Most gyms are equipped with various machines, exercise devices and electronic gadgets to maximize your time spent exercising. While walking into a building full of equipment can be overwhelming, knowing how to properly navigate and use it will help you have an effective and safe workout experience. So, it's important to become familiar with an array of gym equipment in order to successfully and confidently complete your workout.
Resistance machines are ideal for the beginner, because of the stabilization they provide while doing a particular exercise. They are also beneficial to more experienced gym-goers who are seeking to add variety to their workouts. When using resistance machines, it's important to make adjustments before performing an exercise. The seat, resting pads, foot rest and other supporting pieces of the equipment should be carefully aligned to comfortably and securely fit your body. If you are using a machine which requires you to sit, make sure your feet can easily touch the ground. Also, make any necessary adjustments to the weighted plates before doing an exercise.
Using free weights is a more advanced form of exercise, because you are required to stabilize your muscles on your own, without the help of a machine. Before performing an exercise with free weights, examine the dumbbells, barbell or other weight equipment to ensure it is not bent, cracked or loose. Always choose a weight you can safely lift before increasing the amount of weight you use. If you are interested in using a free weight accessory that is new to you, ask for instructions from a personal trainer or gym attendant before using the equipment.
There are a large variety of cardiovascular machines available at gyms. Most cardio machines are equipped with electronic devices that can measure your heart rate, distance traveled, rate of speed and total number of calories burned. Enter as much information into the machine as possible in order to correctly track and evaluate your workout. When using cardio machines, always locate and test the emergency stop function before beginning. If you are using a cycle machine, adjust the seat so that your feet comfortably fit into the stirrups when your legs are fully extended. For cardio equipment such as treadmills or stair masters, use the handrails if you need to regain your balance.
When using any type of gym equipment, always examine it before performing an exercise. If you suspect the equipment might be damaged in any way, alert an employee. Always ask for a spotter when using a larger amount of weight than normal or anytime you feel one is needed. Perfect basic lifts such as squats and pull-ups before advancing to more technical lifts like deadlifts, hang cleans and the push press. You should also consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Ask a personal trainer if you have questions about safely using gym equipment.
A Texas native currently living in Florida, Hannah Morgan has a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science and a Master of Health Education. She is a Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. Her writing contributions focus primarily on preventive health and fitness related topics.