Basic Gym Equipment 101
Okay. Time for a bit of honesty here! How many times have you walked into the gym and stared down a piece of equipment thinking, “WHAT do I do with it?” Well, you are not alone my friend. We all have been there, done that.When we are stepping into the gym for the first time in a long time or simply never used some of the strange looking contraptions before, we’ve got to learn some how. After all, know-how and understanding plays a significant role in the success of our fitness goals.
So let’s start with the 8 most common pieces of equipment you can find in most gyms and what they are used for.
Strength Training Machines: These are the giant machines that take up a lot of space in the gym. Most often these machines allow you to target a single (sometimes multiple) muscles group at a time. For the most part, new and updated strength training machines have pictures that help you understand how to properly used the machine and which muscles you are working. If not, most gyms offer fitness equipment orientations by trained staff to help you better understand how to use the equipment.
Resistance BandsThese often brightly colored bands come in various colors, sizes, lengths, resistances and even styles. Some have handles and others look like giant rubber bands. These are a great addition to a workout on-the-go. But when you see them in the gym, expect to use them for strength training or even rehabilitation exercises.
Dumbbells or Free WeightsFound often on a rack in pairs, dumbbells are yet another strength training tool. They come in various materials: neoprene wraps, rubber ends or full metal. They vary in size completey dependent on what you are seeking to lift. You can curl them, row them, deadlift them. You name it!
Barbell This is often the straight, long bar weighing 25-45lbs by itself, used for squatting or chest press exercises. Typically you see this bar with weights attached to each end which will increase your strength training regimen for sure.
Plates and Clips (collars)This is what we typically pair with the barbell. Though some exercises lend itself to simply using just the bar itself, some may want you to add some additional weight. Slide on matching weighted plates on each side and secure the weight on the bar using the clip or collar. Lift away!
BenchMost of us know this one. But did you know that some of these benches also incline and decline to add a little variety to your workout. From doing bicep curls to step ups to decline ab crunches, this is a must use tool in the gym.
Cardio MachinesCardiovascular or aerobic machines help you focus on getting your heart rate in the zone in order to achieve that fat burn that you are seeking. These machines include: treadmill, recumbent bikes, ellipticals, spin bikes and stair climbers.
Kettlebell A size differentiated cast-iron ball-shaped weight with a single handle, the kettlebell will be one of those tools you want to try. They come in a variety of weights, materials and sometimes even colors. Try doing aerobic and anaerobic exercises like shoulder raises or kettlebell swings.