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Your Ultimate Guide on How to Use The Best Exercise Equipment
Whether you're a fitness newbie or gym junkie, using exercise equipment correctly is essential to achieving your goals and preventing injury. To get you on the fast track to feeling sexy and confident, we've come up with the ultimate how-to guide for the top pieces of gym gear. #MakeFitHappen, with proper form.
How to Use a Kettlebell
Ah, the kettlebell. It's either a piece of equipment you have an actual love-hate relationship with, or it's the one you're too scared to touch. No matter which, know that giving it a swing won't let you down. Just make sure you keep your feet hip-width apart and use your hips to thrust the kettlebell up and in front of you as you exhale. Tighten your abs and glutes to keep your body steady through the reps. Hellooo, hot bod.
Related: A 20-Minute Kettlebell HIT Workout
How to Use a Jump Rope
We know you're thinking, "Umm, this can't be that hard. I've been an expert since I was six." But to maximize its full fitness potential beyond a playground pastime, nail these tips:
1. Always make sure to adjust the rope to your height before you get started. The handles of the rope should hit your armpit.
2. Pull the rope back slightly and bring those elbows toward your body. Don't jump in between—you know, that extra little hop you'd always do while waiting for the rope to come around. Instead, quicken your wrist rotation so each jump comes over the rope.
3. If you're ready for CrossFit-style jumping, try double unders, where the rope completes two rotations under your feet in one jump.
How to Use a BOSU Ball
Revamp your workouts with this bad boy. Every lunge and squat will be super challenging because you're forcing your core to work harder as you keep your balance through your favorite muscle toners. No more flat floor!
How to Use a Body Bar
The perfect piece of exercise equipment to transition up to heavier weights. If you're not ready for the weight of a bench press bar (about 44 pounds) in the weight room, try grabbing a body bar. You'll work the same muscles, and you can build up weight as you progress. Keep on raising that bar, girl.
How to Use a Foam Roller
Meet the foam roller—your fitness frenemy. Sure, rolling out your tight muscles isn't exactly the most pleasant experience, but trust us. The minor discomfort totally pays off when you're raring to go for tomorrow's workout. Cringe now, ahh later.
Related: Foam Rolling Tips for Runners
How to Use a Stability Ball
Remember when stability balls were all the rage in fitness toys? Better keep 'em trending, because they can add some major burn to just about any exercise. Some of our favorites: crunches, skull crushers and chest presses. Try this workout to see what we mean.
How to Use a Medicine Ball
If you're over dumbbells (it happens), medicine balls are a great way to spice up your regular routine. Try this fun move: While doing crunches, throw the ball up in the air. When your chest reaches your knees, catch the ball before you roll back to the ground.
How to Work Out Using Your Own Body Weight
No gym? No prob. You can always squeeze in a major sweat without any exercise equipment. We like to categorize this jumping jack–burpee combo as one of those hurt-so-good moves. To really hit your core, add a plank and alternate bringing your knees to either elbow.
How to Choose the Right Amount of Weight to Lift
We've all been there—stuck standing in front of a rack of dumbbells at the gym, clueless about which to grab. The golden rule: Start light and work your way up. If you notice you start to arch your back while doing reps, drop 'em, girl! It means they're too heavy. Stick with what's right for you, and you'll work your way up to those heftier weights in no time.