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Gym Equipment You Never Use But Should (With Examples)

If you go to the gym and wander for a good portion of the time...

If you go to the gym and wander for a good portion of the time you’re there, it’s time to start using some new gym equipment. While this may be intimidating—I don’t know what I’m doing!—it may be just the refresher you need.

I’m here to be your gym Sherpa, guiding you through the gym with confidence. Give these exercises and my favorite pieces of gym equipment a try during your next workout. Just pull up this article and you’ll have everything you need to try with the confidence of a veteran.

Battle ropes

There are SO many ways to use battle ropes, from a standard double wave to alternating wave, plank wave, shoulder press and more. The two videos below are of combo moves, combining the battle rope with a few other exercises, boosting calorie burn and muscle fatigue.

Get more battle rope exercises from Onnit Academy.

    Love this little battle ropes circuit! 10 jumps, 10 each hand for waves and 10 each hand in plank ?#stilldarkoutside #battleropes #pacificbeachtraining #personaltrainer #fitvid #fitness #cardio #fullbody #workoutwednesday #workout @pb_trainers

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Nov 4, 2016 at 7:04am PDT

    Beast mode with my high pony tail the other day! Love using battle ropes for a full-body burn ???#battleropes #HIIT #cardio #fullbody #fitvid #beastmode #kickass #bosslady #gymrat #fitness #morningworkout

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Feb 23, 2017 at 12:02pm PST

Exercise ball

If you follow me on Instagram (@HonestBodyFitness), you know that I love using medicine balls in all different ways, from med ball slams to pushups. Below I’ve shared a few of these variations to try.

Love the exercise ball? Download my full body exercise ball workout [Free]!

    Get that booty up there for max core and lower body contraction! ? Notice I stopped once or twice – you always want to be in control of your movements, and anything with an exercise ball requires even more control since it’s naturally unstable. If you’re new to training, start low and work up to this point! ? #legday #lowerbody #hamis #exercise #mobility #booty #exerciseball #fitvid #pacificbeachtraining #personaltrainer #strongereveryday #femalepower

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Feb 15, 2017 at 12:04pm PST

    Give this challenge move a try when you’ve mastered the regular hamstring roll in. Your core and hamstrings will be feeling the burn ?? #inevertakethesepantsoff #exerciseball #stabilityball #legday #lowerbody #core #lovefitness #loveyourbody #workoutlikeagirl #challengeyourself #prettyinpink

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Feb 25, 2017 at 8:01am PST

    Torch your core with this simple move. I love the exercise ball because of the many things you can do with it for your entire body. Add these to one of your workout this week – 10 reps, 3-4 rounds! #abs #corestrength #corework #honestbodyabs #fitness #fitsnap #fitvid #personaltrainer @underarmourwomen @24hourfitness

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Sep 26, 2016 at 12:03pm PDT

    Strengthen your low back with this simple yet effective movement. Why? We use our low back all day long: bending down to put shoes on, rotating to grab something on the other side of our desk, or even just standing still, are all times when we rely on our lower back to help us be mobile and provide stability. Add this to one of your workouts this week – 10-12 reps, 3-4 sets. Pair with leg drops or scissors for an amazing low back superset. #fitness #fitnessrx #personaltrainer #lowerback #corestrength #fitvid #bestrong

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Oct 3, 2016 at 1:10pm PDT

Sliders

These teensy pieces of equipment can be found at nearly every gym, tucked away in the mats and abs area. They’re so versatile and are perfect for building core strength and definition. See a lunge and plank variation below.

Check out the top 20 slider exercises, demonstrated in this video.

    Please excuse my clearly unbrushed morning hair and winter jacket, but I wanted to play around with these discs so I could share with you! Referred to as gliders, you can get them for just $10 – they’re very versatile and allow you to challenege your body and core in new ways. I share a few simple ideas in the video and will show more soon! #gliders #core #plank #abs #fitvid #personaltrainer #pacificbeachtraining

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Dec 19, 2016 at 11:19am PST

    LOVE playing around with the small slider discs. You can do so much with them. I love this booty-boosting move – basic but effective. Try 3 rounds of 10 reps on each leg during your next workout! #legday #sliders #glutes #booty #exercise #fitvid #pacificbeachtraining

