Exercising regularly has been proved to reduce the risks of various illnesses such as heart conditions, obesity, and diabetes. Despite all the evidence that points out the benefits of engaging in physical activity, most people still live a sedentary lifestyle.
To make exercise both fun and easy, individuals should incorporate gym equipment. Not only do this equipment motivate one to exercise, but they also help individuals to live a healthy lifestyle.
Benefits of Using Gym equipment
- They help individuals to lose weight and maintain healthy body weight.
- They aid in improving one’s stamina
- The equipment strengthens individual’s bones as well as enhancing their muscle mass
- Some equipment enables one to keep track of their progress. For instance, there are machines that enable one to know the number of calories they have burned during a workout
- Most gym equipment are easy to use.
Types of Gym Equipment
There are two types of gym equipment: Free Weights and Machines. Unlike Machines, Free Weights are not attached to any pins, cables, weight stacks or pulleys. To fully benefit from a workout, one should incorporate both Machines and Free Weights.
Example of Free Weights Equipment
- Barbell- This iron bar is supposed to be held with both hands. There are different types of barbells. One can choose between the Olympic barbell or Fixed Weight Barbell. The Olympic barbells can handle weight loads that are over 800 pounds. These barbells are ideal for heavy exercises such as squats, and bench press. For smaller exercises such as shoulder presses and barbell curls, one can use Olympic barbells that are less than 6 feet long. Fixed Weight barbells are standard barbells that are mostly used in home gyms.
- Dumbbells- These are short barbells. Just like barbells, one should also hold them in each hand. Most gyms have dumbbells that are between 5 to 100 pounds. The dumbbells are divided into two: Fixed weight and Adjustable Dumbbells. The adjustable dumbbells have small collars that clip on the equipment. They take less space and are cheaper than the Fixed-weight dumbbells.
- Weight plates- These come in two different forms- iron and plastic weight plates. The most common weight plates are the York Plastic Barbell Set. This set is great for beginners. Most commercial gyms have weight plates made of iron. There are two types of iron weight plates, that is, the Olympic plates and Standard weight plates.
- EZ Curl Bar- This bar helps individuals work on both their biceps and triceps. The bar has hand placements that work on the muscles from various angles. This reduces the stress placed on one’s wrists.
- Triceps Bar- This oval-shaped bar has 2 parallel hand placements. One can use the bar to work on other body parts, aside from their triceps. Just like the EZ Curl Bar, the Tricep bar can also be used to work on muscles from various angles
- Benches- This equipment can be flat, decline or incline. There are some benches that can be adjusted to be either incline, flat or decline. This gym equipment can come with or without a rack. Benches that have racks are used for holding a barbell. Conversely, those that don’t have racks are used for dumbbell exercises.
- Hyper Extension Bench- These works on the lower back, glute muscles, and hamstring. There are also Hyper Extension benches that can be used for sit-ups. This is ideal for people who want to work on their abdominal muscles.
- Preacher Bench- This is great for working on an individual’s biceps. The bench has an angled pad that prevents one from swinging the weight.
- The Arm Blaster- This equipment has a strap that goes behind the neck of an individual. This design holds the metal bar across one’s midsection.
- Abdominal Bench- This is suitable for people who want to do abdominal exercises. The bench comes with rollers that one is supposed to hook to their feet to avoid sliding off.
- Swiss Ball- It is also referred to as the Stability Ball. One can do exercises such as shoulder press, bench press, crunches, reverse crunches, lateral raises, and pullovers. The ball moves and rolls to increase one’s balance. It is also great at strengthening one’s muscles.
- Dipping Bars- This comes in a set of parallel bars. They are excellent in working the shoulders, triceps as well as the chest.
- Chin-Up Bar- This is an iron bar that is bolted to a wall. It can also be part of a machine like the power rack. Individuals can use the bar to work on their forearms, biceps, and backs.
- Racks – Gyms have different types of racks. Some racks are used to store barbells and dumbbells while others are used to store weight plates. There are also racks that are used for doing exercises. This includes power rack and squat racks. The Smith Machine is a special rack that is a combination of a free weight barbell and a machine.
Examples of Machines
- Leg Press Machine- These machines are great for leg exercises. Leg press machines are usually set at a 45 degrees angle. One advantage of this machine is it places minimal stress on the knees as well as the lower back.
- Hack Squat Machine- This machine is ideal for people who want to exercise their thighs.
- Leg Extension Machine- The machine isolates the quadriceps muscles. One can use the machine as a warm-up for the quadriceps and knee joints before doing squats or leg presses.
- Leg Curl Machine- This is great for hamstring exercises. There are some gyms that have leg curl and leg extension machine built in a single equipment.
- Calf Machines- There are two types of calf machines- Seated Calf Raise and Standing Calf Raise. The Seated Calf Raise targets the lower calf muscles while the Standing Calf Raise works on the upper calf muscles.
- Leg Adduction or Abduction Machine- It works on the inner thighs (adduction) as well as the outer thighs (abduction). Most gyms have both exercises combined in one machine. But there are some gyms that offer separate machines for abduction and adduction.
- Lat Pull Down Machine- This is similar to the Chin-up bar. It is a great alternative for people who are not strong enough to work on their backs using the Chin-up.
- Pec Deck Machine- This is ideal for those who want to work on their chest. There are some Pec Deck machines that have handles and there are those that come with 2 vertical arm pads
- Cables and Pulleys –Most gyms have a weight stack connected to long cables. These cables usually have a bar or small handles at the end. One can work out their entire body using the cables and pulleys.
To enhance one’s workout experience, an individual can include various accessories such as weight lifting gloves, weightlifting belts, wraps, and wrist straps.
Tips of Choosing The Right Gym Equipment
- One should select an equipment based on their health goal. Different equipment provides different functions. If one wants to burn more calories, they should opt for cardio equipment such as treadmills and cross-country ski machine. Treadmills, for instance, can burn approximately 100 calories per mile. Those that want to build strength should opt for strength equipment such as ankle weights, exercise mat, and hand weights.
- Choose a machine that engages more muscles. The more muscles used the more calories one will burn.
- Decide whether you want an equipment that has more add-ons or not. Add-ons include devices that measure the time elapsed, heart rate or calories that the body has burned.
- Level of expertise. There is some equipment that is too strenuous for people who have never exercised before. It is ideal to start with easy to use machines first before trying any heavy duty machines.
- Consult a doctor before using gym equipment. This is especially critical for people who have injuries or other medical conditions. After a medical assessment, a doctor can recommend the best gym equipment that an individual should use.
Exercising can sometimes seem like a daunting task. But, if one incorporates a gym equipment, the experience may become more pleasant and enjoyable. One should vary their workout sessions to ensure they are always motivated to exercise. Mixing up machines and free weights, for instance, is more beneficial than just focusing on one type of equipment. It is also important to vary the speed and intensity of the workouts.