Fitness Equipment Tips

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What should I do if I am intimidated by the equipment at the gym?

Don't Be Intimidated to Use Gym Equipment

If you're too intimidated to use some of the equipment at your fitness club, you're not alone. It's common to feel awkward at the gym if you are unfamiliar with the equipment or are self-conscious about your body, but there are ways to overcome this.

Keep in mind that most people at the gym don't know how to use the equipment properly, especially the weight training machines. Talk with an employee or personal trainer at your fitness center, and ask them to help you familiarize yourself with the use of the machines and equipment. If you know how to use the equipment, you will feel less intimidated.

If you are self-conscious about the way you look while working out, remember that most people are too busy focusing on their own workouts to worry about what you're doing. Most of the time people are thinking about themselves rather than how you look. Run hard on the treadmill even though your might get sweaty and red-faced, use that machine that makes for a good ab workout despite your belly bulge. Everyone who goes to the gym is trying to get in shape, so focus on your own goals.

What equipment should i buy for a home gym?

Weight Training Equipment

There is a lot of weight training fitness equipment on the market, but many women do not know how to start a weight training routine or how to select weight training equipment for their home gyms. Before you choose your strength training equipment, consider where and when you will exercise. You need to carve out a convenient space for your fitness workouts and also consider where you can store your home fitness equipment when you aren't working out. Also consider what your strength training will focus on. Will you be doing an ab workout? Or perhaps you want to work out your legs and arms. When you figure out where you will store your weight training equipment and what kind of exercises you want to do, you can move on to picking it out. Here are some basics that you might want to include:

  • Resistance Bands: These are one of the best pieces of strength training equipment because they are cheap, portable and effective. Though they are more limiting than weights, they are great if you are a beginner or if you don't want to take up a lot of space in your home.
  • Dumbbells and hand weights: Dumbbells are very versatile and allow you to do lots of different upper body exercises. Hand weights and ankle weights are also versatile and can be used as dumbbells.
  • Home gym machine: If you have enough space and money, consider the effectiveness of a strength training machine. Machines often have multiple ways to work different muscle groups, providing a great workout for your entire body. Machines can also help you keep your alignment and balance in check.

What are the benefits of using elastic resistance?

Resistance Bands

There are three distinct benefits to purchasing resistance bands for home exercise equipment:

  • Versatility
  • Portability
  • Affordability

Resistance bands are so light, that you can pack them in your suitcase for travel. here are the different types of bands that are available:

Therabands: Therabands are wide, flat bands that are made of durable rubber latex. If you are allergic to latex, don't despair. Some companies make a latex-free product. They come in different colors, which are indicative of the various levels of resistance.

Resistance Tubing: Resistance tubes are narrow bands, which are shaped like jump ropes. They have the distinct advantage of having a handle at each end, which makes them versatile and ergonomic. Resistance tubes can be used for upper body, lower body and abdominal exercises. You can also purchase door attachments, as well as devices that can secure the tube to an immovable object, such as a desk or a bed. These attachments are excellent for performing upper body exercises.

Ankle Tubes: Ankle tubes are smaller tubes which are excellent for leg exercises.

What is a Bosu?


The Bosu is one of the most brilliant fitness equipment inventions. The word “Bosu” stands for “both sides up.” This domed shaped product look like half of a stability ball. It can be used either on the dome side or platform side. The Bosu can be used for abdominal exercise, leg exercise, upper body exercise and flexibility exercise. Unlike the stability, you can safely perform squats and lunges while standing on the Bosu. The company recently created a smaller version of the Bosu that is suitable for home exercise.

Because of its versatility, the Bosu is favorite training product for the US Ski Team, as well as other athletic teams. In fact, Peter Twist, sport-conditioning specialist for the Vancouver Canucks, has developed a set of six bosu sport videos:

  • Bosu for Football
  • Bosu for Golf
  • Bosu for Hockey
  • Bosu for Skiing/Snowboarding
  • Bosu for Tennis
  • Bosu for Soccer

The Bosu can be used in conjunction with weights or exercise tubes and bands. You can also perform aerobic exercise, Pilates and back care exercises. The Bosu website features a variety of exercises that can be performed on the Bosu, as well as videos and other products to purchase.

What muscles can be worked on an exercise ball?

Exercise Balls

Exercise balls are probably the one of the most economical, portable and versatile forms of home exercise equipment. They are also referred to as stability balls, fitballs, balance balls and gymballs. Prices range from $10-$40, depending on the quality. The higher priced balls usually have a burst resistant property. Working out on an exercise ball requires active deep core muscles. This makes them excellent for developing the balance needed for athletic performance enhancement.

Virtually every body part can be exercised on the ball; abs, glutes, legs and upper body. Resistance tubes can be used in conjunction with the ball for added challenge. Some people even perform their weight training exercises on the ball. Many people sit on a stability ball when they are working at their computer in order to promote better postural alignment. The balls are inflatable and deflatable, which means that you can take them along on vacation!

Although there are many types of abdominal exercise equipment on the market, nothing beats the stability ball for activating the deeper abdominal muscles, thus providing a superior workout to anything that can be done on a traditional machine.

