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What Are the Different Types of Fitness Equipment?

By D. Messmer
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There is a wide array of fitness equipment available to athletes who want to work out. Fitness equipment can vary depending on the type of exercise that it provides and the place where the athlete performs the exercise. Even within these different categories, though, exercise equipment can vary depending on specific types of machines.

One of the primary ways of distinguishing different types of fitness equipment is by the type of exercise. For example, athletes interested in aerobic exercise can choose from a variety of machines, including treadmills, row machines and elliptical trainers. An athlete interested in weight training, though, will tend to use exercise equipment that provides resistance, such as free weights or weightlifting machines. Some fitness equipment can be useful for both types of exercise, though. A set of light dumbbells, for instance, might provide resistance for weight training but also can double as a set of hand weights for a runner.

Even within these categories, though, there are several different options. For instance, if an athlete decides to use weightlifting machines, he or she must also determine the source of the resistance that the machine provides. Some weightlifting machines use weight plates attached to cables and pulleys. Others use elastic bands to provide the resistance. Each different type of machine will have its own benefits and drawbacks, including the intensity of the workout, the durability of the equipment and the safety of the equipment.

Another important way of distinguishing between types of exercise equipment is by the equipment's primary location. Home exercise equipment, for example, will tend to have multiple functions. Most athletes do not have the money or the space to create a home gym with a wide array of exercise equipment, so home equipment generally will make it possible for an athlete to use a single piece of equipment to perform different exercises. A home bench, for instance, often will have an attachment for preacher curls and another for leg extensions and leg curls.

Gym fitness equipment, though, usually will dedicate a single machine to each of these separate workouts. Gyms must accommodate a large number of clients, so it is important for gyms to have a larger number of machines. Gyms also generally have far more space to include a wide array of machines, so less versatile equipment is far more feasible than it would be in a home gym.

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Discussion Comments
By clintflint — On Apr 08, 2014

@iluviaporos - I just don't know if there is a single piece of fitness equipment I would want to have at home. I'd rather buy a gym membership and have access to a whole bunch of different ones there. They all have different uses and target different areas and I also get sick of using them after a while. It's better to be able to do a little bit on a lot of different machines.

By lluviaporos — On Apr 08, 2014

@KoiwiGal - It's easy to find things to do without equipment, but I actually prefer to have something there as motivation. If you can't afford it, I would just buy some used fitness equipment, as there are always a lot of near-new machines on the market.

I'm much more likely to use a cycling machine during a TV show than I am to do sit-ups or something that requires more concentration.

By KoiwiGal — On Apr 07, 2014

If you are just starting on a fitness routine it's a good idea to try and figure out a workout that doesn't require much fitness equipment. That way you won't end up spending a lot of money on something you might not feel comfortable using.

It can actually end up being detrimental to your fitness if you get expensive equipment. I had a friend who bought an elliptical machine and then hated using it, but she felt guilty about not using it whenever she did any other kind of fitness, so she just stopped working out altogether. It's not logical, but it's exactly the kind of excuse that your mind needs to get around having to workout regularly.

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