If you’re wondering how to use gym equipment for beginners, that’s probably just one of many questions you have about the whole gym experience. It can be daunting for someone to workout in a public setting. Tony Horton knows getting started is challenging – and he wants you to be ready if this is your first time heading to the gym.
Here’s a look at some of the gym equipment you’ll likely find at your local fitness center, along with a little information that will, hopefully, make your experience a little easier.
Just remember – whether you’re starting a workout routine to lose weight, get toned, or for whatever other reason – you’re making one of the best possible decisions you could make for your overall health. You don’t need to worry about anyone else. Focus on your program and your priorities.
A Gym Can Be Overwhelming: Learning How To Use The Fitness And Exercise Equipment Can Help
If you’re nervous about going to the gym for the first time, that’s completely understandable. Don’t be worried if you’re intimidated, or even confused. You might see rows and rows of gym equipment and not have the slightest idea of what to do with any of it. If this describes your situation, consider taking an introductory class with one of the trainers. They can go over all of the gym equipment, giving you an idea of which fitness machines will be right for your specific exercise program.1
If you’d rather not take the “grand tour,” at least think about scheduling a session with a personal trainer. A trainer will listen to your goals and help evaluate the best sort of exercise regimen to help you meet those goals. Even more importantly, they’ll show you the proper technique for each gym machine so you don’t hurt yourself.2
How To Use Gym Equipment For Beginners: Basic Rules Of Gym Etiquette (Clean Your Machines)
As important as learning the machines in the gym may be, it’s just as important to learn proper gym etiquette. Here are a few tips.
Get in your work and then clean every machine thoroughly after you’re done. If your gym is popular, it’s probably going to be crowded. Since there are only so many machines to go around, it can sometimes be hard to get on one. Get your workout done and move on. Before you go, though, take the time to wipe your sweat off of the machine. This is not only healthy, it’s basic courtesy as well.3
Don’t crowd anyone out. Again, a gym can sometimes be a crowded place. So you’ll want to make sure to respect everyone’s space. This is not only a comfort issue, it could be a safety issue. The last thing you’ll want to do is risk accidentally hitting someone with a dumbbell or some other piece of equipment.4
Put things back where they go. This is also a huge part of proper gym etiquette. When you pick up a piece of exercise equipment, put it back in its place. That will make it a lot easier for everyone who’s working out.5
Learn The Ropes Of Basic Gym Equipment: Treadmill, Squat Rack, And Rowing Machine
As stated previously, you’re going to see a lot of fitness equipment when you first walk into the gym. You’ll see a rowing machine over here and a weight machine over there. You’ll see a dumbbell rack, strength training machines, and much more. Here are a few common pieces of gym equipment that you’ll encounter.
A treadmill makes it easy to get in a long run or walk in a confined space. You just get on the belt and start moving. The belt provides the resistance you’ll need to get in a good workout. You can set the treadmill at a comfortable pace, or you can set it at a more challenging pace.6
In some cases, treadmills have features such as internet connectivity. You can walk or run with others around the world. You can also set up an individualized exercise program. Most treadmills have safety features as well, to keep you from getting hurt.7
If you’re into weight training, you’re likely familiar with the squat rack. Think of it as a bench press without the “bench” portion. There might be a mirror directly across from the squat rack so you can watch to make sure you’re using the proper technique.8
This piece of gym equipment will help you perform exercise that involves squat lifting. You move under the barbell, stand up, and then you get into a squatting position. Once you rise back up, you place the barbell back on the rack. Squat lifting is a form of strength training that increases power in the lower back muscle group, as well as the hamstrings and thighs.9
As the name implies, a rowing machine is designed to simulate the act of rowing a boat. It makes for a great workout, since it affects every muscle group in your body, including the biceps, wrists, oblique (rib) muscles, and several others.10
Many people use a rowing machine to strengthen the latissimus dorsi. These are muscles that run down the side of the back.11
How To Use The Bench Press, Free Weights, And Dumbbells
This only scratches the surface of the many different types of fitness equipment you’ll see when you go into your local gym to exercise. Here are a few others you’ll encounter.
The bench press is one of the most basic types of fitness equipment. You’ll not only find it at your local gym, you also might have seen one in a friend’s home gym. It’s a great form of strength training for developing the chest, triceps, and other portions of the upper body. To use it correctly, however, you’ll also need to use your legs. Your feet will need to be planted firmly on the ground.12
Free weights are just like the name implies. This type of weight isn’t attached to any other kind of equipment. You can move a free weight wherever you like. The two main kinds of free weight equipment are barbells and dumbbells, but you’ll also see an exercise ball, sandbags, and maybe even tires in your gym.
One of the main differences between a free weight and a weight machine has to do with resistance. On a weight machine, you’re typically encountering resistance in an up-and-down fashion. A free weight, on the other hand, allows you to move in several other directions. The resistance comes from the weight itself.13
A free weight workout offers certain advantages over a weight machine. The biggest one is that it poses less of a risk of muscle imbalance. As a result, it also poses less of an injury risk.14
Dumbbells and Barbells
These are both types of free weights. The main difference is the size. A dumbbell is meant to be used with one hand. The bar between the weights is relatively short. Barbells, on the other hand, are much longer – typically between four and seven feet. This is the kind of equipment you’ll see used when someone is on the bench press, or is performing a squat lift or some other type of weight lifting.15
A dumbbell comes in a variety of weights, from as little as five or fewer pounds to as big as 50 or more pounds. You can use a dumbbell for a variety of exercises, building up your biceps and other muscle groups. If you’re a beginner, however, you definitely don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Pick a weight you can lift for 15 or so reps before you get exhausted. That will not only give you a good workout, it will also help reduce the chances of getting hurt.16
Be Smart And Stay Safe, But Have Fun
Whether you want to use a resistance band, a weight machine, a rowing machine, or any other piece of equipment, you’ll want to know the right technique before you start. As you learned earlier, it’s a good idea to have a trainer go over the different pieces of equipment before you begin your workouts.
If you haven’t been to the gym for a while or you’re completely new to the experience, make sure you speak with your doctor first. You want to be 100 percent sure that it will be safe for you to start your workout routine.
Once you get your doctor’s okay, have fun. Remember, it will be normal if you feel intimidated. Don’t worry about it. You know why you’re there – don’t ever feel you have to try and impress anyone but yourself.
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