Some of you might not be familiar with all the existent 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.
Non-portable Strength Gym Equipment Machines
Power Rack / Full 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.
Squat rack / Half 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 power rack.
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.
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 for them as well.
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 guide.
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).
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 in non-commercial quality, which is great for home gym enthusiasts.
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.
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.
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.
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 usually affordable.
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. Several manufacturers also make this machine for a home gym use as well.
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 machines can be purchased in non-commercial grade quality as well and are usually affordable.
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.
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.
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 machines can be a bit pricey, but some of them are definitely worth the price.
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.
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.
Non-Portable Cardio Gym Equipment Machines
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.
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 elliptical machines. You can also check our guide, where we have listed the very best, yet affordable ones.
Indoor Exercise 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 beginners.
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.
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 guide.
Under Desk / Mini Elliptical Machine
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.
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 the rowers.
Free Weight & Other Workout Tools
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.
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.
They 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.
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.
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 studier 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.
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 and wall 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.
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 suspension trainers, take a peek at our comprehensive guide.
If you ever had a CrossFit training, then I guess you had the pleasure to use a battle rope. These thick and long ropes are usually part of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), CrossFit, strength and cardio trainings. 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.
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 kettlebell types and their use. If you want, don’t hesitate to check that out.
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.
Yes, I know, I know… comprehensive guide… well, here you go.
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.
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.
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 guide for that as well.
Along with dip bars and push-up bars, ab roller is one of the most desired exercise tool 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.
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.
Summary on the Gym Equipment Names Guide
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.