If you’re like most people, you probably have a gym membership. You go to the gym, you work out hard, and then you leave. The problem is that after a few weeks of this routine, your body becomes used to the exercise and stops responding to it as much.
This is where weight loss comes in. If you want to lose weight, you need to keep your body guessing with new exercises and new ways of working out. That’s where this article comes in. We’ll show you how to use gym equipment for weight loss so that your body can’t get used to any one thing and keep losing weight without getting bored or tired of going to the gym every day!
Right here on Buy and Slay, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on gym equipment for weight loss, what to use at the gym to lose belly fat, weight loss machines for ladies, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.
How To Use Gym Equipment For Weight Loss
So, you’ve just joined a new gym. Good for you! If you’re new to working out in a gym, getting your head around all of the equipment might be a little daunting.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it looks like everyone else knows what they’re doing, and it can be tempting to head straight for the cardio section and avoid the workout machines if you’re feeling intimidated.
If you’re new to exercise or want to mix up your fitness routine and try something new, knowing how to use gym equipment correctly can help you to start working out with confidence.
After all, just because you’re not sure where to start doesn’t mean you should miss out on the benefits of strength training with gym machines.
In addition to helping you to build muscle and strength, a 2012 study highlighted how resistance training can also help enhance cardiovascular health and increase bone mineral density.
The 7 best pieces of gym equipment for beginners
To help you gain the confidence you need to build strength on the machines, here’s our guide to some essential gym equipment used in the Sweat programs.
1. Lat pull-down
The lat pull-down machine targets your ‘latissimus dorsi’ (or ‘lats’), one of the largest muscles in your back while also engaging your biceps and shoulders. Working your lats can help to improve posture and protect your spine during other exercises while sculpting and strengthening the muscles in your back.
The lat pull-down can help you build strength, particularly if your goal is to do a pull-up. As your pulling strength increases, you’ll be able to move on to the assisted pull-up machine and eventually to an unassisted pull-up.
2. Seated row
The seated cable row also works on your lats, focussing on the mid-back to engage the back of the shoulders, biceps and rhomboids. If you sit at a desk all day, this exercise can help to strengthen the postural muscles, building a stronger back and improving your posture.
3. Bench press
The barbell bench press is a compound exercise that works several muscles at once, including the pectorals (chest muscles) and the anterior deltoids (front of the shoulders). Unlike push-ups, the bench press engages these muscles without placing as much strain on your wrists and shoulders.
When you start doing a bench press for the first time, lifting a barbell may be too heavy. You can begin with a dumbbell bench press or the chest press machine — you can even do a chest press on a cable machine.
Once you progress to the barbell, the width of your grip will determine which muscles you load more. A close-grip barbell bench press will primarily engage the triceps, as well as the chest and front of the shoulders. A wider grip will focus on the chest, also using the front of the shoulders and triceps. You can start with just the bar and add weight as your strength and confidence increase.
4. Leg press
The leg press allows you to lift heavy weights with your legs to build strength, without the risk of compromising your form. The movement uses similar muscles to the squat, but the weight has a fixed range of movement to limit the risk of injury.
When performing the leg press exercise, ensure your hips are in contact with the backrest of the seat. This is to ensure the force of the weight doesn’t shift onto your tailbone and lower back. Your knees should track straight during the movement, rather than collapsing inward or bowing out to the side.
5. Assisted pull-up
Many women say that they can’t do a pull-up, but the truth is that with the right equipment, anyone can do pull-ups! The assisted pull-up machine offsets your body weight which will allow you to build strength gradually.
Assisted pull-ups require you to stabilise your entire body, so you work more muscles than you do with a lat pull-down.
As you get stronger, you’ll be able to decrease the offset. Take it slowly and only do as many reps as you can complete while maintaining the correct good form.
If there isn’t an assisted pull-up machine available, you can use a long resistance band to offset your weight.
Loop the band around the bar and insert one of your feet into the loop, with the other foot on top to stabilise yourself. Choose a band that allows you to complete 5-10 pull-ups — as you get stronger, you can use a lighter band.
6. Smith machine
The Smith machine is a vertical bar that moves within fixed steel rails. It’s an alternative to using free weights or barbells and can feel safer for those who are new to lifting. The Smith machine can facilitate a bench press, shoulder press and squats.
