Gym Equipment Names and Pictures

We created this simple guide to help you find and identify any piece of gym equipment you are not familiar with.

Can't find a piece of equipment in our guide?

Racks

Squat Stands
Half Rack
Squat Rack
Power Tower

Barbells & Dumbbells

Adjustable Dumbbells
Dumbbells
Curl Bar
Standard Barbell
Olympic Barbell

Benches

Incline Bench Press
Bench Press
Abdominal Bench
Adjustable Weight Bench
Decline Bench Press
Flat Weight Bench

Gym Machines

Calf Press Machine
Functional Trainer
Reverse Hyper Machine
Butt Blaster Machine
Standing Calf Machine
Seated Calf Machine
Rotary Torso Machine
Ab Crunch Machine
Front Pull Down Machine
Lat Pull Down Machine
Cable Row Machine
Back Extension Machine
Lateral Raises Machine
Shoulder Press Machine
Triceps Extension Machine
Triceps Press Machine
Arm Extension Machine
Arm Curl Machine
Chest Fly Machine
Seated Dip Machine
Hack Squat Machine
Seated Row Machine
Smith Machine
Home Gyms (All-In-One Machines)
Leg Abduction Machine
GHD Machine
Calf Raise Machine
Leg Curl Machine
Leg Extension Machine
Leg Press Machine
Roman Chair
Lat Pulldown Machine
Preacher Curl Bench
Pec Deck Machine
Chest Press Machine
Hammer Strength Machine
Cable Crossover Machine

Cardio Machines

Aerobic Steps
Stepmill
Stepper
Stair Climber
Ski Erg
Upright Exercise Bike
Airbike
Spin Bike
Vertical Climber
Recumbent Exercise Bike
Rowing Machine
Under Desk / Mini Elliptical Machine
Mini Exercise Bike
Elliptical Machine
Treadmill

Other

Weight Tree
Arm Blaster
Pilates Reformer Machine
Hand Grip Exerciser
Climbing Rope
Gymnastic Rings
Punching Bag
Wallball
Agility Ladder
Medicine Ball
Gym Mats
Stability Ball
Ab Roller
Jump Ropes
Plyometric Box
Resistance Bands
Battle Ropes
Suspension Trainer
Pull-Up Bar
Push-Up Bars
Dip Bars
Sled Push

Weights

Kettlebell
Weight Plates

More Details

Racks

Squat Stands

Description

Just like half racks, a pair of squat stands also consists of two vertical posts but the posts aren’t joined together; neither at the top nor at the base. Each post has its own small base that helps maintain its stability. 

Squat stands are as basic as they could have been. They can only hold a pair of j-hooks, on which you will be loading your barbell. Some expensive models may have scope for accommodating spotter arms but that’s the max you can have. 

There is no way you can add a pullup bar, resistance band pegs, dip bars, etc. even though you weigh it down adequately. That’s because they cannot be as stable as a squat rack or a half rack. Plus, they are not meant to be anchored to the floor. 

We usually do not recommend squat stands for people who lift heavy but they are perfect for people who are just getting started and are not sure about investing in a power cage. 

The best thing about squat stands is that they have a small footprint. Plus, you can stash them against the wall or store them inside a cabinet when not in use, something that you can’t do with a squat rack or a half rack. So, if you live in an apartment or a small home where you barely have any space, a pair of squat stands is a better option than not having anything at all to hold your barbell. 

Usage Tips

If you are just getting started with weightlifting and are not sure for how long you will continue or if you have very limited space, you may go with squat stands until you are ready to upgrade to something better. We also highly recommend them for basement gyms where the ceiling is too low to accommodate a full rack.

As we said above, it is better to use a squat stand instead of lifting the barbell directly from the floor, moving it all the way up above your head, placing it on your neck, and then coming all the way up for squatting. This process could strain your arms and back. Plus, remember that you will have to follow the reverse process when you are done with your rep. And the reverse process is quite challenging because you will be tired by then. You might lose your balance and end up in an accident. 

Using a squat stand can save you from all the hassles and risks. All you need to do is to adjust the j-hooks at your shoulder level. We suggest that you weigh the squat stands using weight plates or sandbags to minimize the wobble.

Muscles Worked

As you guess from what we have mentioned above, squat stands are not as versatile in use as squat racks or half racks. They can only be used for squats and benching exercises. But, those two are more than enough for improving your strength and stamina. They can help you target almost all major muscle groups of your legs, back, arms, and core. 

Cost

There is not much difference in the price of squat stands and half racks. The crappy ones that have suddenly cropped up all across the online market space during the pandemic may cost you as low as $100 but they are too risky to use. 

