Ah, January. The month where everyone decides to hit the gym, and all your friends start posting selfies on Facebook of how good they look when they’re sweaty. Let’s face it, when we’re all pumped up and ready to go, nothing sucks more than standing around, waiting for a free machine. If it’s a short line, then use that time to stretch and get ready for your turn. However, especially in the new year, that line may be longer than your workout, let alone your warmup routine.
Ellipticals are easily one of the most popular pieces of machinery, with about 31 percent of all gym-goers making use of them. They’re more fun than a stationary bike and, for some reason, they seem to be easier to use than a treadmill. Although, you can pretty much bet that if there’s a line for the ellipticals, there’s going to be one for the treadmills, too.
Move on to Keep Moving
So what other options do you have? That depends on what you’re looking to use the equipment for. Many people start with some light cardio in order to warm up. Others will have a straight cardio routine, and will use the elliptical or treadmill for the majority of their workout.
Remember the jump rope from elementary school? Jump rope is a great way to warm up and get your blood flowing before you jump into something else. On top of that, there are plenty of different exercises you can do with them, besides the basic hop. Pretty much every gym should have a few ropes, but they might be a little bit difficult to find. Don’t let that discourage you – just ask someone. That’s what they’re there for, after all, and most of them are very happy to help. Then just find a clear space and start hopping.
The punching bag can be a little bit intimidating. However, it’s also a pretty seldom-used piece of equipment, and it already has its own space. If you’re new to the idea of boxing, or punching things in general, take it slow. Boxing is a tremendous exercise, and it’s easy to get carried away and accidentally hurt yourself. Make sure to warm up, and only do what you feel comfortable with. You don’t want to end up with a sprained wrist.
Free weights are probably the most versatile equipment in a gym. Dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells make up a large variety of equipment, and will sometimes have their own room. Don’t be surprised to find plenty of others in there – free weights are a popular choice.
It’s pretty simple to get an entire full-body workout with free weights, which is one of the reasons why they’re so popular. Because free weights allow you to move naturally, they allow you to exercise more efficiently than the machines do.
Another kind of seldom-used equipment are the balls – namely the medicine ball and the stability ball. Medicine balls are a sort of free weight, so just be careful not to wing it across the room by accident. Stability balls, however, use your body weight for exercise.
They promote core strength and proper posture, and you can combine them with other exercises. If you like the free weights, try lifting some light weights while sitting on one. They also make some simple exercises more difficult, such as a plank, which you can amp up by putting the medicine ball under your feet.
No matter what you decide you’d like to do, there are many options besides the elliptical. You and half the population of your town are probably planning to go to the gym more, so try something different.