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The basics of gym equipment

Have you ever walked into a gym with no idea what some of the equipment is used for? You are not alone. If you are not sure how to use a piece of equipment ask a staff member to teach you how to use the equipment safely and effectively.

Suspension trainer - There are different brands of suspension trainers. The most popular are TRX and Rip 60. These are adjustable straps with handles that hang from the ceiling. Suspension trainers use your bodyweight and can be used for circuit or strength workouts.

Kettlebells - These are round cast-iron weights with a handle. They can be used for many different exercises including strength and circuit workouts.

Battle ropes - These are large ropes that are used to build strength, increase heart rate and burn fat. This is a great, inexpensive tool to use to ramp up your workout.

Medicine ball - This is a weighted ball that may range in size and weight. There are many different exercises you can do with a medicine ball. Keep in mind there are different types of medicine balls that may be appropriate for different types of exercises.

Foam roller - This is a thick foam cylinder that is used to massage tight muscles and knots. There are many variations of foam rollers- some may be made out of PVC pipe while others may be completely made out of foam.

Sand bags - These are large, oblong sand bags with handles. Sand bags can be used for many different exercises and bring variety into a workout. One of the biggest benefits of using sand bags is that they are unstable. This means that you need to work harder to remain stable throughout an exercise forcing the small stabilizer muscles to turn on throughout the workout.

Stability ball - This is a large ball made of elastic and filled with air. Stability balls are also referred to as yoga balls, exercise balls or Swiss balls and are used to increase balance, coordination and strength.

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bodyweight exercises to try at home
Bodyweight exercises to try at home

By Hannah M. Cornell, PTA, Physical Therapy Gundersen Boscobel Hospital and Clinics Don't have access to a gym or equipment? No worries, bodyweight exercises can be just as effective by

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