Most of us are very familiar with commercial gyms, and as far as gym equipment names go, we certainly know the basics.
The meat and potatoes of the gym, if you will.
But what about those of us who aren’t familiar with some of the newer and more advanced pieces of kit in the gym?
Ever found yourself in a commercial gym, faced with numerous machines that look like something out of a sci-fi epic that you wouldn’t even know what they’re called, let alone what they do and how to use them?
If so, then rest assured you’re not alone, and rest assured that you’ve come to the right place today.
We all know that gyms tend to have the same equipment regardless of where you go, such as Treadmills, exercise bikes, dumbbells, barbells, and weight benches, but what about the countless other machines and pieces of equipment out there?
What are they called and how are they used?
Let’s find out, shall we?
The Gym Equipment Names:
Here’s a detailed look at your ultimate guide to workout equipment names.
First, we have one of the most integral pieces of equipment in the gym, the squat rack.
Squat racks are basically metal cages or half-metal cages that are designed to help keep you safe when you perform various free-weight exercises such as squats.
The rack can be either fixed or adjustable to provide metal pegs or bars that catch the bar if you fail, thereby preventing the weight from crushing you.
The power rack is very similar to a squat rack, except for the fact that it is an entire cage that features adjustable safety bars that allow you to perform free-weight exercises in a much safer manner.
Basically, a power rack means that you can go fairly heavy when training alone, as the safety bars act as a spotter for you.
The safety bars can also be adjusted to various heights so you can do different exercises such as rack pulls.
As far as equipment names go, the power rack is one that is synonymous with weight and resistance training.
Another relatively simple but highly effective piece of gym equipment is the power tower.
A power tower is basically an upright tower roughly 7-feet in height that features sturdy legs and a dipping station with padded armrests and a padded backrest.
Power towers are mainly used for doing triceps/chest dips, and hanging leg raise for the abs.
Chest Press Machine
A chest press machine is a heavy-duty machine that can either be plate-loaded or stacked, that is designed to mimic the motions associated with free-weight bench presses.
With a chest press machine, though, instead of laying down horizontally on a bench, users instead sit upright in the machine and push the two mechanical arms out in front of them to really target and squeeze the pecs.
Adjustable Weight Bench
If you’re looking for one of the most important pieces of kit found in any gym, home, or commercial, the adjustable weight bench is ideal.
Adjustable weight benches are sturdy benches that are designed to allow users to perform a series of exercises on them, often with free weights such as dumbbells and barbells.
Adjustable weight benches can be set at a decline, flat, incline, and upright angle to allow for more variety in terms of training.
From flat bench dumbbell presses to seated dumbbell shoulder presses, adjustable weight benches are ideal.
Preacher Curl Machine
As far as the gym equipment goes, be sure to remember the preacher curl machine if you’re looking to build up your biceps.
Preacher curl machines can be plate-loaded, or stack-loaded and they allow users to sit on the seat, grasp the handles, rest their arms on padded support, and curl the handles to target the biceps.
Preacher Curl Bench
A preacher curl bench is very similar to a preacher curl machine, except there is no weight stack and nowhere to load the plates or no handles.
Instead, users sit on the bench and perform free-weight curls with an EZ bar, a barbell, or dumbbells.
Pec Deck Machine
This is one of the most memorable equipment names as it has been a staple in commercial gyms for close to half a century now, if not longer.
The pec deck machine, sometimes known as the butterfly pec deck machine, can be plate-loaded or stacked and allows users to sit in it upright, take a handle in either hand and bring both hands together in front of them until the chest muscles get a nice squeeze.
Another very popular piece of gym equipment is the lat pulldown machine.
Lat pulldown machines are typically found in nearly all commercial gyms and they target the back muscles, specifically the latissimus dorsi muscles in the back.
A lat pulldown machine is again, weight or plate stacked and features an adjustable seat with leg pads and a cable attached to a high pulley to which you can attach various handles in order to perform various exercises and movements.
Shoulder Press Machine
If you want to build up your shoulders, you’re going to have to get to grips with a shoulder press machine.
