It seems that the modern concept of a gym is quite different than the gyms of yesteryear, where you went to train under a famous trainer who took you under his wing and taught and showed you how to achieve abetter body.
The gyms that I have recently visited think that the secret lies in how much equipment they can stuff into any given area (as if the equipment was able to communicate with you).
No instruction is given except that they point out various machines and state that this machine is for pecs, lats, biceps, or whatever muscle you inquire about.
My experience in visiting these places is that I am invariably mobbed by these trainees seeking one thing, information. My students know that muscle growth has a direct correlation between mental concentration and muscle function.
Mindless exercising on fancy equipment can not possibly achieve the desired results that two simple dumbbells or a barbell in the hands of a master can produce. The art of this medium is knowing how, when, and why. Then, after hours of introspection, forming a blue print, and utilizing your power of concentration, the equipment you need can be found in the local dump. No champions I’ve ever known relied solely on equipment to get their builds!
In short, the more you know about training, the simpler the equipment you need and the faster your results will come.
P.S. For all you equipment freaks; Serge Nubret came by for a workout last week. He did lats and biceps. In his 45 minute routine, he did compounds, straight sets and circuits using the overhead pull down and a chin bar - and believe me, he knows something about working out.
(It has taken me 30 years to figure out the most important answer to the question.)
(IronMan, January 1982)