Gym Equipment Names With Pictures

Some of you might not be familiar with all the existing gym equipment or its purpose and especially, the names. I mean, who can blame you?

You’d be surprised just how many machines, devices and tools designed for workout are available these days. That’s why I’ve decided to put together a comprehensive name guide on most (if not all) gym equipment with pictures.

Most of the equipment I’m going to mention can be found in public gyms, but it can also be bought for a home gym use. The list will start with heavy machines and will continue with portable and moveable devices.

Also, during the past months I’ve also put together guides on most of these devices, so I’ll include links to them as well.

Gym Equipment Names with Pictures

Power Rack / Full Rack

Power Rack

Power rack, also known as full rack is a massive square-like piece of equipment, which can be used for various exercise, including squats, bench presses, pull-ups and some of them also include dip station.

It’s a multi-purpose piece of equipment that takes a lot of space.

You can check our full guide on power racks right here.  

Tips for Using

Power racks are designed to be used for a wide range of exercises, from lower body workouts like squats to upper body workouts like bench presses and pull-ups. 

Because they're so versatile, most power racks come with workout charts that give you in-depth information on how to perform each exercise, so if you're unfamiliar with technique and proper form, make sure to refer to this chart.

Muscles Worked

Having a power rack at home allows you to target every major muscle group of the body. You can easily go from working out the biceps and triceps to focusing on the core, and then move on to the quads and hamstrings.

In other words, a well-equipped power rack can help you to strengthen your entire body.

Average Cost

The cost of a power rack ultimately comes down to the add-ons that are included with the purchase. While it's possible to purchase the frame alone for less than $200, you can spend $5000+ if you choose to get a rack with add-ons like a bench press, cable crossover, and squat station.

Related Article: DIY Power Rack: Learn How To Build At Home

Alternatives

Power racks take up a lot of space, and they don't fit within everyone's at-home fitness budget. If you don't have the space to accommodate one or you don't want to break the bank, there are several ways to achieve a full-body workout without the use of a power rack.

The first option is to purchase separate pieces of weight lifting equipment that target different muscle groups, like a bench press, chest press, leg press, and a set of dumbbells. Of course, this isn't cheap, and it requires a gym space with enough square footage to fit several weight lifting machines.

Another option is to perform workouts without the use of any machines at all. You'd be surprised how effective simple push-ups can be, and the same goes for lower body non-weight workouts like lunches and squats.

Who It Is Best For

Power racks are best for those who want an all-in-one, well-rounded piece of equipment that delivers everything needed for effective weight training.

It's not ideal for anyone who's limited on space, so always be sure to take exact measurements before buying a power rack.

Learn More About: How Tall Are Power Racks? (Space Requirements Explained)

Where to buy

Most fitness brands sell their equipment on third-party sites like Amazon and Walmart. While it's possible to buy a rack directly from a manufacturer's website, sellers on Amazon typically offer better pricing (not only on the machine, but also on shipping costs).

Our Favorite Power Rack? See below.

IRON COMPANY Body-Solid Power Rack
  • 18 adjustment levels
  • Upright pillars are a full 24" apart for free...
  • 41" wide knurled chinning bar
  • Maximum capacity is less than 500 lbs.


Squat rack / Half rack

Half Squat Rack

Half rack is basically one half of a power rack. It does not take a lot of space (in comparison to a full rack), it’s usually cheaper, but you can’t do as many different exercises with it as you can with a full rack. Usually, it’s meant for squats and pull-ups. While power (full) rack can also be used for squats, I felt obligated to separate the two.

I’ve actually put-together a comprehensive guide about the differences between a full rack and a half rack.

Tips for Using

Half racks don't have as many uses as a full rack, but they're still quite versatile. For that reason, these machines also typically come with a workout chart included, so the best tip for using one is to refer to the chart for info on proper form and technique.

Muscles Worked

The workouts you can do with a half rack depends on the accessories included. If you decide to purchase all the bells and whistles, your half rack can serve as an almost complete home gym system.

You can perform squats, lunges, bench and bar presses, pull-ups, lat pulldowns, rows (with a pulley system and weight stack), and dips, as well as some abdominal workouts. That means you can target the muscles of the core as well as the upper and lower body.

Average Cost

Because they're smaller and less-equipped than full racks, half rack systems are generally much less expensive. You can find a quality half rack for less than $500. The cost can range anywhere from $200 to $700, so just set your budget and find a half rack that works. 

There are many different types of squat racks, and they are typically priced differently. You can read our complete guide to all types of squat racks to help you make a decision.

Alternatives

Just like with a full rack, there are a few alternatives to buying a half rack. The first is to purchase separate pieces of equipment, like a lat pulldown machine, a dip station, etc. Another option is to do your workouts with no equipment at all, which is definitely more budget-friendly, but not necessarily as effective for strength building.

Who It is best for

half rack is less expensive than a full rack, and it still offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to your workouts. It's an excellent choice for starter home gyms or garage gyms with limited space, especially if you're not willing to spend as much on a full power rack system.

If this sounds like the right piece of equipment for you, check out our comprehensive guide to the best half racks for home gyms!

Where to buy

Half racks are available for purchase on Amazon, Walmart, other third-party retailers, and directly from the manufacturers.

Check Out Our Favorite Squat Rack below!

Cable Crossover Machine

Cable Crossover Machine

You can usually find a good cable cross-over machine in your local gym. From my personal experience, a proper gym owns one or two of these machines. They look like two columns that utilize linear bearings and a pulley system.

Commercial-grade crossovers are usually connected together and they take a lot of space.

On the other hand, you can train basically entire upper body with this machine. Tens of exercise are available for anyone who can get their hands on a cable crossover machine.

Tips for using

The main thing to remember when using a cable crossover is to keep your spine and back in a neutral position. Also, keep your core engaged and a slight bend in your elbows - never hyper extend!

Muscles worked

A cable crossover machine mainly targets the pectoralis major muscles, which are found in the lower region of your chest, as well as the shoulder and back muscles. 

Since your core needs to stay engaged with each rep, it's also a great workout for the abs, but overall, this machine is meant for the upper body muscles.

Average cost

Depending on the quality and whether or not a weight stack is included (and the size of the weight stack), these machines can range anywhere from about $800 to $3000 or more.

Alternatives

There are a lot of alternatives to using a cable crossover, like resistance band crossovers, chest dips, and one-arm dumbbell bench presses.

Who it is best for

The cable crossover is ideal for anyone who wants to strengthen the chest, back, and shoulder muscles and has the money to spend on a machine and weight stack.

Where to buy

You can purchase cable crossovers from Amazon, Walmart, or directly from a manufacturer's website.

Our #1 Cable Cross-Over Machine

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Power Tower

Power Tower

Another machine that definitely must have caught everyone’s attention (mainly because of its size) is the power tower. This heavy duty stand consists mainly of a dip station, pull-up bar, back-rest and sometimes sit-up bar or push-up bars that can be located at the base.

Power towers are quite accessible these days, from various manufacturers in various quality. You can also get a commercially-graded one, which is of course more expensive. As with most machines, we’ve put together a guide on power towers as well.

Tips for using

There are tons of different power tower workouts you can do, so the best tip we can give you is to avoid overdoing it and make sure to use the right technique with each exercise you perform.

Muscles worked

Depending on what's included, a power tower allows you to work all of the major muscle groups. Primarily, you'll be able to focus on the core and upper body.

Average cost

Power towers can cost anywhere from $100 on the low end to $1000 or more. Basic power towers tend to only come with the frame while more expensive models come with a variety of stations for dips, pull-ups, push-ups, and more.

Alternatives

Instead of using a power tower, you can use simple fitness tools like resistance bands, a wall-mounted pull-up bar, or a set of push-up bars.

Who it is best for

Anyone who wants a well-rounded piece of equipment for performing strengthening exercises without the need for weights can benefit from a power tower. However, if you're limited on space, you'll probably have to consider another option.

Where to buy

You can purchase power towers from major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, or directly from a manufacturer.

Our Top Choice For Power Towers

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Adjustable Weight Bench

Adjustable Weight Bench

If you are looking for a bench for your home gym, then make sure that you will get an adjustable one.

The difference in price is generally not very big and you can do hell of a lot more exercises with an adjustable one. Most adjustable weight benches come with several incline positions and at least one decline position. Make sure to look for a bench with these features.

Weight benches are used for a whole range of exercise, including bench press, flyes, abdominal workouts, etc. Also, some of them come with included steel bench frame, so you can use them for bench presses right away.

To save you some time looking for the best weight bench out there, check out our adjustable weight bench guide.

Tips for using

The best piece of advice for using an adjustable weight bench is to make sure that your bench is secure before you start your workout. After making an adjustment, double check that the knob (or whatever securing mechanism the bench uses) is tight and locked.

Muscles worked

Most people use weight benches for upper body workouts with dumbbells or barbells, but they're also great for working the core and ab muscles. If your weight bench is secure enough, you can even use it as a dip station for strengthening the chest, shoulders, triceps, upper back, and lower back.

Average cost

You should be able to find a quality adjustable weight bench for around $200, but you can easily spend more depending on the manufacturer, the quality, and the number of adjustments.

Alternatives

There are a lot of weight lifting machines designed to target the same muscles as you would with a bench and dumbbells. For example, it's possible to use a chest press machine instead of performing bench presses on a bench, but investing in a machine will cost you a lot more.

Who it is best for

Just about anyone can benefit from having a weight bench in their home gym. It's especially ideal for those who want a versatile, affordable tool for targeting different muscle groups when lifting with dumbbells and barbells.

Where to buy

You can find quality adjustable weight benches at Amazon, Walmart, or directly from a manufacturer like Bowflex or Ironmaster.

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Hammer Strength Machine

Hammer Strength Machine

In most well-equipment public gyms, you can come across a hammer strength machine. This particular piece of equipment uses iso-lateral technology and is specifically patented for hammer strength.

It is designed to copy natural moves of a human body, while at the same time uses the combination of one-sided movements and arcs to increase one’s strength.

These machines are not available in non-commercial quality for home gym use (at least as of yet).

Tips for using

Hammer strength machines are specifically designed to mimic our natural motions, so just focus on moving as you normally would day-to-day. If a movement feels unnatural while lifting with a hammer strength, then chances are, you're doing it wrong.

Muscles Worked

This machine mainly focuses on upper body muscles, including the core, triceps, deltoids, deep shoulder stabilizers and pectoralis major.

Average Cost

Since these are generally only found in commercial gym settings, you probably won't find a hammer strength machine for less than $2000 (unless you purchase a used one on eBay).

Alternatives

Not many machines allow for the same heavy lifting as a hammer strength, but you can at least target the same muscles by performing chest presses, bench presses, bicep/tricep curls, cable crossovers, etc.

Who it is best for

These machines are strictly for elite athletes and advanced weight lifters. If you're new to weight lifting or you've taken a long hiatus from the gym, then it's best to start with machines that are less advanced than this one.

Where to buy

There are currently no fitness brands or retail sites that sell residential-grade hammer strength machines - you'll have to go to your local gym to use one of these!


