s seat is adjustable from 180 degrees (flat) to 80 degrees (upright) with adjustable shoulder pads.

To adjust the platform use the yellow handle and knob to the right of the platform. It allows the user to adjust the platform closer or further away depending on the users leg length.

The weight stack resistance ranges from 15 to 305 lbs in 10 lb increments. For smaller increments the 2 lb steel add-on weights maybe be inserted above the weight stack. There are 4 (2 lb) add-on weights located to the left of the weight stack.

The Matrix Leg Press offers a variety of advanced options as well. If you would like to learn more about them or if you would like more instruction on how to use it properly please contact one of BAC’s Training Staff. We would be happy to assist you.

Equipment Spotlight – Hammer Strength Smith Machine

Smith Machine features:

  • 35-lb. rotating Olympic bar.
  • Bar travels on angled guide rods (see figure 3)
  • Bar has rotating safety hooks on each side of the bar that rotate into evenly spaced hooks the entire height of the machine on both sides. (Figure 4 and 5)
  • Uprights spaced evenly a part to allow a bench to be rolled into place for a variety of exercises.

Smith Machine usage:

  • Enter the Smith Machine from the back (Figure 2) so that upright hooks are facing you. This allows you to see the hooks and safely rotate the bar out of
    them and safely rotate them back in securely.
  • Keeping the safety hooks in front of you also allows you to follow the angle of the machine, which is the most efficient for your body.
  • If you have questions, please ask. We would be happy to help.

Equipment Spotlight: Matrix Selectorized Low Row Machine

This Fall, BAC added to its Matrix Line of Selectorized Resistance Training Equipment by adding the Matrix Low Row.  It now gives a very nice additional option to our pulling movement equipment.  The Low Row offers a number of options. First,  it provides a wide-angled plate for stable foot placement. Second, a long-angled seat allowing the legs to drop out of the way so that the arms have an unrestricted range of motion when pulling, Third, the option to use a number of different handles, and Fourth a weight stack that ranges from a starting weight of 12 lbs. to a maximum weight of 312 lbs. in 12 lb. increments. We have been very pleased to add this to our resistance training equipment menu. Our hope is that you will as well! Please consider giving it a test drive. If you have any questions regarding how to operate the Low Row please let us know.

Matrix Selectorized Low Row Machine

New Downstairs Dumbbell Area!

One of the features of BAC’s new Downstairs Weight Training Space is a new Dumbbell Area!

There you will find two Matrix Adjustable Dumbbell benches that will adjust from a flat to an upright position along with Urethane covered Hex Dumbbells in 2.5 lb increments from 5-35 lbs. Giving you smaller weight increments for steady progress for a variety of exercises. Take a peek on your next visit!

Equipment Spotlight: Matrix Back Extension

Located in our new strength training area downstairs you will see our new Matrix Back Extension selectorized weight machine. What makes this piece unique is that it is very adjustable, so it can fit a multitude of users. The foot plate adjusts to fit leg length, the movement pad adjusts for your torso length, and the movement arm can be adjusted for different ranges of motion. Give it a try and see how well it works for you.

Matrix Back Extension

Smith Machine

February’s “Equipment Spotlight” is a piece of resistance equipment called the “Smith Machine”. It is a plate loaded piece of equipment in which weight plates may be added to the bar on each side, much the same way as a regular barbell. The difference with the Smith machine bar is that the bar travels on two guide rods with safety hooks attached to each side of the bar. This gives the bar a stable path of movement with the ability to hook the bar safely at different heights.

Unlike a regular Olympic Free Weight Bar which weighs 45 lbs. unloaded, the Smith Machine Bar weighs only 35 lbs. The Bar is counter-balanced with two weights suspended by cables within the sides of the piece to offset the weight of the bar.

When using this piece it is important to face the right direction to take advantage of the angling of the uprights. The image to the right shows the correct direction to face while using the Smith Machine. This allows you to not only take advantage of the angle of the rods but also allows you to see the safety hooks.

One plus to the Smith Machine is the stability and safety it provides users. Especially first-time weight trainers. The stability that the Smith Machine provides can also be a drawback, as the muscle stabilizers do not have to work as hard.

Overall the Smith Machine is a versatile piece of equipment that we can use to perform a variety of exercises. From Squats to Split Stance Squats, to Bench Press, Incline Press, Decline Press, Shoulder Press, Standing Rows, and Bent-Over-Rows just to name a few. We also can use the bar for bodyweight oriented exercises like Elevated Push-ups, Horizontal Rows, and Assisted Squats.

