So you’ve gotten yourself out of bed and made it to the gym before 9am. We’re truly impressed. You hit up your classic Stair Master and dumbbell routine everyday and you know what you’re doing. But after a few weeks, the same old equipment is getting boring and irrelevant, and you need a change. I mean, we get it. Why do you think we all got over our ombre highlights after one summer? The gym is filled with a shit ton of intimidating and confusing equipment, and we’re not telling you to bounce around to every machine like you’re at a Bandier sample sale, but it might be worth it to try out a few new ones. These seven pieces of gym equipment are underrated, super effective, and not that hard to use. Give them a try and thank us later.
1. Bosu Ball
You’ve probably seen the Bosu laying around your gym a million times and ignored it, but by incorporating it into your regular workouts, it can make your exercises 10 times harder and help practice balance and coordination. The Bosu is technically half of a ball, which means that by standing on its flat side, with the ball side on the ground, your balance is challenged and your body relies on muscles you don’t usually work. Try doing bodyweight squats and lunges while balancing on the ball. You can also hold a plank with your hands on the flat surface to help engage your core more than a regular plank would.
2. Concept 2 Rower
The rower is a sick cardio machine, and if you actually use it in the right way, you’ll ditch the treadmill and elliptical forever. The rower basically works every muscle in your body, so you’re burning twice as many calories as other cardio machines because you’re getting a full body workout with every pull. Secure your feet into the straps and pull the handle toward your bra line, pushing outward with your legs and keeping your core tight. Slowly draw the handle back in and repeat this motion again, ending with your body at a 45 degree angle each time.
3. Cable Machine
If you’ve never stepped foot near the weight section of the gym, you’ve probably never attempted to use the cables, but they’re actually super helpful for making your workouts shorter and more efficient, because you can basically do any regular exercise by using the cables and adjusting the weights. Instead of grabbing separate weights for bicep curls, shoulder presses, or core twists, you can do all of that just by using one piece of equipment. It’ll cut your workout time in half so you can spend an extra like, 10 minutes in the sauna. You’re welcome.
4. Pilates Ring
A Pilates Ring looks like a basic plastic loop, and that’s because it is. But when you incorporate it into your ab workouts, you’ll notice they get 10 times harder. Try holding it in between your legs when doing crunches, or holding it overhead while you’re holding a hollow-body or boat pose. If you’re shaking within 30 seconds, you’re doing it right. You probably won’t be able to laugh tomorrow, but your abs will look amazing.
5. Booty Band
No, the booty band is not an Instagram scam being pushed by the Kardashians. There are a million great machines and weights that will tone your butt, but the booty band is extremely underrated and really effective. Put the band around your thighs or your ankles and do your typical lower body exercises, like squats, lunges, hip bridges, or skaters. Not only will the exercises be so much harder, but you’ll also feel the burn faster and have to do less reps than usual to get great results. Your legs might feel like Jell-O when you take it off, but that just means you got a great workout.
6. SkiErg Machine
The Ski ERG is a newer piece of equipment so it’s harder to find in most gyms, but if you’re an Equinox betch or a member of other boutique fitness chains, you’ve probably seen these around. It’s called the Ski ERG because it literally looks like you’re skiing, but like, wearing less layers and not falling on your ass. The idea is to pull down on the machine’s handles over and over again, so you’re getting a cardio workout while working your triceps, shoulders, and abs.
7. Vertical Knee Raise Station
If you do all your classic ab workouts lying on a mat, it might be time to switch up your routine, which is where the vertical knee raise station comes in. This piece of equipment is pretty self-explanatory, but basically, the idea is to keep your arms on the handles, engage your core, and bring your knees off the ground into your torso. Once you half your knees near your belly button, slowly lower your legs back down without touching the ground and bring them up again. Let’s just say, 10 reps of these will burn more than those hundreds of sit-ups you’ve been doing on the floor.