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Jan 8, 2017 at 3:07pm PST

Medicine balls

Medicine balls are one of my favorite items in the gym because they play well with a wide variety of exercises. You can lift them, throw them, put weight on them and much more. Check out some of my favorite medicine ball variations:

    Work out some aggression during your next workout with this medball + burpee combo! You’ll get your heart rate up and feel less stressed – win win ?(And yes, i’m still wearing my holiday spandex…) #burpees #cardio #stressbuster #stressless #medicineball #workout #fitvid

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Jan 20, 2017 at 12:50pm PST

    Saw this on Instagram the other day and had to try it! One med ball under your feet and then one for each hand. If you struggle with wrist pain, this may not be the exercise for you. Otherewise, give my new favorite challenge move a try! #pushups #challengeme #weeklychallenge #fullbodyworkout #fitnessmotivation #fittips #medicineball #muscleup #pushupchallenge #gym #pacificbeachtraining #mondaymotivation

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Mar 27, 2017 at 6:25pm PDT

    Here’s a fun little excercise to try this week! I’m using a 10lb ball and notice how I bend my knees to slam it. We tend to just use our arms but you’ll get more out of it when you use the whole body (thanks to @pb_trainers for that tip!) ?#jumpingjacks #cardio #fitnesstips #fitness #gym #instafitness #fullbodyworkout #workout #exercise #medicineball #gymrat #sundayfunday

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Apr 16, 2017 at 12:16pm PDT

    SO much fun doing this simple partner exercise! These ladies even asked to use a HEAVIER medicine ball after their first round! Join us on Wednesday mornings at 6:15am for an awesome HIIT workout with fun exercises like this! ? @pb_trainers @kmp1005 #HIIT #partnerexercises #pacificbeachtraining #groupfitness #pacificbeach #medicineball

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Oct 13, 2016 at 2:55pm PDT

    Take your pushups to the next level with a medicine ball. By the end, just rolling it to the other side is challenging! ? #pushups #medicineball #fitness #upperbody #personaltrainer #pacificbeach #fitvid

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Sep 29, 2016 at 12:19pm PDT

TRX Cables

TRX cables are intimidating, but they don’t need to be. They’re a great way to try new exercises, like a pistol squat, with the extra support you need if you can’t do it alone yet. They’re also great for anyone with bad knees; by holding onto the cables, you use your upper body to take some of the weight off your knees.

The exercise in my video below is an advanced move, for those who have already mastered pike and modified pike with an exercise ball.

Check out some great exercises in this tutorial video from Built Lean.

    Holy TRX pikes. These probably challenge me more than any other exercise, but I feel amazing when I see form and strength come through in videos like this! What is the most challenging exercise for you?? ?#TRX #personaltrainer #proud #strongwomen #challengeyourself

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Jul 11, 2016 at 12:14pm PDT

Aerobic Step

You may have thought the aerobic step lost its luster in the 80’s, but quite the opposite is true. The step is still one of the best pieces of exercises equipment in the gym, again because of its versatility. I also love how you can use it to target the glutes so effectively. Check out three step exercises and combo moves.

    This full body exercise is perfect for every workout! Focus on straightening your arms at the top and doing the same for the leg that’s stepping up. Challenge yourself by upping the weight (i’m holding 15lbs here), moving faster from side to side or adding more height! No matter what, you’ll be feeling long and lean after this one! ? #fullbody #strenthtraining #dumbbells #aerobics #stepworkout #fitness #fitvid #legday #personaltrainer

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Oct 17, 2016 at 12:06pm PDT

    Still looking for pushup modifications? Try incline – you’ll be surprised how much more challenging they are! ?#pushups #personaltrainer #workhard #workoutlikeagirl #challengeyourself

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Aug 4, 2016 at 10:34am PDT

    Bust out the ol’ aerobic step for this booty and quad buster! Add it for a burnout or as a short circuit mid-workout ?? #booty #bigbooty #buttworkout #stepworkout #backtothe80s #janefonda #fullbody #pacificbeachtraining #fitnesstips #circuit #fitnesscoach #bodyweighttraining #fitvid #fitness

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Mar 31, 2017 at 1:00pm PDT

BOSU

The BOSU ball is so much fun to use and you don’t have to balance on top of it to get the most out of it. Instead, use it to add instability to a variety of exercises, from pushups to plank leg lifts. This boosts the challenge on your core, helping you sculpt tighter abs.

