By a show of hands, who’s intimidated by the gym?
See you’re not alone.
I know I was.
Reason #48597823 why I built my garage gym.
The gym can be very intimidating, scary even.
Lucky for you, that stops right here.
Because you’re a bad mamma jamma. Translation: You’re a woman!
We give birth.
We raise children.
We manage households.
We run companies.
We sure as heck won’t be scared of a gym. Amiright?
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know how to do any of those things above at first, but somewhere along the way I picked up a few things.
And that really is the key right there. Learning. Educating yourself on what’s inside the gym.
So let’s get started with today’s post on the most common equipment you’ll find in a gym. I won’t be going into detail about using all of this equipment. More on that throughout the month. Besides, there is such a thing as too much information.
Let’s just take it one step at a time.
Most gyms you frequent will have these main areas:
For this post, I will concentrate on the top 3 as I feel 4-6 are pretty self explanatory.
In this area of the gym you will find various types of machines, such as:
Cable machines - Commonly used for seated rows, lat pulldowns, cable pull through, tricep extensions
Weight machines (pin loaded) - These can be used for a variety of exercises. Each machine will usually have an image of the exercise and the muscles it works. It is called a pin loaded machine because you will move a pin to the appropriate weight amount.
Weight machines (plate loaded) - This includes things like a leg press, Smith machine or a bench press (pictured below).
And this is a Smith machine.
Some people might call this a squat rack, but it’s not. The reason this is not a squat rack is because the bar is attached. You can’t remove the bar as it is in a fixed position. It can only be slid up and down the track and placed on the hooks you see.
There is much debate over the Smith machine and it’s usefulness. You are limited with a Smith machine as it forces your body into a position or form that may not be the best. At Planet Fitness, this is the only squat type machine you will find. They do not have squat/power racks. So are you going to avoid squats because you don’t have a rack??
Of course not. That’s just dumb. This is definitely an option for squats especially if it’s the ONLY option.
Assisted dip/pull up machine - I usually see people use this machine for pull ups. It’s what I used it until I could do them on my own. The higher the weight, the easier it is to perform a pull up.
This is where you will find:
Dumbbells - Used for a variety of things and found in weight from 5-100lbs usually.
Fixed weight barbells - These are shorter than your standard barbells that are used for squats and deadlifts, but they are useful for a variety of things including glute bridges, single leg deadlifts, hip thrusts, bicep curls, overhead press, etc.
EZ curl bar - Typically used for bicep curls and tricep extensions. Other than that, I do not find much use for them.
SQUAT AND POWER RACKS
This is a squat rack. You squat here. You do not do bicep curls here. #gymetiquette
This is a power rack, which is basically a 4 sided squat rack that has adjustable safety bars/pins and can also be used for overhead presses, rack pulls, and bench press. Again, no bicep curls here. Sometimes they have pull up bars attached as well.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of all possible equipment you will find at a gym. All gyms vary but most commercial gyms will have the items I’ve listed here.
So where do you go from here?
I’m glad you asked. That’s exactly what I’m going to cover next week. Stay tuned.
I am a wife, mom, grandma & former professional “diet and exercise hopper" who understands the challenges of being 40lb overweight after having children & the damage repeated sense of failure can cause to your confidence and self-esteem.