A decent pair like the Titan T3 series squat stand costs around $350-$400, which is almost as much as a good quality squat rack would cost. A heavy-duty product like the Rogue Fitness S 4 squat stand could cost even more! 

However, if you are a recreational lifter, you can still find a decent pair like the F2C adjustable squat stand within $200-$250. 

Alternatives

As we said above, squat stands aren’t quite versatile. So, if space is not an issue, you should go with a half rack instead. You won’t have to significantly increase your budget because both of them cost almost the same. But, if you are willing to spend more for equipment that you could use for years to come and in more ways than half racks and squat stands, go for squat racks.  

Where to Buy

If you need expensive, good quality squat stands, you can buy them directly from the manufacturers such as Rogue Fitness, Titan Fitness, Rep Fitness, and Fringe Sports. High-end brands like Rogue sell their products directly, so you anyways don’t have a choice. 

If you need just a basic, affordable squat stand, you can check Amazon but make sure you do not end up buying a crappy product. As we said above, a lot of substandard products are being sold online these days because the demand for home gym equipment has increased significantly during the ongoing pandemic. To save your time, we have already created a list of the best squat stands

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Half Rack

Description

A half rack is a two-post structure with a solid base and a top pull up bar. It is named as such because it has only two vertical bars whereas its big brother i.e. the squat rack has four vertical bars.

A half rack is not as versatile as a full rack/ power cage/ squat rack but works for most people who need something to assist them for squats and bench work. Plus, It occupies far less space than a full rack, making it more suitable for small home gyms, basement gyms, garage gyms, etc. 

A half rack is also not quite stable when compared to a squat rack but you can bolt it down or weigh it adequately to minimize the wobble. 

Usage Tips

Just like a squat rack, a half rack is also designed to help you rack/unrack a loaded barbell from your shoulder-height instead of picking it up from the floor, which is not only difficult but also straining. The vertical posts have j-hooks that will hold the barbell when not in use. You can adjust the position of The j-hooks to make them sit right at your shoulder level. Most half racks also come with a pair of spotter arms that you will need while doing benching exercises. 

Now, here is what we want you to understand: 

Half racks are less useful than full racks

There is nothing much that you can do except squats and benches. If you anchor them to the floor, you can still do landmine exercises and cable pulley workouts. But, you won’t be able to do calisthenics, gymnastics, and a lot of other crossfit workouts unless you go for a really expensive model from a high-end brand such as Rogue Fitness. 

That’s majorly because of the stability issues but it is also because there are not enough slots in the uprights and the base where you can add additional accessories. So, if you are looking for a piece of equipment that can help you do something different every day, a half rack may not be enough. But, if you need something basic just to keep yourself fit and going, you can go for it. 

 

Muscles Worked

Half racks are majorly used for squats and benching exercises, which are two most common types of exercises that together help target almost all major muscle groups of the body. 

You can add band pegs to the base of the rack and use them for doing band assisted squats or for band assisted stretches and rowing. You can also add a cable pulley system to target your shoulder and upper back muscles. 

Cost

As expected, half racks are less expensive than squat racks/power cages. The affordable ones are available for around $200 (or may be less). The good ones, however, can cost you around $500-$800 or more depending on what you are buying. A decent half rack may cost you even more than what you may have to pay for an affordable squat cage. 

Alternatives

As obvious, if you need something more versatile than a half rack, you should go with a full rack, provided you have enough space for it. 

However, if you are just getting started or are recovering from injuries and need something very basic and compact, squat stands are a good alternative. These are two independent vertical posts that can be stashed against the wall when not in use. 

Where to Buy

Amazon is a good place to buy affordable home gym equipment including half racks. But, please note that it is flooded with cheap Chinese products that are not just a waste of money but also quite unsafe to have in your home gym. To help save your time, we have already created a list of best budget half racks. 

If you lift a decent amount of weight, you should, however, spend more money and buy a high-quality product directly from renowned manufacturers like Rogue Fitness, Rep Fitness, etc. 

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Squat Rack

Description

A squat rack is also known as a power rack, power cage, or a squat cage. Needless to say, it is one of the most essential weight training equipment for everyone who wants to train with weights at home.  

A squat rack or a power cage is usually a four-post structure that has j-hooks to hold the barbell so you don’t have to pick it up or keep it back on the floor, something that could significantly strain your back if you do it repeatedly. Squat racks also have a pair of safety spotters that you can use while benching. As obvious from their name, the safety spotters help prevent the barbell from landing on the floor or on your feet in case you miss a rep. 

