As we find ourselves living in an increasingly health-conscious society, it is no surprise that many individuals have taken a keen interest in keeping fit. So, let us first break down exercise equipment into two broad categories and highlight the key features and benefits of each.
This category comprises what many would call the "traditional" arena of the exercise world. Included in this section are the dumbbell, the barbell, and traditional bench press machine and the pull up bar. Exercises performed using these weights tend to focus on core body strengthening, balance and coordination. Due to freedom of movement, a wide variety of exercises can be performed and as opposed to complicated and potentially expensive machines, free weights can be used in the comfort of one's own home and can help provide a stimulating and healthy workout if used correctly.
Some of the primary benefits of free weights such as the barbell or dumbbell include:
- A strengthening of the body's core muscular groups.
- Increased range of motion and a wide variety of exercises.
- A cost-effective means to exercise.
- The ease of use within a home environment.
On the other side of the exercise spectrum is equipment designed to provide a specific workout without the need for free weights. Many reputable companies such as golds gym and life fitness manufacture a wide range of this equipment that can suit nearly every fitness need. These devices can include the cross trainer, the treadmill, an exercise bike, a device called an elliptical or the stepper. All are meant to improve endurance and cardiovascular performance. Other devices such as an ab trainer are intended to discreetly target a certain part of the body (in this case, the midsection). Another important fact is that these devices tend to be safer options than free weights, as free weights can cause muscular strain or injury if handled incorrectly. In fact, the avid trainer often uses these items in conjunction with free weights, thus providing a healthy total body workout. Another major benefit is that the exercises performed on an elliptical or a cross trainer, for example, can also stimulate a person's abs more than many free weight movements would accomplish alone.
Some of the advantages that machines offer are:
- An improved level of endurance.
- Higher levels of safety due to controlled movements.
- The ability to target specific areas such as the abdominal region.