Chest Press Machine

Chest Press Machine

Chest press machine is also a standalone piece of equipment and should be included in our list of the gym equipment names.

The machine works the same pectoral muscles as a bench press, although the design is a bit different. You are actually pushing in front of you two mechanical arms loaded with heavy weight plates.

While chest press machines are not really that popular, you can still find several of them online in non-commercial quality, which is great for home gym enthusiasts.

If this type of machine caught your eye, we put together a comprehensive guide to the best chest press machines.

Tips for using

After adjusting the seat of the machine and setting the weight stack, sit down and set your feet firmly on the floor, about shoulder-width apart. As you grasp the handles, keep your wrists in line with your forearms and extend your arms outwards as you exhale.

For the best results with a chest press, pause briefly with your arms fully extended, and then start bending your elbows - slowly! - as you come back to the starting position.

Muscles Worked

This exercise targets the pectorals, which are the main muscles of the chest. It also strengthens the biceps and the large muscles in the shoulder and back, so all-in-all, it's a well-rounded workout for the upper body.

Average Cost

It's possible to find a plate-loaded chest press for around $500, but more realistically, you'll have to spend anywhere from $1000 to $3000 for a machine with a large weight stack and a good amount of adjustability.

Alternatives

There are lots of chest-focused workouts out there - who doesn't want defined pecs? Some of the best alternatives to using a chest-press machine include bench presses with dumbbells or barbells, and even simple push-ups can help to define your chest/back/shoulder muscles.

Learn More: Chest Press Vs Bench Press (Best For Muscle Building)

Who it is best for

As long as you don't have limited mobility in your shoulder joints, you can benefit from chest press exercises. Many people who use the chest press machine just want to get well-defined pecs, but this workout is actually great for strengthening a lot of muscles we use in our day-to-day lives.

Where to buy

Chest press machines are available on big consumer sites like Amazon and Walmart as well as small fitness supply sites and fitness equipment manufacturers.

The #1 in Chest Press Machines

Fitking ISO Chest Machine - Plate Loaded
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Pec Deck Machine

Pec Deck Machine

This particular machine is designed, similarly like chest press machine, to isolate chest muscles, specifically pectoral muscles. The machine is used in a seated position with your elbows at 90 degrees and the point is to use the two mechanical arms to bring them together in front of your face.

The main point is to stay in the same sitting position and not to bend over or move. Besides pectoral muscles you also strength your deltoids (shoulder muscles).

Several multi-functional machines (non-commercial grade) also include pec deck.

Tips for Using

Using a pec deck is very similar to using a chest press machine, but instead of pushing outwards, you'll be pulling your arms inwards towards each other, which allows the pectoral muscles to contract.  

Always make sure to adjust the seat and weight stack before doing a set of reps. If the pec deck machine you're using has resting pads for the forearms, make sure to bend your arms at a 90-degree angle and keep your elbows at chest level.

Muscles Worked

The pec deck works both your chest and its supporting muscles, primarily focusing on your pectoralis major. By strengthening the chest muscles, you're also able to enhance your torso muscles and stabilize your shoulder blades. 

Average Cost

It's possible to find a budget pec deck machine for around $500, but if you want a fully-loaded weight stack and quality construction, plan on spending $1500 or more.

Alternatives

Some alternatives to using a pec deck machine include bench presses with dumbbells or barbells. A chest press is also extremely effective for defining the chest, pecs, shoulders, and upper back.

See Also: Reverse Pec Deck Alternatives

Who it is best for

Basically anyone can benefit from using a pec deck machine. These machines aren't necessarily ideal for all home gyms since they cost a lot, they take up space, and they're not overly versatile, so keep those things in mind before buying one for home use.

Where to buy

While there are a few options for pec decks on sites like Amazon and Walmart, you'll have a lot more options if you browse around on different fitness supply and fitness manufacturer websites.

Our #1 Pec Deck Machine For Garage Gyms!
Rogue Pec Deck Machine

Preacher Curl Bench

Preacher Curl Bench

This piece of equipment focuses on bicep development, specifically targets brachialis (lower bicep). Preacher curl benches can use either weight plates, or an included weight stack. But usually, weight stacks are included in commercial-grade equipment only.

The machine does not take a lot of space and there are plenty of them available online. You can find our top rated preacher curl benches here.

Tips for using

Because you'll use your own set of dumbbells or barbell weights with a preacher curl bench, it's important to choose weight according to your current fitness level. It's best to err on the side of "too easy" in order to avoid a bicep or elbow injury - you can easily move up in weight if you need more of a challenge.

Muscles worked

Whether you are standing, sitting, using a barbell or dumbbell set, the main muscle that preacher curls target is the brachialis, which is the lower portion of the bicep. This muscle is needed for proper flexion of the elbow, so it's definitely an important one.

Average cost

Ultimately, the cost of a preacher curl bench depends on what's included, like whether or not it comes with an EZ bar for bicep curls or if it has an included leg developer station (which a lot of them do).

You should be able to find a quality standalone preacher curl bench with no add-ons for about $200.

Alternatives

Preacher curl benches are all about the biceps, so the obvious alternative is to perform bicep curls using dumbbells or barbells.

Who it is best for

If you want stronger biceps - who doesn't?! - then a preacher curl bench is for you. It's an amazing tool for isolating the lower bicep muscles, which can ultimately improve elbow motion and flexion.

Where to buy

There are tons of options for this type of weight lifting bench on Amazon, or you can purchase directly from a manufacturer's website or fitness supply store. 

Our Favorite Preacher Curl Bench For Garage Gyms

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Lat Pulldown Machine

Lat Pulldown Machine

These machines are especially designed to train your back and chest by pulling down a barbell via a pulley system. They are available either with included weight stack or without it. The ones without it work with either standard or Olympic weight plates.

If you’ve never trained with a lat pull-down machine, I’d suggest trying one in your local gym, then decide for yourself if you want it in your home gym. Some excellent and affordable lat pulldown machines can be found here.

Tips for Using

When using a lat pulldown, one of the most common errors is failing to pull the bar down far enough. Doing this means that you won't get the full effect of the workout, and you'll be doing your upper body muscles an injustice. 

As you bring the bar down, lower it all the way to your chin before slowly releasing it upwards. Your grip should be just slightly wider than your shoulders, and your elbows should be pointed down towards the floor the entire time. 

See Also - How Much Lat Pulldown Weight

Muscles Worked

As the name suggests, this machine focuses on the lats, which are the large muscles that stretch across the back. You should also feel some tension in the biceps, but if you feel it in your biceps more than your lats, you're probably using your arms too much (you should primarily be using your back muscles to pull downwards).

Average Cost

A lat pulldown machine can cost anywhere from $500 to $3000 or more. Cheaper machines usually don't come with a weight stack included, so be mindful of that before you purchase one.

If you want to save some money and space, you can take a look at our favorite wall-mounted lat pulldown machines.

Alternatives

There are lots of alternative exercises that work the same muscles as a lat pulldown machine, like pull-ups and chin-ups, barbell pullovers, dumbbell pullovers, and dumbbell rows. 

Who it is best for

If you're hoping to strengthen your back muscles and you're sick of doing endless chin-ups, this machine will be a great addition to your home gym. Lat pulldown machines are beneficial and super versatile. However, it's best to first try it out in your local gym to see if it's worth the investment.

Where to buy

Lat pulldown machines are available for purchase from fitness supply retailers, fitness brands, and online stores like Amazon.

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Roman Chair

Roman Chair

Our list of gym equipment names continues with Roman chairs. These mechanical chairs are designed to provide workout for lower back and abdomen.

They are quite popular among home gym enthusiasts, simply because they target muscles other machines don’t, they do not take much space and are affordable. You find more details on roman chairs in this guide.

Tips for using

This is a versatile piece of equipment that can be used for a lot of different exercises, so the best piece of advice is to take advantage of that. In addition to basic sit-ups and back extensions, use the "chair" for more unique movements like leg raises, or even hold a weight plate to up the challenge.

Muscles worked

The roman chair is designed specifically to strengthen the lower back and abdominal muscles, but this piece of equipment can also be used to target some lower body muscles as well, like the glutes and hamstrings.

Average cost

Compared to other pieces of more intricate equipment, roman chairs are simple, and therefore extremely affordable. You should have no trouble finding one for ~$150.

Alternatives

The main reason to get a roman chair is to be able to effectively perform back extensions, but there are other ways to make this happen. If you don't have access to a roman chair, one of the best alternatives for reverse hyperextensions is to do several reps of front-lying supermans.

Who it is best for

Anyone can benefit from back-strengthening, especially people who work office jobs and sit at a desk all day long. A sedentary lifestyle can quickly result in bad posture and back pain, and a roman chair can help prevent this.

Where to buy

In addition to eCommerce stores like Amazon, roman chairs can be purchased from fitness companies and equipment suppliers. 

Top Roman Chair On the Market

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Leg Press Machine

Leg Press Machine

If you haven’t heard of a leg press machine, then I guess you are really new in the gym business. Besides squats, leg press might be the 2nd most practiced leg exercise.

Leg press machine can work in two separate, yet similar ways. Both start in the sitting position (either flat or incline), then you are either pushing weight stacks with your legs in front of you, or you are pulling yourself away from that weight stack.

If you want to add this machine to your home gym, jump over to our review of the best leg press machines.

Tips for using

The leg press machine is suitable for beginners, but there are still several common mistakes made that can lead to injury. The main things to remember are to keep your feet positioned about hip-width apart, and never lock your knees to the point of hyper extending as you straighten your legs.

Muscles Worked

This machine is entirely focused on the lower body. The specific areas you can expect to strengthen with a leg press are the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus muscles.

Average Cost

Leg presses are bulky machines, and since the lower body can generally lift more than the upper body, more weight plates are required in the stack. For those reasons, it won't be easy to find a leg press for less than $1500 (at least not a quality one).

Alternatives

One of the best leg press alternatives is the squat. Squats are a fantastic way to strengthen the thighs as well as the glutes, and the same goes for lunges. For more of a challenge, feel free to hold a weight plate against your chest while you squat or lunge.

Who it is best for

If you want to strengthen the lower body and you don't suffer from a knee, hip, or ankle injury that keeps you from lifting, the leg press is for you. Just about anyone who weight trains regularly uses the leg press. 

Learn The Differences: Leg Press Vs Squat (Benefits & Which Is Best For You?)

Where to buy

As it's one of the most popular weight machines, you can find leg presses just about anywhere (Amazon, Walmart, fitness websites, etc.) for both at-home and commercial gym use. 

#1 in Leg Press Machine - TDS Premier Vertical Leg Press

Leg Extension Machine

Leg Extension Machine

Leg extension is a great exercise, which basically isolates quadriceps muscles, specifically the frontal part of thighs. It is designed to increase quadriceps’ size and strength, but you must be careful to do it correctly, otherwise you are risking injuring your knees.

It is one of the few exercises that effectively isolates quadriceps. These leg machines can be purchased in non-commercial grade quality as well and are usually affordable.

