Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Cybex Arc Trainer

Chances are your gym has a Cybex Arc Trainer. If it does, chances are you've never used it and aren't really sure what it is.

Well, here is all you really need to know about the Arc Trainer: IT'S AWESOME! A bunch of smart people from the University of Wisconsin - Lacrosse conducted a study to determine whether the Precor AMT, Precor EFX, or Cybex Arc Trainer burned more calories in relation to exercise intensity.

To cut to the nuts and bolts of the study, it was found that oxygen consumption and caloric expenditure was 9% higher on the Arc than the AMT and 16% higher on the Arc than the EFX. Now, the EFX doesn't have arms as it is a lower body exercise machine, so caloric expenditure is expected to be lower on it. One of the main differences between the AMT and the Arc, though, is that the Arc has a greater range of motion in its arms, allowing for greater activation of back muscles, which in turn would allow for greater oxygen consumption and caloric expenditure.

The study ultimately concluded that "exercising on the Arc Trainer provides the best overall workout compared to the AMT and the EFX, and would result in the greatest increase in aerobic capacity and reduction in body weight in the shortest period of time." Isn't that what every overweight or short-on-time person wants?

Still need more proof that this machine is great? Check out this video of Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson:

I was first introduced to the Arc Trainer when I went to a three day seminar at the Cybex Research Institute in Massachusetts in June 2012, but had no real reason to use it at the time because, well, it was summer.

However, the Arc Trainer intrigued me. The scientists at Cybex talked about how college football players preparing for the NFL Combine would use the Arc Trainer to get ready. They also told a story of a guy who trained for the New York City Marathon on the Arc Trainer because he had an injured knee and couldn't train on roads or treadmills. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me!

My training routines in the summer and training routines in the winter are two entirely different programs. My body takes a beating in the summer from all the running and biking, so I tend to focus a little more on lower impact exercise in the winter. However, I have HUGE aspirations for the upcoming 2013 race season, so I can't ignore training my cardio system like I have during past off seasons. With this in mind, I've taken an opportunity to play around with some of the other pieces of cardio equipment at the Casco Bay YMCA in Freeport.

One of the things I've really started exploring is the Cybex Arc Trainer, and let me tell you, this thing is really is a badass piece of equipment! My knees and ankles feel like a million bucks after a 30-minute session. I can absolutely blast my quads, glutes, and hips if I want. Or I can focus a little more on upper body resistance and burn out my chest, back, and/or shoulders. I can make it a little more cardio, or I can make it a little more resistance. Either way, I can escape the boring hell that is the dreadmill and get a MUCH better workout while giving my joints a rest. There will be plenty of time to pound my joints during the upcoming race season, but for now I don't have to worry about that one bit. Once the weather warms I'll undoubtedly be back out pounding on the roads and trails, but until then I fully plan on using the Arc Trainer at least once a week.

One of my clients, the newest Miss Maine USA, recently told me, "I think the Arc Trainer is going to be my new best friend."

Check it out at your local gym. It might become your new best friend too.

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