This is another of the more memorable workout equipment names as it is ideal for training the shoulders.
Shoulder press machines are plate-loaded or stack-loaded and they feature a seat and back support for users to sit in before taking hold of a handle in either hand and pressing them up into the air before extending the arms and locking out the elbows.
Leg Press Machine
Upper body training is all well and good, but it’s important to work your legs and your lower body as well if you’re serious about building an aesthetic and symmetrical physique.
A leg press machine either begins sat at an incline or flat.
You then push a sled with your legs, either in front of you or sometimes you’ll push yourself away from the machine.
The exercise will target your hamstrings, your glutes, your quads, and your core.
Leg Extension Machine
Sticking with the equipment names which are synonymous with leg training, next up we have the leg extension machine.
The leg extension machine basically works by allowing the user to sit down on the bench, tuck their legs under the pads and extend their legs out in front of them.
Leg extensions work on your hamstrings and your quads primarily.
Leg Curl Machine
Leg curl machines are basically reverse leg extensions as you begin with the legs roughly at a 180-degree angle before you pull them in closer to your glutes.
These work on your hamstrings and your quadriceps muscles.
Standing Calf Raise Machine
The standing calf raise machine is basically an upright machine with a platform and padded shoulder rests that are designed to work the calves.
The user will select the weight of the choice, will hang their heels over the edge of the platform, and will then stand up on their heels until they feel a deep stretch in the calf muscle.
Seated Calf Raise Machine
The premise behind the seated calf raise machine is almost identical to a standing calf raise machine except that, rather than standing up, the user will sit down and have their thighs wedged firmly under a pad.
They’ll then stand on their tiptoes and lift their heels up off of the ground until they feel a deep stretch in the calf muscles.
Hack Squat Machine
If you want a versatile leg machine, the hack squat machine is ideal.
Hack squats allow the user to perform a squatting movement without the need for a barbell or any free weights.
They’ll stand in the machine, unhook the safety catches, position their feet on the platform and squat down as deep as they can possibly get.
Leg Abduction Machine
As far as equipment names go, the leg abduction machine is one that people often overlook.
The machine allows users to sit in it and squeeze their legs together, targeting the outer and inner thighs and buttocks.
Cable Crossover Machine
The cable crossover machine is, without a doubt, one of the most popular pieces of equipment found in any gym.
Everybody who frequents a gym will be familiar with a cable crossover machine.
Basically, the machine, which is normally stacked, features two ends, both with a high and a low pulley attached.
The user can then attach their handle of choice and select whichever height they require, based upon whichever specific exercise they happen to be performing.
The name ‘crossover’ largely comes from the fact that you can cross your arms over one another as you perform the exercise.
Chest crossovers, for example, are great for working the chest though in reality there are countless different exercises that you can perform.
Hammer Strength Machine
If you’re into your weight training, you will also be familiar with the Hammer Strength machine.
Hammer Strength machines utilize iso-lateral technology, which basically means that, rather than both levers moving simultaneously, they instead move independently.
The idea is that the machine mimics the actions and movements of the human body, making Hammer Strength machines more functional.
Hammer Strength machines can be flat, incline, and decline chest machines, you can have high and low row variations for the back, and you can have shoulder press variants that work the shoulders.
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An Olympic barbell is a barbell, usually in lengths of 6ft or 7ft that is designed to fit Olympic plates with a wider diameter than regular weight plates.
These long bars of metal allow you to add weight plates to either side, secure them in place with a collar, and then go ahead and perform a wide range of different exercises.
We won’t name every exercise because that would take all day, but some popular examples include flat bench barbell press, barbell bicep curl, and standing barbell overhead press.
Fixed Weight Dumbbells
Dumbbells are another staple in virtually every gym, commercial or otherwise and fixed weight dumbbells are no different.
Fixed weight dumbbells are exactly as they sound – dumbbells that are fixed weights.
Usually, dumbbells come in pairs and they increase in 2.5kg increments.
Dumbbells are great as you can do iso-lateral exercises or exercises with both hands and can target every major muscle group on the body.
