To get fit whether at home or in the gym, you need to choose the right pieces of equipment. But without a proper understanding of how to choose high-quality equipment to make the best of your training sessions.
In this article, I will go through the top 9 favorite gym equipment and machines that every fitness addict needs for building a six-pack body. This article is based on my experience as a personal trainer. You will have some answer for the question like: “What is the best gym equipment for abs?“, or “Which exercise machine is best for losing belly fat?“, or “What’s the best gym equipment for home?“…etc
I will also note down some exercises that you can use with these pieces of equipment.
My review of the best 9 pieces of Gym equipment and machines: buying guide 2019
So here are the best 9 well-known pieces of gym equipment and machines:
- Sit-up bench
- Power tower
- Ab wheel
- Roman chair
- Cable crossover
- Fitness ball
- Medicine ball
- Battle rope
- Resistance band
Let’s take a look at each equipment to see which one you should purchase right now. This review is based on my personal experience in six-pack building. Here we go!
#1 Sit up bench (Deltech Fitness Sit-Up Bench)
What is a sit-up bench? If you often go to the gym, then I bet you should know about a sit-up bench. This bench is an essential equipment for any gym addict. It helps you strengthen your core muscles and tighten your abs.
Sit-up bench is designed with the natural curvature of human’s back, so it can provide full support for your lower back and reduce back strains. There is another kind of gym bench called flat bench, but this bench type is flat and does not have any support for your back as the sit-up bench. A good sit-up bench boosts the efficiency of your workouts while maintains the comfort of your back. You can do various exercises with a sit-up bench with no additional equipment required.
Which exercises can you use with a sit-up bench?
With a sit-up bench, you can do:
- Decline bench sit up
- Sit up
- Crunch/Reverse Crunch
- Dumb bell
How to choose a good sit-up bench?
First and foremost, you should notice the adjustable level of your sit-up bench. A flexible bench should have multiple angle levels so that it can be used both for beginners as well as advanced gymnastics.
For those who have just got started in the six-pack building journey, they should use the lower angle. If you are familiar with this bench and want to increase the resistance of your workout, then you can turn your bench to a higher angle. The thickness and density of cushion foam also affect your workouts. A comfortable cushion assists your lower back You should also make sure that your sit up bench follows the natural curvature of your lower back. This curvature helps you reach the highest workout performance and also to prevent lower back pains during workouts. If you plan to buy a sit-up bench to use at home, then you should consider its mobility. Some new sit up bench models have wheels so that you can easily move it around your home. For a small apartment with limited areas for workout equipment, a foldable sit up bench can help you save up much space. If you want to use the sit-up bench for extreme weight-lifting exercises, then you should consider to pick up a bench with sturdy and durable construction. A sit up bench for hardcore workouts should have a vigorous steel main frame.
#2 Power tower (XMark Fitness Vertical Knee Raise with Dip Station and Push Up Station)
What is a power tower?
A power tower, or vertical knee raise machine (sometimes also called the captain’s Chair) is an exercise equipment that assists you to build muscles for the upper body. This machine looks like a seatless chair, and it is often called “the captain’s Chair when using only forearm pads to do abdominal training exercises. A power tower requires the power of the forearms to high performance. A power tower often from 3 essential parts: backrest, forearm rests and vertical handles. This standard gym equipment is suitable for everyone because it has a soft back support.
Which exercises can you use with a power tower?
The most frequent training with a power tower is vertical knee raise. This practice is often used after a hardcore workout to strengthen your lower body. According to a study by San Diego University, the vertical knee raise with a power tower ranks in the #2 best exercise for rectus abdominis.
This activity adds up more variation to your ab workout routine while taking it to a more advanced level. Besides vertical knee raise, you can use a power tower for more exercises, e.g.: body weight exercises, pull-ups, dips.
How to choose a good power tower?
First and foremost, the lighter the power tower, the less stable it will be. When looking for a power tower, don’t buy a lightweight one since it is not strong enough to carry the weight of your body.
Consider choosing one that is well-constructed and steady enough so that you can be more confident to do your hardcore workouts. A power tower with durable steel frame is always highly recommended for gymnastics.