What factors should be considered when choosing sport fitness equipment?

From Home to Home Field: Fitness for Recreational Athletes

There was a time when sophisticated sport conditioning equipment was only available for professional athletes. These days, as the Functional Training movement, which features fitness training methods similar to those used by athletes, becomes a respectable form of exercise, more and more companies are beginning to supply sport fitness equipment to the general public. Here are a few of the most respectable companies of this sort:

Fitter One: Fitter First, is the brainchild of former Olympic Speed Skier Louis Stack. He created his first product, the Profitter as a form of rehab for his ACL injury. The Profitter is similar to the well-known Skier's Edge. However, it is far less expensive. Today Fitter First carries an extensive selection of balance and athletic training tools.

Perform Better: http://www.performbettercom: Along with providing good values on fitness equipment, the Perform Better site features a series of free training articles, as well as free online training videos. They put out a monthly magazine, and periodically conduct training seminars at various locations throughout the United States.

If you are considering purchasing home exercise equipment to enhance your recreational sport skills, take into account the cost of the equipment, its versatility and its durability.

Is it possible to find Pilates equipment that is suitable for home use?

Affordable Pilates Workouts

Although private sessions on the Pilates equipment can be highly effective, they can also be extremely expensive. Here are some ways to make them more affordable:

  • Share a session with a friend: The caveat: This only works if you are at similar levels.
  • Look for group reformer classes: Many Pilates studios or health clubs have added smaller reformers that can be used for classes of up to ten people. These classes cost much less than private sessions. The caveat: if you have a specific injury, a group session might not address your specific needs.
  • Work with an apprentice instructor: Many Pilates studios have an apprentice, who is someone in the process of getting their certification. Sessions with an apprentice can be less expensive. The concept is similar to what many hair salons do with their trainees. The caveat: Proficiency can be hit or miss. However, since the instructor is in the learning stages, feel free to give feedback if you are dissatisfied with their training methods.
  • Get your insurance to cover your sessions: Some health insurance plans cover "wellness."
  • Consider home Pilates workouts: If, and only if, you have achieved proficiency in your Pilates technique, you can consider purchasing Pilates equipment for home use. However, before you invest any money, consider this question: Will you be motivated to do your workout at home, or will the Pilates equipment turn into an expensive coat rack? If you feel you would be dedicated to a home Pilates equipment workout, here are some reputable companies that manufacture Pilates equipment for home use: Balanced Body, Stott Pilates
In addition to Pilates equipment for home use, Stott Pilates also makes a variety of superb Pilates exercise videos. If you don't have the space and/or the money to purchase a home reformer, you can use a band and a stability ball to perform Pilates workouts at home.

Do all Pilates workouts involve fitness equipment?

Mix Up Your Workouts With Something New

One of the best ways to break out of a workout rut is to try something that you haven't done before. As an added bonus, changing your workout routine every now and then makes you fitter and stronger by working different muscle groups.

For example, if you haven't tried Pilates workouts, find a beginner class and check them out. Some Pilates workouts use Pilates fitness equipment in a specialized studio setup. However, many gyms offer mat-based Pilates classes, which are similar to yoga classes in their focus on building core body strength and balance, while stretching and lengthening your muscles to help give you a longer, leaner silhouette.

What is Total Gym?

Total Gym Home Fitness Equipment

The Total Gym is a dynamic pulley system set up on an inclined glide board. Exercises can be done either from the incline or decline position. The machines have varying levels of calibrated resistance, which represent a proportion of the user's body weight. The pulley system enables you to perform exercises in three planes of movement, without any restrictions on range of motion. This makes it ideal for sports conditioning. The Total Gym web site has an exercise library featuring over 100 exercises. For an additional monthly fee you can opt to join and receive a customized workout plan.

One of the most unique features of the Total Gym is the option to purchase the Pilates Accessory Package. Unlike the traditional Pilates Reformer, the Pilates exercises on Total Gym can be done either on an incline or decline position. Pilates training focuses on core conditioning and postural alignment. It develops strength and flexibility simultaneously. Many professional athletes and dancers are avid Pilates enthusiasts.

What equipment can I use for my core?

Equipment for Your Core

Perhaps your ab workout is becoming a little bland. You should spice it up by adding new equipment to your core-strengthening routine. A strong core will help your posture, make you look lean and improve your overall health. Here is some equipment you can find at any commercial fitness equipment store that will make your core workouts more efficient by adding an element of balance to your training:

  • Stability Balls: Use exercise balls to challenge the strength of your abdominals and help with your stability.
  • Wobble Boards: These boards help your balance and coordination
  • Foam Rollers: You can use foam rollers to increase your body awareness and flexibility
  • Mat Workouts: Use your mat to do yoga and Pilates exercises. These moves will help you relax and center yourself.

What kind of weight training equipment should I get for my gym?

