The best and most successful gyms combine a number of factors: space, cleanliness, friendly staff, and state-of-the art gym equipment. While there are some machines that are pretty standard across the board like treadmills and rowers, what about specialty machines like incline trainers, strength-training equipment, and climbing ropes? Gyms with a large assortment of specialty gym equipment set themselves apart as high-quality gyms. And your trainer may include a number of these in your personal exercise program.
What are Incline Trainers?
While most people would expect to see a treadmill at virtually any gym they walk into, incline trainers take treadmills to the next level. They combine the roles of an average treadmill with steep incline and decline capabilities. An incline trainer combines cardio and strength training through sharp inclines and declines. A quality incline trainer you would find at a high-quality gym can go from a 6 to a 40-percent incline at the mere touch of a button. Incline trainers are simple to use, as most are experienced with average treadmills. Incline trainers offer muscle-toning benefits while burning calories. This piece of gym equipment is a step above the treadmill and will be found at higher-quality gyms.
Strength training is a fancy term for weightlifting. While most gyms have a decent selection of weights, not all have a wide assortment, plus the space to use them. Gyms with a surplus of space will generally assign a lot of that open space to those wanting to lift free weights. Free weights, 100-to-150lb barbell weights, kettlebells, power racks, pullup bars, and flat benches are some of the key equipment pieces to look for when it comes to strength training in a gym.
Of course, not all gyms have as much free and open space to assign to these different types of weight training, so if you find a gym offering all these things, you’ve likely found one of the better ones.
A lot also depends on the type of gym. For example, a “typical” fitness center will likely have a variety of free weights in addition to what we might consider standard machines (e.g. “Lat Pulldown Machine,” “Leg Press Machine,” and the like). But a facility that emphasizes “functional movement” (think CrossFit) is likely to have fewer “machines” while offering far more free weights, racks and stations than another type of facility.
Climbing ropes seem like a simplistic type of gym equipment, but they are highly effective at building strong arms and core strengthening. Climbing ropes represent a challenge to many people of various fitness levels. If you can run every single day but are likely unable to haul yourself up a 10-foot rope, it’s a good idea to work climbing ropes into your fitness regime. Rope climbing is not only a refreshing change from lifting weights with similar muscle-building potential, it is also a pretty important survival skill. Just think of a situation or two where you might be in need of a rope rescue, but most of those depend on the ability of the person being rescued to pull themselves up and out of danger. Again, gyms that have room for climbing ropes appreciate the importance of diverse strength training routines and are likely one of the better ones around.
While on the topic of ropes, another addition to many gyms today include what are conditioning ropes – popularly called “Battle Ropes.” While simple in structure and appearance (a typical rope might be 30 – 50 feet long, and about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, with each end bound in a smooth material such as electrical tape for the user to grab), you can get an intense, full body workout just using this! The rope is either slung around a fixed pole or otherwise anchored. The user then holds an end in each hand and commences whatever exercise movement is prescribed in the workout.
When it comes to finding that high-quality gym worthy of your time and money, consider what kind of workouts you want, but also what types of equipment and space the gyms can offer you. Higher-quality gyms will be clean, friendly, spacious, and have a wide assortment of gym equipment not found in many of the smaller or lower-quality gyms.