Gym Equipment for Beginners

So you’ve decided to join our gym; congratulations you’ve made the first steps to a fitter, healthier you! We understand that the first few times in a gym can be a daunting experience, but you have nothing to worry about. Our guide on gym equipment will help you become familiarised with the equipment available at Bluecoats in no time!

Bluecoats Sports have both an indoor and outdoor gym. Our indoor gym is full of Matrix equipment. Our cardiovascular equipment allows you to connect your machines to the Engage 360 app and stream live television including Netflix for a completely unique workout experience.

Our outdoor gym ‘The Fitness Yard‘ includes a shipping container full of the latest workout equipment from Escape Fitness including: vertballs, slam balls, barbells, core momentum trainers, plyo boxes. The Fitness yard also has 4 lift zones and squat racks, TRX suspension trainers, 4 sled tracks and brand new Matrix Rowers. What’s not to love! We have something for everyone; from complete novices to expert fitness lovers.

We’ve rounded up some of our most popular gym equipment for beginners so you can hit the ground running confidently with the equipment provided! There are many different types of equipment available; for targeting certain areas, read our guide below.

If you’re considering becoming a member at our gym in Horsham, take a look at our membership options. We have a wide selection of memberships to cater to all types of interests.

Cardio machines

These are great for losing weight and maintaining a healthy body composition by strengthening your heart, lungs and blood vessels. They are designed to improve your stamina, burn calories fast and are ideal for a full body workout routine.

These are all located on the upper floor of our the gym and the types of machines include:

  • Treadmills – Efficient workout for all fitness levels
  • Cross Trainers- Great low impact exercise for toning arms and legs
  • Rowing Machines – Improves stamina and overall fitness and strength and strengthens core
  • Exercise Bikes – Ideal for all levels of fitness to burn fat
  • Reclining Bikes – Great for maintaining good posture whilst working out your legs
  • Resistance Bikes – Ideal for full body workouts as these types of bikes move your arms and legs at the same time

Resistance machines

These are great for full body workouts and targeting certain areas by building muscle and strength gains, increasing mass and toning muscles. They help you master the essential movement patterns involved in weightlifting in a safe and controlled way and are ideal for people starting out or looking to improve form and start muscle building.

These are all located on the lower floor of our gym and include:

  • Chest Press Machine – Great for focusing on your chest muscles
  • Shoulder Press – Targets your shoulder muscles
  • Cable Machine – Can be used in multiple ways to work chest, triceps, biceps and more
  • Leg Press – Ideal for people looking to tone the lower body, particularly quads, glutes and hamstrings
  • Lat Pulldown – Perfect for targeting back muscles and engaging abs
  • Seated Row – Targets your back muscles, both in the upper and lower back

Free weights

Best for conditioning, free weights target functional and freestyle training. These are used for strength training and provide ‘free’ objects which aren’t attached to anything, offering a flexible approach to work out.

These are all located at the back of the gym both upstairs and downstairs and include:

  • Kettlebells – Great for improving grip strength, and overall strength and balance
  • TRX – Total body resistance exercise which uses your body weight and gravity for resistance to build strength; great for a full body workout
  • Barbells – Great for working on multiple muscle groups simultaneously with good stability
  • Resistance Bands- Allow you to challenge your endurance as they prevent momentum from weights

What gym equipment should I use?

The types of gym equipment you should use depends on your goals and body workout routine. Some people choose to train all major muscle groups and do a full body gym workout, whereas others like to target different areas in their workout routines.

If you’re not sure how to use any of our equipment, make sure you speak to one of our Fitness Instructors. Not only will you ensure you don’t injure yourself, you can get some helpful advice and guidance on your fitness journey.

Cardio training

Cardio training is great for calorie burning, improving stamina and weight loss. A cardio workout takes into account a full range of motion and is ideal for beginners looking to get fit and work out. Training sessions can be varied and are subjective to the individual.

Top cardio training tips for beginners

  • Warm up – On any cardio machine, start with a moderate pace, working out the whole body for around 5 minutes to raise your heart rate gradually.
  • Set your baseline – This is the speed or resistance that is slightly out of your comfort zone; making you feel like you working but still able to talk. Stay on this for 5 minutes
  • Increase your incline or resistance– Allowing you to work harder than your baseline, increasing your heart rate and metabolic rate. Push yourself for 1 to 3 minutes at this level.
  • Drop back to your baseline level – Reduce the incline or resistance you’ve set and maintain this level for 3 minutes.
  • Repeat – Repeat your increased levels and drop back to your baseline; repeat for 3 to 5 times. Over time, you should aim to increase both your baseline and incline as your fitness levels improve
  • Cool down – Reduce your baseline over 5 minutes for a comfortable cool down to finish your full body workout.