Tips for using

Even beginners to weight training can easily use a leg extension machine, but the key is to get the seat and lever adjustments just right before you start. The pad should be positioned at the top of your lower legs at the ankles and your knees should start at 90 degrees.

Once your ankles are secure under the pad, start extending your legs upwards as you exhale, and avoid locking your knees at the top. After a few seconds, slowly release back down to the starting position. 

Muscles worked

This workout is all about isolating the quadriceps, which are the large muscles at the front side of the thighs. Very few machines are able to target and isolate the quads like this one. 

Average cost

Depending on the lever style and whether or not a weight stack is included, leg extension machines for home use can range anywhere from $200 to $1000. However, commercial-grade models are typically closer to $3000. 

Alternatives

Squats, which require no tools or machinery whatsoever, are a great alternative to using a leg extension machine. The leg press is another option, although a leg press machine is geared more towards the entire lower body rather than isolating the quads. 

Who it is best for

If you want rock-solid thighs that are strong and defined, then a leg extension machine is for you. Most lower body workouts focus on the hamstrings, so this machine will allow you to get your quad game on point. 

Where to buy

While there are a few leg extension machines available on Amazon, most of these options don't come with included weight stacks. If you're looking for the whole package - including a weight stack - then check out your favorite fitness brands. 

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Leg Curl Machine

Leg Curl Machine

Curls are basically reverse extensions. Your legs start in the near 180-degree position, then you pull them back to your buttocks. These machines can differ in design. There is the upright position design and then flat design, where you lay on your stomach. These are usually of commercial-grade quality and can cost a lot.

On the other hand, you can definitely find some affordable ones as well. Don’t forget to check my leg extension machine guide, these machines can be usually used for curls as well, so you can kill two birds with one stone.

Tips for using

Most leg curl machines have you lying flat on your stomach with the space between your calves and ankles tucked behind a lever. Once you're in position and your legs are straight, starting bending your knees while keeping your thighs, stomach, and chest pressed firmly against the pad. 

If you find that your movements are jerky and it's hard to move the weight stack in one smooth motion, chances are, you're using too much weight.

Muscles worked

Leg curls are often referred to as hamstring curls, and that's because they target the hamstrings more than any other muscle in the lower body. However, you'll also be able to strengthen the calf muscles, glutes, quads, and shins by regularly using a leg curl machine. 

Average cost

Most leg curl machines you find online are meant for commercial use, and these range from $2000 to $4000. There are, however, a few residential-grade leg curl machines (which often double as leg extenders as well) that you can find for around $500.

Alternatives

Any exercise that targets the back of the legs can serve as a good alternative to using a leg curl machine. An easy option that requires no equipment is the standing leg curl, or you can add a resistance band to increase the intensity.

Who it is best for

If you want a strong backside, primarily in the upper legs, the leg curl machine is an awesome tool. Many people don't realize that having strong hamstrings can actually protect the knees, so if you want to prevent a knee injury, start doing some leg curls.

Where to buy

Searching for a residential-grade leg curl machine won't get you very far. You're better off browsing through leg extension machines that offer the leg curl function - there are quite a few of these on Amazon's online store. 

#1 in Leg Curl Machine - Deltech Fitness

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Calf Raise Machine

Calf Raise Machine

These machines are not technically machines, but rather just steel stands, where you keep extending your full body up a few centimeters while your feet partially stand on a steel tube. This way you can effectively train your calves.

Of course, there are also machines designed just for calves training and they are basically steel stands with available weight that can be put on your shoulders, thus adding weight to your calves as well.

Tips for using

One of the most common mistakes for using a calf raise machine is to use a lot of momentum when lifting the heels. For the best results, the motion needs to be slow and smooth, both as you raise the heels up and as you bring them back down to the floor.

Muscles Worked

Both seated and standing calf raises are all about toning the calves. While doing so, you'll also be able to simultaneously strengthen your ankles and feet.

Average cost

There's not much to this machine, so it's easy to find one that fits within a home gymer's budget. You can find a calf raiser for less than $200, or a more versatile model for around $500. 

Alternatives

Standing calf raises are the best alternative to using a calf raise machine. This is a very basic moves that involves moving from a flat-footed position to the balls of your feet while standing, but it's surprisingly effective if you incorporate it into your regular fitness routine.

If you want something more cardio-intensive, try jump roping. The jumping motion not only gets the heart pumping, but it also tones the calves quite nicely.

Learn More: 10 Best Seated Calf Raise Alternatives: No Machine Exercises

who it is best for

The calf raise machine is for anyone who wants an effective tool for toning the calves. However, this machine isn't considered a necessity by any means. There are a lot of other ways to get strong calves that don't require any equipment at all. 

where to buy

Even though calf raise machines aren't considered a common fixture in home gym spaces, they're easy to find on fitness supply sites and major online stores like Amazon or Walmart. 

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GHD Machine

GHD Machine

GHD machines or also known as glute ham developers are great machines to develop your glutes and hamstrings. The machine does help with that by utilizing sit-ups and back extensions. These GHD machines can be a bit pricey, but some of them are definitely worth the price if you want to focus on that area.

Not everyone is familiar with the short-term GHD and the also the purpose itself of the machine, so I felt obligated to add it to our gym equipment list.

Tips for using

The way you use your GHD machine depends on the specific workout you're about to do. It can be used for hamstring curls, back extensions, and core workouts, and each movement will look different from the next.

Many glute ham machines come with an instructional manual on how to use it for various exercises, so you'll definitely want to refer to this if you're unfamiliar with GHDs.

Muscles Worked

A glute ham developer makes it easy to develop your hamstrings and glutes while simultaneously doing sit-ups and back extensions. While increasing the strength of these muscles is possible without a glute ham machine, you're unlikely to get the same results that you would by using a GHD machine.

Average Cost

There are quite a few GHD machines available for home use right now, and you should expect to spend at least $700 if you want a quality one. 

This may seem a bit steep for a machine that doesn't use a weight stack, but it actually offers a lot of the same benefits as a leg curl + leg extension machine. Plus, it allows for intense core workouts as well. 

Alternatives

The best alternative for developing your glutes and hamstrings is to use a leg curl machine. If you prefer to use no equipment at all, there are quite a few isometric exercises you can do that will strengthen your backside.

Who it is best for

Anyone who wants a toned booty and strong hammies can benefit greatly from having a GHD machine at home. Of course, this isn't a cheap piece of equipment, but it's a small price to pay for strong glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles.

Where to buy

You can find GHD machines available on sites like Amazon and Walmart, so you should have no trouble finding one online. Just be sure to check out the reviews before you make a purchase.

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Leg Abduction Machine

Leg Abduction Machine

Another machine that is not very well known is called leg abduction machine. The primary focus of this machine is to increase the strength of the hip abductor muscles, which are tensor fasciae latae, gluteus minimus and luteus medius.

They are often available in well-equipment public gyms. It’s actually one of the very few machines that will allow you to rotate your legs at the hip joint.

We have reviewed several excellent models in this article.

Tips for using

Even though there are several benefits to using a leg abductor (also called a hip abduction machine), there is a high risk of injury if you use the wrong form. 

You especially want to be mindful of your pelvic position. Don’t allow the back to arch since this will tip the hips forward and place your muscles under excessive stretch, and too much muscle stretch can result in strains, or worse, tears. 

Muscles Worked

The main focus of the leg abductor machine is to strengthen and increase flexibility of the outer hip muscles. Leg adduction machines, on the other hand, focus on the inner thigh region. 

Average cost

Most leg abduction machines also allow for the adduction movement, so you're basically getting two weight machines in one. Unfortunately, they don't come cheap, and commercial-grade models usually cost more than $2000. 

Alternatives

Instead of getting a pricey abduction machine, you can get a simple tool called a "leg stretcher" that focuses on stretching the hip muscles. A leg stretcher doesn't include a weight stack, but it at least allows you to increase flexibility and mobility of the hip flexors. 

who it is best for

The abduction movement can impact more than just the legs; it also plays a role in improving core stability and general flexibility (especially in the hips). So if you want strong hip flexors, a stronger core, and more flexibility, this is an awesome machine for getting there. 

Where to buy

You can find leg abduction machines as well as simple (and much more affordable) leg stretchers on Amazon, at Walmart, from local fitness supply stores, or on the websites of major fitness brands. 

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Home Gyms (All-In-One Machines) 

All-In-One home gym

For anyone looking for an all-in-one strength training solution, one of the best pieces of equipment to have at home is the home gym. A home gym comes with everything you need to build muscle mass and tone every muscle group throughout the body, and some even come with a rowing station for cardio workouts. 

Most home gyms are built around a sturdy steel frame and come equipped with multiple lifting stations to target the lower and upper body as well as the core. They’re generally centered around an adjustable weight bench for chest presses, bench presses, and more.  

Tips for using

As soon as you have your home gym set up, you’ll probably be tempted to jump right in and see all that it has to offer. But our advice to you is to take things slow and try not to overdo it. Because it’s such a comprehensive and versatile piece of equipment, it’s easy to get carried away, so try to focus on one muscle group at a time to minimize the risk of strain or injury.

Muscles Worked

There’s essentially no limit to what you can do – and what muscles you can work – with a home gym. This piece of equipment is specifically designed to work out the entire body, so you can easily go from working the lats and pecs to the quads and hams. 

Average cost

Unfortunately, home gyms don’t come cheap, and why would they? They include everything you need to get in a solid workout, so don’t expect to spend less than $500. The good news is that this is a small price to pay compared to buying separate pieces of lifting equipment, which would definitely cost you more in the long run.

Alternatives

The best alternative to using a home gym is to go with a power rack or power tower instead. Both options are extremely versatile, and just like a home gym, they make it possible to accomplish all of your fitness goals related to strength training. 

who it is best for

Anyone who wants an all-in-one setup for working out at home can benefit from having a home gym. Just keep in mind that they’re extremely large, so of course they’re not ideal for anyone who’s short on space. 

Where to buy

You can purchase a home gym directly from a fitness manufacturer that makes them, or buy yours on a retail site like Amazon or Walmart. 

Our Favorite All-In-One Home Gym - Bowflex Blaze Home Gym Reviewed

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Smith Machine 

Smith Machine

The Smith machine is designed specifically for weight training and heavy lifting. It looks very similar to a power rack or cage, but it consists of a barbell that is fixed within steel rails, allowing only vertical movement up and down. 

This machine can be used for squats, bench presses, bicep curls and deadlifts - just to name a few. It’s a great tool for anyone new to strength training, or looking to improve their form while lifting. Best of all, it allows you to use heavier weights, more than you would be able to use on a free rack. 

Learn More: Smith Machine Bar Weight (Complete Guide In LBS & KG)

Tips for using

Whether you’re using the Marcy Smith machine or another popular model, always start out with a realistic amount of weight based on your experience. Even though this machine does allow for heavier lifting, the best way to avoid an injury is to know your limitations.

Muscles Worked

The muscles you target with your Smith machine depends on the specific lifting workout you’re doing. For squats, you’ll be working your lower body, but for bench presses, it’s all about the upper body muscles. 