You can add numerous other accessories and add-ons to the squat rack such as dip bar, landmine attachments, cable pulley system, lat system, etc. These add-ons help you use it for doing a wide variety of exercises other than just squats. 

One thing you should note here is that you need to bolt a squat rack to the floor or to a weightlifting platform. Bolting prevents wobble and makes the setup safer to use. However, if you are a recreational trainer or someone who is not yet lifting a significant amount of weight, you might just weigh it down instead of bolting it.  

Usage Tips

There are two main uses of a squat rack. The first is that it helps you train comfortably so you can make constant progress. 

As we said above, if you are squatting with just your barbell or with just 40lbs of weight on it, you may directly pick it up from the floor and place it back when you are done. But, if you are lifting heavy you might just get too tired and lose your balance while putting it back when you are done. Plus, picking up a heavily loaded barbell from the floor and putting it on your neck and vice versa isn’t that easy. 

A squat rack with J-hooks positioned exactly at your shoulder level can make this process much easier so you can focus on training hard and lifting heavy instead of bothering about how to not lose your balance. 

The second reason why we highly recommend squat racks for home gyms is that they protect you against injuries and accidents when you lose your balance or control. Say you are benching with 80 lbs. Can you imagine what could happen if you lose your grip or control and the barbell lands up right on your chest? Squat racks with safety spotters, safety straps, and pin and pipes safeties are extremely helpful for preventing such unwanted incidents. 

Muscles Worked

Well, it depends on what kind of exercises you are doing on it. 

Squat racks are usually meant for lower body exercises, specifically all variations of squats. They are also useful for benching exercises. So it is safe to say that a squat rack can help you target almost all major muscle groups of your legs, arms, and chest. 

You can also use it to target the minor muscle groups of your body by practicing different forms of exercise. For example, decline bench press can help you target the lower chest muscles and help you get a distinct shape of a bodybuilder. 

Other than practicing different types of exercises you can add different types of add-ons and accessories to target various other muscle groups. For example, you can add a cable Pulley system to target your abdominal muscles as well as your major spinal muscles. You can add a pair of gymnastic rings to perform a wide variety of calisthenics exercises that can help you target almost the entire muscle range of your body.

Cost

You could buy power cages or squat cages for as low as $200. But those ones are only meant for beginners and recreational trainers. A decent quality squat rack like the Titan X 3 series one could cost you about $500. For a heavy-duty product meant for rigorous use, you should be ready to pay at least $1,000. 

Alternatives

To be honest, there is nothing that can be as stable and reliable as a squat rack for weight training and crossfit. 

However, if you are a beginner or if you are someone who doesn’t intend to lift really heavy soon or do a wide range of exercises, you can go with half racks. These are two post structures that can take a very limited number of accessories but they are great for people who need something basic. 

If you have a really small home gym where you cannot even accommodate a half rack, you may buy squat stands

Where to Buy

If you are looking for a budget squat rack, you should buy it directly from Amazon. That’s because most of them are either sold by Chinese manufacturers or small-sized companies that do not have a very good customer support team. In case something goes wrong, Amazon will help you to get your purchase returned or exchanged. Otherwise, you might have to keep chasing the seller for days or weeks. 

However, a few companies like Titan Fitness, Fringe Sports, Rep Fitness, etc. have pretty reliable customer care services. So, you may buy from them directly. We often do that. 

Heavy-duty expensive products such as the one sold by Rogue or Eleiko have to be bought directly from the manufacturers because they usually do not sell their products through Amazon. 

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Power Tower

Description

A power tower is exactly what it sounds like; a tower that you need to use with your power to enhance your strength and stamina. Most power towers have a typical tower-like design with two horizontal uprights having multiple handles at various spots. The handles are highly grippy and have an ergonomic design so you can use the equipment comfortably for as many reps as you may want to do. Some spots have thick padding to provide cushiony support to your body whenever needed. 

Power towers are made of heavy-duty steel and have an extremely stable base to prevent skidding and tip-overs. There is no way you can anchor them to the floor or weigh them down for use. But, don’t worry; they are pretty stable unless you buy a crappy product. 

Power rowers are strictly meant for bodyweight exercises such as pullups, vertical knee raises, dips, pushups, etc. So, if you are a newbie who has never been into bodyweight workouts before it could be too difficult for you to use them. 

Usage Tips

Power towers are meant for people who want to improve their upper body strength because most of the exercises that you can do on them involve the use of arms, shoulders, chest, and core muscles. These exercises are compound workouts so even if you choose to go with low reps, you will still be able to get good results by spending just 15-20 minutes every day. 

