Gym Equipment 101: A Guide to Expanding Your Workouts

When it comes to designing and completing a workout, it can be a little daunting to try and understand what equipment might come in handy. Whether you’re new to the gym, a little nervous or just aren’t quite sure what equipment works what body part, don’t stress. This simple guide will help you expand your workouts and have you using new equipment confidently in no time. 

Be deliberate

In any workout, you first want to understand what it is you’re trying to achieve, including what muscle group you’re trying to activate. Gym equipment is specifically designed to target particular muscle groups, and depending what your goals are, you’ll want to understand what those groups are. There is no magic equipment to target every muscle group, so be deliberate with how you structure your workouts. Try breaking up muscle groups to a day of the week so you can then learn which machines help target that muscle. The chest is a great muscle to isolate and spend a workout on. Once you’ve made that decision, you can walk the gym floor and get to know what equipment will help you target your chest muscles. Being deliberate with your workout choice will instantly make your effort more effective.

Free weights 

Free weights is a term used to define equipment that doesn’t require anything other than the weight and you. Dumbbells are the perfect example of a free weight and there are many benefits to a free weight workout. Free weights test not only your strength but also your control, meaning you need to focus on form as well. Free weight workouts can be done in isolation or worked into a routine that includes machines as well. The primary difference with free weights (such as dumbbells), is that you won’t receive any assistance at all. If you’re looking to build strength and form, then free weights are a great place to start.

Weight machines

Unlike free weights, weight machines generally use systems of pulleys to help move a weight. Machine weights still require significant force to move, but you will get some form of assistance from the machine. The benefit of a weight machine is they help you correct form problems. Generally speaking, the machine will keep you in the right position or posture the whole time you are working. This assistance means you are getting the most out of the movement and leaves little room for going too heavy or beyond your ability. Free weights test strength more than form, meaning people often go too heavy, a problem that weight machines try to correct.

Core and abs

Almost every gym or workout centre will have an area that potentially isn’t frequented as much as the weights area, this is the core or abdominal area. This area is designed to help build core strength and is incredibly important in any well-rounded routine. Equipment in this area is likely to be medicine balls, gym balls and possibly other equipment designed to test core strength or balance. This equipment requires little imagination and is normally there to use when doing exercises like sit-ups, planks or even stretching. Spending time working your core a few times a week is the best way to build core strength, which can help lower pain or injuries from things like poor posture.

Gym equipment is a great way to help increase the diversity in your workouts and achieve your fitness goals. For anyone starting out, it can be a little tough to navigate, but this guide will give you the 101 to the gym equipment you’ll need to hit your goals sooner.

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