Olympic Weight Plates
No commercial gym would be complete without weight plates, which is exactly what we’re looking at next.
Weight plates can be attached to the end of barbells, EZ bars, or any other bars to increase resistance, and locked in place with a collar.
You can also add weight plates to plate-loaded machines.
In terms of weight, weight plates are typically found in: 1.25kg, 2.5kg, 5kg, 10kg, 15kg, 20kg, 25kg, and 50kg.
Some plates are solid cast iron, whereas others are rubber coated and are hexagonal in design.
A safety bar is designed for exercises such as squats and good mornings.
It is a heavily padded bar that sits across the back of the neck/upper traps and has handles that extend outwards above the shoulders.
The user then grasps the handles to hold the bar in place and will perform their exercise of choice.
A lot of powerlifters and strongmen perform safety bar squats and good mornings.
Kettlebells are basically solid metal balls with a handle attached to one end.
Imagine a handle attached to an oversized cannonball and that is pretty much what a kettlebell is and looks like.
Kettlebells are ideal for working the entire body and recruiting core stabilizer muscles, making them fantastic for people looking to improve upon their functional strength.
Kettlebells can be used individually or as a pair.
The most popular kettlebell exercise is the kettlebell swing whereby the kettlebell is swung between the legs.
This exercise targets the quads, the back, your core, your delts, and your glutes.
EZ bars, also known as EZ curl bars are similar to barbells, except for the fact that they are smaller and the grip is designed differently so as to take the strain and pressure off of the hands and wrists.
You can use an EZ bar in a very similar way to a barbell, though in particular it is great for curling and is therefore ideal for optimizing bicep development.
As we’re talking about the equipment names, we can’t talk about free weights and bars and not talk about Olympic collars.
Olympic collars are designed to fit securely and tightly onto the end of a barbell, or any other bar or machine, to hold an Olympic plate firmly in place to ensure it is locked in place and doesn’t fall off the end of the bar.
Olympic collars can be applied in seconds and can not only improve the functionality of the exercise in question but can also potentially prevent an injury.
As we’re listing gym equipment names in today’s article, you can probably guess which muscle group this bar is designed to target.
Triceps bars are designed to allow users to perform a series of triceps exercises using a neutral grip when the palms face one another.
For people looking for optimal triceps development, exercises such as overhead triceps extensions and skull crushers are ideal.
A utility bench, also known as a flat bench, is similar to an adjustable weight bench, except for the fact that it has no back and is not adjustable.
It is basically a long flat bench that the user can lay on or lean on and perform a series of free-weight exercises.
In particular, utility benches are ideal for flat bench pressing, as well as bent-over dumbbell rows.
This is one of the few gym types of equipment you won’t hear in many commercial gyms as they aren’t as popular as they once were.
The decline bench press is designed to accommodate users that are performing exercises from a declined position.
Stomach crunches, for example, are often done on decline benches, as well as decline bench presses to target the lower pecs.
A balance board may sometimes be called a wobble board.
As far as the gym equipment names go, balance boards aren’t overly popular in gyms nowadays, though they can still provide a whole host of different benefits if used right.
The idea behind a balance board is that you stand on the board which is constantly wobbling, and you then perform various exercises such as bodyweight squats, while also engaging your core to keep yourself stable.
As far as core development goes, balance boards are ideal.
A foam roller provides a self-myofascial release, which in layman’s terms means that it mimics the effects of receiving a sports massage.
A foam roller is a long tube of metal coated in thick foam, either smooth or in ridges, that the user basically rolls on to massage specific parts of the anatomy.
With foam rollers you can help to free up tight muscles, you can help break down muscle fascia, or you can simply use them to help stimulate the muscles and get the blood flowing.
A jump rope, also known as a skipping rope, is one of the most popular pieces of cardiovascular equipment to be found in a gym.
Skipping ropes are basically long pieces of rope, usually made from plastic, with handles attached to either side, that the user holds onto and skips over.
As well as being ideal for cardiovascular conditioning, jumping ropes are also great for developing the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves as well, and for increasing explosive speed and power.