If you are suffering from spinal injuries or ankle injuries or any other condition that restricts you from lifting weights or going for a run, power tower exercises are a good option because they mostly involve the upper body muscles. 

A power tower is also a fantastic piece of home gym equipment for people who have almost no space in their homes to create a dedicated home gym setup. You can use the tower in your balcony, backyard, patio, or any other location. You can even leave it outdoors provided the weather is favorable. Weight training on the other hand requires a dedicated space for squat racks, weight, barbells, etc. 

If you are low on budget and need something that can help you grow stronger from the comfort of your home, a power tower is one of the best options to consider. 

Muscles Worked

Here is the list of exercises you can do on a power tower: 

  • Pull ups
  • Chin ups
  • Leg raises
  • Knee raises
  • Ab crunches
  • Tricep dips
  • Sit ups
  • Standard and inverted shrugs

All these exercises target upper body muscles, specifically the arms and core. If you are fond of getting six pack abs and strong arms, a power tower is all you need in your home gym. 

Some people use it as a squat rack too for holding the barbell but we don’t advise that because the barbell may just roll off and land on the floor or feet. 

Cost

Power towers are not expensive. A decent one like Weider Power Tower and Body Champ VKR1010 Power Tower could cost you less than $150. Something more heavy-duty like the Stamina power tower costs around $220-$250. But, too many good-quality ones are available for less than $200. 

Alternatives

As we said above, a power tower is not meant for everyone. If you do not have enough strength to perform the above-mentioned exercises or if you do not have enough budget, you can buy pushup handles and doorway pullup bars. If you cannot even do them, go for standalone LAT machines or you can use functional trainers that can help you exercise almost all major muscles of your body.  

Have you heard of all-in-one workout equipment such as Total Gym XLS and Bowflex Xtreme 2 home gyms? These machines are significantly expensive but they are meant to offer you a wide range of full body workouts, so you will never get bored. They use resistance technology, so they are also safer for people who are not allowed to train with weights. 

Where to Buy

We would recommend that you buy them from Amazon because Amazon has excellent exchange/return policies, so you won’t have to chase the sellers in case you receive a product that seems unsuitable for you. You may also shop from Walmart or Dicks Sporting Goods. 

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Barbells & Dumbbells

Adjustable Dumbbells

Description

Adjustable dumbbells are exactly what their name implies; dumbbells whose weight can be adjusted. They are usually not found in commercial gyms and that’s why a lot of people don’t know about them. 

A traditional dumbbell has a fixed weight. So you will have to buy multiple pairs of various weights as and when needed. Adjustable dumbbells are on the other hand a great alternative. You can add or remove weights from both sides of the short bar. So, you won’t need to buy multiple dumbbells and a dumbbell rack to keep them organized. 

Adjustable dumbbells are of two types; one is the spin-lock type and the other one is quick-lock adjustable dumbbells. 

The spin-lock adjustable dumbbells have a rod and spin locks. You need to add plates on both the ends and secure them using the locks. These types of adjustable dumbbells are highly durable when compared with the quick-lock ones that have plastic parts. 

However, the main issue is that it takes time to adjust their weight. You will have to unscrew the locks, add/remove plates, and then put the locks again. And, you need to do this for both sides and both the dumbbells. If you prefer using different weights for different types of exercises or for different reps, they could waste a lot of your time. Plus, your heart rate may slow down during the adjustment process. 

Quick-lock adjustable dumbbells can be adjusted by turning a dial located on them. This process is much easier and faster, making them suitable for people who often prefer changing weights frequently. However, the dial and a few other parts used in these dumbbells are made of plastic. So, you will have to use them carefully and make sure not to drop them ever. 

Adjustable dumbbells are bulkier than the standard dumbbells. Also, the weight plates rattle during use, making some noise and vibration that may bother you and make you feel unsafe. The plates don’t usually fly off but we cannot give you a 100% guarantee about that.

Usage Tips

If you have some space to set up a rack that can hold all your dumbbells, you should buy standard dumbbells. You may buy them in sets to save money. 

But, if you live in a small home or if you barely have enough floor space in your already crammed home gym, adjustable dumbbells are for you. They can be stored under the bed or furniture when not in use, making them safer to have around babies. You don’t have to buy multiple sets and you won’t need a  dedicated rack to hold them. 

Want to carry your dumbbells during your travels and vacations? Adjustable dumbbells are better than the standard ones. 

Muscles Worked

Just like standard dumbbells, adjustable dumbbells too can be used to perform endless varieties of exercises that could help you target almost all major and minor muscle groups of your body, including the balancing and stabilizing muscles. 

