When it comes to gyms, there are a lot of different machines and equipment available to help you build muscle, burn calories, and improve your fitness.

No matter your specific goals, the main objective is always to improve your health and fitness and gyms are often the best place to do this.

Why?

Because of all the aforementioned equipment designed specifically with this goal in mind.

In this article, we’re going to look at the most common health and fitness machines and equipment in gyms. This isn’t an exhaustive list but it does include most of the machines and equipment you’ll see.

Treadmill

It’s unlikely that you’ll find a gym without a treadmill. You can use one to work on your cardio, endurance, glutes, thighs, and legs in general. It’s the perfect machine for starting your workout as it’s great for warming up.

What are the benefits of a treadmill?
Treadmills are great for warming up, cooling down, and cardio sessions. (Source: heleiqiang)

Running is great for losing weight but it’s so much more than that. Running can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure while improving your cardiovascular health.

Almost every gym will have one or several treadmills that you can use. You can alter the speed and more advanced machines include programmes you can run and there are even cool-down modes.

A lot of treadmills can alter the incline, too, which allows you to increase the challenge. If you’re just getting started and focusing on weight-loss, the treadmill is one of the first machines you should look to.

Find out more about gyms in the UK.

Abdominal Crunch

Your abs, or abdominal muscles, are an important group of muscles located at the bottom of your torso.

Many machines focus on your abs and while there are the rotary torso machines or even just workout benches, the abdominal crunch machine is one of the most popular. You’ll find them, or something similar, in almost every gym.

The machine is designed for you to do abdominal crunches. You can alter the resistance or weight to increase the challenge or adjust it to what’s right for you. It's one of the ways to get a six-pack.

Like with most machines, make sure you’re using it correctly as improper use can lead to injury.

Arm Curl

There are several choices when it comes to working out your arms. You can either do exercises with free weights or use machines and there are a lot of different machines available to work on your arms.

The arm curl is one of the more popular machines at the gym. It allows you to bend your arms upwards from the elbow much like you would with free weights and you can alter the weight or resistance.

You can do both arms at the same time or alternate. If you’re struggling to use the machine, don’t hesitate to ask a member of staff at your gym or work alongside a private fitness coach from Superprof!

Find out more about the cost of a gym membership.

Exercise Bikes

Most gyms will have several exercises bike. Since exercise bikes focus on cardio training, they’re very good for losing weight.

What are the benefits of exercise bikes?
Exercise bikes come with a lot of the same benefits as a treadmill but are of lower impact. (Source: valkovav)

There are several types of machines related to the exercise bike:

  • Classic exercise bike
  • Spinning bikes
  • Elliptical trainers
  • Lying down exercise bikes

These machines are good for both warm-ups and cool-downs and can help tone your thighs, glutes, and legs. They’re also great for cardio training like treadmills.

They come in many shapes and sizes from the basic cheaper models to complicated expensive ones. They are a great way to get your heart pumping and burn calories.

Wide Chest Press

Almost every gym will have a wide chest press machine. It’s a great machine for working on your pectorals and your triceps.

They’re easy to use: you just add the weight to adjust the resistance, sit down, and grab the two arms in front of you. Push from your chest, hold it for a bit and then return to the starting position.

This does a lot of the same work sitting down that you can do on a workout bench lying down. If you’re looking to build muscle, this machine will regularly feature in your workouts.

Discover the UK's best gyms.

Leg Press

The leg press machine, as the name indicates, works on your legs. You can work on your legs (thighs, glutes, calves) through a simple set of movements.

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What is a leg press?
Leg press machines work similarly to squatting except you can do it while sitting or lying down. (Source: scottwebb)

You just have to sit down at the seat and place your feet on the plate in front of you. There are different models and some have the plate move away from you whereas others have a static plate and your seat will move back. Either way, they do the same thing.

Here’s some advice for using the machine:

  • To work on your glutes, bend your legs and place feet higher up on the plate. Push through your heels.
  • To work on your quads, keep your feet in the middle of the plate and push through the balls of your feet.
  • To work on your adductors, spread your feet out.
  • To work on your hamstrings, place your legs in the middle.

The leg press machine should also feature regularly in your workouts. Never skip leg day!

Booty Builder

If you want a nice bum, you need to work at it. The Booty Builder is the machine you’ll need. It’s designed with your bum in mind.

It’s not entirely obvious how you use it, but it’s not that complicated. You need to sit down, choose the weight, put the belt on, put your feet on the pad, and you’re ready to go.

You’ll do a series of hip thrusts with your body as straight as possible. Repeat this motion a few times and you’ll start to feel it.

Read about the pros and cons of a gym membership.

Vertical Traction

The vertical traction machine is designed to help you work on your biceps and your back, part of your body that you should regularly exercise. It’ll help you work on your back muscles.

It’s really simple to use. Sit down and adjust the weight or resistance. Adjust the seat so that you can grab the handles and start pulling.

Make sure you don’t put too much weight on or you’ll hurt your joints.

Shoulder Press

The shoulder press works is the last machine in our list that you’ll need to do a full-body workout. After you’ve done your arms, legs, back, pecs, and glutes, you just need to work on your shoulders.

What machines should I use in the gym?
Think about what exercises you need to do and then decide which machines you'll use. (Source: andremcenroe)

Sitting on the machine, grab the handles and raise them. Your shoulders shouldn’t move but you should feel it in your deltoids and triceps. By changing position or weight, you can focus on different muscles. We recommend that beginners use this machine for just their shoulders.

Now you should be familiar with a few of the machines in your gym. For more information, check out our other articles. You can also get private coaching from the tutors on Superprof.

There are three ways to get personal training from one of the coaches on Superprof: face-to-face, in groups, or online. There are pros and cons to each option so you'll want to think carefully about your fitness goals, your schedule, and your budget.

Face-to-face sessions are hugely effective as your coach will be focusing solely on you, ensuring that every exercise and activity is tailored to you, your level, and your fitness. Of course, this excellent service isn't free and these types of sessions are usually the most expensive. They're also the most cost-effective, though, so if you have the budget for them, they're highly recommended.

If your budget doesn't quite stretch to cover face-to-face personal training, group sessions are usually cheaper as the cost of each session is shared amongst everyone in attendance. If you and some friends, colleagues, or family members are interested in improving your health and fitness, you could get together and hire a personal trainer or coach to help you. This is good for groups training for an event like half marathons, marathons, or obstacle courses.

There are also personal trainers offering sessions online. In these cases, they won't be as hands-on as the other coaches but rather act in a consultancy role. They can put together nutrition and workout plans for you to use in your own time. While at the gym, you'll need to rely on a gym buddy or a member of staff to ensure that you're doing everything correctly but your trainer will be there to provide you with feedback and structure your diet and routine to get the best results. As they don't have to travel, these personal trainers can charge less per hour, making them a great option for those with limited funds.

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Joseph

Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.