When using the Smith machine, consider your form, and orientate your body around the bar to complete the exercise safely and correctly.
You can also substitute the Smith machine when other equipment in the gym is being used.
7. Cable machine
The free-motion dual-cable machine can be used to work out almost any part of your body through a variety of resistance exercises. It uses stacked weights which you can adjust by placing the pin in the weight stack.
There are two key reasons the cable machine could be a central piece of equipment for your workouts. First, it allows you to work at all angles, rather than just vertically against the force of gravity. Second, it provides continuous tension throughout the entire range of motion. You can’t always achieve this with free weights!
Using the cable machine, you can challenge your muscles through the full range of movement, allowing for more control, greater flexibility and reduction of any imbalances. The pull of the cable forces you to stabilise your core, activating more muscles groups in your body to burn energy and build functional strength.
You can use this machine while standing, seated or kneeling — it’s worth getting comfortable when using this versatile piece of equipment!
Try the cable machine for chest fly, upright row, standing trunk rotations like the ‘woodchop’ and during tricep workouts.
How to use gym equipment correctly
Now you know which equipment you should be using, here are a few tips to help you to get the best results and stay injury-free in the gym.
Adjust the machine to your body
When using machines in the gym, make sure the equipment is adjusted to suit your body. The adjustment handles are usually a bright colour and should be easy to spot.
Gym equipment will often have a diagram showing how to use the machine and which muscles you’ll be targeting. Check these out before you get started.
Start light and build up slowly
The first time you use a new piece of gym equipment, we recommend you start with a lighter weight. If it’s too easy, increase the resistance gradually as you become confident with the movement.
This way, you can safely improve your fitness while staying focused on using the correct form. Once you’re comfortable with the machine, select a weight that is heavy enough that the last two reps of a set to challenge you.
Don’t just focus on one muscle group
One mistake beginners often make is focusing on one area of their body, when you should be aiming to work out your whole body with your training program.
If you focus on just one area, you can increase the chance of injury due to muscle imbalance.
Gym Equipment For Weight Loss
Increasing your daily activity levels and losing weight are inextricably linked, but what is the best exercise machine for weight loss?
If you’re looking to achieve a negative energy balance and create a calorie deficit(opens in new tab) – a surefire way to shed pounds – data would dictate the answer is the exercise machine that burns the most energy in the shortest amount of time. But it’s not that simple.
The answer is subjective. Though running to lose weight(opens in new tab) can be an effective pursuit, if you splash the cash on one of the best treadmills(opens in new tab) but can’t stand jogging the machine is more likely to collect dust than help you rack up the miles. Whereas, if you discover a passion for cycling and invest in one of the best exercise bikes(opens in new tab) as a result, your weekly calorie-burning count (and motivation to work out) is likely to be far higher.
To make sure you spend your money wisely, we set our expert in-house testers a challenge: find and review the most effective and (just as importantly) enjoyable exercise machines for losing weight. They’ve compiled a list of the best rowing machines(opens in new tab), running machines, walking treadmills, exercise bikes and ellipticals for getting a sweat on at home, revealing their favourite features of each.
Read on to find out more about each machine, so you can make an informed decision on which one will best serve you when it comes to fitness and fun.
BEST EXERCISE MACHINES TO LOSE WEIGHT
1. NordicTrack X22i
Best exercise machine to lose weight for most people
Dimensions: 81” x 39” x 76”
Weight: 505lbs (in-box weight)
Tread belt size: 22” x 60”
Max user weight: 297lbs / 135kg
Display: 22” HD touchscreen
Incline: -5 – 40%
Other features: Bluetooth connectivity, dual speakers, Runners Flex cushioning, 30-day iFit Family Membership
REASONS TO BUY
+ High-end features
+ Great incline and decline range
REASONS TO AVOID
– Needs iFit subscription
Some small studies – including this one published in the Journal Of The American Medical Association(opens in new tab) – have suggested that treadmills are the best machines when it comes to energy expenditure. And if you’re looking to get a thorough workout on a running machine, then we’d recommend our favorite model: the NordicTrack X22i.
