Today I'm sharing my favorite pieces of gym equipment. Going to the gym can be intimidating, not to mention knowing how to use the equipment there. I'm hoping this post will help!
In today's posts I'm sharing the things that I use on a regular basis at the gym that I don't have access to at home. Even though I can still get in a great workout at home, there's still some things that I just don't have access to at home that I like to use in my workouts.
Cable pulley machine
First off, these machines are super versatile. You can use them for everything from rows to bicep curls. There's so many ways to use them. Since you can change the height of the pulleys, depending on the exercise you want to do. You can also switch out the attachments (bars,ropes, handles, etc.). These are just clipped on, so it's quick and easy to switch things up. In addition, you can also use the cable pulley machine for upper or lower body exercises. One thing to keep in mind is that if the cable pulley machine at your gym has two cables coming out of the weight stack (most of them that I've seen are this way), you have to double the amount of weight that's on the weight stack. For instance, if you put the pin in the 30 pound hole, you're actually lifting 60 pounds.
Free weights (dumbbells and barbells)
I typically like to pick these over using machines that you have to sit down in (of course there are exceptions for injuries or other issues such as balance). Free weights are also very versatile, just like the cable pulley machine. There's almost an unlimited number of exercises you can do with dumbbells and barbells. I like free weights because you're working more than just the one isolated muscle. For instance, your core will also be engaged when doing exercises with free weights, which most likely won't be the case with machines.
There's also an increased risk of injury if you're not focused on form. Because you need to stabilize yourself instead of letting the machine do it for you, it's extremely important to make sure that your form in on point. That means not lifting too much weight and not getting too tired that you can't maintain proper form.
Although they can get busy at gyms if you go during peak times, squat racks are another favorite piece of gym equipment. Although squats focus on the lower body, they also work the core and back, which makes it a great full body exercise. Deadlifts are another exercise you can do on the platform, and they also work more than just the lower body.
Squat racks are perfect when you're working out on your own and you don't have a spotter (though never be afraid to ask someone you don't know for a spot – more often than not they're more than happy t help you out). When squats go wrong, they tend to go wrong quickly. You don't have time to adjust or make a change. Lifting in a squat rack helps to keep you safe. And it goes without saying, take the time before you start lifting to adjust the squat rack. It's so worth the extra two minutes it takes to set it up for your height/exercise to make sure that you stay safe.
I'm very lucky to have a treadmill at home, but I think the majority of people have to go to a gym to get access to cardio equipment like treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals. Out of the three, the elliptical is definitely my favorite. Make sure you switch up what kind of cardio equipment you use. Even if you're training for a specific event (10k run or a bike race), cross training is something you want to make sure that you're doing.
If you live somewhere cold and snowy 6 months out of the year like I do, you'll know that running and biking outdoors isn't always an option. Having the option to do both of those activities indoors is huge. If being gentle to your joints is a concern, both the elliptical and bike are low impact cardio activities. You can get your heart pumping without worrying about being hard on your joints.
For more posts like this, check out my fitness page.
What are your favorite pieces of cardio equipment at the gym?