If you have any shortness of breath, dizziness or fatigue you should reduce the amount of times you repeat your incline and baseline. As your fitness level improves, you will be able to increase the intensity of your workout routine.

Example cardio training routine

  • 5 minute brisk walk on the treadmill
  • 30 minute workout on the cross trainer
  • 5 minutes baseline
  • 3 minute increased incline
  • 3 minute baseline
  • 3 minute increased incline
  • 3 minute baseline
  • 3 minute increased inline
  • 3 minute baseline
  • 2 minute increased incline
  • 5 minute cooldown
  • 5 minute cooldown on bike
  • 5 minute stretches

Weight training

Weight training, also known as resistance and strength training helps build lean muscle and promotes muscle growth. A common misconception is that weight training is just for people who just want to gain muscle, but it helps improve mobility, strength and boosts your metabolism.

What are reps and sets?

You may have heard these terms when discussing weight training and workout routines. You should start with 10-15 reps per exercise over 1 to 2 sets and over time increase sets and weights.

Reps – A Rep (repetition) is one complete exercise movement
Set – A set is the number of reps completed consecutively at one time

For example, if you were doing dumbbell shoulder presses and completed the exercise 10 times (reps) in a row, this would be one set. Once taking a rest, if you were to complete the exercise another 10 times (reps), this would be your second set.

Top weight training tips for beginners

  • Warm up – Take advantage of our aerobic machines (listed above) to warm up your body for 5-10 minutes, for example, a brisk walk on the treadmill or a cycle on one of our cycling machines will be sufficient to prime your body for a great workout.
  • Start with lighter weights – Beginning with weights that you can easily lift with proper form is essential for a great body workout. How much weight you start with is up to you; but make sure you are able to do 1 to 2 sets with 10 reps and once comfortable, move to three sets or more.
  • Increase weights gradually – When you are comfortable with three sets of 10 reps you can add more weight. Begin with 1 to 2 sets of an increased weight and move to 3 sets over time.
  • Rest between sets – This is essential to prevent muscle fatigue and to maintain the most effective workout. You should aim to rest between 30 and 60 seconds for each set.
  • Set a timeframe for your workout – Optimum workouts should be no longer than 45 minutes. This is to reduce the likelihood of muscle fatigue and injury.
  • Stretch after your workout – Cooling down after a workout increases your blood flow and body temperature and lessens risk of injury and muscle soreness.
  • Allow for rest days – Giving time for muscle recovery is essential to replenish your energy stores before your next workout.

Many people choose to target a muscle group for each workout, for example swapping between an upper body workout and lower body workout will ensure that your muscles do not get fatigued.

Example weight training routine (arms)

  • 5 minute warmup on crosstrainer
  • 30 minute weights workout – each 5 minutes to include 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • 5 minutes – bicep curls
  • 5 minutes – shoulder press
  • 5 minutes – push ups
  • 5 minutes – lateral raise
  • 5 minutes – chest fly
  • 5 minutes – tricep extension
  • 5 minute cooldown on treadmill
  • 5 minute stretches

What to achieve in your first week at the gym

When you sign up for gym membership at Bluecoat Sports, you will receive a 30 minute induction where you will meet one of our fitness instructors. They will show you all of the equipment we offer and how to use our dedicated Engage 360 app. The app gives you access to a variety of workouts with step by step guides on how to complete these yourselves. Our equipment connects with the app to allow you to track your progress and join in on challenges.

Further to this, you can book in for a 1 hour programme appointment with one of our fitness instructors who will then create a customised programme to fit your fitness requirements and goals; whether this is to lose weight, build muscle or improve form, their professional advice will get you on the right path in no time.

Once you’ve had the opportunity to review the gym yourself and try out our machines, you will be able to book into a 30 minute review appointment where you can discuss the training programme provided by our team; and tweak the intensity or exercises to progress your fitness routine further.

Our fitness instructors are on hand throughout the day and are happy to assist you with any fitness or health questions you have. They are able to show you exactly how to use machines, assist you with form and provide any other information.

What are you waiting for?

If you haven’t already, sign up for one of our memberships; we have many options available including full membership to our gym, classes, courses and facilities and gym only membership for those wanting focus their fitness journey in the gym.

We are excited to announce that The Gallery Café is having a re-brand and a makeover!

To allow for the refurbishment to take place, the existing café area will be closed from 27th November 2023 and will re-open in early January 2024.

Find out more here.