Cost

Spin-lock adjustable dumbbells are reasonably priced considering that they can be adjusted for up to 55 lbs and even more. Some of them such as the CAP Barbell 52.5-Pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set are even cheaper than a standard dumbbell with the same weight. 

Quick-lock dumbbells are expensive. For example, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell costs about $400 and can be adjusted up to 90lbs. 

Now, this might not sound ridiculously expensive to you until you realize that it is sold as a single unit. So, you will actually be spending $800 on a single pair of dumbbells. That’s pretty expensive, considering that these are not something that will last for your lifetime. 

Not just Bowflex, most adjustable dumbbells, especially the quick-lock ones are sold as single units, so keep this in mind while placing your order or finalizing your budget. 

Alternatives

As we said above, standard dumbbells are more durable and ergonomic than adjustable dumbbells. So, they are the number one alternative. 

Standard and adjustable kettlebells are also popular options that you can use if you want to do free weight exercises. Otherwise, you can go for a proper squat rack, a barbell, and some weight plates but this weight training setup requires space and significant investment. 

If you exclusively want to build upper body muscles, you can use cable pulley systems or a standalone LAT machine, depending on your budget, fitness goals, and availability of space. 

Where to Buy

Spin-lock dumbbells are widely available on Amazon, Walmart, and Dicks Sporting Goods. They are usually not sold by renowned companies that have their own store. 

The quick-lock ones are sold on Amazon too but, if you want, you may buy them directly from the manufacturer. Amazon/Walmart though should be your first choice unless there is a significant price difference. That’s because these online megastores have an excellent return/exchange policy, so in case you don’t like what you get, you can have your money back.

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Dumbbells

Description

Dumbbells are one of the most basic workout equipment and yet, we hardly give them the respect that they deserve. That’s because benching or squatting with dumbbells doesn’t sound as manly as using an Olympic barbell with 45lbs weight plates on it does. 

However, if you live in small apartments and homes where you cannot have heavy equipment such as weight plates, squat racks, and barbells, a pair of dumbbells is all you will need to stay fit from the comfort of your home. Yes, they may not be enough but at least you will have something to get a part of your daily dose of physical activity. 

Dumbbells are either made of cast iron or stainless steel. As obvious, steel ones are better because they are more resistant to rust. These dumbbells may or may not be coated with rubber or neoprene. We strongly recommend the coated ones because they do not make a lot of noise and they are less likely going to damage your floor. 

If we have to choose between rubber and neoprene, we would go with neoprene (or urethane which is also used as a coating). That’s because neoprene is less slippery. But, it doesn’t really matter when you have an uncoated grip, which is what most dumbbells have, except the lighter ones meant for beginners and females.  

Dumbbells are either round or hex. Round ones roll quickly and that’s why hex dumbbells are quite popular these days. 

Ridiculously cheap dumbbells are made of a dumbbell-shaped plastic shell with concrete filling. They are not durable but if you are a beginner or if you need something to keep yourself busy while recovering from injuries, you can go for them. 

By the way, have you heard about adjustable dumbbells

Usage Tips

They occupy the least possible floor space and yet you can do almost all types of barbell exercises using them such as all types of squats, benching exercises, shoulder press, rows, deadlifts, etc. They can help you target almost all major muscle groups of your body. They can help improve your strength and stamina. With regular use, you will be able to tone your muscles. 

Isn’t that amazing? 

Need more reasons? 

  1. Dumbbells are safer when you are exercising alone. If you ever feel like you are losing your balance, you can drop them. Dropping a barbell isn’t that safe because it could just land on your toes. Plus, you just can’t drop a loaded barbell if you are doing bench work. 
  2. You may not have realized but dumbbells require you to use more balancing and stabilizing muscles than a barbell does. Try doing bench press using each of them and you will realize that using (i.e. balancing) a barbell is far easier. The same holds true for squats and deadlifts. So, ditching your barbell and using dumbbells for two days a week makes absolute sense. 
  3. Dumbbells do not restrict your motion or grip the way barbells do. 
  4. Using a dumbbell requires no preparation. Just take them out of your cabinet and start practicing wherever you are. For using your barbell, you will have to wear your workout shoes and go to your basement or garage, which may sound like too much work when you are running late. 

Muscles Worked

As we said above, you can use dumbbells to target almost all muscle groups of your body, including the minor ones such as balancing and stabilizing muscles.  Plus, there are so many different exercises to do that you will never get bored.

Cost

You can buy a pair of neoprene dumbbells of 5lbs each for around $40-50. The price keeps increasing as you increase weight. Cast iron dumbbells or the hex ones with metal grip will cost you even more. 

