But how about for the average guy just looking to gain some strength and maybe put on some size?
If you're looking for the most well-rounded gym experience—without necessarily springing for the frills—there are a few pieces of equipment you should make sure the place you're considering has on board.
Here, five pieces of equipment your gym must have before you join—and once you're a member, use religiously. We talked to two trainers for their take on what should be at your disposal.
"As opposed to the straight bar which can be problematic for a lot of guys, this is the most back-and user-friendly way to learn how to deadlift," says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., owner of CORE in Boston, Massachusetts. "And, it's quite a versatile piece of equipment—it can be used for single leg work and carries as well."
"[This offers] core and total-body fitness anywhere, and access to pull exercises," says Jack. Your stance and angles can make the pulling easier or harder, so it's an ideal way to help build your bodyweight strength if you can't quite bust out some unassisted pullups.
"When it comes to user-friendliness, it's hard to beat a sled," says Gentilcore. "It's great for strength work and conditioning." Sled pushes can help you build power and strength, and completely torches your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core.
You can do so much with kettlebells: swings, deadlifts, presses—the list goes on and on. Jack says he uses them all the time, and they're a must-have for every gym.
Jason Brown, C.S.C.S., owner of Kettlebell Athletics in Philadelphia, told Men's Health previously that kettlebell exercises are "designed for higher, faster repetitions performed for a minute or more."
"You’ll activate dozens of muscles instead of just a few, which increases your body’s fat-burning metabolism," Brown said.
Battle ropes not only help you build upper-body strength, but they give you an amazing cardio workout, too—Jack recommends incorporating them into your workout routine.
John Brookfield, creator of the original battling-ropes system, told Men's Health, "The key to their effectiveness is that they work each arm independently, eliminating strength imbalances as they sculpt your muscle."
While you can use dumbbells, kettlebells, or machines to work each arm separately, you won't get as good of a cardio workout with them.