Push Up Bars
Push-up bars are portable, inexpensive, and very effective for people that are looking to develop their chests.
Push-up bars are basically solid devices with handles attached that the user holds onto while performing a push-up.
The idea is that, as the bars are elevated, the user can get more depth during the push-up, which means greater chest development.
Pull Up Bar
A pull-up bar may also be known as a chin-up bar and it is one of the simplest yet most effective pieces of kit to be found in any gym.
A pull-up bar is basically a bar that is attached securely to the ceiling, a wall, or a power rack.
Users grasp the bar with an overhand grip and pull themselves up so that their chin is just over the bar.
This exercise works wonders for the back.
If users use an underhand grip and pull themselves up, this is known as a chin up and it targets the biceps as well as the back.
Battle ropes are nothing like jumping ropes so please do not try skipping with them, as it will not end well.
Battle ropes are commonly used in CrossFit and MMA workouts and are thick ropes in which the user basically rows, bounces, pulls, and slams for a certain duration of time.
Battle ropes not only work on your cardiovascular conditioning, but they’re also ideal for toning the muscles as well.
Resistance bands are basically reinforced rubber bands that are designed to provide resistance and mimic the resistance provided by free weights, without actually using free weights.
Resistance bands can be securely attached to pieces of gym equipment, they can be wedged under benches, the user can stand on them to keep them in place, or they can even be attached to weights, bars, or machines to increase the resistance even further.
Chains are becoming more popular in commercial gyms nowadays, especially since huge guys like The Rock often use them as part of their training routines.
Chains may be simple in terms of equipment, but don’t let that fool you, because they’re ideal for working out.
Chains can be attached to barbells to provide resistance during an exercise.
The thing about chains is that, as you lift them higher off the ground, the more links you lift off the ground, the heavier the weight becomes.
Chains are fantastic for increasing strength and can be used in exercises such as bench presses, deadlifts, military presses, and dips as they can be rested over the shoulders.
If you want gym equipment that everybody will remember, the treadmill is probably up there as being precisely that.
Treadmills are found in virtually all commercial gyms and are fantastic for people looking to work on their cardio, burn fat, and improve their overall levels of fitness.
A treadmill is a motorized machine that allows users to run on the spot.
Users can adjust the speed of the machine, as well as increase the incline.
Most treadmills also have in-built programs for users to follow.
An exercise bike is a stationary bike attached to a stand that users can sit on and peddle, just as they would with a real bike.
Exercise bikes work on your cardio, they help burn fat, they’ll increase stamina, and they’ll get you fitter and healthier.
Sometimes called upright bikes, users can alter the resistance of this device, they can follow in-built programs, and a whole lot more besides.
The stair climber, also known as the stair mill, is another very popular piece of cardio equipment found in commercial gyms all across the land.
The stair climber is one of the most familiar workout equipment, but don’t let that fool you, because the machine itself is absolutely brutal.
Stair climbers basically allow users to walk upstairs as the device features a revolving staircase.
Users can alter the speed at which the stair revolve, however, and obviously, the faster the stairs revolve, the harder the exercise will be.
Great for the glutes and lower body muscles, as well as for fat loss, the stair climber is a very popular piece of kit.
The elliptical machine, also known as a cross trainer, is a cardio machine that is like a hybrid between a treadmill and an exercise bike.
The movement requires users to row with their arms and peddle with their legs as they stand on a platform on each foot.
If you’ve ever seen somebody cross country skiing before, that’s the type of movement an elliptical machine will replicate.
Finally, we have the spinning cycle.
A spinning cycle, also known as a spinning bike, is a bike that features a single frame that rotates around a spinning disc to which users can apply additional resistance too.
It is one of the most popular pieces of cardio equipment, and also one of the toughest.
The Bottom Line:
So, as you can see, there are all kinds of gym equipment names for you to get your head around, and while we haven’t quite listed each one, we’ve certainly done our best to cover more than just the basics.
If you’re looking to start working out, hopefully now you’ll be more familiar with some of the lesser-known pieces of equipment in the gym.