A home gym is often the cheapest way to get a workout. Additionally there are other benefits like not having to wait for the right machine to come free, having privacy to shout and scream or pad about in you pants if you so desire. Your own home gym is your domain to do as you like. All you got to do is pick the right equipment and you are off and running. So what is the correct workout gear – there is so much to choose from….
I find the best way to look at it is to think ok, i need some cardio equipment for warming up and doing some basic fitness exercises, but then I need some strength training equipment to get a muscle burn on and potentially develop some physique. After that I need “other” equipment – essentials like workout mats, a dang big mirror and a sound system of some sort. So what are my choices?
You want to pick the equipment that you can honestly see yourself using long term. This stuff can be expensive so you don’t want something that isn’t just going to turn into a clothes rack in a couple of weeks. Additionally some equipped has good resale values – think treadmills and higher end rowing machines. If you want to keep costs as low as possible it might be wise to pay out more upfront knowing you got resale value on the back end. If keeping your home gym as cheap as possible is the plan you could just opt for a skipping rope to take care of your cardio needs.
Your choices will include exercise bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, rowing machines and skipping ropes. Select a machine that you genuinely can use long term without injury or boredom.
To get real bang for your buck you want free weights – stay away from the isolation machines and multi gyms if you can. These machines look great but they are built for the average body – they ain’t tailor made for you – They may be more likely to injure you than free weighs in the long term, plus free weights can be stacked away more easily, can always be sold on at a later date and need less maintenance.
Depending on your budget you could go for a full on barbell set, adjustable dumbbells, a rack and a bench. With this equipment your covered for life. If money is no object opt for selecta style adjustable dumbbells so you can quickly hop between weights during sets. If your budget won’t stretch to the full set up then a barbell and squat rack would be my first port of call – that way you can do some serious compound moves like squat and dead lift and make good progress. If you get a cage like rack (used condition) you can always do pull ups and dips off that so you get a full compound workout.
If your budget ain’t at that point then dumbbells are your friend. Versatile in terms of possible workouts and a wide range on the market to select from – dumbbells are great when the budget ain’t happening.
Other equipment – otherwise known as luxury extras – include sound systems, mats, TV’s, fans, big ass mirrors – non essentially but nice stuff to have. A TV or a sound system is great when you are doing some long haul cardio but also useful in between weight sets whilst you are recovering (unless you are admiring yourself in that mirror)
Select from these three groups wisely and you will be able to accrue a nice personal gym over time or even right away if you want knowing full well you got value, resale and useful kit.