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List of the Main Types of Exercise to Do on a Home Gym

author image Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.
List of the Main Types of Exercise to Do on a Home Gym
A woman is training on a stability ball at home. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Multi-functional home gym machines facilitate a wide variety of exercises, while taking up a minimal amount of space. The type of available exercises depends on the specific model of the machine, but most equipment enables workouts for all of the major muscle groups. When you design a home gym workout, give priority to exercises that work more than one muscle group simultaneously. This type of exercise simulates your daily, functional movements, which always engage multiple muscle groups.

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Upper Back Exercises

If you work at an office, or spend most of your day hunched over a computer, you might have a muscular imbalance between your chest and back muscles. The hunched position weakens your upper back and produces a permanent slouch. Two home-gym exercises -- the lat-pulldown and the seated row -- address these muscular imbalances. The lat pulldown works the latissimus dorsi, which run down the sides of your back and support upright posture, as well as your biceps, which flex your elbows. The seated row works your rhomboids, which pull your shoulder blades toward each other and counteract a slouching posture.

Chest Exercises

The chest press feature engages your pectoral muscles, which support proper breathing. Your triceps in the backs of your arms assist your pectoral muscles as you straighten your arms. Some home-gym resistance training gyms come with adjustable benches, which let you work your pectoral muscles from the incline position, to work your upper chest, and the decline position, to work your lower pectoral muscles.

Leg, Hip and Gluteal Workouts

The leg press and the squat facilitate multi-joint lower body exercises, which engage the gluteal, hamstrings and quadriceps muscle groups. These exercises fall into the closed-chain category, because your feet stay in a fixed position. Closed-chain exercise compress your leg joints and enhance joint stability. The hamstring curl is an open chain, but nonetheless important leg exercise. Many people have significant imbalances between their hamstrings and quadriceps. These imbalances leave you vulnerable to knee joint injuries.

Abdominal Workouts

Your abdominal workouts vary in accordance with your equipment. Some home-gym machines have adjustable benches, which let you work your abdominal muscles from different angles. A cable-based home gym machine lets you add resistance to your abdominal workouts. Some set-ups allow you to place a stability ball in front of the machine, lie on the ball, and hold the cable handles during crunches and oblique curls. Cable home gym machines also facilitate standing wood chop exercises, which simulate the rotary movements used in various sports.

Aerobic Exercise

Most home gyms allow either aerobic or resistance training exercise, but some machines facilitate both. Some Pilates home reformers, for example, have a trampoline type jump board. When placed on the foot bar, they facilitate a plyometric version of the leg press machine. If your home gym machine does not come with aerobic equipment, buy a jump-rope and incorporate circuit training into your workout. Jump rope for 10 minutes in between each resistance training exercise.

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