Gym floor equipment: decoded

When in doubt walk straight past unfamiliar equipment…and get nuggets instead.


The loooooong bar that you will see on the gym floor. Word of warning – these bars can weigh up to 20kgs alone. Exercises commonly done with a barbell include: squats, bench-press, deadlifts and a myriad of other shitty things.


The smaller hand-held weights that you will often see on racks that come in pairs. The weights start at 2kg and can go all the way up to 40kg. Dumbbells are usually located on racks in front of mirrors where douchebags stand right in front of so you can’t actually access the weights. Exercises commonly done with dumbbells include: bicep curls, shoulder press and that exercise that looks like a handy.


These are the fixed pieces of equipment that gives the gym floor that classic torture chamber chic we know and love. Machines usually combine an excess of cables, weight stacks (in pounds), pins (usually lost), handles (sticky), seats (stained. Don’t ask), foot-rests (that used to be adjustable) and springs (rusty).

Free weights

Any piece of equipment that can moved to an inconvenient or dangerous part of the gym so no-one else can use it. That is until a minimum-wage gym-floor staffer ruptures a spleen moving your half-tonne of weight back to where it actually belongs.