Average cost

This machine isn’t cheap, so don’t expect to find one for less than $1500. On average, Smith machines cost about $2500 to $3000. 

Alternatives

Free lifting is definitely another option for strength training. However, if you want a safe way to lift heavy weights, then a Smith machine is where it’s at!

Related Article: 11 Best Smith Machine Squat Alternatives

who it is best for

If you’re not interested in getting jacked through weight training, then a Smith machine probably isn’t the wisest investment for you. But if you want a safer way to lift large volumes, then you can definitely benefit from having one in your home gym. 

Where to buy

You can find several decent Smith machines on Amazon and Walmart, or you can purchase yours from fitness supply stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods. 

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Abdominal Bench 

Abdominal Bench

An ab bench looks very similar to an adjustable weight bench, with one big difference. This piece of equipment is completely focused on isolating the abdominal muscles for a rock hard 6-pack.  

Ab benches like the PAB21X provide a full range of abdominal resistance for intense core training workouts. The back padding features a curved design, which delivers a more intense abdominal contraction with each rep, therefore delivering much better results than simple crunches or sit ups.  

Tips for using

The abdominal contraction you experience when using an ab bench has a lot to do with the weight plate you use. The more weight, the more challenging your ab workout will be, but if you’re finding that it’s difficult to keep proper form, we suggest going down in weight before working your way back up.

Muscles Worked

This one’s obvious – the abs! There aren’t many machines out there that isolate the abdominal muscles as effectively as the ab bench.

Average cost

Even the best-rated ab bench won’t drain your bank account; you can easily find one for less than $200. Just keep in mind that some benches don’t come with the weight plates included, so you’ll want to factor that into the overall cost. 

Alternatives

Crunches, sit-ups, and other equipment-free ab exercises are a decent alternative to using an ab bench. You can also use a roman chair, which costs about the same on average as an abdominal bench.

who it is best for

Anyone who wants a reasonably-priced piece of equipment for targeting the abdominal muscles can benefit from having an ab bench at home. 

Where to buy

Just like most fitness equipment, you can find all the best ab benches on sites like Amazon and Walmart, or head to your favorite fitness brand’s website. 

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Bench Press 

Bench Press

The bench press is a common fixture in both commercial and home gym settings, and if you’re into weight lifting, there’s a good chance you’ve used one of these. It’s made up of a bench centered between two metal legs that hold a barbell and weight plates.  

Some bench presses even come with add-ons like a leg extension station, but most focus solely on delivering a tool for safely performing presses.  

Tips for using

There are a few very important things to keep in mind when performing a bench press, especially if you don’t want to damage your shoulders in the process.  

Start by keeping a tight grip on the bar at all times and your elbows tucked so that they end up at a 45-degree angle from your sides. As you unrack the barbell and bring it towards your chest, make sure to take a deep breath, and then exhale as you press back up. 

Muscles Worked

A conventional bench press focuses on strengthening the pecs, anterior deltoids, and triceps. It also works the core as you’re supposed to keep your abs engaged while performing one. 

Average cost

The total cost of a bench press machine depends on whether or not weight plates are included. If they’re not, you can find a quality press for about $300, but then you’ll have to factor in the cost of weights.

Alternatives

The best alternative to using a bench press is to choose machines or fitness accessories that focus on the chest and pecs, shoulders, and biceps/triceps. That would include the pec deck machine, chest press, or hammer strength machine. 

See Also - Decline Bench Press Alternative

See Also - 12 Bench Press Alternatives (Substitutes For Reduced Pain)

who it is best for

If you want jacked pecs and strong shoulders, then this machine is for you. Compared to other weight lifting equipment, it’s affordable, but just know that it’ll take up a lot of space in your home gym.

Where to buy

This is one of the most used pieces of gym equipment, so finding a bench press that fits your budget should be easy. You can buy one on Amazon, at Walmart, or from fitness brands like Marcy or Powertec.

Learn More: How To Make Your Own Bench Press At Home (DIY Build Guide)

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Seated Row Machine 

Seated Row Machine

Most of us are familiar with the rowing machine, but have you heard of the seated row weight machine? The movements required to lift weights with a seated row are actually very similar to the upper body movements of using a cardio rower, but the focus with this is more on muscle strengthening and less on cardio. 

With a seated row machine, you’ll grasp handles that are attached to weight plates and draw your arms back. The movement is simple, yet it’s great for strengthening the back, arms, and chest. 

Tips for using

With a cardio rower, the entire body is moving rapidly as it slides back and forth on a track. With a row weight machine, on the other hand, you should keep everything except your arms as stationary as possible, and the movement should be slow and controlled.

Muscles Worked

The main reason for using a seated row machine is to strengthen the hard-to-reach back muscles, including the lats and spinal erectors. The biceps will also be targeted as you draw your arms and elbows towards the body, but not nearly as much as the back.

Average cost

Just like cardio rowing machines, seated row weight machines are all across the board when it comes to how much they cost. If weight plates aren’t included, you can get one for as little as $300, but others cost as much as $3000.

Alternatives

Even though it’s much more cardio focused, using a rowing machine will strengthen all the same muscles (in addition to improving heart health). For strength training though, the best alternative is the lat pulldown machine. 

who it is best for

Strengthening the back isn’t easy, but thanks to this machine, it’s possible to isolate the lats as well as the biceps. So if you want an effective tool for increasing lateral muscle mass, this is worth investing in. 

Where to buy

You can find some quality options for a seated row machine on Amazon or Walmart, or go with a commercial-grade model from big brands like Rogue Fitness. 

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Hack Squat Machine 

Hack Squat Machine

Unless you’re into some serious weight lifting, you probably haven’t heard of the hack squat machine. It’s true that it’s not nearly as common as the leg press or squat rack, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try.  

The hack squat is a heavy-duty machine for lower body strength training, and most models allow you to do leg presses, hack squats, forward thrusts, and calf raises. Unlike a leg press or squat rack, this one is more geared towards heavy lifting, and some even have bars that can hold up to 1000 pounds in weight plates.  

Tips for using

If you’re using this machine for hack squats, here’s what to do. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly out, core braced, and chest up. Initiate a basic squat movement with the hips back and knees bent, making sure that they fall out and not in.  

Pause when your thighs reach about parallel to the ground, then push through your entire foot to return to the starting position.  

Muscles Worked

A hack squat works the entire lower body, including the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves, as well as the core muscles. The main emphasis is on the quads, so expect that the front of your legs will be feeling it the next day.

Average cost

This is a very large machine that utilizes heavy weight plates, so the average cost is about $2000. However, you can find a more basic squat alternative for around $1000.

Alternatives

Equipment free squats are a decent alternative to hack squats, but they don’t compare in terms of building muscle mass. Another option is to use a leg press machine or do squats using a Smith machine. 

Learn More: Hack Squat Vs Leg Press (Difference Between Leg Machines)

who it is best for

Hack squats aren’t for everyone; they’re mostly geared towards power lifters and body builders, so if you’re not interested in building some serious muscle mass, there’s really no need to purchase one of these for your home gym. 

Where to buy

Aside from using one at your commercial gym, you can find hack squat machines on retail sites like Amazon and Walmart, or from fitness brands like TDS and Powertec.

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Weight Plates 

Weight Plates

Standard and Olympic weight plates can be used on a variety of different weight machines as well as for free lifting workouts. Having your own weight plates at home gives you the freedom to lift based on your fitness goals and limitations, and even beginners to weight lifting can benefit from owning a full set.  

Before buying weight plates, you have to decide between going for a standard set or Olympic weights. Olympic weight sets are generally more expensive, but the added cost is worth it if you want a higher-capacity, more durable weight set for lifting at home.  

Tips for using

There is a wide range of unique exercises you can do at home with weight plates. While they’re usually used in conjunction with a barbell, you can actually work a lot of different muscle groups just by holding a weight plate.  

For example, you can increase the challenge of doing squats by holding a weight plate while you do them. To do this, start in a squat position and make sure your back is straight. As you move back to the standing position, raise the plate over head – that's it!  

Muscles Worked

There’s no limit to the muscles you can work while using a set of weight plates. More often than not, they’re used for working the upper body muscles, but they can also be used for core and lower body workouts. 

Average cost

There are a few things that determine the cost of a weight plate set. The price you pay depends a lot on what’s included in the set; if more plates are included, then you can expect to pay more.

Learn About: How Many Weight Plates Do I Need? (Minimum For Home Gym) 

Alternatives

For weight training, the best alternative is to have a set of dumbbells or an all-in-one adjustable dumbbell. Another option is to invest in individual weight machines, but this will cost a great deal more than buying a weight plate set and a barbell.

who it is best for

If you want to get jacked with free lifting, or you have weight machines that are compatible with weight plates, then you can benefit from having your own set of standard or Olympic plates. 

Where to buy

You can find weight plate (both Olympic and standard) on retail sites like Amazon, at sporting goods stores like Dick’s, or from fitness brands that specialize in weight training. 

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Sled Push

Sled Push

Unless you’re super into CrossFit, you’ve probably never heard of “dog sledding” in relation to fitness training. But it’s definitely a thing, and using a high weight capacity sled is an effective way to get jacked while also getting in some cardio.  

A dog sled is designed with a steel base and set of handles, and weight plates are loaded onto the base – some can hold as much as 500 pounds. Once the weight is loaded, you’ll just push the sled to build muscle as well as improve cardio health.  

Tips for using

Because of their heavy weight capacity and floor-sliding design, you’ll definitely want to go with a sled that comes with some sort of floor protection. For instance, the Rogue Dog Sled comes with the option for protective plastic skis, which are designed to reduce the risk of floor damage when training in an indoor gym.  

Muscles Worked

You’ll be using your entire body weight to push the sled once the weights are loaded, so sledding is considered a total-body workout. It’s especially great for the lower body muscles, including the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. 

Average cost

Right now, the best dog sled is the one from Rogue Fitness, which costs about $280. This doesn’t include weight plates, so you’ll have to purchase a set separately.

Alternatives

Dog sledding is a workout that’s completely unique, so there aren’t many alternatives that are similar. One option is to do exercises with large tractor tires, which is also very common in CrossFit gyms.

who it is best for

This piece of equipment isn’t ideal for everyone, especially if you don’t have the space in your home gym or yard to push a sled around. But if you’re into CrossFit or HIIT, it’s a fun (and challenging!) way to build muscle mass. 

Where to buy

If you’re interested in having one of these at home or you run a commercial CrossFit gym, the best place to buy a dog sled is from the Rogue Fitness website.

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Cardio Training Gym Equipment

Treadmill

Treadmill

Without a doubt, the most common cardio piece of equipment in every gym.

It’s basically a piece of machine designed for running in the same space via the use of a rotating belt. This actually dates back centuries to standard mills, which were manually operated by animals or humans.

They usually run either via a flywheel or, more commonly, via an electric motor. There are plenty of treadmills available even for home-gym use that are quite affordable. Just don’t forget to check pros and cons and ‘real-reviewers’ experience.

