Gym Equipment: How To Know What Is Best For Your Goals

gym equipment

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Choosing the best gym equipment for your needs in the training session doesn't need to be hard. With a mix of machines or individual pieces of gym equipment, testing what works for you makes exercise fun.

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There are so many options that are in the gym to get the most out of your cardio or strength sessions. Gym equipment such as strength machines, free weights and resistance bands are at your disposal to help you perform different exercises.

However, do you know what to choose each time to make your training the most effective it can be? We will help you learn how to make the best choice for your development.

Just because you see a machine to use for your exercise, it does not mean that this is the best equipment for your development at that time.

Choosing The Best Gym Equipment For Your Needs In A Training Session

First of all, it’s best that before using a machine or a gym accessory, you know what it is for and how it is used correctly.

All commercial gym equipment has been designed for a specific purpose that you need to keep in mind. To avoid injury or misusing the machinery, it’s best to be shown how to use it. So, ask a trainer at the gym for help.

gym equipment, choosing the best gym equipment for your needs

But as a guide, this is what you should know.

In general, strength training machines are designed to perform limited movements, to accurately work specific muscles or muscle groups: pectorals, biceps, triceps, quadriceps, deltoids and more.

In addition, they are a good option if the objective is working with high loads safely. There are more reasons to consider using machines in the gym, but here is how to choose a machine for a specifically targeted workout.

Options for Cardiovascular Workouts

Cardio exercising is a vital part of your training activities. Gym equipment is a great option for this like:

  • Spin Bike – targets legs, back, glutes and core
  • Upright and/or Recumbent Exercise Bike – targets quads, hamstrings, calves, glute and core
  • Treadmill – targets legs, and lower body and increases your cardio capacity.
  • Ellipticals – targets legs, back, chest, and arms
  • Stepper – targets hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and core
  • Stair Climber – targets legs, glutes and core
  • Vertical Climber – targets hamstrings, quads, glutes, shoulders, abs, and arms.
  • Rowing Machine – targets forearms, biceps, lats, deltoids, glutes and calves

Best Gym Equipment to Train Your Back

When you would like to specifically aim for the development of your back muscles, here are the machines you should look for:

  • Back Extension Machine – targets abs and lower back
  • Front Pull Down Machine – targets the back, plus biceps
  • Lat Pull Down Machine – targets lats, biceps, deltoids and traps
  • Cable Row Machine – targets upper, middle and lower back, plus lats and biceps
  • Glute Ham Development – targets lower body core muscles, hamstrings and glutes

Training Machines for the Chest and Arms

You’ll discover a variety of equipment at the gym designed to target your upper body. Using these machines gives you support and helps you focus on specific areas.

Some of the best machines for the chest and arms are:

  • Bench Press – targets back, shoulders, pectorals and triceps
  • Chest Press Machine – targets shoulders, chest, deltoids, back and biceps
  • Triceps Press Machine – targets triceps, back and chest
  • Incline Bench Press – helps you to target the best, shoulders and biceps
  • Decline Bench Press – targets pectorals, triceps, shoulders and abs
  • Arm Curl Machine – targets biceps and forearms
  • Seated Dip Machine – targets triceps
  • Bicep Curl Bench – targets biceps
  • Arm Extension Machine – targets triceps
  • Chest Fly Machine – targets pectorals and surrounding muscles
  • Cable Crossover Machine – targets chest, shoulder and back
  • Pull Up Bar – targets deltoids, chest, triceps, lats and obliques
  • Push Up Bars – target shoulders, chest and triceps
gym equipment, chest press

3 Great Shoulder Training Machines

We have previously written an article entitled ‘Best Shoulder Exercise Equipment In The Gym‘ so this is just a recap. Look for these machines:

