You’ve finally decided to work out and have asked around and searched online for a good beginner’s routine – and find yourself bombarded with mysterious machine names that you’re supposed to use. Now you step into your gym and glance at the various pieces of equipment present without having any idea which one does what. Aside from finding out the names of these machines, you will want to know exactly the type of workout that could be completed on it. This article will help you figure out what each exercise equipment (the popular ones at least) does and how to properly use it.
Best Workout Machines For Home & Personal Gym
Like the name suggests, its role is to work your abdominal muscles. Different types of sit-ups could be performed to hit your abs from different angles, to engage your rectus abdominis, oblique muscles, and transverse abdominal. Abdominal benches will usually have a pad at the top extremity to keep your feet in place. They will have also an option to modify the angle of the bench, the steeper it is, the more difficult the workout.
An essential tool for any strength training regimen, barbells are iron bars designed to hold heavy weights at each tip. Barbells can be used to perform various exercises from squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and rows. Barbells are one of the must have equipment for any home gym due to the hundreds of exercises that could be performed using them.
An essential tool for building your upper body, exercises performed on a bench press generally include laying on your back and pushing the weight upwards. Now multiple variations of chest building exercises could be performed on this valuable workout equipment.
Cable Crossover Machine
A super diverse workout machine usually found in most commercial gyms, delivering an unparalleled choice for various exercises that can hit more than one muscle group. It’s one destination to train your shoulders, biceps, triceps, back, and neck muscles.
Even though there are a few different calf machines, the one pictured above is probably the most popular. Calf exercises usually consist of pushing the weight up by going on your toes. Your heels should be free to properly hit your calf muscles and a good calf raise machine should have a comfortable padding to rest the knees.
Gripping both handles, lowering your body and lifting it back up is the basic dipping movement that will build your chest and triceps muscles, but can also use your shoulders and core too depending on the angle used. With dipping bars, good form is a must to prevent any unwanted injury. As a beginner, you might struggle a bit with the dip bar, but over time, it will be a real test for your strength.
Weight lifting and dumb bells always go hand in hand in any novice lifter and for a good reason, versatility. Just like barbells, they allow you to perform a variety of exercises to hit practically every muscle group in your body. They usually come in different weights or in an adjustable format for those who are limited in space to store dozens of dumb bells.
If you want to feel the burn in your calf and thighs, get fit, and shred some fat then the exercise bike is a good tool to help you in your goals. Exercise bikes have different weight limits and some of them are programmable to different pre-set routines to gauge your progress.
EZ Curl Bar
EZ stands for easy, and this curl bar is your best bet into building huge biceps. The design is similar to a zig-zag shape, and the steel should be able to support heavy weights to keep improving your lifts over time.
A great tool to improve flexibility, blood flow, and reducing post-workout soreness, a foam roller is a cheap purchase with plenty of benefits. It will prove itself useful especially in the first few months of weightlifting as your body is still getting used to the beating from the workout routine.
Glute Ham Developer
The Glute & Ham Developer is made to help you isolate your posterior chain muscles while focusing on hamstrings and gluteus muscles. You start by lying on the machine with your torso perpendicular to the floor. Next, squeeze your posterior muscles and slowly lower them until your torso is parallel to the floor. Then return to the starting point by driving your toes into the footplate while keeping your glutes contracted.
Hack Squat Machine
You want to start your leg day with a bang – then the hack squat machine is a good place to start hitting your quads and lower back. An important tip while using this machine is to avoid locking the knees as you go up, as this places high stress on the ligaments instead of working your muscles.
Hammer Strength machine
The hammer strength machine is an alternative way to train your chest and triceps while using your shoulders as stabilizers. This is a good way to improve your explosiveness more than actually focusing on building mass.
HyperExtension Bench (Roman Chair)
One of the least popular but most important muscles to train is the lower back. The hyperextension bench provides you with a simple yet challenging way to increase the strength of your spinal erectors, hamstrings, and glutes by performing a hyperextension.
Stand on the bench facing downwards; slowly perform the movement without bouncing while moving your upper body.
Incline Bench Press
This is basically an inclined bench press, used to target the upper chest muscles. If your bench is adjustable, make sure to never go above 50 degrees, as this places more stress on your shoulders than your chest. While working with a barbell, make sure to grip the bar with your thumbs and not your fingers, for a safe workout. Shoulders and triceps should normally feel sore after an incline workout, as they are used to stabilize the weight during the lift.
Kettlebells are an alternative set of tools that are able to provide you with a ton of different exercises that you can do with. They are suitable for both strength and cardio training. Just like Dumbbells, you are able to hit all your body parts by using Kettlebells.
Lat Pull Down Machine
If your purpose is strengthening your lats, then this machine will probably be your first step into a bigger back. Simply pull without lowering the bar to belly level; keeping your elbows straight. This is a good transitional machine to get you ready for the real pull ups or chin ups.
Leg Abduction Machine
With a simple opening and closing movement, this machine can train your legs and glutes by pushing the weight outwards. The long adductor muscles are isolated and for this particular reason, an adequate warm-up is essential before starting your workout on this machine.
Leg Curl Machine
To use this machine, lay on your stomach lifting with your legs using your hamstrings. Once you reach your lower back, squeeze and return to starting position. Try to keep the movement slow, especially the negative part for better results.
Leg Extension Machine
This machine is not only important for muscle building, but also for those trying to get some rehab after an injury. The leg extension machine is straightforward to un-straightforward avoid twisting the hips and knees when lowering the weight. This is an excellent tool to train your quadriceps.
