Not all gyms are created equal. Sure, most have the standard staples—barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and cardio machines. However, some tremendous pieces of workout equipment are harder to find. These implements are extremely effective, but you won't find them in every gym. Sticking to the basics will certainly produce results, but these awesome pieces of equipment can take your game to the next level.
Here are the five pieces of gym equipment we wish were in every gym.
If you're looking for a ridiculously effective cardio workout, look no further than the VersaClimber. The VersaClimber is a fitness implement that mimics a climbing motion. It's a movement that challenges nearly every muscle in your body, yet the VersacCimber lets you do so with very low impact. The result is a calorie-crushing, muscle-building cardio workout that gets big results in a short amount of time. Several professional athletes incorporate the VersaClimber in their training, including Andy Murray and Peyton Manning.
Here you see Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving putting in work on a VersaClimber:
If you're looking for a butt-kicking cardio workout, the VersaClimber is your answer.
You probably won't find a VertiMax at your local Planet Fitness or Gold's Gym, but this piece of equipment is becoming increasingly common at elite athlete training facilities. The VertiMax is an incredibly versatile resistance training machine. Equipped with eight 30-foot resistance bands and a series of pulleys, it allows an athlete to perform a wide variety of exercises with varying amounts of resistance while keeping impact to a minimum. "The band resistance allows you to work without the stress of a typical weight room," says NFL linebacker Bobby Carpenter. That means more reps, less pain and faster results.
The biggest problem with most treadmills is that they don't facilitate actual running mechanics. Sprinting is all about maximizing the amount of force you put into the ground to propel yourself forward. Traditional treadmills don't account for the amount of force you put into the ground. They move at a pre-selected speed no matter how much force you create. This can lead to poor mechanics, which don't translate well to actual on-field sprinting.
The Woodway Curve is a manually powered treadmill that increases its speed based on an athlete's force and stride length, improving their sprint mechanics and helping them translate treadmill work into explosive on-field performance. Its unique curve design also reinforces proper mechanics. "The big drawback to treadmill running in some people's minds is that the treadmill is doing half the work. Not with the Curve. My athletes love it and we've seen great results," says renowned strength and conditioning specialist Mike Boyle.
Reverse Hyperextension Machine
A weak posterior chain is a frequent problem for modern athletes. The posterior chain refers to the muscles on the backside of the body—specifically the hamstrings, glutes and lower back. Although they're extremely important for athletic movement, these muscles are often neglected and weaker than they should be. Reverse Hyperextensions are a great way to strengthen the posterior chain, making the Reverse Hyperextension machine a valuable piece of equipment.
"The vast majority of people (athletes included) have a very weak posterior chain. And as far as total posterior chain 'equipment' goes, other than a standard squat rack, there is nothing that will come close to the activation you get from a Reverse Hyper," says Aaron Bonaccorsy, a performance coach at STACK Velocity Sports. "A strong posterior chain equals a better athlete."
If you're looking for the biggest bang for your buck in a piece of gym equipment, you'll be hard-pressed to beat the Prowler. A Prowler is essentially a customizable weighted sled, and its design allows for an incredible amount of versatility. If you know what you're doing, you can hit virtually every muscle group with a Prowler, and anyone who's ever used one can attest to its punishing effects.
"I think every facility should find a way to incorporate the Prowler. This is a fantastic strength and conditioning tool that can be used in many ways. For example, depending on the weight you add to the sled, it can become more of a strength-based movement or endurance-based. And for an athlete who maybe can't Squat or Deadlift for some reason, the Prowler is an awesome option for developing lower-body strength and power without necessarily putting a lot of stress on the back and joints," says Kasey Esser, owner of Essers of Los Angeles. Most people believe that you have to use the Prowler on turf, which would greatly limit its convenience. But that's not necessarily the case. "They sell pads that you can attach to the bottom of the sled for use on rubber flooring, so there's really no excuse not to have one," Esser says.
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