Although you don't need any specialized equipment to strength train -- you could do it using the resistance of your own body weight against gravity -- home gyms like the Weider Platinum Plus make the process more convenient. Like most home gyms, the Platinum Plus simulates the same sort of strength-training exercises you'd do in a gym. But the Platinum Plus manages to stand out from the crowd by offering digital, console-controlled resistance.
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The Platinum Plus console walks you through personal-trainer-designed strength training, circuit training and weight-loss programs. It tracks your sets and repetitions, and displays the current resistance levels you're working against. This also presents an unusual consideration when placing your Platinum Plus: Unlike most home gyms, the Platinum Plus must be located near an electrical outlet so you can plug it in.
Unlike most home gyms, which use stacks of weight plates, heavy-duty elastic resistance bands or flexible metal rods to provide resistance, the Platinum Plus has a motorized resistance system. You adjust the resistance up or down by pressing the "Plus" and "Minus" keys on the console repeatedly to change in 1-lb. increments, or holding the buttons down to change the resistance more quickly. Don't pull on the cables or cable handles as resistance changes -- you might damage the resistance motor.
Warming up before you strength train helps increase muscle flexibility and performance, and reduces your risk of injury. You don't need any extra equipment to do a quick cardio warm-up, because the Platinum Plus converts to a rowing machine. You can also use the cardio rowing mode to perform regular moderate to intense cardio workouts, as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Motorized resistance and digital console aside, the Platinum Plus includes the same features you'd see on almost any home gym. These include high and low pulley stations, a squat arm, a preacher curl platform and curl arm, and a leg developer for doing leg curls and leg extensions.
Sets and Repetitions
For general strength training, one set of 8 to 12 repetitions for each exercise is enough -- if you use the right amount of weight. As you get stronger, you'll have to lift even more weight to continue challenging your muscles to develop further. The American Council on Exercise recommends increasing the amount of weight you're lifting by 5 percent to 10 percent once you can complete more than your target number of repetitions.
Although strength training offers a number of benefits including stronger bones, more strength and endurance, and greater ease during everyday activities, doing it wrong can put you at risk of injury. Follow basic weight-lifting principles to keep yourself safe as you use the Platinum Plus. Exhale as you push or pull on the bar or handle, then inhale as you return to the starting position. If you can no longer keep the amount of weight you're lifting under control, either decrease the resistance to a manageable level or end that set early.