You could define fitness equipment as any item (found or manufactured) that is used to assist with exercise, they are also referred to as exercise equipment. These might include simple items such as balls, free weights, track shoes and skipping ropes, as well as more complex pieces of equipment such as treadmills, weight-machines, bicycles and many others. Today, a wide range of fitness equipment is available for sale or hire with new innovative designs constantly being improved due to the high demand for equipment that is more effective at building muscles and strength as well as for cardio-vascular training.
Some types of fitness equipment available for use can be classified according the type of exercise for which they are built. The first class to be discussed is the strength training equipment. These include free weights and machines referred to as the resistance training machines.
The most common type of resistance machine is one that uses gravity as a resistance source. This is used mainly in weight machines. Gravity in combination with a simple design of pulleys, wheels and inclines, uses a percentage of the weight of the user as the resistance transferred. Other types of resistance machines can use forces other than gravity to provide resistance. These include friction, spring-loaded, fan-loaded or fluid-loaded machines.
Another type of equipment that falls under the “strength training” umbrella are bands and tubing, these are lightweight options for training at home or in the office.
The next class is aerobic fitness equipment which is mainly the endless-path machines. These include devices such as stationary bicycles, treadmills, elliptical trainers, aerobic riders, stair climbers, ski and rowing machines. Stationary bicycles exercise your legs by pedalling at adjustable resistances, simulating inclines and declines. Treadmills are an all body exercise as you may walk or run at various speeds. Many models can simulate slopes for a more intense workout.
Stair climbers replicate the action of climbing a stairway. This device now also has modifications that replicate the pulling up action off the hands for a more through workout. Skiing and rowing machines work both the arms and legs simultaneously with the rowing machine also working the back and shoulder muscles. Elliptical trainers are a cross between a stair climber and a skiing machine. Aerobic riders also exercise the arms and legs at the same time by the use of a simultaneous pull and push motion.
There is also a miscellaneous group of fitness equipment. These include items such as heart rate monitors and exercise balls as well as many others. People often use a heart rate monitor as a motivational tool in exercise. Many provide not only constant reporting of how many beats per minute that your heart is beating but what that actually means to you based on your gender, age, height and weight. The use of exercise balls has become very popular in training such as flexibility training, core strength and balance.
When using any type of fitness equipment it is always important to seek professional advice as the improper use of this equipment can cause severe damage.