  • Lateral Raises Machine – targets front and middle deltoids
  • Shoulder Press Machine – targets triceps, deltoids and anterior deltoids
  • Overhead Press Machine – targets triceps and deltoids
  • Cable Workout Machine – targets shoulders, chest, arms and abs
  • Peck Deck Machine – targets pecs and chest
  • Smith Machine – targets lats, pecs, triceps, hamstrings and quads

Top 5 Core Workout Gym Equipment

A lot of people go in search of equipment that will specifically focus on the abdominal muscles. To target the whole core area, take a look at these pieces of gym equipment:

  • Ab Crunch Machine – targets abdominals
  • Abdominal Bench – targets abs, internal obliques and quadriceps
  • Rotary Torso Machine – targets abs and obliques
  • Leg Raise/Dip Tower – targets abs, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps
  • Ab Roller – targets abs, triceps, deltoids, lats and hamstrings

Training Machines For The Legs

Looking for more strength and definition in the legs? Have a look at these options for leg gym equipment:

  • Leg Press Machine – targets quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves
  • The Leg Curl Machine – targets hamstrings
  • Calf Press Machine – targets calf
  • Seated Calf Machine – targets calf and lower leg
  • Standing Calf Machine – targets calf and lower leg
  • Leg Extension Machine – targets quads
  • Abduction Machine (Legs) – targets glutes and inner thigh
  • Donkey Kick Machine – targets glutes

Free Weight Alternatives

Whether it’s in a commercial gym or your home gym, free weights are a great option for working out. Here are some to look for:

  • Dumbbells – target every and any muscle in the body
  • Barbells – target the whole body
  • Kettlebells – target all body muscles
  • Stability Ball – targets back and abs
  • Medicine Ball – targets the whole body

Using Other Gym Equipment Accessories

On the other hand, alternative gym equipment accessories can be an excellent choice to carry out functional training, that is more ‘free’ and based on our own movements.

Some, such as resistance bands, are designed to add greater resistance to basic exercises such as arm or leg extensions.

Equipment such as exercise balls is excellent for working on balance and strengthening the core. These are all good at adding difficulty and resistance to exercises while maintaining muscle engagement without machine support.

Another option may be TRX or a suspension trainer. This is usually attached to a wall or a bar and can engage your whole body.

Of course, there is always the humble punching bag. Great for cardio workouts for the whole body.

Alternatively, you might like to use rope as an alternative. Either a climbing rope, battle rope or skipping rope. So many ways to engage the whole body.

The foam roller has become a popular accessory too. It helps with stretching and relieving tension.

gym equipment, battle ropes

Examples For When To Use Certain Gym Equipment Over Another

To give you an idea of ​​when to opt for specific gym equipment for exercises based on your fitness and goals, here are some examples:

  • If you are starting out in strength training and want to improve your overall muscle tone relatively quickly, machines are a good choice. They will allow you to feel supported as you improve in your journey from skinny to muscular.

  • Think of improving the execution of your technique for an exercise, by choosing complementary equipment. Because many gym machines do most of the work, it makes you rely too much on the machine for the movement. If you want to learn, for example, how to do the deadlift, the better practice comes with a simple barbell and not on a machine.
gym equipment, how to use gym equipment
gym equipment, use variety in your workouts

Mixing It Up

  • Whenever you opt for a functional training, which is enhancing your own natural movements by working the body as a whole, choose complementary accessories to achieve your goals. Most things like free weights allow you to be less restricted in your movements as you add resistance.

  • When you want to increase the weight you usually train with, doing it first on a machine is always safer when it comes to preventing injuries. A good example of this is doing exercises on cables vs free weights in the beginning. The cables provide more support in the control on your movement as you adapt to the load.

  • If you notice some stagnation in your sessions or a lack of motivation, trying to do the same exercises you normally do but with a new accessory can help. This will add for you a greater difficulty and a new challenge to can reinvigorate your time in the gym.

Make sure you give everything a go before you decide on what to use, as you may miss the best way to complete the exercise. Try the different gym equipment out now and make your workouts better!

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