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Strength equipment includes commercial fitness equipment found in gyms as well as home fitness versions. The same equipment is generally used for increasing strength and for building muscle. The routine differs depending on your goals. Besides machines, strength equipment includes free weights, which are barbells and dumbbells, exercise bands, and various special purpose devices.
Exercise equipment can show up in a lot of places besides your home and the gym. Large apartment buildings often have exercise areas, and smaller facilities can benefit from a few pieces of equipment. Big corporations have their own gyms, but smaller companies can help themselves and their employees with health promotion facilities. Sometimes people in small towns get together and form a community gym. You may want to promote such a facility at your apartment or business.
Most Smith machines are counterbalanced, which means the bar is not weighted and you are lifting only the weight of the plates. A standard Olympic free weight barbell weighs 20 kg (44 lb). In this case the free weight exercise would be 44 lb heavier. With Smith machines that are not counterbalanced in this way, it would depend on the weight of the bar. Try the Smith machine bar without weight plates to see how it feels.
Cybex is one of the major manufacturers of gym weight training equipment. To work major muscle groups, look for the leg press (legs), vertical bench press (chest), and lat pulldown (back). Do three sets of 8-12 repetitions to tone and train your muscles. If you want to do more for your legs, do one or two sets on the leg extension and leg curl. I prefer dumbbells for arm exercises, but you may want to try the Cybex biceps and triceps machines for a set or two. Work your abs on the floor with crunches.
You don't need much fitness equipment to do yoga, but there are some items that will make your yoga practice more enjoyable and effective. Mats are popular pieces of exercise equipment for many purposes. Yoga classes use yoga mats, and you should have a yoga mat if you practice at home. Special blocks make poses easier. You can also get practice videos and gear bags.
Exercise equipment usually means things like treadmills or home gyms, but there are a lot of exercise accessories that will improve your workouts. Workout gloves and lifting straps help with strength training. Book racks give some people more enjoyment from aerobic workouts. A water bottle and its holder may not seem like fitness equipment, but it will help keep you fresh throughout your workout.
The various martial arts have their own exercise equipment. Boxing is quite popular now and there is some equipment that is necessary. Much of this can be used by other martial arts practitioners too. Boxers need gloves to protect their hands. For practice, either hanging or standing punching bags are great pieces of home equipment.
Aerobic equipment is the class of exercise equipment that develops aerobic/cardiovascular capacity and endurance. Many health benefits are associated with aerobic exercise. This equipment includes treadmills, exercise bikes, rowing machines, stair climbers, elliptical trainers, and even skates and jump ropes.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|