Remember that a sturdy power tower is never cheap, but it worth your every penny! If your power tower is used for many family members in your home, you should choose one that is height-adjustable.
The power tower with multiple height levels is more flexible to use than one with only one single level. Pick a power tower that meets both your height and the height of every member in your home. Check your space before getting a power tower. If you have a big room at home for training purpose, then any power tower is great. But if you are living in a small apartment, then notice the specs and choose one that fits well with your space at home. You can consider a foldable power tower since it’s well compacted for small apartments. For the comfort of your hand and your performance, you should notice the quality of foam handgrips. The grips should be thick and soft enough to support your hands, so they won’t be hurt if you have to hold the grips in a long time.
#3 Ab wheel (Elite Sportz Equipment Ab Wheel Rollers)
What is an ab wheel? An ab wheel (of also called ab roller) is simply a wheel connected to 2 handles. This essential gym equipment strengthens not only abs, but also hips, shoulders, triceps, and latissimus dorsi. It can be used from beginners to advanced gymnastics based on different training levels. There are 2 types of ab wheel – single and double ab wheels. A single ab wheel is suitable for advanced gymnastics who want to boost endurance. It provides less stability and needs to work harder to maintain the movement. A double ab wheel is more stable and easy to use for beginners. Based on your interest and training level, choose an ab wheel type that brings the highest performance to you. Which exercises can you use with an ab wheel? As simple as it may seem, an ab wheel can be utilized for a wide variety of training exercises. For example: + Ab wheel plank + Knee roll-out + Narrow-stance front roll-out + V roll-outs + Knee tucks + Plank to Pike + Single-arm roll-out + How to choose a good ab wheel? Comfort is the top critical criterion when considering on a good ab wheel. An ab wheel doesn’t seem to be easy to use as it may seem. It requires a lot of pressure on your body (the back, the abdomen, wrist, hands), so you need to find an ab wheel that is comfortable for you to stretch your body out at maximum level. And don’t forget the handgrips! They should be wide enough to grab your hands. Handgrips with thick and soft foams are more gentle to your hands than those with only plain plastic. Material is the second key point to a good ab wheel. An ab wheel should be durable enough to handle the pressure of your whole body. A good ab wheel must be wide and has rubberized tire so that you can stay safe with hardcore ab training exercises. From my viewpoint, I think that a good ab wheel to me should be made of heavy-duty plastic with metal. Stability takes a vital part in a good ab wheel. Your ab wheel (especially single ab wheel) should be well-balanced on any surfaces. You need to check the balance of an ab wheel at the wheelbase. Unstable ab wheels can prevent you from maximizing your workout performance. They can even result in lower back pains, and in the long run, they can destroy your back.
#4 Roman chair (Marcy Adjustable Hyperextension Roman Chair)
What is a Roman chair? A Roman chair is a classic fitness equipment that is often used to strengthen your core and lower back muscles. It also empowers your legs, hips, and glutes. It helps burn belly fat by separating lower body muscles. A Roman chair is lightweight and compacted and multi-purpose. Thus it is considered as an essential gym equipment at home. There are 2 popular types of Roman chair: the horizontal one and the 45-degree one. The horizontal one allows you to lay down facing to the ground horizontally, while the 45-degree one allows you to do back extension exercises in the 45-degree position. Which exercises can you use with a Roman chair? Romain chair is used to do various lower body exercises: + Spinal extension + Sit-ups + Spinal flexion + Knee extension + Etc. How to choose a good Roman chair? Chair type is the top criterion you should notice when selecting a Roman chair. The 45-degree Roman chair is more suitable for beginners since it allows you to do back extension exercises easily with more reps and sets. The horizontal one is more advanced since it requires more power to lift your back up. If you have practiced gym for months, then you can go with the horizontal one since it helps you build your muscles faster than the 45-degree one. Next, don’t forget to check weight capacity and size. You should check the Roman chair specs to know which one is suitable for your height. If you choose a Roman chair that is too short or too narrow for you, then you may find difficulty when placing your legs or feet in the right position. In the long run, a wrong Roman chair can result in pains in your legs and abs. You know a Roman chair works for you when you can place your legs lower back on the comfortably on the foam. You should also check the maximum weight capacity of the Roman chair to make sure that it can handle your whole body well without getting broken. Stability design and balance should also be on your checklist for a Roman chair. The mainframe should be stainless steel to carry your whole body. It should have non-slip foams to avoid scratches on the floor and slip when doing workouts. Function. It’d be better to choose a Roman chair that can be used for multiple exercises. In particular, on the gym equipment market, there are some Roman chairs with sit up bench to empower your abs.
