A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Gym Equipment

Ever feared walking into a gym and using a piece of equipment completely wrong? You’re not alone! This possibility can intimidate many beginners from ever stepping foot in their local gym. Fortunately we’re a friendly bunch at Gfitness – plus, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to the common equipment in most gyms to help get you started.

Free weights

Free weights are separate pieces of equipment that can be used in a multitude of ways. They include:

  • Dumbbells
    Start small with these individual hand-held weights and work your way up to build strength. Dumbbells can help you to curl, squat and bench press your way to envious tone and definition.
  • Barbells
    The typical ‘strongman’ accessory, consisting of a long rod with interchangeable weight plates attached to each end. They can be used to bench press, shoulder press, deadlift, squat and curl.
  • Kettlebells
    A solid weight with a single hand loop. There are endless dynamic workout options for this simple type of weight, from squats and lunges to side presses and swings.
  • Benches
    Not a free weight, but often used together with them. Bench presses can be inclined or straight and provide elements to provide resistance as you work on abdominals, shoulders, legs and arms.


Exercise machines

Exercise machines use pulleys, weights, moving elements, bars and/or pads to add structure to your workout. They can include:

  • The treadmill
    You probably know this one already: it’s a flat or inclined stationary pavement of sorts that allow you to run or walk on the spot, typically with support bars and monitoring technology built right in.
  • The elliptical machine
    The elliptical or cross-trainer simulates stair climbing or walking with a smooth motion, used for cardio and toning. Half an hour on this can do wonders for your butt, your hamstrings and your heart!
  • Stationary bike
    The stationary bike is also excellent for your cardio health, with low impact on joints. Join us at one of our spin classes for high intensity interval training that can help you tone up and lose weight.
  • The Powermill stair climber
    Think of the Powermill as a never-ending escalator with variable speed options. You can step your way to sculpted calves and quads, including using simple HIIT workouts.
  • The rowing machine
    It’s exactly what the name suggests – sit in the seat and pull the handle towards you as you straighten your legs then repeat. You’ll feel the burn and see the results in your abs, arms and legs.
  • Leg press machine
    Depending on the design, a leg press either uses your body weight or weight plates to create resistance for your legs. It’s perfect for leg day as it targets quads, hamstrings and glutes.
  • Lat pull down machine
    Sit on the bench, tuck your thighs under the roller bar and pull down on the handle with both arms with regular reps. This is a fantastic machine for targeting biceps, triceps and shoulder muscles.
  • Cable station (or cable jungle)
    They may look complex, but these versatile stations incorporate pulleys, bars and benches for a range of workout options including injury rehab. Several people may be able to use these at once.

And remember, one great way to start using the right tools and techniques at the gym is to work with a personal trainer on a regular basis.