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Gyms can be intimidating and too often introduction to the equipment can be done in a fast half way.  In the coming weeks, I will be posting a guide to various equipment often found in gyms. Check out my Free Weights post here and be on the look for posts on nautilus machines, cardio machines and miscellaneous equipment in the near future.


There are three types of benches: flat, incline and decline. Some benches are adjustable (through the use of pins and or slats) combining all three positions in one bench. Some benches are attached to a rack and these are typically used for performing bench presses. Most of the time you will see people performing barbell or dumbbell exercises on these benches but you can also use them for abdominal exercises, step-ups, triceps dips and shrugs to name a few. Some benches have wheels attached to one end so that you can move them to perform exercise in combination with racks (smith press, squat, cable and pulleys). With a little imagination, you could perform just about any exercise on these benches.


flat-benchFlat – can be used for bench presses, abdominal exercises, lat pull-overs, bent over rows, triceps presses and dips, curls, incline push-ups and so much more.


incline-benchIncline – typically used for incline bench press either with a barbell or dumbbells. You can also perform incline dumbbell flys, incline Y-T-L-W-I raises, side- lying lateral raises, curls, reverse abdominal curls, and so much more.


decline-benchDecline – used to perform decline press. Can also be used for abdominal exercises and decline dumbbell fly.


hyperextension-benchHyper extension- typically used for lower back and abdominal exercises. Refer to my Roman Chair- Back Extension Exercise post for more information on this bench.


preacher-curl-benchPreacher’s – used for bicep curls


ab-benchAbdominal bench/board – as the name implies used for abdominal exercises. Looks just like the decline bench without the attached rack.



dipping-barDip station – used to perform chest and triceps dips, incline dips and shrugs.


captains-chairCaptain’s chair – this picture is a basic model, they can be more elaborate. Used for chest, arms, abs and obliques and leg exercises.



barbell-rackBarbell –storage rack for barbells

dumbbellsdumbbell – storage rack for dumbbells

weight-treeweight tree – storage rack for weight plates



power-rackPower rack –This apparatus is designed for use with free weights. It comes with adjustable pins and safety catches.
Wheel a bench over and perform bench presses. Squats, deadlifts, pull-ups and rows are just a few of the other type of exercises that cab be performed here. This rack is an ideal piece of equipment for the home gym as many exercises can be performed here in the limited amount of space it occupies.


smith-pressSmith press – typically used for squats.  This rack has a barbell that is permanently attached within its steel frame. Slots with hooks line the vertical posts of the frame which allow placement of the barbell. The hooks also provide a safety measure should exercises be performed without a spotter and emergency placement of the barbell is needed. Other exercises that can be performed on this press include: lunges, chest presses (roll that bench over!), incline push-ups, inverse row, shoulder presses and so much more.


squat-rackSquat rack – used for squats. This rack allows for placement of the barbell between sets.



Cable cross-over – a steel piece of equipment with an adjustable weight stack attached by a cable and pulley system to one or more handles or other types of attachments. This system allows for the attachments to be placed at any height. The height and weights are set with the use of pins. The pins are easy to operate. There are slots along the sides of the frame that allow the pins to be removed and placed at whatever height is needed to perform an exercise of your choosing. You can perform just about any exercise with this machine, either bilaterally or unilaterally. Attachments  include handles, ropes and bars. Many people are intimidated by this machine, but once you take the leap and get your feet wet you will find that this apparatus is easy to use and an effective piece of equipment.

For more information,  please leave a comment or question…