#5 Cable crossover (Yukon Fitness COM 300 Crossover Machine)
A cable crossover often appears in any professional gyms around the world. This equipment is also considered to be the all-in-one training equipment to empower your whole body’s muscles. It allows you to strengthen your muscles from different angles without using many complicated machines like treadmills or cycles. Professional gymnastics often use cable crossover to develop chest muscles. You can workout on only one side or both two side of your body. With a cable crossover, your training sessions can never be boring. It lets you put more pressure onto your core, so it’s far more efficient for bodybuilding than any other machines. Cable crossover is quite big, and it is only often used in the gyms, thus make sure that your home has enough space for it. Which exercises can you use with a cable crossover? There are countless uses applied with a cable crossover. Some popular ones are: + Dumbbell press + Incline bell press + Cable crossover ladder How to choose a good cable crossover? Pulley system is the main component of a cable crossover machine. Based on the pressure on the muscles, the cable machine is divided into 4 common types: Single pulley vs. Double pulley: single pulley only has one pulley. Thus it need more force to pull the cables. It is harder to manage and heavier than the double pulley. Beginners are recommended to pick up double pulley. For advanced gym addicts, single pulley helps build your muscles more efficiently than the double pulley. Fixed-resistance vs. Variable resistance: a variable resistance cable machine allows you to set various amounts of space between the pivot point and the fixed weight. This type of cable machine lets your muscles can perform in a full range of motion. A fixed-resistance cable machine is less common than a variable resistance one. With this fixed cable machine, space presets can’t be changed, which means you should know how to set the angle, gravity, and movements for you. This cable machine is harder to use for amateurs, and it only works with professional gymnastics.
#6 Fitness ball (Exercise Ball Balance Stability SmarterLife)
What is a fitness ball? Fitness ball (also called exercise ball) is a ball made of soft elastic with the diameter around 35-85 centimeters (approximately 14 to 34 inches) and filled with air. Which exercises can you use with a fitness ball? You can do various exercises with a fitness ball. This gym equipment can be utilized for some weight training exercises like overhead ball squat, standing ball squeeze, hamstring curl, etc. You can also use it in yoga and stretch, as well as stability exercises. How to choose a good fitness ball? Ball size determines the effectiveness of a workout. The ball size is represented by the diameter (often in centimeters). You should pick up a ball which fits with your height. To double check that you have chosen the right one, you should also sit on the ball and feel if it’s OK or too small/too big for you. Below are some statistics to help you choose the right fitness ball size. This information includes the exercise ball diameter (in cm) and person’s height (in inch): + 45 cm – 5’ and under + 55 cm – 5’1” – 5’8” + 65 cm – 5’9” – 6’2” + 75 cm – 6’3” – 6’7” + 85 cm – 6’8” or taller The right ball makes you sit comfortably like on a chair sitting near a working desk. Your hips and knees should be at a 90-degree angle, and your thighs parallel to the ground. If you use the ball for yoga or stretching exercises, you have long legs, or you have any back problems, you should choose a larger ball size. Pressure is the second criterion you should notice when buying a fitness ball. At its maximum diameter, a fitness ball is firm. If you plan to use this ball for yoga and stretching exercises, a solid ball elevates the difficulty of the exercises.