It’s a market leader in the treadmill space, perfectly blending function and form. Provided you have both the budget and space for it, don’t overlook this incredibly sturdy machine with its pleasantly surprising range of incline (and decline) options.
Purely on specs alone, the X22i is a truly impressive piece of kit. Its powerful 4.0 CHP motor offers smooth and quiet power output, even if you’re hammering away at a steep incline. With regards to inclines in particular, the X22i offers an especially huge range of options with options from -5% to 40% meaning you’ll be able to replicate hill runs of any type, even downhills, a rare feature on treadmills.
The wealth of options extend to workouts too, with 40 pre-programmed ones available, and over 16,000 on-demand classes ready to access. Do bear in mind that you’ll need an iFit subscription to access this content though, which will add a monthly subscription cost of $39 USD to the premium price of the kit itself. The NordicTrack X22i is undoubtedly a premium treadmill though, whether you find yourself marvelling at its gorgeous design, huge 22” display or generous size. Yes, it’s a sizeable investment but if you have the space and the budget, you won’t be disappointed.
We couldn’t find any reliable customer reviews for this machine – however, several other publications have reviewed the machine favorably, praising its excellent features and incline range.
2. Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike
Best budget exercise bike for weight loss
Dimensions: 40.5” x 21.5” x 45”
Weight: 68.8lbs / 31.2kg
Max user weight: 270lbs (122kg)
Max height: 6’
Display?: Basic 1” x 2” LCD display
Resistance levels: Infinite
Pedals: Standard toe cage
REASONS TO BUY
+ Smooth belt driven flywheel
+ Good value
REASONS TO AVOID
– Basic display
– No programmed workouts
– Limited features
The Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike won’t blow you away with a wide spectrum of whizzy features, but nor will it blow a hole in your budget. At under $300, it offers sturdy construction and a smooth and comfortable ride for you to get your sweat on, all at a very reasonable price indeed.
It’s clear that Yosuda’s budget-conscious entry into the market isn’t aiming to be a baby Peloton. While the bike’s small LCD display offers basic metric tracking, you won’t find anything in the way of live classes or advanced real-time feedback. For those out there wishing to be guided by routines though, the fitted phone holder means there’s always YouTube or other workout apps. And if you’re looking for more advanced real-time feedback beyond calories, distance and speed, you can always use a fitness tracker.
In short, although the Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike may be light on features it offers a comfortable, quiet ride on a machine that boasts impressive build quality for such a modest price. If you’re shopping on a budget or are simply one of those motivated types who just longs for a simple but sweaty spin session, this reasonably-priced, no-frills bike is the best choice in this particular category. It also boasts the best-cushioned bike seat that we’ve tested so far, so you can workout in comfort.
The bike has netted 4.4 out of five stars on Amazon, with users praising it’s low price and easy assembly. Some negative reviews cite issues with the seat not adjusting properly and others stating that the resistance dial on the bike was difficult to move, although these weren’t issues we came across in our hands-on testing.
3. Concept 2 Model D (RowErg)
Best rowing machine for weight loss
Display: PM5 performance monitor
Dimensions: Length: 96” (244cm); Width 24” (61cm); Height (to top of monitor): 50” (127cm); Seat height: standard legs – 14” (35cm) / tall legs -20” (51cm)
Storage: Can be separated into two parts and stood on its end
Heart rate monitor: Bluetooth and wireless ANT+ connectivity so PM5 monitor can be synced with your heart rate monitor
REASONS TO BUY
+ Excellent value for money
+ Industry standard model used in competitions
+ Reliable and robust with readily-available replacement parts
REASONS TO AVOID
– No in-built apps, fancy graphics or live workouts
– Not the most aesthetically attractive
Step into a gym almost anywhere in the world and there’s a good chance that when you head over to the rowing machines, you’ll find yourself faced with a Concept2 RowErg. Concept2’s classic design is a mainstay of gyms and rowing clubs everywhere, and with good reason too. Packing trademark sturdiness into a unfussy design, the RowErg has long been considered as the industry standard for rowing routines, renowned for being great full-body workouts that are low-impact on the body.
You won’t find any top-end features on the RowErg, such as live classes or interactive routines and if that’s what you’re looking for in particular, you might want to check out some fancier models. Its backlit LCD screen does provide lots of data though, plus there are global rankings, options to program your own workouts and an accompanying app for those who wish to carefully scrutinise their performance.
