Exercise Equipment

Following is a list and description of my favorite types of exercise equipment, including standard equipment and some outside the ordinary:

Bodyweight / Freehand No matter your level of fitness, you can get a great workout with no equipment.

For beginners, using your own bodyweight for exercising is a must. It's safe, convenient, and free. For more advanced exercises, with a little imagination, those at any fitness level can get a great workout. If you don't believe me, contact me and I'll be happy to show you a few exercises to challenge even the most fit.

Click on the following image for a chart with some simple bodyweight exercises for every major part of your body. Let me know if you have any questions or would like some suggestions of which ones would be best for you based on your current fitness level.
  Bodyweight Exercise Chart Bodyweight Exercise Chart
Barbells Very simply, a barbell is a bar of which discs of various weights are attached at each end for weightlifting exercises.

To really get strong, you need to life a lot of weight. There is no piece of exercise equipment that can replace a barbell for pushing your limits.
  Barbell exercise equipment    Barbells with rack
Dumbbells A dumbbell is similar to a barbell with a much shorter bar. While a barbell is grabbed by both hands at the same time, a dumbbell is held by a single hand.

Dumbbells have been around probably as long as barbells, and have recently been gaining a lot of popularity with fitness instructors. Not only will dumbbells make you stronger, but because of the instability of having to hold each one in only one hand, you'll be gaining balance and flexibility as well.

Another advantage of dumbbells over barbells is the variety of types of dumbbells you can select for your home gym. If money and space is not an issue, you can get a pair of dumbbells of many different weights. You can either buy a full set at one time, or start with lower weights and buy heavier ones when you need them. Or you can buy 2 dumbbell bars, and, similar to a barbell, add plates (weights) to each one to reach the weight you'll be lifting for your exercise.
  Dumbbells exercise equipment    Dumbbells with rack
Suspension Trainer A type of strength training using straps that allow the user to work against their own body weight. Suspense training allows the user to develop strength, balance and flexibility at the same time. By adjusting the straps, users of all levels can get a great workout. To see a sample of some of the exercises you can do with suspension straps, go to our Suspension Training Exercises page.

I have to admit, I've become addicted to my suspension trainer. I have the LifelineUSA Jungle Gym XT. Here are a few reasons I love my suspension trainer:

  • It only takes seconds to adjust the straps to change the level of difficulty of each exercise. This will allow you to go from one exercise to another quickly so you can make this a cardio workout along with a strength workout.
  • There are hundreds of free videos in the internet showing different exercises you can do on them.
  • As you become more familiar with your suspension trainer, you can invent your own exercises (though be careful to make sure your doing it safely).
  • Since there are so many different exercises that can be done on suspension trainers, I like to do supersets on them.
  • They take very little space. I have mine attached to a pull up bar.
  • Going on vacation? Take your suspension trainer with you. Roll the straps up and throw them in your suitcase. Most suspension trainers can be hooked up to the back of a door, so no installation is needed.

Check out our Suspension Training Exercises page for some of my favorite suspension trainer exercises.

To see several of the different suspension trainers available, along with descriptions and recommendations, visit our Suspension Trainers Shop.
  Jungle Gym suspension trainer    TRX suspension trainer   : Suspension trainer exercise equipment
Foam Roller A cylinder, commonly made of foam material, of various lengths. A popular width of a foam roller is 6 inches, while lengths usually vary from 12 inches to 36 inches. Not only are there various sizes, foam rollers come in various densities. Those new to foam rollers normally start with a softer roller, often in white color. Firmer foam rollers are often blue or black.

A foam roller is used by rolling the foam roller under each muscle group. If a tender area is found, maintain pressure on that area by rolling back and forth.

Though not yet scientifically proven, it is believed that foam rollers have the same effects as deep-tissue massage.

I don't yet have a positive or negative opinion on foam rolling yet. Many trainers at the gym love them and have clients do them all the time. I've been trying real hard to make them part of my normal routine, but I just haven't seen any benefit from them yet. They may be helping, but I feel I get as much from a good dynamic stretching routine.

Give foam rolling a try for yourself. Let me know what you think. Go to our Foam Rolling Exercises page for some of the best exercises to do on your foam roller.

Visit our Foam Rollers Shop for some foam rollers available along with our recommendations.
  Form roller exercise equipment    Form roller
Exercise Ball Also called a stability ball. A lightweight, inflated plastic ball with a diameter of 18-36 inches (45-91 cm), used in various fitness exercises. Main target areas of the exercise ball are the back, pelvis and abdominal muscles.

Although stability balls look like the playground balls we played with when we were kids, a good stability ball is much more stable and should last you a while. Similar to playground balls, stability balls are a lot of fun and give you a surprisingly good workout.
  Exercise Stability Ball
Resistance Bands Resistance bands, sometimes called exercise bands, can also be thought of as elastic bands, stretchy bands, etc.: the more they're stretched, the more the resistance. Resistance bands are inexpensive, take very little space, and offer a sufficient workout where free weights are not available or in addition to free weights. They're also a great introduction to resistance training for those new to exercise.

I purchased my first resistance band when I was in middle school and wanted to exercise in my bedroom without anybody knowing. This may have been my introduction to a lifetime of fitness addiction. More recently, since resistance bands are light and provide an unlimited number of exercises, they're the one piece of equipment I always bring with me to train clients at their house to help with giving people of all fitness levels a great workout. I also use resistance bands with clients who have a special need for physical therapy prescribed by a physical therapist.

To get an idea of the different resistance bands available, along with suggestions, go to our Resistance Bands Shop.
  Colored Resistance Bands    Resistance bands exercise equipment

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