This post is sponsored by Bayshore Fit. All opinions are my own. Thank you for your support of My Healthyish Life!
In the eight months that I’ve been consistently strength training I’ve gotten into a good routine in the weight room. I pick my corner (or bench if I’m lucky), grab my dumbbells or kettlebell and do my workout. Sometimes I’m crazy and use the cables or machines but, for the most part, I stick to what I know.
For many reasons that mindset and routine are not doing me any favors.
Not that the workouts I typically do aren’t challenging (I make sure to use heavy-for-me weights), but I know there is more I could be doing and experimenting with in the gym. Truthfully? It’s intimidating. I think of myself as a novice in the weight room and while I do know the basics, those huge machines, plates and barbells sometimes make me want to run the opposite direction (or just go running instead of lifting at all).
However, if I want to get stronger (mentally and physically) I need to push myself. I did a lot of workout-experimentation last summer in NYC, but that routine I mentioned above has held strong for a long time. So, with the help of the trainers at Bayshore Fit, I got out of my workout comfort zone. Turns out, anyone can use the “big, scary” equipment. You don’t have to be an experienced Crossfitter or lifter to pick up a barbell and put together a workout.
The trainers took me through a workout using the half-rack, a new piece of equipment added as part of the gym’s 2,200 square ft. expansion. If you’re in the Tampa area, be sure to check out the new space and equipment at Bayshore Fit!
First, I learned how to set up the dang thing for myself. I adjusted the pegs to the height I wanted for the first exercise and then picked my bar. Bayshore Fit has two sizes of barbells: 44 lbs (men) and 33 lbs (women). That weight alone could be enough for certain exercises! It was for me, as you’ll see below with bicep curls. Once I got my bar on the peg, I added plates and safety clips. They offer 5, 10 and 25 lb plates.
Then I slid the bench under the bar for my first exercise: incline chest press. This weight was manageable for me, but if you need assistance the trainers are happy to spot you.
When I was done, I placed the bar back on the pegs and moved the bench out of the way for the rest of the exercises. Next up: chin-ups on the bar (inverted chin-up). I never thought to do this move! The key is to let your upper body do most of the work by keeping as little weight in your feet as possible. The farther out your legs, the harder the movement.
Then I removed the bar, moved the pegs to the lowest setting and re-racked the bar for incline tricep push-ups. I struggle with tricep push-ups so incline helps me keep good form.
I stepped away from the rack but kept the bar for the next set of exercises.
Squats and RDL‘s (Romanian Dead Lift) are two of my favorite moves but I typically use dumbbells when I’m on my own. Placing a barbell on your neck instead of dumbbells is much better, in my opinion. Form and safety are always the most important aspects of lifting so the trainers started me at this weight for the first go-around. In the future I will slowly increase the weight to challenge myself.
I removed the plates and just used the bar for bicep curls. Basic curls but with a
To finish off the workout, I put the bar back and just used the plates for core work. A 10 lb plate for jackknives (v-ups) and straight leg crunches, or if you’re me, as straight-as-you-can-get-your-legs crunches.
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There are so many more exercises I could have done with the half-rack, barbell and plates: rows, overhead press, clean-and-press, lunges, etc. Taking apart the equipment and looking at the pieces individually (instead of one monster piece) helped my confidence a ton.
Having guidance from trainers is so beneficial for first-time and experienced lifters. It may take an ounce or two of courage to ask for help but it’s worth it in the long run.
Katie - hungry-runner.com says
Help from trainers, especially with weight lifting and gym equipment — and especially when you’re first starting out — is so invaluable! I’m so glad I decided to work with a trainer when I was just starting out. Even if it was just for a few months, now I have a that knowledge to keep up with strength training for life!
Couldn’t agree more. Just a few sessions can be the key to staying confident and injury free.
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says
This just gave me so many ideas for new moves to try! I never thought of the chin ups on the bar like that! I think it is so important to have someone watch you for form on new pieces of equipment for at least the first few times doing it. When I started using my bar and bench set that I bought, my brother watched me and helped me to improve my form since he is used to the moves I was doing from his own CF classes. It definitely pays off to have someone help you out in the beginning, and to show you unique moves to try!
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Runner’s CrossFit Workout
My mom suggested doing the chin-ups on the bar because she does them with her clients a lot!