#7 Medicine Ball (AmazonBasics Workout Fitness Exercise Weighted Medicine Ball)
What is a medicine ball? A medicine ball (also called med ball) is a weighted ball with the diameter around your shoulders. This gym equipment is often used for strength training or rehabilitation. This ball is often confused with the big elastic fitness ball. A medicine ball often weighs 2-25lb (approximately 1 to 11 kg). It is used to elevate your endurance and power by adding pressure to strength and abdominal training exercises. A medicine ball comes in a vast variety of shapes and weights. Which exercises can you use with a medicine ball? A medicine ball is often used in plyometrics or strength training as well as abdominal training exercises. This ball can also be used for kids to let them get used to weight training. How to choose a good medicine ball? Weight is the top important criterion you should notice when purchasing a medicine ball. You should pick a ball’s weight based on its effect on your movement speed, accuracy, and control of range in motion. If the ball is too heavy, your training sessions can be poorly performed, or you can even be injured. If the ball is too light, then your workouts can’t reach maximum level. Size also affects your training results. For multi-joint exercises, choose a medicine ball that is big enough for you to hold with both hands while involving multiple muscle groups in motion.
#8 Battle Ropes Fitness - Cardio Exercise Rope Training
What is a battle rope? A battle rope is a common equipment for gym addicts who love cardio or strength training. This special rope supports your upper body and core as the primary movers in battle rope training sessions. It is suitable for those who want to build muscles but hate heavy weight lifting. Since this rope creates forces in different angles, your weight training sessions become far more surprising and exciting. A battle rope comes in different length and thickness to fulfill various needs of gym addicts. Which exercises can you use with a battle rope? You can use a battle rope for multiple exercises. The 2 top well-known ones are battling-rope waves and battling-rope crossovers. How to choose a good battle rope? Thickness is defined by the diameter of the rope. If you want to use this rope for HIIT cardio training, then you should go with a rope that is around 1.5” diameter. This thickness allows you to maintain a hard and stable motion. If you want to gain muscles with a bench press, a 2.0” rope works for you. This rope requires stronger hands to hold and gain its control. If you use a battle rope that is too thick (or too heavy) for cardio exercises, I’m sure that you can’t maintain the maximum your repetition. Thus your performance will be severely affected. Length helps lower or boost the difficulty of the training exercise. There are 3 common measures for a battle rope 30-40-50 (ft.). A 50ft battle rope works well for most gym addicts. At this length, you can maximize your training performance.
#9 Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands
What is a resistance band? A resistance band is a small elastic band that gym addicts use for strength training. With this special band, you can do exercises anywhere you like (even out of the gym!) without complicated machines. Resistance bands are must-have in gym bags of athletes worldwide because they are lightweight and travel-friendly. They are also quite cheap and have a variety of weight. Based on the impacted body zones, there are 6 types of resistance band: + Therapy Band + Compact resistance band + Fit loop band + Figure 8 band + Ring resistance band + Lateral resistance band Which exercises can you use with a resistance band? You can use a resistance band in various strength training exercises. You can use a resistance band for nearly all fitness levels. How to choose a good resistance band? Buy more than one band except when you need to do a single workout exercise (no one go to gym with a single exercise since they’ll be die of boredom!). Resistance bands are color coded by their weight levels (light, medium, heavy, super heavy). You should get at least 3 bands since each muscle group requires a different level of pressure. You should notice your comfort when trying on the bands. If the handles are too big or too small, your hands can be injured while doing workouts. Handles with paddles are frequently recommended for everyone to avoid discomfort and pains. An excellent resistance band should be easy to use and should not have advanced components. Start with a basic band with padded handles if you are a beginner, and master it with the right techniques. When you have been familiar with this first medium one, you can buy additional bands for advanced exercises. It takes time build a six-pack body. Don’t be hurry!
These 9 above gym equipment are basic ones that you should consider to get for your six-pack building plan. Based on my explanation as well as the exercise types, you can pick up ones that are most relevant to your training routine at the moment. Don’t buy them all! My recommendation is that you should only buy up to 3 equipment at first, then learn how to use them with the correct techniques. Try to make the most of them with various exercises.
If you have a limited budget or a small space for gym equipment, then you should choose machine combos. Happy training!