Tips for using

A treadmill is an amazing piece of equipment for easily getting in cardio workouts at home. They allow you to walk, jog, or run to get your heart rate up, and you can change incline in addition to speed for more calories burned. 

When using a treadmill, get used to the button placement before running at high intensity. Get to know where the incline, speed, and preset workout buttons are located before cranking the belt up to its max speed. 

No matter if you're walking leisurely or running, make sure to keep your gaze and shoulders facing forward. 

See Related - Common Treadmill Mistakes You're Making

Muscles Worked

The main muscles worked when using a treadmill are the quadriceps and hamstrings, but this cardio machine also strengthens the hip joints, knees, calves, glutes, and ankles. You can get more of a workout for the calves and glutes by increasing incline. 

Average Cost

Treadmills are all across the board when it comes to how much they cost. You can find a budget treadmill for as little as $200, or go with a commercial-quality machine for a few thousand.

Alternatives

The most similar alternative to walking or running on a treadmill is to walk or run outdoors. This is, unfortunately, hard on the knees and not for everyone, so if that's the case for you, consider doing cardio on a low-impact elliptical or stationary bike instead. 

Who it is best for

Cardio health is important for all of us, no matter your age, weight, or fitness level. As long as you don't suffer from knee pain, buying a treadmill is an effective way to get in your daily cardio

Where to buy

You can find treadmills from fitness brands that specialize in cardio equipment, such as NordicTrack, Precor, or Merax. Most of these brands also sell their products on sites like Amazon and Walmart, and it's usually for a discounted price. 

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Elliptical Machine

Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine

Another machine designed for cardio training is named elliptical. They work differently than treadmills, though. The motion done on these machines can be best compared to cross-country skiing, because they use dual-action handlebars. They are usually very compact, thus not taking much space.

Besides cardio, working out with ellipticals increases stability, core strength and leg strength. There are a lot of manufactures who produce good value elliptical machines for the home.

You can also check our guide, where we have listed the very best, yet affordable ones.

Tips for using

While it may seem like a one-dimensional piece of equipment, ellipticals are quite versatile and allow you to choose from a wide range of preset workouts. Some of these workouts will focus on heart rate, and others for weight loss. 

The best advice is to vary your elliptical workouts so that you're targeting all of your fitness goals. Many elliptical trainers even allow you to stream cardio workouts directly to the machine's console, so take advantage of that feature if you have it.

Muscles worked

Ellipticals are very similar to treadmills when it comes to muscles worked. In addition to the heart muscle, an elliptical does wonders for the lower body - including the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves - all without putting too much strain on the knee and hip joints.

See Related - How To Build Muscle Using An Elliptical

Average cost

Just like treadmills, ellipticals vary greatly in terms of how much they cost. There are plenty of budget machines that cost less than $500, and there are also more expensive options that come with all the bells and whistles - Bluetooth, lots of presets, adjustable incline, etc.

Alternatives

The best alternatives for at-home cardio workouts are treadmills, rowing machines, and indoor exercise bikes. Treadmills are a bit higher in impact, so if it's low-impact you're looking for, consider a rowing machine or exercise bike. 

Learn More: Stairmaster Vs Elliptical (Compared For Cardio & Fat Loss)

Who it is best for

Elliptical trainers are best for people who prefer a low-impact, total-body cardio workout. This machine is specifically designed to protect the knees while also improving heart health with intensive cardio. If that's something you're interested in, an elliptical is for you. 

where to buy

You can find elliptical machines from fitness brands that specialize in cardio equipment, such as Sunny Health & Fitness, Schwinn, and Precor. Most of these companies also sell their products on sites like Amazon and Walmart, and it's usually for a lower price and free shipping.

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Indoor Exercise Spin Bike

Indoor Exercise Spin Bike

Along with treadmills, one of the most desired gym machines on the market. Indoor exercise bikes work basically like standard outdoor bikes. The difference is that you just stay in the same place, while exercising. There are a lot of different models on the market and we have also put together a guide for beginner and experienced cyclists.

But please take the guide for what it is – a guide. There are tens, if not hundreds of different models, so don’t forget to scour the market for the one that suits your needs the best.

Tips for using

The way your adjust your bike's seat and handlebars can make or break your workout. A poorly-adjusted bike not only means an uncomfortable ride, but it can also lead to strain on the body from using improper form. 

Before you start your workout, make sure to adjust the seat and handlebars to a position that makes sense based on your height and arm length. Spending a few extra minutes to do this before your first ride will make a huge difference in the quality of the workout as well as how much you enjoy it. 

Muscles worked

You won't be getting much of an upper body workout with an exercise bike. This piece of equipment is all about the lower body and core, as well as cardiac muscles. 

Many people assume that it's only the glutes, quads, and hamstrings that are strengthened by riding a bike, but your abdominal muscles actually get quite a workout. The best bikers keep their cores engaged for the duration of the ride, and you should, too. 

Average cost

Just like other cardio equipment that's commonly found in home gyms, it's easy to find an exercise bike that fits within your budget. There are some models that cost as little as $200, while others (can you say Peloton?) are priced at $2000 or more. 

Alternatives

Similar to an elliptical, exercise bikes have very little impact, so if that's something you need, you might consider an elliptical instead. Rowing machines are another good alternative, and these place more of an emphasis on the upper body as well as the leg muscles. 

who it is best for

If you want an easy, affordable way to perform cardio at home, then an exercise bike is a great investment. You can break a sweat, burn calories, lose weight, improve heart health, and best of all, you don't need to spend a lot of money to do so.

where to buy

Because of their popularity, exercise bikes are super easy to find. Whether you buy yours on Amazon, Walmart.com, or directly from a fitness brand is entirely up to you. 

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Mini Exercise Bike

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike

These bikes are basically small variants of the standard exercise bikes. They are usually used by people who do not move much, who sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, or for people who have injured knees, since these machines use low-impact muscle movement.

They are great tools if you have an office job and tend to spent a lot of hours at a desk, since most of them are so compact that they can be used under most tables and desks. They are usually also very cheap, so I’d definitely recommend using them. You can read more about these fellas in our mini exercise bike guide.

Tips for using

Mini exercise bikes fit nicely under desks and table tops, but always make sure to check the dimensions before you buy one. Some models are taller than others, and some tables are shorter than others, so confirm that a specific mini bike will work for you and your space. 

Aside from that, the only piece of advice is to use the mini bike whenever you can, especially on days when you don't foresee making it to the gym or getting much physical activity. You might be surprised by how many calories you're able to burn, all without leaving your desk chair.

Muscles worked

To be quite honest, mini bikes don't work as many muscles as standard indoor bikes. They don't require as much core engagement as a larger bike, and they only really focus on the quads, hams, and calves. 

Average cost

Mini exercise bikes are quite affordable. There are lots of models that cost less than $100, even $50 for the most basic ones. Just keep in mind that some mini bikes, like the Cubii Pro, cost more because they come with integrated tech features (this one has Bluetooth). 

Alternatives

If you're not interested in buying a full-sized exercise bike or other cardio machine, the best alternative is to get walking. Mini bikes simulate the natural walking motion, so leaving your desk to stretch your legs and walk can have similar results. 

who it is best for

Anyone who sits for hours on end and has little time to hit the gym (or just simply isn't motivated enough) can benefit from having a mini bike at work or in a home office. 

Even if you regularly go to the gym but still want more cardio in your life, a mini exercise bike can help with that. They're also regularly used for rehabbing knees, and even elbows or shoulders since they can also be used for the upper body. 

where to buy

There are several quality mini bikes available on Amazon, Walmart, and fitness websites. You can head to your local fitness supply store, but you'll probably have more luck finding one online. 

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Under Desk / Mini Elliptical Machine

Under Desk Elliptical

Our list of the gym machine names continues with another mini version of a machine, and that is an under-desk elliptical.

These machines are very small, some of them even smaller than mini exercise bikes. They use similar principle as standard elliptical trainers, with one main difference – they lack dual-action handlebars.

Some of them include exercise bands for better performance and stability, but usually they come without them. Most of them can also be used in a standing position, but they are mainly used while sitting. They are also quite affordable, at least most of them.

Tips for using

Mini ellipticals are generally a bit taller than mini exercise bikes, so you'll definitely want to compare dimensions with your table/desk height. You don't want your knees banging into the underside of your desk while riding!

After choosing a model that works for you, just start pedaling - it's as simple as that. If you want a more advanced mini elliptical, try to find one with Bluetooth that allows you to connect to fitness tracking apps. 

Muscles Worked

Mini ellipticals only work the muscles of the lower body. They're great for building your calves, quads, and hamstrings. But if you want to add an upper body workout while using your elliptical, feel free to use hand weights or resistance bands. 

Average Cost

Just as you'd expect, a mini version of an elliptical is a lot more affordable than a full-size machine. You can find one for as cheap as $100, or as expensive as $500. 

Alternatives

If you're looking for an under-desk workout while you're at the office, the best alternative is to go with a mini exercise bike. But if space isn't an issue, then a full-size elliptical machine will have more similarities in terms of muscles worked. 

Who it is best for

Anyone who wants a fairly easy cardio workout while sitting at home on the couch or at an office desk can benefit from having a mini elliptical. Just keep in mind that it doesn't provide a workout for the upper body, and it won't burn as many calories as a traditional elliptical trainer. 

Where to buy

Mini ellipticals are available online at sites like Amazon or Walmart, or you can purchase yours directly from manufacturers like Cubii or Sunny Health & Fitness. 

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Rowing Machine

Rowing Machine

Another machine deserving its name and attention is the rowing machine, or also known as the rower. The particular piece of equipment trains your body in several different ways. It is great for strengthening your legs and lower back and also you get hell of a training in cardio.

But fear not, these machines are also available in non-commercial quality, thus are much more affordable. If you would like to skip the search, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on affordable home rowers.

Tips for using

As long as you use the right form and technique, it's possible to burn an insane number of calories in a rowing workout. But proper form is key. Always make sure to use your legs for power, avoid slouching, and make each stroke long and smooth. 

Muscles worked

Rowing is a cardio workout that focuses on the entire body. Unlike other cardio machines covered here, this one also strengthens the upper body, and it does so quite effectively. 

The upper body muscles used include the pecs, deltoids, upper back, trapezius, lats, biceps, and forearms. In the lower body, the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves work together as your mid-back and abdominal muscles stabilize your core.

Average cost

There are some brands that offer cheap rowing machines for as little as $250, but others are all about fancy features, and these don't come cheap. For instance, the Hydrow machine costs about $2000, and that doesn't even include the monthly subscription costs. 

Alternatives

You won't find a cardio workout that strengthens as many muscles as a rowing machine. However, you can get similar results if you pair another form of cardio - treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc. - with regular strength training. 

See Related - Alternatives To Rowing Machine

Who it is best for

If you want a full-body, low-impact workout that burns calories, promotes weight loss, builds muscles, and improves cardiovascular health, a rowing machine is for you. 

