Best Gym Equipment and Weight Machines
While experts often give gym machines a hard pass in favor of bodyweight exercises and free weights, there are still a few reliable pieces of equipment that can help you reach your fitness goals. Whether you’re looking to train your legs, shoulders or back, these workout machines will help you get stronger and feel better in the long run.
An elliptical is a smart addition to any home gym, because it’s a great way to do low-impact cardio. In this price range, you can expect to find a machine with multiple options for resistance, a chest-strap heart rate monitor and a variety of exercise programs, says Anzalone.
A rowing machine — also called a seated cable row machine or lat pulldown — is one of the best gym equipment for developing the back muscles, and it helps improve posture. It can be especially helpful for those who slouch or sit in imbalanced positions at their desks all day, which can contribute to issues like shoulder pain and rotator cuff tears.
The rowing machine works the muscles of the upper back, including the lats, rhomboids and trapezius. It also activates the biceps, core and shoulders. The Row Machine can be particularly challenging for beginners, so it’s a good idea to start with a lower weight and work your way up to more advanced exercises.
This machine is a versatile piece of gym equipment, because it’s used for both triceps and biceps workouts. Typically, you’ll start by kneeling with your shins on the bench (preset to your preferred “level of assistance”). Then, you grab the bar with both hands in front of your chest and pull it upward, bending your elbows at a 45-degree angle as you move. You can also do a cable crossover, where you hold the handles on each side of your body and pull them together.
If you’re a beginner who wants to work out at home, but doesn’t have a lot of space, consider adding a landmine machine to your workout gear. It’s a pivot joint attached to the floor, with one end of a barbell inserted into it. This allows for a greater range of motion than a traditional barbell while reducing the risk of injury.
A squat stand is another smart piece of gym equipment to have at home, because it provides resistance training for the quads, hamstrings and calves. You can also use it to increase your balance and stability for movements like squats, lunges, climbing and running. If you want to build your strength, look into getting a power rack and quality barbells with a variety of plates. These are an investment, but you can get a lot of bang for your buck with these pieces of gym equipment, because they provide the most versatility. If you’re limited on space, a dumbbell set can be a more affordable alternative. McCall recommends the TRX Suspension Trainer, which anchors in a door frame and adds stability challenges to body-weight exercises.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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