    I love pushups, and do them often. I have clients doing pushups almost every session because they are the foundation for so many other movements and work your entire body. Not to mention there are tons of ways to modify them to be more challenging – like using a Bosu ball! #personaltrainer #bosu #pushups #upperbody #challengeyourself

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Jul 26, 2016 at 12:16pm PDT

    Adding instability to any exercise challenges your muscles in a new way. Whenever you get bored with a movement or master it, consider how you can modify to make it more challenging. @kaisafit I thought you’d like this one! #plyometrics #lunges #bosu #personaltrainer #fitness #sandiego

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Jul 31, 2016 at 12:38pm PDT

    Add some instability to your next workout with the BOSU. You can do so much with it, like these two simple exercises. It’s especially great when you’ve mastered a movement and want to make it more challenging ? #bosu #bosuworkout #fitness #challengeyourself #fitvid #personaltrainer #pacificbeachtraining

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Jan 5, 2017 at 12:06pm PST

Dumbbells

If you’ve never picked up a dumbbell before, now’s the time to do so. The dumbbell is a foundational piece of equipment in the gym and one that you can do nearly any exercise with. They allow you to add weight to boost your burn and build stronger muscles. See a wide range of exercises below:

    Loving this new move! Work your tricpes and abs with a simple combo excerise ? #corestrength #corework #abs #situps #triceps #strengthtraining #personaltrainer @24hourfitness

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Sep 8, 2016 at 8:36am PDT

    It’s amazing how a small tweak – the bumbell movement, which is essentially a figure eight or paddling movement – can make such a difference. You’ll feel this major in your core! ? Great functional excercise to build strength in rotational movement for sports like golf or kayaling ?? #lunges #fullbody #personaltrainer #sandiegofitness

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Aug 13, 2016 at 7:24am PDT

    Some modified deadlifts to work that booty today! Notice around rep four you can see me fixing my form. The key is keeping your shoulders back, chest open and back flat. Don’t let your shoulders round forward – it’s easy to do, so pay close attention to form the entire time ? #deadlift #bootybootybooty #glutes #lowerbody #fitness #fitsnap #personaltrainer #athomeworkout @fitnessblender

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Sep 9, 2016 at 12:37pm PDT

    I call these Push-Pull Pushups! Challenge yourself with speed, weight, and distance between your hands! Modify by dropping your knees ? #pushups #sundayfunday #upperbody #fitness #fitsnap #personaltrainer

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Sep 25, 2016 at 8:54am PDT

    Build that booty with this simple 1-leg deadlift – you’ll be feeling this one big time! Do 10 reps on each side and repeat 3 times ? #deadlift #booty #lowerbody #strenthtraining #dumbbells #fitness #workout #personaltrainer #sandiego

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Oct 11, 2016 at 11:06am PDT

    Ever tried pendulum lunges before?? 10 on each side (1 front and 1 back lunge = 1 rep!). I love adding weight over head to up the intensity and make it a little more challenging. Your goal is to keep that arm as straight as possible. Give it a try! ? P.S. I love that you can see the back of this top in the mirror behind me – it’s new and I’m kind of obsessed with it ? #lunges #legday #lowerbody #pacificbeachtraining #personaltrainer #fitness #fitvid

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Nov 18, 2016 at 12:07pm PST

    I love this simple exercise to strengthen my hams and glutes. I’m doing it with a 10lb weight, but it’s just as effective with no weight at all! Do 10 reps on each side and repeat three times during your workout or when you’re just watching TV at night. ? #booty #legday #lowerbody #fitness #fitvid #personaltrainer

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Nov 28, 2016 at 12:40pm PST

    Take your lunges to the next level by adding in bicep curls. This combo move doesn’t just ler you target your biceps, but it also increases the challenge for your glutes and quads by forcing you to hold the lunge. ?? #legday #fitnesstips #fitvid #lunges #bicepcurls #strengthtraining #getstrong #personaltrainer #workout #gymrat #pacificbeachtraining

    A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Feb 20, 2017 at 1:35pm PST

    Flying into the weekend like ? ? #fitness #gainz #strongereveryday #personaltrainer #12weekprogram #bestmode #liftheavy #flies #upperbody #TGIF #fridayvibes #fitvid #workout

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