So helpful that you have your brother to get you started with the equipment. It makes a huge difference.
Sarah @pickyrunner says
Having someone show you how to use the equipment at first is so helpful. When I swam in college we did weight room so I kind of learned, but I’m still pretty intimidated by everything and usually stick to dumbbells (kidding, I stick to CorePower…). It’s good to branch out and try new things though!
Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…Workouts 7/4-7/10
I feel like I’ve had many smaller “introductions” to the weight room, but for the most part figured it out as time went on (and I did my research). I’m glad I had this opportunity though because I don’t think I would have taken it upon myself to learn barbells/racks.
Claire @ My Pink & Green Life says
Nope, I skip over that intimidating equipment all the way! I’ve always wanted to learn how to use a barbell instead of dumbbells, though. I should really just go for it while I can still use my college gym. This looks like a great workout–also, I love your polka-dotted shorts. :)
Claire @ My Pink & Green Life recently posted…Travel: My grandpa’s cottage on Lake Huron, Forest, Ontario
I would go to my college gym early in the morning when no one was there to intimidate me. But there are still trainers who can help you out!
You should see me walking into the gym with all the guys who know what they’re doing, and I kind of creep in and find a corner. However, it is fun trying things out, and I’ve found the best thing is to have a plan of what moves you are going to do. I love that you shared such detailed pictures, and I have to say that your focus (whenever you take workout pictures) is impressive. :)
Emily recently posted…Why ‘Every Life Matters’ Is Not A Lie
I love that you do that Em! Because you’re right- it is fun to try things out (safely :)). I never know whether to smile or be serious in these photos!
Susie @ SuzLyfe says
It is so important to have someone show you how to use the gym equipment properly–regardless of what it is. You wouldn’t just start to drive a car, would you? But then once you know how it works, there is so much you can do! I try to use a bit of everything, but I tend to stay away from barbells–I think it is because that is Alex’s domain, lol.
Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…One Amazing Summer Weekend (Carbtervention)
Exactly. Whenever you go to a new workout studio you have to get there early to learn the equipment. It only makes sense to do the same in a gym!
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
I’ve gotten better at mixing stuff up lately, but barbells still scare me. Why? Who knows. But I’ll try them :)
And my “straight-leg” is pretty funny, too. SUCH tight hamstrings.
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Paleo(ish) Works for Me. What Works for You?
Oh hamstrings. How I hate thee.
I’m terrified of the big, chunky gym equipment. Mostly because that section is full of huge, burly guys! But also because I have no idea what I’m doing. You made this look super easy.
Megan recently posted…Why the world needs your story
Yeah I know what you mean. The people there can be just as intimidating as the equipment!
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
You’re missing out on all the goods if you don’t ask and seek help if you’re unsure!!
I am such a dumbbell and barbell girl, through and through!
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Blueberry Yogurt Banana Bread
Asking for help is such a simple task but the benefits are HUGE!
Britney @ Savour and Shine says
I love this! Sometimes I find the gym intimidating, but once you master a new machine and gain confidence, you open yourself up to so many new great exercises!
That’s exactly it! I don’t feel limited in what I can do/use at the gym now.
Rebecca @ Vitamin OH! says
I find some gym equipment intimidating, but mostly I find the fact that people will watch me try to figure out how to use them more intimidating! I wish I could learn stuff after hours when no one else is around.
Rebecca @ Vitamin OH! recently posted…Nike Summer Series Race #1
I completely understand that feeling! And experience it a lot. I’m much more comfortable when no one else is around (unfortunately that’s not as often as I’d like!).
Kristy from Southern In Law says
This is such a great post! As I generally workout at home, I definitely feel a little bit intimidated whenever I’m in a gym setting!
Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recipe: Marbled Chocolate Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal (Vegan)
Whenever I’m out of the gym for a while I feel the same way! Usually it takes two sessions to feel more comfortable (but that’s just doing my own, simple dumbbell routine).
heather @Lunging Through Life says
Great informational post! Seriously this stuff intimidates me too, haha. The exercises you can do with the various equipment work your body in a great and different way!
heather @Lunging Through Life recently posted…8 Month Baby Favorites
It’s much easier for me when no one is around in the weight room, but that never seems to happen! I’m glad I know the basic technique so I can feel more confident in the future.