If you want to save money, you should buy dumbbells in sets instead of pairs. Depending on the weight of the set and the quality of the coating, you can save upto 20%.

Alternatives

If you are looking for easier, cheaper alternatives, you can think of buying resistance bands or loop bands. They are exceptionally good for people who are recovering from injuries and those who do not really want to get too much into weight training. 

But, the most suitable alternative would be barbells with a few weight plates. You can use ankle weights and kettlebells as well.

Where to Buy

If you want to buy high-quality dumbbells from well-known brands like Rogue Fitness or Titan Fitness, you can order them directly from their website. They do not sell their products through other online stores. 

But those dumbbells are very expensive and more suitable for athletes, advanced trainers, and people who have a surplus budget. If that’s not you, you can find reasonably-priced, good quality dumbbells on Amazon and Walmart. 

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Curl Bar

Description

Standard barbells are straight bars with knurling at spots where you are supposed to hold them. Curl bars, also known as EZ bars, on the other hand, have angled W-shaped grips in the middle. This curl or curve helps you hold the barbell in a more natural position, which helps reduce stress on the wrists, especially if you use the barbell excessively for arms workouts. 

Just like barbells, curl bars are also available as standard and Olympic varieties. 

Now, the main issue here is that curl bars are not governed by any standards. Every manufacturer has set its own standards in terms of length and weight, but they anyway do not vary much. Typically a standard curl bar measures 47 inches in length and weighs about 13 to 15 lbs. Olympic curl bars are usually 52 inches long and weigh 18-25lbs. Both these are shorter than straight bars that measure more than 72 inches. 

The maximum weight that curl bars can handle is 200lbs but affordable ones shouldn’t be trusted with more than 100lbs. That’s because they are not made of as high-quality steel as is used for making Olympic barbells. Plus, since there are no regulatory standards, they may not have a good spin but that won’t be necessary because you anyways cannot train with heavy weights using it.

Usage Tips

The main reason why curl bars are in demand these days is that they help you specifically target your biceps and tricep. If you are planning to participate in bodybuilding competitions or if you want to build more prominent well-defined biceps, you must buy a curl bar along with a regular barbell for targeting the overall muscles of the body. 

On a curl bar, your wrists remain in a slightly rotated/angled position, which is more natural than placing your wrist straight on a straight bar. If you have been suffering from wrist pain or any other conditions that can worsen if you use a straight bar, a curl bar can save you.

Muscles Worked

Although curl bars are specifically designed to help you target your biceps and triceps, you can do almost any barbell exercise with them, which can help you target almost all major muscle groups of your body. However, for some exercises using a straight bar would be easier. Take squats for example.

Cost

Since curl bars are shorter, lighter, and are not governed by any international or federal standards, they are much cheaper than Olympic barbells. You can buy a decent one for as low as $60 and a good one for about $80-90. 

They are also cheaper because the manufacturers do not have to invest in high-end bearings and bushing for rotation of the sleeves. Plus, they are meant exclusively for arm workouts, so they are made of a lower grade of steel when compared to the standard and Olympic barbells. 

Alternatives

Before we start talking about alternatives, we would like you to understand that curl bars cannot replace the need for a standard/Olympic barbell in your home gym. As we said above, these bars are designed exclusively for people who want to work on their biceps and triceps. 

You may use them for squats or overhead press but they won’t feel as comfortable as a straight bar would. That’s because curl bars have a narrow grip. Plus, there are a lot of exercises that you won’t be able to do using a straight bar. 

Let’s talk about alternatives now.   

If you want to build biceps and triceps, you can use dumbbells. You can either go with the regular ones or you may buy the adjustable dumbbells so you don’t outgrow them any time soon. Adjustable dumbbells, however, are not as durable as the standard ones. Plus, they are very bulky. 

If you have ample space in your home gym, you may want to buy a standalone LAT pulldown machine, which is also meant for targeting upper body muscles.

Where to Buy

Curl bars are in demand but the demand is obviously much less because of their limited use. So, a lot of high-end home gym manufacturers are yet to start selling them. 

They are usually sold by small-scale home gym equipment manufacturers such as Everyday Essentials, CAP Barbell, Bodylastics, etc. These companies do have their own online store. And, even if some of them sell their products directly, you can expect delayed shipping, delayed response, etc. That’s why it is better to buy curl bars from Amazon or Walmart.

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Standard Barbell

Description

A standard barbell looks almost the same as an Olympic barbell with three noticeable differences; size, weight, and sleeve diameter. But, there is much more to it, which we have discussed in the below section. 

