A Beginner’s Guide to Weight Lifting Equipment

March 19, 2014
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If you have never been to Equinox or other gyms before, the number of equipment available before you might be confusing. Aside from familiar ones like the dumbbell and weight plates, there are many other pieces of equipment you need to be familiar with. Bear in mind that the gym is no place to get careless, so knowing the machines and weights is necessary.

The Roman Chair

roman-chair_GymMembershipFeesAlso known as the hyper extension bench, this bench is designed to strengthen your back and core muscles. You use this by hooking up your feet on the rollers and placing your thighs at the padding. In effect, your torso will be hanging off the bench.

Preacher Bench

Preacher_Bench_GymMembershipFeesThe preacher bench has a pad that’s angled in such a way that you can rest your upper arms while working out your triceps. With the preacher bench you can use a barbell or dumbbells to give your biceps a workout.

Squat Rack

Squat_Rack_GymMembershipFeesThe squat rack, as the name implies, is for squatting, and the machine comes with pegs on each side that will hold the plates as well as a place for holding the barbell. Squat racks also have spotter arms to catch the arm in case you slip. This machine is used for overhead, front and back squats, and you can also use it for Olympic lifts, thrusters cleans and deadlifts. If you want to perform lifts with the machine other than squats, just back out from the spotter arms’ range, but be careful not to drop the barbell.

Power Rack

Power_Rack_GymMembershipFeesThe power rack is one of the most versatile pieces of gym equipment, as it allows you to do a number of different workouts. A typical power rack has a hooks/spotter arms, dip bars and a pull up bar, and they’re adjustable. The adjustable spotters are very important because it means you can set them to any height and not worry about your safety when lifting weights.

Any kind of barbell can be used with a power rack but avoid doing isometric exercises on it, as it is recommended for multi-joint lifts. Bicep curls or other related exercises should not be done here either.

The Smith Machine

Smith_Machine_GymMembershipFeesThe Smith Machine is a cross between a free weight barbell and a machine. It’s basically a barbell which is slid into a fixed rail and locked in a particular spot on the track. A J-hook works as the spotter, and the Smith machine is perfect for workouts where the barbell moves solely on a vertical plane. The machine is also suitable for bench presses but can’t be used for snatches.

Note: gyms often have a barbell rack for storing barbells, but they’re not to be used for any type of workout.

Now that you know what the major exercise and weightlifting equipment are, you can feel confident about going to Fitness 19 and other gyms. Even if you only plan to use a few, knowing what they can do will improve your workout and open new possibilities.

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