What the Concept2 RowErg undoubtedly offers is a smooth, comfortable row on a durable, well-designed machine. At between 70-100Db, it might not be as quiet as a magnetic rowing machine, nor is it as aesthetically-pleasing as a solid wood rower, yet if you’re looking for straightforward bit of kit that does its job well for a competitive price, look no further.
This model has netted an impressive 4.9 out of five stars on Amazon, so it’s clear that it’s a massive hit with users globally. It’s hard to find a negative remark about the machine, but one user did complain that the machine is better suited to cardio workouts than resistance training.
4. Peloton bike
Best for motivating classes
Dimensions: 59” x 53” x 23”
Weight: 135lbs / 61kg
Max user weight: 297lbs (134kg)
Max height: 6’4”
Display?: 21.5” color touchscreen
Resistance levels: 100
Pedals: Look Delta-compatible cleats (clip in)
Workouts: Live and on-demand via Peloton app (subscription required)
REASONS TO BUY
+ Stunning build
+ Large HD screen
+ No complicated setup required
REASONS TO AVOID
– Monthly subscription for classes
– Cycling shoes needed
If you’re shopping at the premium end of the workout machine market, the Peloton Bike will likely already be on your radar. While the cost of the bike is high, with a $39 monthly subscription also required to access the live classes which truly make the bike shine, it’s a hugely impressive workout machine with superb classes that are both fun and intelligently-designed.
At 61KG, the bike itself is pretty heavy although it does come with two front-mounted wheels which makes moving it much easier. In terms of design quality and looks, the Peloton Bike is first-rate with its matte-black finish looking truly very luxurious. The saddle can take a little getting used to, so do prepare yourself for some initial soreness but that will soon subside though your enthusiasm for the experience won’t.
You will need Delta-compatible cleats to clip inside the bike’s pedals which is another expense, but if you’re seriously considering the Peloton experience, that won’t faze you too much. The overall and ongoing price really is the only potential drawback here in what is otherwise a supremely enjoyable and effective workout experience.
The bike has a cool 4.8 out of five stars on Peloton’s site, with users raving about the classes and instructors available. Some customers have complained about pedals falling off, although this hasn’t happened to our test unit which we’ve been riding for a year.
5. Mobvoi Home Treadmill
Best for upping your daily step count
Dimensions: 42″ / 49” / 27″, folding size 4.4” / 49” / 27”
Weight: 74.96 lbs
Tread belt size: 16” x 40”
Max user weight: 265lbs
Display: LED touchscreen
Speed: 0-12 km/h
Incline: Fixed 0%
Warranty: Limited 1-year warranty
Other features: Bluetooth connectivity, foldable, safety key, remote control
Decibel rating: 65 dB
REASONS TO BUY
+ Saves space
+ Well designed
REASONS TO AVOID
– Basic functions
– Narrow tread belt
– Low maximum speed
We all lead busy lives and finding ways to get in that quick workout can sometimes be tricky. If you’re looking for the last word in versatility when it comes to burning calories, then look no further than the Mobvoi Home Treadmill. Pop it under your work desk and sedately whittle away some calories as you focus on other things. Ready to go at it with a little more vigour? A quick lift of the Mobvoi’s riser and suddenly it resembles a slim and sleek running treadmill, ready for you to get your heart rate ticking with a gentle run.
Besides the appealing flexibility of the Mobvoi Home Treadmill, the cost is impressive too. At under $400 USD, its sturdy design and quiet motor offer great value. However, its limited speed means it won’t work as a treadmill for those looking for maximum exertion from their runs. Likewise, due to its smaller profile, those with a longer stride could also find it less useful. However, if you’re simply looking to get basic use from your treadmill in the form of gentler runs and high-tempo walks, the Mobvoi Home Treadmill’s price, versatility and build quality make it very worthy of your consideration.
Mobvoi has netted 4.5 out of 5 stars from its global Amazon ratings. Users praise the small, compact frame and its foldable design. Some customers have pointed out that it’s heavy, so difficult to move around, while others complain that it’s noisy at full speed.