A standard barbell measures 5.5’ and weighs 15 to 25lbs whereas its big brother, the Olympic one, has a 7’ length and weighs 45lbs. Plus, it has a non-standard sleeve diameter of 1”. So if you decide to go purchase it, you will also have to purchase weight plates that have 1” holes. And, this won’t be easy because most plates are designed for 2” Olympic barbells. 

Standard barbells are meant for casual use. They are not made of as high-quality steel as is used for making the Olympic ones. That’s why they have a lower weight-bearing capacity, which shouldn’t be a problem because they are not meant for trained lifters.

Usage Tips

To be honest we aren’t quite fond of standard barbells because of their low weight-bearing capacity. Most standard barbells are rated for just 100lbs. Plus they weigh only 20 lbs. So, the max weight that you can lift if you use a standard barbell is 120 lbs, which is decent enough for a beginner, a teenager, or a casual trainer but not for people like us who want to grow stronger and fitter day by day from the comfort of our home.

An important thing that you should know about standard barbells is that they are not designed as per International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) standards. Most of them lack whip and spin; two major factors that determine the comfort and safety of use. 

If the sleeves of the barbell do not rotate freely and smoothly, you could end up straining your joints. If it has more or less whip than required, you might lose your balance while training and we don’t need to explain what could happen then. 

But, don’t get us wrong. Standard barbells are still good products; just that they are only meant for beginners and people who are not too much into weight training. They work as expected and fit well in the budget of most home gym owners. 

If you are looking for your first barbell, you could buy a standard one and see how much weight training actually interests you. Later, when you are ready to upgrade, you can buy an Olympic one.

Muscles Worked

Barbells, whether they are standard or Olympic, are one of the most versatile pieces of weight training equipment. If you are getting started, you can use just the barbell and, when you are ready, you can start adding weight plates on the sleeves. If you want to make gradual progress, you can use fractional weight plates, which can make the transition much easier. 

You can use a barbell to do squats, lunges, deadlifts, bent-over rows, chest presses, overhead presses, landmine exercises, and numerous other exercises that can help you target almost all major muscle groups of your body. Plus, to maintain your stability during barbell-assisted workouts, your body will have to use all your balancing and stabilizing muscles, which are micro muscles. So, it is safe to say that barbell exercises can help you target almost all major as well as minor muscle groups of your body.

Cost

Standard barbells are quite inexpensive when compared with Olympic barbells. You can buy a decent one for just $50-80. 

One thing you should note here is that most renowned home gym equipment manufacturers do not sell standard barbells. They are usually sold by companies whose names you may not have heard earlier. And, that’s OK until you get a good piece. 

Once you have come across a standard barbell that seems a good fit for your needs, make sure you read the buyers’ testimonials and find out what is the general feedback. This will help you choose a product that you may not have to return or exchange. 

Alternatives

If you are looking for a better alternative, the obvious option is an affordable Olympic barbell

If you are someone who is not so fond of weight training, you can buy dumbbells instead. Both standard dumbbells and adjustable dumbbells would work. 

How about using a kettlebell

Where to Buy

As we said above, standard barbells are sold by small-scale home gym equipment manufacturers that often do not have their own online stores. Even if they do, they are not quite professional. So, it is better to buy their products through Amazon or Walmart where you can be rest assured that you will be able to return or exchange the barbell in case it doesn’t turn out to be as per your expectations. 

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Olympic Barbell

Description

If you are planning to buy a barbell for your home gym, you will come across two options; Olympic barbells and standard barbells. 

The standard barbells are smaller and less heavy-duty than the Olympic ones that measure 7′ and weigh 45 lbs. Olympic barbells are designed as per International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) standards. So if you are planning to participate in competitive sports, you must buy them even though you’ll have to spend more.  

An Olympic barbell has 2-inch diameter, which makes it compatible with most bumper plates and cast iron plates sold in the market. As mentioned above it is a heavy-duty product made of high-quality steel that can withstand 600 to 800 LBS of weight. The ones meant for competitive sports can hold more than 1000 lbs.

Olympic barbells feature high-quality bearings or bushings and have knurl marks at the center. They are more resistant to rust, making them suitable for a garage gym, basement gym, or an outdoor home gym

 

Usage Tips

As we said above, standard barbells are much cheaper than Olympic barbells. So, it is pretty obvious that you may just get tempted to buy them instead. 

If you are a beginner or recreational trainer whose sole objective is to set up a home gym so you can stay fit from the comfort of your home, you might go with a standard barbell because you won’t be lifting a lot of weight every day. But, if you or someone who aspires to lift more than 100 lbs soon and wants to grow fitter and stronger day by day, we would strongly recommend that you buy a good quality Olympic barbell. 

