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It’s easy to get lulled into complacency when you’re consistently training, whether in your home gym or outside. You can’t just sleepwalk your way through workouts, though. Instead, you need to mix up your routine—not just sets and reps, but your workout equipment, too.
Heavy squats and bench presses are mainstays for a reason: They build muscle. But to bust plateaus, challenge your body, and increase your workout motivation, you need to look beyond the traditional equipment in the gym, says Jon-Erik Kawamoto, C.S.C.S., and Thomas King, C.S.C.S., both strength and conditioning coaches at JK Conditioning in St. John’s, NL, Canada.
“Using novel equipment, you can target muscles you don’t normally target,” says Kawamoto. “You can also hit muscles with a different stimulus, which may be able to help you develop strength to move forward from a plateau.” And in crowded commercial gyms, utilizing less popular equipment can also save you time, which means doing more work per session.
We asked King and Kawamoto for the seven best pieces of workout equipment lifters typically don’t use, and how to properly add them into your routine.
A few warnings before you jump in, though: Use lighter weight until you figure out the proper technique. Be ready to devote more time to practicing proper form. After checking out our guide, ask a certified personal trainer or coach to assist with your form.
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