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Great Gym Equipment that's Rarely Used

By +Carolyn Richardson on Mar 04, 2012 10:00 AM in Tips & Updates

Going to the gym can get monotonous if you stick to the same pieces of equipment when you go. You might feel stuck with the treadmill, bike, or elliptical, and any attempt at exploring other equipment might seem futile. However, to maximize your gym experience, you should explore the gym equipment that may be hiding in places that get less traffic. In addition to asking gym staff members to show you equipment you have never used, find ways to incorporate this rarely used gym equipment.

Weight Plates and Medicine Balls

Strength training gets more interesting when you do multi-directional exercises. Using weight plates or medicine balls can give you a challenge that will test your core strength and balance, while giving you a full body workout. Grab a bench and a few plates of different weights, 10 and 25 should do for most regular exercisers. Use the weight plate as you would for most arm exercises including stiff-legged dead lifts, chest presses, and bent over rows. Incorporating step-ups on the bench, lunges and squats can help complete your workout. For an extra challenge incorporate standing front raise rotations, woodchoppers with squats, and overhead pullovers while lying on a bench.  Like weight plates, medicine ball exercises allow you to improve strength with weights without bulky barbells or hand weights.

The Plyometric Box

The explosive jumps that most people think about when they hear plyometrics are advanced exercises that most beginners cannot due without risking injury. However, you don’t have to jump to use the plyometric box. In fact, you can use it like a step to do advanced step-ups that will help you build strength, balance and stability. Without additional weights, do a basic step up on the plyometric box. Keep the alternating leg straight and extend it 6 inches out to your side, while keeping the leg on the box slightly bent. Do 10-16 reps per leg. Using the box will give you a deeper stretch and work your gluts harder than the shorter standard aerobic step.  

The Rowing Machine

Usually tucked somewhere between the elliptical machine and weight machines, the rowing machine awaits you. The machine is easy for beginners, low-impact, and good for conditioning arms. If you have knee problems, you can improve your cardio fitness with rowing machine exercises. Using a rowing machine is simple, but don’t overdo it time-wise. Rowing machines with air resistance are not adjustable, so limit your time according to your fitness level. For those with adjustable resistance, try cycling between heavy resistance and slower speed, and lower resistance with faster speed to get both a strength and cardio workout.

Your thoughts…

What gym equipment do you use that is off the beaten path?


I agree, doing a cicuit were you incorporate weight plates, medecine ball, plyo box and rowing machine is very effective and time saving.  I like to set up about 4 to 5 stations and start with a 20-30 calory row than 20 reps of the other stations.  Take a minute rest between cicuits and repeat 4 to 5 times.

try it

I like to mix up my workouts.  That is the great thing with Beachbody is that there are so many different workouts depending your fitness level and interest.  I started out by doing Power90, which covers cardio and strength training.  Then I moved to P90X which has 12 workouts covering yoga, kempo, plyometrics, strength training for individual muscles groups, core, and abs.  Now I have added Insanity workouts with P90X.  I keep it interesting by changing things up each week with the key being allowing rest between workouts of the same muscle groups.

That's wh I like curcuit training at Curves.  You use different equipment throughout the circuit and not only does it target certain areas of the body, the machine are resistant to give you weight training as well.  The recovery stations are also good for a cardio work out.

I have to listen to music while I work out

I mix my workouts by using my total gym, free weights, strengthening cords, stationery bicycle, Zumba, walking, jogging on a trampoline and strengthening my core using my medicine ball. 

Original Post by: toroneh

I have to listen to music while I work out

When I can't get out to exercise, I put on some music and groove by mixing up dance with calisthenics. Its a great way for me to get moving in a small space.

i am 70 and i do a circuit program that i run through twice and takes 45 minutes using yoga/stretching, dancing,dumbbells, kettlebells,swiss ball and jakes tower. it's exhausting and i change the circuit every month. my gym is a small room in my home and i usually start my workout by 7:30am and finish by around 8:30. 

I love the rowing machine.  It really causes me to sweat!  Mine is adjustable.  It really is a great work out.

Hand bike is great for upper body, though not all gyms have one.

me, too!

I have a Concept2 rowing machine and it is a WONDERFUL equipment. Concept2 is the only rowing machine I recommend. It works the WHOLE body. Concept2 has a great website and there is a lot of information about rowing. Some gyms are beginning to offer classes done on the rowing machines like you have spinning. They are fabulous and I hope they grow fast. I row daily at least 2000 meters and I complement my work out with free weights.

I totally agree with the comments about the Concept2.  Very low maintenance and easy to learn.  Can be a bit boring, but music and movies help a lot.  I have had one of my own for about 7 years and highly recommend them.


Its not so much about switching up equipment as it is switching up the workout for me.  Changing the order of different moves and exercises can make all the difference.  Anytime you want a good workout, try a BRick.  Bike for 40-75 minutes and then immediately switch to running at about 80% of your maximum for 20-30.  Always knocks me out!

I'm fond of the barbell myself.

Great "gym" equipment that is rarely used: your body weight and all your household surroundings ;)

kettlebells! .... without a doubt...FUN too...a great bonus...short 'workouts'....awakens smaller muscles I didn't even KNOW I had...

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Great music is essential to keep up the workout pace for me.

The rowing machine is great - it works out your whole body, and adjustable resistance and strokes/minute means that it'll suit any fitness level.   I call it the 'time machine' though, because time seems to slow down when you're using it.   Geez, it's tough!  (but I make it my b***h at least once a week!)

I would love to meet someone who has knee problems that can use a rowing machine. Do the writers not know that rowing is all about the legs.

I sustained a knee injury some 5 five years ago, a few years ago I was able to row, but know my knee is too unstable and rowing is completely out of the question.

The bike is a little less impact, but the motion still kills my knee! 

How I envy these people with knee problems who can still use the rowing machine! :( 

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