What are the Different Types of Fitness Gym Equipment?

Shawn Bryan

There are a variety of types of fitness gym equipment available at both commercial gyms and retail stores. Exercise equipment generally falls into one of two fitness categories: cardiovascular or strength training. Some equipment combines both categories. Some types include free weights, leg or chest press machines, ski machines, stationary bikes and elliptical machines.

Exercise pants.
Exercise pants.

Cardiovascular equipment offers exercises that can help the user raise their heart rate and burn fat. Treadmills are one of the most common types of cardio equipment and can be found both at commercial gyms and retail stores. Treadmills typically consist of a walking tread, which cycles around a platform. While most treadmills include a motor that moves this tread, some are designed to be moved by the walking action itself. These are called manual treadmills and they are usually cheaper than their motorized counterparts.

Some people use free weights.
Some people use free weights.

Stair climbers are another popular piece of fitness gym equipment. The machine consists of two small platforms where the user can place their feet. These platforms are connected via a bar to a hydraulic system which provides the resistance. The user stands on the platforms and uses their legs to push them down in sequence, just as if climbing a set of stairs.

Elevated risers are great for working calves, quads and glutes.
Elevated risers are great for working calves, quads and glutes.

Elliptical machines are also used for cardiovascular exercise and fat loss. They combine the effects of stair climbing with a cross-country skiing motion, using both footholds and arm bars to give the user a full body workout. Elliptical machines are particularly noted for their calorie-burning potential.

Stationary bikes and elliptical machines can be found at most gyms.
Stationary bikes and elliptical machines can be found at most gyms.

Other types of cardiovascular fitness equipment include cross country skiing machines, stationary bicycles, stepmills, and versa climbers. These pieces of equipment are commonly found in commercial gyms. Most, if not all, of these machines can be purchased through retail outlets, such as big box stores and sporting goods stores.

Strength training equipment is used by those who want to strengthen and tone their muscles, whether in search of an edge in sports, a better beach body, or simply wanting to fight against the aging process. Some of the most effective fitness gym equipment in this category include free weights. Free weights consist of barbells and dumbbells, both of which are commonly prescribed by fitness experts as being superior to machines for one simple reason: they don't lock the user into a predefined range of motion. Together with a good bench, a complete set of free weights is all most people would need to get a full strength training workout.

While free weights may be superior in some ways, they are not always practical. To outfit a home gym with the number of free weights needed for a complete workout would be costly. Additionally, many free weight exercises are best done with the aid of a spotter, which can be an inconvenience. In commercial gyms, there are machines that can duplicate nearly every exercise possible with free weights. Leg press machines, chest press machines, and many more. Individuals new to working out are typically more comfortable using these predefined pieces of fitness gym equipment. Oftentimes, personal trainers also are on hand in commercial gyms to offer instruction on how to use the equipment as well.

For home use, buying a bunch of machines designed for a single exercise is typically prohibitive in terms of both cost and space. The solution may be all-in-one home gyms. These machines use either traditional weighted plates or other forms of resistance to provide a multitude of exercises at a single station. While not cheap, these machines can provide a much more affordable alternative to a complete free weight set or a bunch of single exercise machines.

Barbells are commonly used by weightlifters.
Barbells are commonly used by weightlifters.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


I think that plate loaded machines are the best for cardio fitness. Beginners can use it and so can more advanced bodybuilders because the weight that's used depends on the person.


I don't go to the gym because I hate working with fancy weight equipment and fitness machines. Some of them are difficult to understand and the movements are repetitive which bores me. I'm much happier doing yoga or pilates with a mat, an exercise ball and bands. I don't mind exercising with an elevated riser either. I just want exercise to be simple and fun. Otherwise, I won't be able to exercise regularly, I will get tired of it and stop doing it.

So I think that motivation is more important than the equipment. One could even exercise with water bottles and a chair if required. It just shouldn't be boring.


I'm at the gym everyday for half an hour to an hour. I spend most of my time on the treadmill and the elliptical machine to burn calories. I only spend about fifteen minutes with weights. I use the leg press machine and then free weights for my arms. I think this routine works for me although I should probably do more strength training.

I thought about getting fitness exercise equipment for home but I think that my gym membership is cheaper for now.

Post your comments
Forgot password?