There are definite pluses and minuses to the Smith Machines use but as with most resistance pieces and exercises, the appropriate application is the key to getting the results that we seek.

If you would like to receive more information on how to use the Smith Machine please contact our Personal Training office. We would be glad to help you.

What’s a Kettlebell?

A Kettlebell or in Russian “Girya” (ball or bell with a handle) was used over 350 years ago in Russia, as a certified handled counterweight for dry goods on market scales. Kettlebell lifting is the national sport of Russia with national championships held each year.

In the Russian Military, recruits are required as part of their training to use kettlebells. Kettlebells come in a range of styles/shapes and weights.  They are primarily used for swinging, throwing, juggling, pressing, and holding type exercises.

What’s the difference between Kettlebells?

There are basically two different styles of Kettlebells. In the picture below, you see that the black Kettlebell has a thicker handle and a smaller body whereas the yellow Kettlebell on the right has a smaller handle and a much bigger body.

The yellow Kettlebell is what they call a “Competition” Kettlebell named for its use in Kettlebell Competitions. The thickness of the handle and diameter of the bell are exactly the same in each weight. It allows for a smooth technique adaptation from one weight to the next.

The “Competition” Kettlebell is much easier to swing than its counterpart which makes it a favorite with trainers and lifters alike. At BAC we feature “Competition” Kettlebells as a number of our staff were trained by World Champion and Master of Sports Coach Valery Federenko.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can add Kettlebell training to your workout please speak to one of our BAC trainers.

Weight Stacks

At BAC we feature Cybex Selectorized Weight Stack Circuits comprised of VR-1 and VR-3 models.

Cybex VR-1 models have numbered weight stacks and either come with the same size plates in the entire stack or have a graduated weight stack that has smaller plates then transition into larger ones. The numbers on the plates provide an index as to how many plates there are. The plate number does not reflect the amount of weight each plate represents they are for index purposes. Each machine also has an add-on plate that hangs right next to the weight stack to make smaller weight increases.

Cybex VR-3 models have the approximate weight imprinted on plates and progress in 20lb increments. To one side of each stack are 3-round 5lb add on weights to allow 5lb increases prior to moving to the next plate.

Cybex Selectorized Weight Stack Equipment are variable resistance machines, which means as the resistance is lifted the weight changes through the range of motion giving more resistance when you have a mechanical advantage and less resistance when you do not. To allow the machine to efficiently deliver the appropriate resistance through the range of motion the user needs to move the resistance at a slow controlled speed. A typical recommendation is a 2-4 second lift, 1-2 second pause, and a 4-6 second lowering then repeat.

If you have any questions regarding the usage of our Cybex Equipment please see one of our BAC Personal Training Staff. They would be happy to help!

Treadmill Q & A

What is the lowest speed the Treadmill begins with?: .5 mph

What is the Highest Speed the Treadmill will run?: 12 mph

What is the Lowest % Grade/Incline the Treadmill will do?: 0% Grade/Incline

What is the Highest % Grade/Incline the Treadmill will do?: 15% *Woodway Performance Treadmill will Incline to 25% Grade.

Once we adapt to our initial treadmill workout intensity what variables can we manipulate to create a progressively challenging workout?:
1. Speed/mph: walk, jog, or run at a faster speed.
2. % Grade/incline: increase the height of the treadmill to walk, jog, or run up an increasingly higher incline.
3. Duration: Increase the amount of time you walk, jog, or run.
4. Load: Increase the amount of weight you carry while walking, jogging, or running i.e. weighted vest.

Trivia: Walking at 1% grade/incline is equivalent to walking on flat ground.

Stability Ball T-spine Extension

Preparation: Knees and hips close to the stability ball with hips back toward heels. Chest and abdomen lying on the ball with both hands behind the head. Spine should be in a neutral position.

Movement: From initial position lift the upper chest, shoulders and head up off the ball. Note it is a very small motion. The goal is to get into T-spine (Thoracic Spine) extension. Thighs, hips, and abdomen should remain in contact with the ball. Slowly lower back to the start and repeat.

Benefit: Most daily activities we participate in we have a forward flexed posture. T-spine extension assists us in not only strengthening the area but helping our mobility in our upper back. If you have questions regarding this exercise please contact one of our Personal Training Staff.