Choosing what gym equipment to buy can be a confusing business. If you have just taken a leap of faith and are determined to get yourself in shape and to improve your general fitness, you need to work out which type of gym and fitness equipment will the best for you and your needs.
The Complete Guide to Buying Used Gym Equipment
Used gym equipment for sale is very broadly divided into two different types: cardiovascular equipment and strength training equipment. Even if you know which type you are looking for, within each type you'll find a bewildering range of choices. For example, with cardio machines there are treadmills, cross trainers, exercise bikes and rowing machines to choose from - and there's a great variety of different machines within each of those too!
Even if you know specifically what type of fitness equipment you are after, you then need to weigh up what brand, specification or features are most important to you.
This is where this buyer's guide comes in. We'll give the lowdown on all the key bits of information you need and offer guidance about how to begin your search for the perfect used gym equipment to buy that is well matched to your preferences and fitness goals.
Where do i start?
With such an array of fitness equipment available, it's pretty important to narrow down your search. This will depend on your individual preferences. For example, if you want to build up your strength at home then a multi-gym springs out as an obvious choice. If you are training for a 10k run, a treadmill is the obvious choice - but if you want all round aerobic exercise, then a cross trainer might be a more suitable option.
So let's look at the key benefits of some of different types of gym equipment and all the things you need to think about before deciding what the best option for you is.
For general fitness, the most obvious choice for used gym equipment is cardio. There is an incredible range of equipment available. Within the four main types there will be machines that are specifically aimed at the 'entry-level' home user. These tend to be fairly limited in terms of the features offered but as an easy way to improve fitness in your comfort of your own home, or to complement other fitness work, these can be ideal. At the other end of the scale, you'll find state of the art equipment which wouldn't be out of place in commercial gyms with multi-features and various capabilities.
Let's look at the different types of cardiovascular equipment.
The most obvious choice for many people. Treadmills require little experience and are easy to use. They make it easier to stimulate the experience of running on a track or road, but avoid the obvious problems brought by the Great British weather and are less demanding on the physical body than running outside. Although not as versatile as some other types of cardio equipment, they are adaptable and can be useful for rehabilitation, can be used for gentle jogging ore even walking, and the more expensive models will contain enough features to push even the most experienced of runners.
If space is an issue at home, there are folding treadmills available. Motorized treadmills typically come with adjustments for speed and incline and even the most basic of models will normally feature programs or various measurement readings so that you can track your performance and progress.
All running is considered to be high impact - meaning that pressure is exerted on the joints of the body. Running on hard surfaces such as roads can potentially cause injuries. Running on the belt cushioned surface of a treadmill is less demanding on the body joints. Look out for models that do include incline settings as this tends to have more impact on progress than simply changing the speed settings. Look at the variety of built-in programs available on different models to decide which ones appeal to you.
Cross trainers (also known as elliptical trainers) are the best of all cardio machines in terms of conditioning the whole body. They can take a bit of practice to get the hang of as you are using the arms and legs simultaneously. However, this brings real benefits because, as you use your arms and legs independently, it requires the core muscles to be engaged, meaning that the whole body is getting a full workout when using an elliptical trainer.
Another advantage of a cross trainer is that the exercise is low impact. There is much less stress caused to your joints than on a treadmill, for example. And as the arms and legs are both active, you will burn a greater amount of calories in a shorter space of time on a cross trainer compared to all other cardiovascular equipment.
Cross trainers are usually quiet and smooth machines and you should look out for the range of programs available on the console of a machine, as well as the typical pace, calorie and heart rate measurements.
Exercise bikes are excellent in improving stamina and particularly for conditioning the lower body. Upright machines are the most common but there are many recumbent models on the market too, which have a lower seat. This offers better back support and is often more comfortable.
Exercise biking does not stimulate the entire body in the way that cross trainers or treadmills do, but on the plus side it can be easily done whilst doing something else - such as watching TV.
The more advanced models will offer a wider range of in-built programs and adjustability for pedals, handlebars and seat. Even the basic models will contain speed, calorie and distance counters and adjustable resistance settings.
Rowing machines have less impact on the body when compared to a treadmill because the limbs and joints move in a smooth action. Because of this, rowing machine training brings benefits to both arms and legs and the torso.
Prices of used rowing machines will vary according to the resistance settings available. Features do tend to be a bit limited when compared to other cardio equipment but the basics of stroke rate and energy will be displayed even on entry-level machines.
Many people would prefer to focus more on body building or strength training rather than cardio - and many like to combine strength work and cardiovascular work. Again, there's a wide variety of choice in terms of the equipment that is available. Broadly speaking, this can be divided in two types - separate or free weights and machine based strength training.
Barbells, Dumbbells, Kettlebells and Weight Plates
Barbell work when combined with weight plates is an excellent way to build strength. Lifting free weights is less restrictive than using a machine so can produce better results. Weight plates come in various types and different weights and tend to be less expensive than a weight machine.
Kettlebells are excellent for both building strength and overall endurance. In terms of the versatility offered, kettlebells are hard to beat as they can be used with a very large number of exercises. Similarly, dumbbells also offer many exercise options and the range possible increases further still with the addition of a bench.
Multi-gyms are increasingly popular for home use and provide a sensible option to working with free weights. The most common type of multi-gym are multi-stack models. Here pulley or lever technology will be utilised with weight disks for easy adjustment and to ensure a safe training session.
More experienced lifters might see Smith Machines as a good alternative to multi-gyms. They are more expensive but are constructed from high gauge steel and are better for those working with greater weights.
There are a whole host of other equipment types specifically aimed at strength training work. From squat stands and racks to abs machines to all sorts of different types of benches, there is something for all needs. Look through the information on this website to learn more about the particular uses and benefits of each product type.
Now you know a bit more about the different types of used gym equipment for sale, you can move to the next stage of your search. Browse through our product pages for more specific information about the uses of each type of equipment. Look also at our brand pages which give more information about what particular manufacturers offer.
After this, you will be all set to narrow your search down to specific types of equipment and according to your budget range. It's all about deciding which features you absolutely need and which you think you can do without.
Obviously, the general rule of thumb is that the more you pay, you greater the range of features a piece of equipment will have, but it's unlikely you will need a massive range of features and console programs and displays if you just want to get a bit of exercise on a bike whilst you are watching your favourite soaps or reading a book. So, think carefully about what you do or don’t need.
The choice is yours. Let the search begin!