Getting Started With Your Gym Fitness Kit
Dumbbells are common in most weight rooms and a good place to start if you are new to strength training. Most gyms have dumbbells that range in weight from 1 to 100 pounds. Harris says that they are great for getting stronger. They work better with each other. Since your hands aren’t stuck in one place, they let your body move more naturally.
No, these aren’t just for Olympic lifters and bodybuilders. Snatches, back squats, and deadlifts can be performed using barbells. Harris says that you can go much farther with barbells because you can add more weight. He is talking about the 2.5 to 45-pound weighted plates that you can slide onto each side of the metal bar. Remember that the bar can weigh anywhere from 45 pounds, so be sure to figure that into your calculations. And if you are still getting ready to lift heavy weights, choose fixed barbells.
Body bars are made of iron bars wrapped in foam rubber. They are a more comfortable alternative to regular barbells. McCall says that these bars let people do all kinds of barbell exercises with easy weights for beginners. Even though body bars might need to be harder for experienced lifters’ main set, Harris suggests using them to warm up for exercises that require a standard barbell. Or, use them in this BodyPump circuit for beginners with five moves.
The weight looks like a cannonball and has a single-loop handle. It looks like something from Game of Thrones, but it’s a great way to build strength. Many classic barbell exercises, like kettlebell whacks and cleans, require you to move the weight quickly and forcefully. And because the weight isn’t balanced like a dumbbell and moves when you move it, your body has to work harder to stay still. Harris says barbells teach your body to adapt to changes in your center of gravity. Never used kettlebells before? Getting good form tips from a trainer is a good idea.
Resistance bands may look like big colored rubber bands, but they are a good way to work out. Harris says it’s easy on the joints and doesn’t hurt. Since the band creates opposition in both directions, it forces your body to stay still while you move. Choose the level of resistance, length, and style that you want, and get used to that tension. Resistance bands are great for exercises like overhead presses, squats, and lateral band walks, which are a great way to warm up dynamically. Bands are also a good way to start strength training if you are new to the gym, and they are easy to pack when you travel.
The straps hanging from your gym’s ceiling don’t look like much, but they are actually an all-in-one gym. Harris says, “There are many different ways to work out.” “One of the best things about it is that it’s a rather than a single movement. You work out more than one group of muscles at once.” For example, putting your feet in the TRX handles changes a regular push-up into a move that strengthens your core and shoulders. Additionally, you may change the resistance by repositioning your feet about the anchor because you’re just exerting your weight.
Sandbags are just what they sound like: big bags filled with sand that have weights on them. Press them up, slam them down, and slide them across the floor like a pro. Or, make squats and lunges and carries with them as part of your regular strength training. Harris says using sandbags is a great way to practice functional fitness and prepare for everyday tasks like moving bags of fertilizer, picking up your kids, and carrying bags of groceries. And if that wasn’t hard enough, try this: McCall says that because the sand moves when the bag is moved, the wrist and forearm muscles must work harder to keep the weight from moving. Use these five good moves to get started.
That hollow tube you’ve seen at the gym looks funny. It’s not a new kind of foam roller, no. It’s called the ViPR, a fitness kit that helps build mobility, stability, and dynamic strength through training with weights. The ViPR is like real life and sports; you can pick it up and move it around. This makes your whole body work together. Think of forward lunges with rotation or side lunges where you swing the ViPR over and up as if digging with a shovel.
McCall, also a ViPR master trainer, says that one of the benefits of using the ViPR is that it can help make muscles and connective tissue stronger and more resilient. This makes them less likely to get strain injuries. When the muscle is stretched against resistance, it gets stronger because it adds collagen, which helps make the tissue stronger and denser. You can change how hard the movement is by holding the ViPR and moving it about your center of mass. For example, moving it away from your body makes it harder.
Medicine balls are the most important piece of fitness kit for strength training.
Medicine balls are like chicken soup for your muscles. People often use these weights in the shape of a basketball to increase the difficulty of core exercises like sit-ups or Russian twists. But they are meant to be carried, lifted, and thrown. McCall says that moving [medicine balls] in different directions and planes of motion can use more muscle tissue, increasing the energy used. Harris likes to do plyometric exercises with them because they help him build explosive strength.
Slam balls are medicines that are a little bit bigger and don’t bounce. That means you don’t have to worry about a heavy ball coming back and hitting you in the face after you throw it. (Ouch!) Harris says they are great for building power, speed, and strength. It’s one of those exercises that keep getting harder as you do it. The more your muscles respond, the faster and harder you throw the ball. Make sure you’re in a slam-safe zone to join in on the fun.