Bellingham Athletic Club

Equipment Spotlight – Hammer Strength Iso-Lateral Plate Load

Located in our upstairs Fitness Area is our 5-piece plate loaded upper body Hammer Strength Circuit. Shoulder Press, Chest Press, DY Row, Row and Pulldown. What’s unique about these pieces are that they what Hammer Strength calls their “Iso-Lateral” pieces.

What that means is the movement arms are independent of each other forcing you to work both arms equally. Each piece’s movement arms can be used in tandem or one at a time giving you a variety of different workout options.

Each piece is plate loaded so you select the amount of weight you wish to lift and slide the plates on each post of the movement arms. Make sure to load both sides equally.

The seats on all the units are adjustable to fit the size of the user. If you have any questions on any of the Hammer Strength pieces, please ask one of the BAC Personal Training Staff. They would be happy to assist you!

Equipment Spotlight – Nautilus Gravitron Pull-up Dip

Pull-ups and Dips have been Strength Training exercise staples for generations. Unfortunately for those of us that do not possess the requisite upper body strength to lift our body weight up it’s a near impossible task. Our Nautilus Gravitron Pull-up Dip machine is different than a standard pull-up or dip station in that its resistance plates provide the user with assistance rather than resistance.

As you move the pin down the stack and increase the weight you systematically reduce the amount of body weight you need to lift to complete a pull-up or dip. The weight stack offsets your body weight and provides you with as much assistance as you need, not resistance. This allows you to build up your upper body strength gradually with the end goal at some point to be able to lift your own body weight.

To use the Gravitron simply set the desired assistance weight you need, climb the steps to the top steps, grasp the dip handles or the pull-up handles, place one knee on the knee pad followed by the 2nd knee.  Your body weight will slowly lower the pad allowing you to do either do a dip or pull-up. The dip handles are tapered from wide opening down to a narrow opening to accommodate your shoulder width whereas the pull-up handle offer a variety of hand placements and widths you can use.

On completion of your set of pull-ups or dips slowly bring the knee platform down so that you can step down with one foot onto one of the steps then slowly begin lowering the weight stack down until it rests back on the weight stack then remove your other knee from the knee pad. Hold on to the dip handles and descend down the steps back to the ground.

A feature for those users that wish to perform the exercise with their body weight without assistance you can do that by removing the weight pin then pushing the knee pad down toward the floor and then inserting the weight pin into the hole on the bottom of the frame. This will hold the platform down out of the way so that the user can do body weight pull-ups and/or dips.

The Gravitron can be a nice addition to your normal workout routine. Give it a try and see what you think. If you like more information on how to operate the Gravitron please feel free to talk to one of the BAC Personal Training staff, they would be happy to assist you.

Equipment Spotlight – Matrix Rotary Hip Machine

If you are looking for a way to strengthen your hips through multiple ranges of motion the Matrix Rotary Hip Machine is your one-stop option! From the standing position, the Rotary Hip Machine allows users to strengthen each hip in Abduction (outer thigh/hip), Adduction (inner thigh), Flexion (frontal hip (hip flexors), and Extension (posterior hip (glute) and posterior thigh (hamstrings).  

The Rotary Hip is adjustable to fit people of different heights and leg lengths. Users are able to adjust the movement carriage up and down so that the red axis aligns with the axis point of your hip joint, the movement pad can be adjusted up and down to fit the users lower leg length, and the movement arm may be rotated to the appropriate range of motion for each movement (Abduction, Adduction, Flexion, and Extension). The yellow-colored handles let users know where the adjustments can be made. The weight stack ranges from 10 lbs. to 295 lbs. in 15 lb. increments. 

For basic instruction the user can view diagrams of how to perform the four movements. These diagrams are located on either side of the weight stack. For more specific information on how to utilize the Rotary hip, use your mobile phone to scan the QR code located on the right side of the machine. It will direct you to an instructional video on how to utilize the machine safely and effectively.  

If you have more questions regarding the Rotary Hip Machine, feel free to contact one of BAC’s Personal Training Staff. We would be happy to assist you.

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.