Home Fitness Equipment

There are lots of things to consider when buying home fitness equipment for your workout room. Consider your fitness goals and commitments are before you decide which equipment to buy. If you want a complete home fitness center include aerobic exercise machines, include aerobic equipment such as treadmills, rowers and stationary bikes. Here are some different ways to set-up your weight training equipment:

  • Combine basic, portable equipment for a no-fuss home gym. Include basics such as medicine balls, resistance bands, free weights, dumbbells and a mat for an ab workout. This is great if you're just starting out with weight training because equipment is expensive.
  • If you want the weight training package in one, go for a machine that includes an inclined bench, adjustable height and a sliding seat platform that uses your body weight to increase resistance.
  • One of the more popular home gym styles uses a cable and pulley system with stacked weights. Move the peg to select the weight you want to lift.
  • A bench with free weights is another relatively cheap alternative to buying a large gym set. Fit round end weights onto barbell extensions.

Where can I find Discount Equipment?

Discount Fitness Equipment

If you ever tried to buy fitness equipment, you know how expensive it can be. A brand new treadmill can cost thousands of dollars. Luckily, there are plenty of places that offer discount fitness equipment. First, check out the “For Sale” section on Oftentimes you can find people who are looking to sell their old fitness equipment, or are willing to trade fitness equipment. You can also check eBay for workout equipment auctions.

Check out used fitness equipment online like or These websites usually have a wide variety commercial gym equipment available for sale, from ab workout equipment to Pilates workout equipment. You can also check out stores in your area that offer discount or used equipment such as Play It Again Sports, which has locations all around the country.

Should I be careful when investing in workout equipment?

Be Careful when Buying Equipment

Fitness equipment is a big investment, so naturally you want to make sure you get what you pay for. If you read between the lines, you won't get scammed by scummy companies that are trying to sell ab workout equipment that will give you a six pack in two weeks or a diet pill that will make you drop three dress sizes in one month. Here is some of the advice the Federal Trade Commission has to offer consumers who are buying workout equipment:

  • Be skeptical of advertisements that claim to help you lose a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time. It is impossible to lose weight safely in a few days or even weeks.
  • Do not believe claims that tell you that a piece of fitness equipment will take little to no effort. You can only benefit from exercise if you actually exercise.
  • Doubt before-and-after pictures from “customers.” These pictures are usually altered, or the results may not be typical.
  • Consider all fees associated with buying an item. Those “three easy payments of only $19.99” can add up fast when you tack on shipping and handling, sales tax and delivery and set-up fees.
  • Make sure your item has a warranty and return policy.
  • Make sure the company you buy your items from has a customer service and support center.

What kinds of equipment should I buy for cardio exercise?

Aerobic Equipment

Aerobic fitness equipment can be a great investment if you are sick of paying a monthly fitness club membership. You can work out in the comfort of your home without distractions and you will eliminate your commute to the gym. Unfortunately, you won't be able to get the discount large fitness centers get when buying commercial fitness equipment, so carefully consider which equipment you will actually use in your home.

Machinery such as treadmills and elliptical trainers can be thousands of dollars, so make sure you buy pieces you will commit to using. Don't go out and buy a treadmill, stair stepper and stationary bike if all your ever use at the gym is the elliptical. If you buy Pilates workout equipment but have never taken a Pilates class, you may find out that you don't like it and waste your money. Instead, buy pieces of home fitness equipment one at a time.

Where can I find a discount on home exercise equipment?

Discount Fitness Equipment

There once was a time when it was virtually impossible to find discount fitness equipment. Then, along came the Internet, and everything changed. These days, nobody should be paying full price for home fitness equipment. Here are some places to find discounts. Many people do not realize that ebay is not just for bidders. Some of the sellers actually offer a "buy now" option, which is still less expensive than what you would find in a store. The feedback is listed for each seller, so you can be confident that you are dealing with an honest business.

Sissel-Online : Sissel Online is an amazing site that sells a variety of bands, ball sand other types of exercise equipment. The site has a unique exercise library, that allows you to save exercises in your own exercise folder.

Fitness Wholesale: If you are not interested in purchasing large pieces of exercise equipment, Fitness Wholesale is an excellent source for finding discounted tubes, bands, stability balls, bosu, etc. Be sure to get on their mailing list so that you can receive emails about their monthly sales.

What are some alternatives to buying home ellipticals, stairmasters and cycles?

Cardio Fitness Equipment for home use.

Purchasing elliptical machines, bikes or stairmasters for home use can be an expensive proposition. Fortunately, there are some lower cost alternatives, that are actually a whole lot of fun! Here are some:

Urban Rebounders: Although many professional athletes or aerobic enthusiasts train on trampolines, spatial and safety issues make them questionable for home use. If you enjoy jump training, but your knees cannot withstand the hard surfaces used in traditional plyometrics, you might consider the Urban Rebounder.

Urban Rebounding involves jumping only a few inches from the surface. There is a strong emphasis on the landing phase of the movement. This is highly important to athletes, because proper landing technique can prevent injuries. The company produces a smaller model of the rebounder for home use. In addition to cardio vascular training, there are some interesting abdominal and upper body plyometric exercises that can be performed on the rebounder. Upper body resistance can also be added by using one pond sand weights. The Sport Specific Urban rebounding video features movements that simulate various sports.

Step Aerobics : Many companies manufacture a smaller version of the aerobic step. Make sure that you have a bunch of step videos to keep you from getting bored.

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Barbara Gibson
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