Where to buy

You can find quality, budget rowers on Amazon, but some of the "fancier" brands sell exclusively on their company websites. 

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Recumbent Exercise Bike 

Recumbent Exercise Bike

Exercise bikes are nothing new; they’re one of the best ways to engage in a cardio workout at home. A recumbent-style bike is especially good for “relaxed” cardio and anyone who struggles with limited mobility, such as seniors or injury rehab patients.  

With a recumbent exercise bike, the rider remains in a reclined seated position, rather than an upright position that you’ll find with a Peloton or another spin bike. Just like spin bikes, though, recumbent bikes allow you to adjust resistance, select from preset workouts, and track your cardio specs throughout the entire workout. 

Tips for using

There’s really not much involved to using a recumbent spin bike. Simply hop on, select your settings, and start pedalling. Just make sure to adjust the seat based on your height before you start your workout for optimal comfort.

Muscles worked

A recumbent bike is aimed at delivering a cardio workout, so the main muscle it will be targeting is the heart. However, you can also feel the burn in your quads, calves, glutes, and hams, especially if you increase the settings to max resistance.

Average cost

The cost of these cardio machines varies drastically depending on if you go with a commercial recumbent bike or opt for one that’s designed for at-home use only. While a basic model may only set you back a few hundred bucks, a higher-end model can cost a few thousand.

Alternatives

Other cardio machines, such as spin bikes or ellipticals, are highly effective and can deliver similar (if not better) results. Another option is to walk or jog outside, but this will have a much greater impact compared to riding on a recumbent bike. 

See Related - Recumbent Bike Vs Elliptical 

Who it is best for

If you want an easy form of cardio that’s not high in impact and allows you to sit back and relax, then recumbent exercise bikes are for you. However, if you want more of a core engagement from your cardio, an upright bike is the better choice. 

Where to buy

The demand for recumbent bikes is high for so many at-home gym enthusiasts, so it’s fairly easy to find the exact model you’re looking for on sites like Amazon and Walmart. You can also buy yours directly from a manufacturer, but this usually requires a higher shipping cost. 

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Vertical Climber 

Vertical Climber

A vertical climber makes it possible to climb at home, without having to visit your local rock climbing gym or outdoor rock wall. It’s a very basic piece of equipment, but even so, the climbing motion provides a full-body workout that’s great for cardio health as well as muscle toning.  

Vertical climbers like the As Seen On TV product, the Maxi Climber, are designed with a set of handlebars and foot pedals that allow you to mimic the climbing motion without actually moving upwards. So if you want a unique full-body workout, this is a great tool for that.  

Tips for using

The climbing motion may feel unnatural at first, so start out slow before picking up the pace and increasing the resistance level. Try to view this workout as a marathon, not a sprint, and eventually you’ll be a climbing pro!

Muscles worked

The best vertical climbing machines provide a total body workout, including the muscles of the lower body, upper body, and core. Not only will you be toning and building muscle as you climb, but you’ll also get an amazing aerobic workout at the same time.

Average cost

There are a few commercial-grade climbers that cost as much as $2000, but there are also more basic models that fall around the $200 price point. Just keep in mind that the cheaper options generally have a much lower weight limit, so if you’re over 250 pounds, expect to spend more. 

Alternatives

You’ll be able to work similar muscle groups (aside from the upper body) with a StairMaster. But if it’s climbing you’re after, then the only real alternative is to take up rock climbing as a hobby.

Who it is best for

As long as you don’t have too many mobility limitations or struggle with balance issues, there are a lot of reasons to invest in a vertical climbing machine. It’s a fun, interactive, unique way to do cardio and tone the entire body.

Where to buy

The most popular budget-friendly vertical climber right now is the Maxi Climber, and you can purchase it on Amazon.com. More advanced climbers are also available from brands like Sole Fitness and CLMBR. 

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Other Workout Tools

Dumbbells

dumbbells

Dumbbells are possibly the most known free weights in the world. They are used in weight training either individually, or in pairs. The handle is usually made of iron or steel and the weight parts are either made of iron, steel, cement or rubber.

These dumbbells can also be adjustable, meaning you can change the desired weight on each dumbbell by unscrewing and re-screwing the weight plates from the handle.

Adjustable dumbbells often come in sets, but are usually much more expensive than regular dumbbells. Either way it never hurts to have a pair ready at your disposal in your home gym.

Tips for using

There are lots of ways to work out using dumbbells, and these are some of the most versatile pieces of gym equipment to buy. Whether you're doing bicep curls or working your triceps, be sure to use proper form for each movement, and aim to do several reps of 8 or 12 of each exercise for the best results. 

Muscles worked

Dumbbells are primarily used for building muscle in the upper body, including the muscles of the arms, back, shoulders, and chest. However, there are plenty of ways to use dumbbell weights for core strengthening and stabilizing, and there are a few exercises that you can do to build lower body muscles as well. 

Average Cost

A full set of dumbbells can cost anywhere from $200 to $2000 depending on the brand, weight variations, and quality. If you want a nice starter set that doesn't take up too much space or cost too much money, consider getting adjustable dumbbells for your home gym. 

Alternatives

If you're not interested in large weight lifting equipment like the chest press machine, lat pulldown, or cable crossover, an effective alternative to dumbbells is to use barbells, or even space-saving (and cheap) resistance bands. 

who it is best for

There are lots of benefits that come along with dumbbell workouts and weight training, like activating a variety of muscles and stimulating muscle growth. They're ideal for anyone who wants a simple, effective, and versatile option for weight training and muscle strengthening. 

where to buy

You can find full sets as well as individual dumbbells on consumer websites like Amazon, Walmart, and Target. You can also purchase them (as well as dumbbell racks) from fitness brands and fitness supply sites/stores. 

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Barbell

Barbell

Similar in design to dumbbells, barbells differ mainly in length. These are made of long bars with attached weight plates or weights on each end. Just like with dumbbells, these can be regular or with adjustable weights.

These bars also come in curl design, which can be used for different exercises. Longest barbells are also used in exercise like squats with heavy-weights and bench press.

See Related - Different Types Of Barbells

Tips for using

One of the most common workouts for using barbells is the power squat. If you want to do squats with your barbell, it’s best to squat in a rack or cage to stay safe while loading the barbell and, if you’re unable to complete a rep, “fail out” when necessary.

For a front squat (the barbell will be positioned near the collar bones), secure the barbell so that it’s resting on the front side of your shoulders. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, toes slightly out, core braced, and chest up as you complete each rep.

Muscles Worked

There are a variety of different workouts that can be performed with a barbell and added weight plates. One day you can focus on the arms and shoulders, and the next can be a "leg day" with power squats and barbell lunges. 

Average cost

The barbell alone can cost as little as $30, but if you want included weight plates to load onto the bar, you'll have to pay a lot more than that. Full barbell + weight plate sets can be priced anywhere from $200 to $500 or more. 

Alternatives

Using dumbbells is the best alternative to barbell workouts. Another option is to purchase individual weight lifting machines, like a chest press and leg press, but this will cost a great deal, not to mention take up a lot of space. 

Other alternatives to barbell weight lifting include investing in a power tower, half rack, full rack, and resistance band. 

who it is best for

If you want to have complete control over your weight lifting regimen and lots of options for different exercises, a barbell is a great choice. As you get stronger, barbells make it easy to up the challenge with different weight plate sizes.

Keep in mind that many people prefer using dumbbells for their weight training, so you'll definitely want to weigh the pros and cons of each before buying. 

where to buy

Quality barbells can purchased from fitness manufacturers like XMark and Bowflex, or you can buy yours from Amazon, Walmart, or another fitness supply store.

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Dip Bars

Dip Bars

Dipping bars or also known as dip bars are basically two bars which are in stable position on the floor. Dip stations are basically dip bars as well, with the exception that the entire station is welded together in one piece.

These bars are favorite tools among gym enthusiasts, because of their easy accessibility, affordability and usability. You can train your shoulders, chest, biceps and triceps with dip bars. As I have already mentioned above, several multi-function machines include dip bars as well, for example most power towers and also power racks.

See some dip bar options for home gyms here.

Tips for using

Instead of giving you tips for using dip bars, let's cover some tips for buying them. There are a lot of great options for dip bar sets out there, but there are also some duds that aren't even stable enough to accommodate the dipping motion. 

You want to choose a set that's durable and stable enough to hold your weight, plus whatever weight you plan on using, like ankle or wrist weights. Also, look for wide feet that won't wobble as you move, and check into the hand grip quality for foam padding that will protect your palms.

Muscles Worked

Most people assume that dip bars are only useful for working out the upper body muscles, but they're so much more versatile than that.

If you're focusing on dips only, though, you can expect to strengthen the pecs, deltoids, rhomboids, triceps, and lat muscles. In other words, dips are great for building muscle mass in the chest, back, and upper arms.

Average Cost

You can find a quality set of dip bars for as little as $50, but if you go with a power tower instead that has an included dip bar station, plan on spending a lot more. 

Alternatives

Any workout that focuses on the upper body can serve as a good alternative to doing dips. That includes push-ups, chin-ups, bicep/tricep curls, etc. If you want to do dips without dip bars, one option is to find a sturdy chair or workout bench and use that as your dip station instead - emphasis on sturdy!

Related Article - Dip Alternatives

Who it is best for

Dips are an easy yet effective way to build upper body mass, and best of all, they're super affordable compared to other weight training equipment. If you want a cheap way to work out the chest, arms, and back, you'll definitely want to have your own set of dip bars. 

Where to buy

Buy dip bars from online stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, or purchase yours directly from a manufacturer like Rogue Fitness or Powertec. 

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Push-up Bars

Push-Up Bars

Another cheap tool that can help you with your training. Alternatively going under the name press up bars or handles, these small and affordable push-up bars will improve your standard push-ups with more stability and by applying less pressure on your wrists.

There are more sturdy and stable than dumbbells in regard to push ups. Doing push-ups with dumbbells is not recommended. Feel free to check them online or by checking our guide, maybe you will get yourself a pair right away.

Tips for Using

Using push-up bars will look similar to doing push-ups on the ground, only they make it easier to practice proper form and technique.

Start by gripping the handles and assuming a plank position, with your elbows almost locked (but not entirely) and your body in a straight line. Then, slowly lower yourself in a controlled, smooth motion until your reach your desired position, and finish by pushing yourself back up slowly. That's it!

Muscles Worked

Push-ups not only work out the upper body, but they're also surprisingly effective for strengthening the core. The main muscles that are worked with push-ups are the pectorals, deltoids, triceps, and abs. 

Learn More: Push Ups Vs Bench Press: Which Exercise Is Better For Chest?

Average Cost

Even a sturdy set of push up bars won't cost you much. Depending on the brand and construction, this gym accessory can be priced anywhere from $10 to $75 or more. 

Alternatives

The best alternative for using push-up bars is to just do traditional push-ups. Just keep in mind that push-up bars help to improve your form, and therefore they show better results faster compared to push-ups without bars. 