It’s not just about the heavier weight or the thickened diameter. Olympic barbells are safer to use because they are designed as per IWF standards. They have the right amount of whip and spin that you need to train safely without straining your joints or muscles.

Olympic barbells usually contain high-quality bushings or bearings that let the sleeves rotate freely and smoothly. Smooth rotation of the sleeves reduces unwanted pressure on your knees and back, so you can do more reps and recover faster. It also helps maintain your balance and stability. 

Olympic barbells have longer sleeves and a high weight load capacity, so you won’t outgrow them anytime soon. They have better knurling and finishing. So, it makes sense to buy an Olympic barbell because you anyways don’t need more than one barbell in your home gym. 

Muscles Worked

An Olympic barbell is one of the most versatile home gym equipment. You can use it to exercise almost every muscle group of your body. For example; back squats, deadlifts, walking lunges, and front squats can help you build stronger legs whereas bicep curls, bent-over rows, and shoulder presses are great for strengthening your arms and shoulders. All these exercises also help you target your abs and back muscles. 

Need workout ideas? There are tons of videos on YouTube that you can refer to. 

Cost

Just like squat racks, barbells are available for as low as $100 to as high as $1000 or even more. 

Needless to say, the cheaper ones are only suitable for people who are just getting started and need something basic temporarily before they are ready to invest in a good quality product. The mid-range ones work for most of us who want to have a decent piece of home gym equipment that we can use for years. The high-end ones are for advanced trainers, fitness freaks, athletes, and those who do not mind spending more on a fantastic product for their home gym. 

Alternatives

To be honest, no other alternative will be as versatile as an Olympic barbell but you may want to go for a safety squat bar that helps you maintain a correct form while training or an open trap bar that is more suitable for people who have back issues. 

Where to Buy

Amazon, Walmart, and Dicks Sporting Goods are good places to buy home gym equipment. Do not buy from no-so-popular online stores because you never know what you will end up with. Amazon is always our first preference because of its excellent return/exchange policies. Plus, getting support from Amazon is easier than contacting small-scale sellers. 

If, however, you want to buy a heavy-duty expensive Olympic barbell from Rogue Fitness, or Eleiko, or Kabuki Strength, you will have to buy directly from the manufacturer because these big guys do not usually sell their products through other websites. 

Need help with their website address and products? We have already created lists of the best affordable barbells, best mid-range barbells, and best high-end barbells

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Benches

Incline Bench Press

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Bench Press

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Abdominal Bench

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Adjustable Weight Bench

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Decline Bench Press

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Flat Weight Bench

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Gym Machines

Calf Press Machine

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Functional Trainer

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Reverse Hyper Machine

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Butt Blaster Machine

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Standing Calf Machine

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Seated Calf Machine

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Rotary Torso Machine

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Ab Crunch Machine

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Front Pull Down Machine

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Lat Pull Down Machine

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Cable Row Machine

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Back Extension Machine

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Lateral Raises Machine

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Shoulder Press Machine

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Triceps Extension Machine

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Triceps Press Machine

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Arm Extension Machine

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Arm Curl Machine

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Chest Fly Machine

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Seated Dip Machine

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Hack Squat Machine

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Seated Row Machine

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Smith Machine

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Home Gyms (All-In-One Machines)

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Leg Abduction Machine

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GHD Machine

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Calf Raise Machine

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Leg Curl Machine

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Leg Extension Machine

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Leg Press Machine

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Roman Chair

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Lat Pulldown Machine

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Preacher Curl Bench

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Pec Deck Machine

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Chest Press Machine

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Hammer Strength Machine

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Cable Crossover Machine

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Cardio Machines

Aerobic Steps

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Stepmill

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Stepper

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Stair Climber

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Ski Erg

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Upright Exercise Bike

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Airbike

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Spin Bike

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Vertical Climber

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Recumbent Exercise Bike

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Rowing Machine

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Under Desk / Mini Elliptical Machine

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Mini Exercise Bike

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Elliptical Machine

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Treadmill

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Other

Weight Tree

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Arm Blaster

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Pilates Reformer Machine

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Hand Grip Exerciser

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Climbing Rope

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Gymnastic Rings

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Punching Bag

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Wallball

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Agility Ladder

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Medicine Ball

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Gym Mats

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Stability Ball

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Ab Roller

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Jump Ropes

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Plyometric Box

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Resistance Bands

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Battle Ropes

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Suspension Trainer

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Pull-Up Bar

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Push-Up Bars

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Dip Bars

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Sled Push

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Weights

Kettlebell

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Weight Plates

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