Leg Press machine
If you’re tired of using isolating machines, then the leg press is one sure way to hit both your quads and hamstrings in one movement. With you back against a pad, push the platform without locking your knees. This is as close to a squat that you can do and emphasize on building good size and strength. You should avoid lifting your hips off the pad/platform while lowering the weight to avoid injuries.
Pec Deck Machine
If you’re a novice bodybuilder, the pec deck machine does an awesome job in isolating the chest muscles. To correctly use the peck deck machine, keep your elbows at about 90 degrees while resting your back on the pad and Push your arms together and feel your pecs squeezing. This machine should really engage your chest and your shoulder muscles, so take it easy on the weight when starting.
A power tower can seem intimidating for first timers but it is one of the most useful equipment when focusing on body weight exercises such as pull ups and dips. It is usually designed for these two exercises but watching people train their abs on it is not an uncommon site. A versatile tower especially recommended for a home gym.
Bicep work is the most favorite part of any workout. This Preacher bench is designed to better isolate your biceps by using a small barbell and resting your arms on the pad in front of you and lifting the weight. You can try doing one arm curl to work both hands equally especially since it eliminates cheating or using the momentum when you’re standing up. This is an excellent workout for both your biceps and your forearms.
Pull Up Bar
This one doesn’t need much explanation; it’s hands down the best tool for upper body strength. Remember that different grips and shoulder width will affect the difficulty of the exercise and the muscles engaged. Generally, the pull-up bar is the normal transition after experimenting with the pull-down machine. Pulling yourself up until your chin is at the bar is the way to go, and once you master the art of pull-ups you can start attaching weight to increase the difficulty of this exercise.
A reformer is a long frame that uses spring-based resistance improves form during a Pilates exercise. It glides both ways to allow a variety of exercises. The best part about Reformer Pilates is a low impact equipment that is easy on the joints and is perfect for rehabilitation purposes.
If regular cardio feels like a chore, try using a rowing machine for a few minutes and you’ll soon know why it’s probably the best cardio equipment in any gym. Rowing is taxing on the muscles and it increases the heart function like no other. Grab the handles of the rowing machine and have your knees slightly bent. Now pull the handle and bring it closer to your chest while keeping elbows to your side. Enjoy rowing but don’t be surprised at the difficulty if it’s your first time.
The smith machine is generally used as an assistant in performing compound exercises such as the squat or a bench press. The machine helps you by keeping the weight steady; so it’s a good choice for injury rehab and when you’re attempting heavy lifts without a spotter. The bars can be locked into position in case you reached a failure in your exercise. The smith machine isn’t limited to these exercises only, you can virtually do any exercise that uses a barbell on the smith machine if needed.
The squat rack is one of the best places to train your full body in one single exercise. You will never be able to tax your whole body in any other exercise the same you will do in squats. Going low while doing squats is imperative to activate the whole core, legs and back muscles. One of the first tips you will receive when doing squats, is to never let your knees go past your toes. With time, you should be racking up the weight and discovering your true strength as this exercise is the cornerstone of any strength routine.
You’ve probably seen this ball many times before but never actually tried to use it in an exercise, the stability ball is a good option for many rehab exercises and gaining better balance and posture. There are many exercises to be done on a stability ball, most common is doing crunches, but most beginners start by learning how to simply sit on a stability ball. This will prove taxing on your hips, shoulders, and core muscles.
Combined with a sit-up or squat, using a wall ball is a perfect introduction to many exercises without using equipment like dumb bells and barbells. Focused more on cardiovascular training, the wall ball is a simple yet effective way to improve strength and flexibility for all ages.
A punching bag is not only reserved for those training in martial arts, but anyone looking for some demanding cardio can benefit from using a punching bag. Try learning proper punching technique before lashing out on a punching bag as the risk of injury is high when dealing with it in an improper method.
If you have ever confused it for a regular sports ball, a medicine ball is a weighted ball used for multiple fitness purposes. It provides a form of resistance depending on the weight of the ball. It’s a great way to increase flexibility and strength in case other traditional lifting methods are not available.
For those who prefer to run indoors, the treadmill is the machine of choice. You can control the incline, speed, and create pre-set programs to provide some challenge to your cardio sessions.
If a treadmill is too demanding on the joints, an elliptical machine provides you with the same cardiovascular benefits without all the thumping involved in running or jogging. Elliptical machines combine the movement of stair climbing and running to provide a challenging cardiovascular workout.
Another alternative for indoor cardio, a stationary bike is a challenging machine to keep the heart rate up without taxing your joints. In fact, it is one of the recommended rehab machines for individuals with leg or knee injuries.
Although similar to a stationary bike, the air bike has a large fan in the front used to provide resistance and can mimic outside weather conditions. Air bikes are favorable for non-ventilated rooms as the air coming out of the fan can cool down the rider.
An exercise mat is able to transform any surface into a workout space by playing the role of a cushion to the body, usually to protect it from high impact exercises.
While some think of it as a toy, the jump rope is a top-rated cardio tool that can increase your speed, quickness, agility, and balance. Depending on your height, you will need a different sized jump rope. As a cardio exercise, it’s a very demanding workout by itself, so pace yourself to slowly master this tool.
You don’t need to do crunches to train your abs, and the ab wheel is a great alternative. It’s basically a wheel with a pole in the middle, you start from a kneeling position and move forward to feel the stress placed on your abdominal muscles.