There are a myriad of benefits to resistance training. Some of these are, for example, improved muscle strength and tone which protect your joints from injury; maintaining flexibility and balance, which can help you remain independent as you age; and weight management as well as increased muscle-to-fat ratio as you gain muscle, your body burns more kilojoules when at rest.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
So, with so many benefits of performing resistance training you’ll need to know what the various pieces of equipment are, in the gym, which can help you to perform this extremely valuable exercise modality.
This is the standard training barbell (Olympic men’s barbell). This bar is 2.2 m long and will weigh 20 kg. The Olympic bar has bearings that make it spin nicely to help with assisting the Olympic lifts such as the snatch as well as the clean and jerk.
Fixed weight bars
These are shorter bars with weights already attached. They are usually located all together near the dumbbells and are used primarily for assistance exercises.
Most gyms will have dumbbells even if these don’t have barbells. While there are a few different styles, you can still use all of these for the purposes that you want.
EZ Curl bars
These are the most common speciality bars which are shorter and in a bent ‘w’ shape. Unfortunately, the only thing that these bars are really good for is curls and other accessory movements.
Also known as the ‘hex bar’ because this bar is hexagonal which allows the user to stand in the middle and pick up the bar using a neutral grip. It is primarily used for deadlifts as well as shrugs but definitely not necessary. (An Olympic bar is standard.)
These are two pieces that stand next to each other to hold up your barbell. These are great for portable workouts but for inside a gym they don’t hold as much weights, aren’t as sturdy and lack safety features.
Squat racks come in many shapes and sizes. However, most typically they are two vertical uprights connected with a horizontal pole. Some have safeties build in and some do not. The ones that don’t aren’t much better than the individual squat stands although these are a little more stable. If you have the choice, a swat rack with adjustable safeties is your best bet.
One step above the squat rack is the power rack. These look like big metal rectangles with holes every two inches or so up and down each vertical side. Power racks have safety pins across each side and J-hooks to hold the barbell. One of the great things about your gym having a power rack is that it’s versatile. You can use it to bench press overhead press and squat.
The smith machine is a type of plate-loaded machine that looks a lot like a squat rack. The only difference is that there are rod that guide the path of the bar.
If you want to learn more about the exercises that you can do on this equipment, you should really consider doing a personal trainer course. Or, if you want to become a personal trainer yourself, you DEFINITELY need to check out our Personal Training Diploma.