Who it is best for

If you want an easy, cheap way to build the muscles of the upper body and core, then push-up bars are for you! Dip bars serve a similar purpose, but if it's strictly push-ups you're after, go with the bars instead. 

Where to buy

You can find a quality pair of push-up bars on sites like Amazon and Walmart, or directly from fitness manufacturers like Rogue Fitness. 

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Pull-up Bar

Pull-Up Bar

Pull-up bars can be found in every public gym, outdoor workout stations and you can also get them for your home. They are great tools where you can increase your upper-body strength with self-weight exercises. There are different types of pull-up bars available, like doorway pull-up bars, ceiling mounted models and also wall-mounted pull-up bars.

A pull-up bar is also part of several multi-functional devices like power towers, half racks and power racks. It is up to you to decide whether you want just a pull-up bar, or if you want to jump directly for a power rack or tower.

Tips for using

The best piece of advice for using a pull up bar in your home is to make sure it's securely mounted before doing your pull-ups or chin-ups. No matter the type of bar you opt for, sturdy mounting is key for preventing injuries as well as preventing damage to your walls or ceiling. 

Muscles Worked

The pull-up motion primarily targets the muscles of the back, specifically the lats, but it also plays a role in strengthening the chest and pecs. If you want to improve the strength in the muscles between the shoulder blades, this is a great way to do it. 

Average Cost

On average, a quality pull-up bar should cost about $50. There are cheaper models for ~$25, as well as more expensive options for $100+, so just decide on your budget before you buy.

Alternatives

Push-ups (with or without push-up bars) are a great alternative to pull-ups. A lat pulldown machine also does a good job of targeting similar muscles, but this will cost you - lat pulldowns don't come cheap!

See Related - Pull Up Alternatives 

Who it is best for

Really anyone can benefit from having a pull-up bar in their home gym. As mentioned, pull-ups are an effective workout for bulking up the chest and back, and this is an easy way to do this if you're on a budget and can't afford large weight machines. 

Where to buy

Like most of the gym equipment in this guide, you can find a quality pull-up bar on major retails sites like Amazon, Target, and Walmart.com. Most online stores carry both ceiling and wall-mounted models. 

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Suspension Trainer

Suspension Trainer

Maybe you have already heard about the suspension training. It has become very popular in the last couple of years and suspension trainers are in great demand as of now.

They are mainly for home-gym enthusiasts. Basically, it’s set of straps and handles, which are suspended off of the floor, similarly to gymnastic rings. They are great for stability and overall strength.

Some of them are also especially designed for outdoor use. If you are interested in these mult-functional training, take a peek at our comprehensive guide on suspension trainers.

Tips for using

There are so many different exercises you can do with suspension trainers, so the way you use yours is entirely up to you. Before you start using them, though, just be sure that they're properly anchored and secure. 

Muscles Worked

There's really no limit to what you can do with a set of suspension trainers. You can focus on your chest one day with challenging push-up variations, and then move on to doing single-leg burpees for lower-body power or conditioning the next.

Average Cost

While there are some trainers on the market that cost around $25, higher quality products will generally be priced at $50 or more. Luckily, this is still pretty cheap considering how versatile these bad boys are. 

Alternatives

The closest alternative to suspension trainers are resistance bands. So if you're not quite sure that you want to start with trainers, go with a set of bands instead. Bands are almost just as versatile, and the resistance they provide is similar to what you'll find with suspension trainers. 

Find The Best TRX Alternatives Here!

Who it is best for

If you want a versatile, affordable way to build muscle tone at home, suspension trainers are for you. They're very unique, and they allow you to get creative with your fitness routine, so if you want to do something different, you'll love these things. 

Where to buy

You can purchase your suspension trainers online, or at most fitness retail stores. Your best bet for finding a quality set at the right price is to shop on sites like Amazon or Walmart. 

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Battle Ropes

battle ropes

If you ever had a CrossFit training, then I guess you had the pleasure of using a battle rope. These thick and long ropes are usually part of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), CrossFit, strength and cardio training.

They can be a good addition even for your home gym and there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube how to use a battle rope properly. For a high quality home battle rope, check out our list.

Tips for using

If you're new to using battle ropes, you'll definitely want to start with some beginner-level exercises. Battle ropes aren't for the faint of heart, so go slow at the start before working up to more challenging moves. 

The general rule of thumb for each exercise is to do each movement for about 30 seconds, and then take a 1-minute break before starting the next one. Once you've done 8 different exercises, you can repeat the same circuit a few times. 

Muscles Worked

Most people assume that battle ropes are only aimed at strengthening the upper body, but that's not true at all. Sure, battle ropes mostly engage the upper body muscles, but you can easily target the core and lower body by incorporating jumps and lunges into your battle rope exercises.

Average Cost

The cost of battle ropes really depends on the material used to make them, as well as the length and width of the rope. A 40' can cost anywhere between $40 and $100. 

Alternatives

In terms of versatility, the best alternative to battle ropes is to go with suspension trainers or resistance bands. Doing interval training on a rowing machine is another good option, especially if you're wanting to boost your cardio routine. 

Who it is best for

Anyone who's into HIIT, Crossfit, or strength training can get on board the battle rope train. However, they're not for everyone, mainly because they require a lot of space, and we don't all have 20+ feet of clearance to work with.

Where to buy

You can find quality battle ropes online at Amazon, Walmart, or Target, or you can purchase them from a fitness brand like Rogue Fitness or Power Guidance. 

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Kettlebell

Kettlebell

Every home gym should be equipped with kettlebells. It is one of those exercise tools that we see quite often. These cast iron or cast steel balls with handles are used to perform various exercises. I’m not going to describe them here, since you can find plenty of quality videos online. They are mainly used in cardiovascular, strength and ballistic exercises.

I’ve also put together a guide on various types and their uses. If you want, don’t hesitate to check that out and find a great set of kettlebells.

Tips for using

The main things to remember when using kettlebells is to keep your movements controlled and smooth, keep a strong athletic stance, and keep your spine in a neutral position. Also, be sure to wear proper footwear to stay balanced and reduce your risk of injury.

Muscles Worked

This depends on the specific exercise you're doing, but in general, kettlebell swings work the muscles in the back of the body (or posterior chain). This is especially true for the glutes, hamstrings, hips, core, and back. The shoulders, forearms, and lat muscles are also used during the kettle bell swing.

Average Cost

Kettlebells come in various weight options, so the cost really depends on what size kettlebell you choose, or if you go with a full set. You can get a lightweight kettlebell that's great for beginners for about $20, or opt for a heavier one for $50 or more. 

Alternatives

Since kettlebell workouts do a lot to target the muscles on the backside of the body, any weight training or cardio exercise that focuses on these muscles can serve as an alternative to kettlebell reps. That includes the lat pulldown machine, cable crossover, GHD machine, etc. 

Related Article: 10 Kettlebell Swing Alternatives (Substitutes For Home Gym)

Who it is best for

Even if you prefer using larger weight machines in your home gym, everyone should have at least 1 kettlebell. It's great for getting the heart pumping and the muscles strong, and it's one of the more versatile gym accessories out there. 

Where to buy

Kettlebells are extremely popular, so you can find them just about everywhere. That mean you can shop at Walmart, on Amazon, or buy yours directly from your favorite fitness brand. 

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Foam Roller

Foam Roller

Foam rollers are available practically everywhere now. Long gone are the days when they were used by physical therapists only. These rollers are used for the mentioned physical therapy, muscle and joint pain release. The correct use of a foam roller also tends to increase circulation and flexibility and improving overall balance.

These products can differ greatly in quality and price. Find the optimal foam roller here.

Tips for using

Foam rollers are all about releasing tension and tightness in the muscles and joints, so to use one, start by pinpointing any areas of tension in your body.

Then, control your movements as you slowly lower the targeted area to be centered above the roller. Lower your body onto the foam roller until you reach a point of discomfort (but not pain) and hold it there for about 30 seconds. 

See Related - Foam Rolling Lats

Muscles Worked

This gym accessory isn't really about strengthening the body, but instead, it's focused on reducing muscle tension. It can be used for releasing practically any muscle, but don't expect to get jacked by using just a foam roller. 

Average Cost

You can easily find a quality roller for less than $20, but as is the case with any gym accessory, there are also more expensive products that will cost you $50 or more. 

Alternatives

The best alternative to having a foam roller at home is to have a yoga block. Even if you're not a yogi, yoga blocks are an amazing tool for releasing tension, stretching the muscles, and improving flexibility. 

Who it is best for

Anyone who uses their muscles regularly (that's all of us!) should have a foam roller, or at the very least a yoga block. Even if you don't plan on using it much, you can use a cheap roller for times when your muscles are feeling tight. 

where to buy

Foam rollers are available everywhere nowadays - Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx, Amazon... you can find a quality option at any of these stores. Heck, you might even be able to buy one at your local grocery store!

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Resistance Bands

Resistance Bands

I found out that people tend to think that resistance bands and suspension trainers are the same thing. This is not the case. Resistance bands are basically stretchy pieces of plastic that use different weights of resistance. Resistance training increases one’s strength, for example by using them for bicep curls.

There are a lot of great videos and exercises available online that you can check out. Also, the number of choices online to get the best resistance bands is crazy high, but fear not, here is your guide to reliable resistance bands.

Tips for using

While they're a simple gym accessory, there are a few important things to know about using resistance bands the right way. First, make sure to keep all of your movements smooth and controlled. Second, never release the band when it's under tension, and third, never stretch a resistance band over 2.5x its length.

See Related - Our Top 10 Resistance Band Chest Workouts!

Muscles Worked

Resistance bands are extremely versatile, and they can be used to target any muscle group ranging from the quads, hams, and glutes of the lower body to the chest, shoulders, and lats of the upper body.  

Average Cost

Most resistance bands come in a set, so depending on the number of bands and the tension levels offered, they can range anywhere from $10 to $100 or more. 

Alternatives

The best alternative to using resistance bands is to use suspension trainers instead. Suspension trainers are actually quite similar, so if you're on the fence about which one to go with, consider the pros and cons of each before you buy. 

who it is best for

If you want a cheap way to build strength and tone every muscle group, you'll love having your own set of resistance bands at home. They're even a great tool for stretching and releasing muscle tension. 

Where to buy

You can find resistance bands ANYWHERE these days. Most people buy theirs on sites like Amazon, but if you prefer shopping in store, you can head to your local Target, TJ Maxx, or Walmart. 

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Plyometric Box

Plyometric Box

Plyometric boxes, also known as Plyo boxes are available in most large public gyms. They are mainly used for jumping, which is usually incorporated in HIIT and CrossFit training workouts. These boxes are also available for a home gym use. You can find plenty of them available online, but firstly you should know what to look for and which ones to get.

For example, did you know that you can get 3-in-1 wooden boxes, metal plyo boxes or even cushioned adjustable boxes? Yea, I know, crazy.

Tips for using

Even though the concept and design behind the plyometric box is simple, there's actually a lot you can do with this piece of gym equipment. It's great for building the muscles of the core, upper body, and lower body as well as getting in some cardio, but of course, you need to make sure you're using it the right way. 

