No matter what sport you practice, having a solid gym routine is important. When you step into a gym, however, or even if you build one at home, it can be daunting seeing just how much equipment there is. What’s even more discouraging is when you don’t understand things about them from their names to their exact uses.
Knowing gym equipment names is the first step to properly using said equipment to get the best workout possible. Though there is much to be found in a gym, public or at home, we have broken down only 10 of some of the more popular pieces of equipment you should know. The following list is in no particular order.
1. Free Weights (Barbells, Dumbbells, Kettlebells)
When you think of free weights, you’re thinking of anything not attached to the likes of cables or weight stacks. Dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells are three well-known free weights. They are staples to any workout plan due to their adaptability.
Dumbbells have a handle with a weight attached to either end. Generally, they are on the short side, and they can either be used individually or in each hand. Though some are designed with a specific weight, many are adjustable; meaning, you can add or take away plates for various resistance.
Speaking of resistance, a barbell is an ultimate tool for changing the amount of weight you exercise with. A barbell is composed of a long bar in which you load weight on either side. It can be used with or without a bench.
As for kettlebells, they are cast-iron shaped weights with a handle attached. These come in various sizes, and they are perhaps some of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can use. There are plenty of exercises to do with just one kettlebell.
What is so great about these bars is that they are designed in several ways. Some just consist of a single bar bolted to the wall. Others can be placed in a doorway, which is especially useful for home gyms. You can even find some attached to other training equipment like multi-station racks.
The pull-up/chin-up bar can sometimes have multiple grips as well. This lets you perform a host of different exercises for a well-rounded workout routine.
Out of all the gym equipment out there, the Smith Machine may be one of the most controversial and misunderstood tools. There are plenty that enjoy it and get plenty of use out of it, and there are others who avoid it at all costs. Nevertheless, most gyms out there have a few of these, and when used right, they provide a good workout.
The Smith Machine has a barbell fixed within steel rails. It allows for vertical/semi-vertical movement only. The most common exercise performed with this is squats. This machine excels at maintaining a good form for those who need assistance with the likes of squats (i.e. people with back issues).
The medicine ball is a weighted ball that has many different weights generally ranging from 2lbs to 25lbs or so. Like with free weights, the medicine ball is a remarkably versatile piece of training equipment.
Just about every gym should have a set of medicine balls. You can utilize them best for improving core strength or for healing up after an injury. Boxers especially make excellent use of this for abdomen conditioning by having someone drop it on them to emulate a punch.
Overall, the medicine ball can work your strength, stability, coordination, and flexibility. Use them on the floor with slams and crunches, or while standing with lunges, squats, etc.
The treadmill has a long reign as the go-to equipment for public and home gyms. It’s simply a machine designed for stationary walking and/or running.
What makes the treadmill such a wonderful piece of equipment is that it can provide a great aerobic workout. Need to get your heart racing, but the weather is too bad for a run? Hop on the treadmill for a little while.
They have numerous features as well beyond just changing the speed. Adjust the incline to uphill or downhill, monitor your heart rate and calories burned, and even customize an interval workout.
6. Bench Press
The bench press is another common piece of gym equipment that can easily be placed in a home gym as well. It essentially trains and strengthens your upper body. There are even variations of the bench press you can use. The typical ones are the flat press and the incline press that acts as though you’re reclining in a chair.
Generally, a barbell is used with the bench press, but many opt to use dumbbells as well. You can address several muscle groups with the press from your shoulders to your chest and your back. When you go for the heavier weights, be sure to have a spotter to help you recover and prevent any potential injuries from a dropped bar.
The majority of gyms have an array of cable and pulley machines. Some have a weight stack for resistance, while others feature a multi-purpose bench for additional exercises.
It’s easy enough to integrate cable and pulley machines into your usual workout routine since the machines are capable of striking every major muscle group. You can hit several muscle groups at once, isolate some, and even attack at different angles. It’s the perfect machine to boost power, shred calories, and increase strength without having to change equipment.
Just like with the treadmill, the stationary exercise bike can be found in just about all gyms, and they fit with ease inside a home. They are a great solution to not being able to bike outside.
Exercise bikes mimic typical biking all while staying in the same spot. There are different types to support different things such as recumbent bikes for back support, upright bikes to truly simulate standard biking, and spin bikes for intense exercises.
They have resistant levels to make things more challenging. Certain bikes have a larger resistance range than others, so consider how strenuous a workout you want before jumping on one of these. Nevertheless, exercise bikes contribute to an excellent cardiovascular workout.
The stability (exercise) balls are large, inflatable rubber balls used for a number of training activities. You can see them anywhere, especially in yoga studios. However, anyone can reap the benefits associated with stability ball training.
A stability ball is a great way to mix up your routine at the gym or at home. They work well at developing balance and core strength. It can even improve or restore flexibility while also improving your overall posture. Many utilize it for stretching or as a warm-up/down to compliment their regular training routines.
10. Punching Bag (Heavy Bag, Speed Bag)
Several fitness areas now have designated spaces for punching bags. These sturdy bags have grown in popularity even among individuals who don’t practice a martial art and simply enjoy the intense workout.
There are a handful of bags typically found in gyms. The most common seems to be the speed bag and the heavy bag. Speed bags are small and generally anchored so that they’re parallel to the ground. A heavy bag can either be suspended by chains or ropes, or they can be weighted to a pedestal.
Just like with several of the other gym equipment in our list, the punching bag is versatile. You can work on strength training, balance, and coordination, or go for an intense cardio and aerobic exercise to get into shape.
When it comes to using any punching bag though, it is always ideal to do so with the right accessories such as hand wraps and gloves. These help protect your hands so that you can get the most out of your workout without fear of injury.
Understanding both the gym equipment names and what the equipment does will make your time in the gym go by smoother. Proper knowledge is the key to training with good form that will prevent injuries and see you actually improving in whatever exercise goal you have.