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Gym equipment for beginners explained

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Understanding how to properly use machines at the gym will help you feel more confident, get more from your workout, and exercise safely.

We’ve taken 6 well-known pieces of gym equipment and broken down the benefits so that next time you enter the gym you can do your cardio with confidence.


There’s no better place to start than with the treadmill. This classic tends to be a fitness newbie’s first point of call, and rightly so. It’s simple to use and easy to adapt to all abilities.

What it targets: whole body

Other benefits: improved fitness, weight loss, heart health, full body cardio workout

Rowing machine

The rowing machine is a unique piece of equipment as it provides a cardio and strength training workout in one. Rowing works all the major muscles groups so it’s also a great way to warm up and cool down after a workout.

What it targets: upper and lower body

Other benefits: muscle tone, burning fat, sustained endurance, both resistance and aerobic exercise

Cross trainer

If you want to ease into exercise then the cross-trainer is a good place to start. This low-impact machine allows you to build on your cardiovascular health at a steady pace. And unlike the treadmill, the cross-trainer is gentler on joints and bones.

What it targets: arms, legs, thighs and glutes

Other benefits: improved heart health, sustained endurance, good for joint health

Leg machine

Building strength in your legs can be a great foundation for all other exercise. Our legs are what provides stability when working out, so ensuring they are strong will help you get the most from other exercises too.

What it targets: lower body (particularly glutes), core

Other benefits: improved performance and stamina, muscle tone, better balance


The stepmill is a fantastic machine if you’re looking for lots of benefit in a short amount of time. This exercise uses small movements at low speed to engage every major muscle in the lower body through.

What it targets: lower body, glutes, core

Other benefits: builds strong lean muscle, toning, maximises gym time

Squat rack

Lastly, there’s the squat rack. This can be one of the most intimidating pieces of equipment for most people starting out on their fitness journey. However, squats are an excellent full body exercise so shouldn’t be skipped.

What it targets: whole body, glutes, core

Other benefits: maximises gym time, full body workout, muscle tone, burning fat


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