Because it's so versatile, our best piece of advice is to determine your fitness goal for the day - cardio, strength training, HIIT, etc. - before deciding on the different exercises you'll be doing. 

Muscles Worked

You can work literally any muscle group using a plyometric box. A lot of people use it for jumping and cardio, but it can also be helpful for dips, push-ups, lunges, squats, and more. 

Average cost

You can find a sturdy enough plyo box for as little as $50. On the other hand, some of these products are $200+ depending on the brand, materials used, and size of the box.

Alternatives

If you're mainly using a plyometric box for jumping, then the obvious alternative is to use a jump rope instead. If you want a platform to jump onto, any sturdy surface will do - sturdy being the key word!

Who it is best for

Plyometric workouts are a big part of HIIT and Crossfit, but anyone can benefit from using one. If you're not sure it's for you, just try it out at your local gym to decide if it would be a good addition to your home gym space. 

where to buy

You can find most top-selling plyo boxes on sites like Amazon and Walmart, but some are only sold directly from the manufacturer. 

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Jump Ropes

Jump Ropes

It won’t be a list of gym equipment names if we didn’t include a jump rope. I think I’m completely right if I say that at least every second kid on this planet had a jump rope. I’m saying this because even if you never had a commercial jump rope, you could definitely make one.

Jumping ropes are great for cardio training. But you might be surprised just how many of them are being produced these days. Some of them are made from rubber, while others are made of leather. Which material and design is the best, though? Fear not, we have a jump rope guide for that as well.

Tips for using

Jumping rope is an art form, and there are very specific techniques that should be followed. First, try jumping on the balls of your feet (rather than the heels). Second, don't jump too high - it's all about staying relaxed! And third, make sure you're using the correct rope length based on your height. 

Learn More About: How Long Should A Jump Rope Be? (Jumping Rope Size Guide)

Muscles worked

Using a jump rope is great for strengthening the calves, quads, and glutes along with engaging the muscles of the shoulders, arms and core. 

Average Cost

You can get an amazing workout by jumping rope, and best of all, it's cheap! The most affordable options are $10 or less, but for a quality jump rope, plan on spending around $20 to $25. 

Alternatives

Jumping jacks are an easy, no-equipment-needed-alternative to jumping rope. But let's face it, it's a lot more fun to use a jump rope! If your main goal is to strengthen the lower body muscles, you can use weight machines like the leg press, calf raise, and GHD. 

who it is best for

As long as you're not trying to stay away from high-impact movements that put strain on the knees, hips, and ankles, jumping rope is for you. It's a fun way to get in some cardio as well as strengthen and tone the entire body. 

Where to buy

Anywhere! You can find jump ropes at your local retail stores or online. If you want one today, head to Walmart or do same-day shipping on Amazon. 

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Ab Roller

Ab Roller

Along with dip bars and push-up bars, ab roller is one of the most desired exercise tools for a home gym. Why? Simply because it is small, inexpensive and very useful.

Its purpose lies in training abdominal muscles in a sitting position on your knees, where you roll the ab roller in front of you to a nearly-laying position. It is best however, to consult with a certified trainer how to do these exercises properly. Alternative, there is always YouTube.

Tips for using

Using an ab roller is pretty self-explanatory, and after watching a YouTube video on how to do it, you shouldn't have any trouble figuring it out. Just make sure to only use the roller on a non-slip surface, like rubber. 

Muscles Worked

This one's obvious - the abs! Ab rollers are all about singling out the core and creating a challenging workout for the abdominal muscles. It's also really good for the upper body, specifically the lats and triceps.

Average cost

You can find a basic ab roller for about $20, but there are also more advanced rollers that cost as much as $100. 

Alternatives

If you're not into the idea of buying a large weight machine that targets the abs, you can do simple crunches or planks instead. There are a lot of ways to get ripped in the core, and even a cardio workout like rowing is good for abdominal strengthening.

Related Article: 9 Best Ab Rollout Alternatives (Ab Wheel Substitutes)

Who it is best for

Anyone aiming for a 6-pack, an 8-pack, or even just a slightly stronger core can benefit from having an ab roller at home. This is a cheap, effective way to tone the abs and strengthen the core. 

Where to buy

Your best bet is to order an ab roller on Amazon, or head to your nearest Walmart. There are some ab rollers that are only sold by the brands that produce them, but these tend to be overpriced. 

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Stability Ball

Stability Ball

Also called exercise ball or Swiss ball is a huge and versatile piece of fitness equipment that can be used for various exercise for the entire body. It is a great tool to increase one’s stability, overall balance and core strength. It’s funny that you can even lose calories with a stability ball simply by bouncing up and down on it like a crazy person.

You can also use it as an alternative to standard office chair. The reason people do this is that while sitting on a stability ball, you automatically increase trunk muscle activation, which improves posture and core strength.

However, it is not recommended to sit on a stability ball for several hours straight, because it can cause serious back pain. If you are not sure whether to use it or not, consult with a certified physiotherapist.

Tips for using

A stability ball is all about, well, stability. When using one, make sure to find a stable, comfortable position so that you're not flailing your arms and legs all over the place. Even while challenging your balance, you should try to keep your movements smooth and controlled. 

Muscles worked

Most people use stability balls for core strengthening, but you can actually target any muscle group of your choosing. It's just a matter of selecting exercises that isolate the area of the body you're hoping to tone. 

average cost

On average, stability balls cost anywhere from $15 on the low end to $30 on the high end. This is another affordable fitness accessory that would go great in anyone's home gym space.  

Alternatives

If you plan on using a stability ball for core strengthening, the best alternative would be to use an ab roller instead. You can also do crunches, planks, and other equipment-free ab exercises. 

who it is best for

This is the perfect gym accessory for improving core strength as well as enhancing balance. Plus, it's cheap, and the only real downside is that it takes up space when inflated. 

where to buy

You can find your stability ball at your local Walmart or Target, online at Amazon, or at fitness stores and websites. 

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Gym Mats 

Gym Mats

Gym mats come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from small yoga-sized mats to massive full-floor surface areas. Regardless of the size you choose, having a gym mat is an amazing tool for reducing impact on the body as well as protecting your home’s flooring.  

Tips for using

The best exercise mat for you will depend on what you intend to use it for. There are gym mats specifically designed for yoga, Pilates, martial arts, gymnastics training, weight lifting, and exercising in general.  

These mats differ in weight, length, thickness and portability, so you should decide first what activities you plan on using your mat for before making your purchase. Aside from that, just make sure to place your mat on a flat, solid surface before using it. 

Learn More: How To Clean Gym Mats At Home (Step By Step Guide)

Muscles worked

It depends. While a mat alone won’t actually work any muscles, what you choose to do on the mat determines which muscle groups you’ll be working.

average cost

Once again, this depends. You can find a small yoga mat for less than $20, but if you want to cover the majority of your gym floor, the greater surface area will cost you a lot more. For instance, a massive 96” x 72” mat might be priced around $250. 

Alternatives

Another option to protect your floors as well as your joints is to invest in rubber tiles. These are super easy to install, resistant to sweat, and give you the freedom to decide on coverage surface area based on the number of tiles you choose to use.

who it is best for

There are two big reasons to invest in a gym mat. The first is to protect your home from the damage that can be caused by fitness equipment and weight machines. The second is to minimize impact with shock absorptive material, so if you want one or both of these things, then a gym mat is for you.

where to buy

You can find gym mats as well as rubber gym tiles on sites like Amazon and Walmart, or head to your local fitness equipment retailer. 

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Medicine Ball 

Medicine Ball

A medicine ball is something that every fitness fanatic should have at home. In the simplest terms possible, this cheap fitness accessory is just a heavy ball that can be used for weight training, muscle toning, and cardio workouts. 

Medicine balls come in different weight options, ranging anywhere from 4 pounds to 12+ pounds. To cater to different workouts and the need to increase the challenge, it’s best to have multiple sizes at home, so that you can quickly go from one size to another.  

Tips for using

Since there are so many things you can do with a medicine ball, start out by doing a quick Google search of the top medicine ball exercises to try at home. There are literally dozens of them, and you can easily go from medicine ball crunches to bicep curls.

Muscles worked

It depends on what you choose to do with your med ball. If you want to work the triceps, do some medicine ball tricep extensions. If you prefer to focus on getting a 6-pack, try medicine ball V-ups or overhead slams.

average cost

The cost of your medicine ball depends on the weight of the ball you choose; obviously, a 4-pound ball will cost a lot less than a 12-pounder. Luckily, even heavier medicine balls don’t have to break the bank, and you can find one for around $25.

Alternatives

A kettlebell is very similar to a medicine ball, with the added perk of including an easy-to-grasp handle. Another great option is to use dumbbells, especially if you have a full set with varying weights.

Read Also: Slam Ball Vs Medicine Ball (Training Benefits & Differences)

who it is best for

Anyone who has a home gym setup should have at least one medicine ball. Using one is a great way to boost the intensity level of basic crunches, bicep curls, or squats.

where to buy

Medicine balls are so popular that you can almost always find them on the shelves of retails stores like TJ Maxx, Target, and Walmart, or you can order one from Amazon.com. 

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Agility Ladder 

Agility Ladder

Unlike a traditional ladder, agility ladders lay directly on the floor and are amazing for agility/speed exercises. They come in different length options, usually ranging from 8 to 20 rungs, and they’re ideal for all different fitness levels, skill sets, and exercises.  

Most agility ladders are meant for speed training, and you’ll commonly see them being used by athletes of soccer, football, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, tennis, and more. They help to increase acceleration, foot strength, speed, and balance, and best of all, they’re sold for as little as $10.   

Tips for using

The entire point of using an agility ladder is to increase speed and overall agility, so don’t be shy about getting fancy with your footwork! The biggest risk is rolling an ankle, so if you’re new to this, feel free to wear ankle protectors or braces until you build up your strength.

Muscles worked

This tool is great for building the muscles of the lower body, especially the ankles and calves. It’s also ideal for toning the glutes and quads as well as keeping the core engaged.

average cost

Try not to spend more than $25 on an agility ladder; you can easily find a quality option for $10 or $15, even if you go with a longer 20-rung model.

Alternatives

If you have a sidewalk and chalk, you can create your own ladder using a chalk outline and perform the same workouts. Of course you don’t actually need a ladder to do agility exercises, but it definitely makes things more fun and challenging. 

who it is best for

Athletes who want to increase their speed, balance, and agility are those who can most benefit from using a ladder like this. 

where to buy

You can find a quality, affordable agility ladder on Amazon or Walmart, or head to your local sporting goods store. 

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Gym Equipment Names With Pictures Guide Summary

There you have it. I understand that there are more machines that you could see in your public gym, like various machines designed specifically for abdominal muscles, but that’s just a few of them and they are not usually available for a home gym use.

This list should give you more than basic understanding on various workout machines and tools that you can utilize and also get for yourself when planning your home or garage gym

Total body home fitness machines can also combine these machines into one. At Garage Gym Pro, we aim to cover all options in building the best possible home gym.

Paul J