6. Proform Carbon HIIT H7
Best elliptical machine for weight loss
Size: 29.25″ x 52″ x 66.7″
Weight: 225lb In Box
Max user weight: 325lb
Flywheel weight: 30lb
Stride length: 10” Vertical, 5” Horizontal
Resistance levels: 24
Resistance type: Magnetic
Warranty: 10-Year Frame, 2-Year Parts, & 1-Year Labor Warranty
REASONS TO BUY
+ Multi-workout machine
+ Decent warranty length
+ Interactive iFit classes available
REASONS TO AVOID
– Classes are limited in number
The ProForm Cabon HIIT H7 is an intriguing piece of kit that can double as both an elliptical trainer and a stair master machine. The compact vertical design won’t take up too large a footprint in your personal space either. While the machine’s versatility is undoubtedly one of its strong points, those seeking guidance through classes and workouts may be a little underwhelmed by the range of iFit workouts dedicated to the machine, as opposed to more general purpose running-style workouts.
Build quality for the ProForm Cabon HIIT H7 is very good, with the high-quality materials offering a durable feel and great tactile experience, although the lack of a phone holder will irk some users who wish to have unfettered access to their screens during a workout. At the time of writing, ProForm are offering the Cabon HIIT H7 for free with a three-year iFit subscription, which is a great deal, providing you’re planning to make the most of the subscription app’s features.
With the 10-inch vertical elliptical stepping path able to simulate stair climbing and boxing, you’ll certainly find new ways to push yourself with the Cabon HIIT H7, whilst the magnetic resistance system offers quiet workouts, even when you’re pushing the pace. If you’re looking for a low-impact, high-intensity form of indoor training, the Cabon HIIT H7 is a model that you won’t want to overlook.
There are several comments on the ProForm website praising this machine, with users giving a thumbs-up to the innovative design and intense HIIT workouts. A couple of users do say that it has a slight ‘squeaky’ noise to it after a while.
- This machine is currently in the process of being reviewed. Once we have tested it, this guide will be updated accordingly.
RESISTANCE TRAINING VS CARDIO EXERCISE
Most of the machines outlined above are cardio machines, which means they’re focused on getting you hot and sweaty during a workout. This kind of exercise leads to a high calorie burn – but your best bet for a fit and functional body is to combine this kind of cardio workout with resistance training.
“Both aerobic and resistance training have benefits outside of pure energy burn that make them helpful for fat loss,” explains Emily Servante, global trainer education manager at Ultimate Performance(opens in new tab).
“For example, both will improve your body’s ability to process, store and utilise carbohydrates rather than store them as fat. Both types of exercise also have a sort of ‘after burn’ effect that means your body carries on burning energy at a higher rate for several hours after you’ve finished the exercise.”
Resistance training will also help ensure that you maintain muscle while you lose fat. Servante recommends incorporating it two to three times per week in your schedule.
CALORIE INTAKE AND OUTPUT
If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to achieve a calorie deficit. This means you need to burn more calories through exercise and your day-to-day activities than you consume through food. But is it better to focus on increasing your energy expenditure or lowering your calorie consumption?
“In terms of fat loss, restricting food intake alone is not very effective as it requires severely cutting calories and small errors can knock you off course,” explains Servante. “Likewise, only increasing your output would require a super high level of activity, which is unrealistic and unsustainable for most people. This is why we use a combination of the two to create the calorie deficit you need to create weight loss.”
WEIGHT LOSS VS FAT LOSS
“Any form of exercise that burns calories will help you lose weight,” says Servante. “But it doesn’t necessarily mean it will help you lose fat.”
If you want to make sure you’re shedding fat while maintaining muscle, Servante says it’s crucial to include some resistance training in your workout schedule. Make sure you’re hitting each body part multiple times during the week, to ensure you’re retaining muscle – aim for two to three sessions over seven days.
Accompany this with a calorie reduction of around 15-20% and a gentle increase in your activity levels, either through informal activities (such as upping your step count) or structured cardio (using one of the above machines). You can also try a combination of both types of cardio.
How will you know you’re on track? Well, you should see your weight gradually drop by 0.5 – 1% each week according to Servante, although bear in mind that all bodies are different so your progression might look different. Creating a sustainable, realistic and enjoyable routine is key to staying fit and healthy.