Gym Equipment: What's What?

What are those obscure pieces of gym equipment for and how can they help you?


By Maddy Bond


Using a gym can be a daunting prospect. Treadmills, cross trainers, and weights are usually common fare. But sometimes there are bits of equipment you don’t know the name of, let alone how to use. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Gyms are filled with things to help you reach your goals, so this article will walk you through some of the more obscure pieces you might want to start using, and what they can do for your body.


That half ball-shaped, half flat balance thing has a name. The bosu is an excellent way to improve your stability and balance. While these two concepts can be synonymous, there is such a thing as joint stability, which involves the bones, ligaments, and muscles that surround and a joint system. Your body is host to many joint systems, including your shoulders, wrists, hips, ankles, and more.

Joint stability differs from person to person, but using an unstable platform like a bosu helps to strengthen the ligaments, tendons, and muscles supporting these systems. Next time you perform a plank, try using a bosu with your hands on its flat surface and see how it feels!


The total body resistance exercise (TRX) suspension training system is a favourite among personal trainers. Its handles can be adjusted to different heights, allowing a wide array of exercises. Not just for the gym, the TRX is also portable and can be hung in a doorway or from a tree. This particular piece of equipment can help with muscular development, endurance, strength, and stability. There are hundreds of demonstration videos online on how to use a TRX. Alternatively, ask a trainer in the gym for some tips.


The ViPR is a functional piece of equipment that can be used in a similar way to a barbell or as a fluid, movement-focused piece of equipment. The handles on the ViPR are positioned strategically so they can be used with different grips, allowing you to flow through different exercises. There are different sizes and weights of ViPRs available, meaning you can increase or decrease the intensity of your workout as required.


Parallettes are a great way to increase the intensity of your workout and train your range of motion (ROM) strength, which is related to joint strength. When performing a standard push up, your chest is, of course, unable to go lower than the floor. With parallettes your chest can reach a lower point, forcing your body to activate more muscles to press back up.

This further range of motion will strengthen your shoulder and elbow joints far more than a standard push up. Parallettes can be used to adjust hundreds of exercises, and open up the door to new ones too.

Maddy has worked in the health and fitness industry for 5 years. She has a bachelors in Exercise Science and has recently received her Masters in Exercise Physiology. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients as a Personal Trainer and loves helping people reach their goals and continue to grow.  She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking and whatever new experiences may come her way.

Main Photo Credit: vhpicstock/; Second Photo Credit: Di Studio/; Third Photo Credit: Pressmaster/

Nov 28, 2021