Putting together a home gym can get expensive. Of course, everyone would like to have a fully outfitted space with all of the latest equipment. Limited funds and space make that impossible for most, forcing you to narrow down your options.
As you pick and choose what equipment to buy to start your collection, here are the top 10 pieces of home fitness equipment that we recommend:
Running, or even walking, is one of the best full-body workouts available. A home treadmill makes it easy for you to log your miles, no matter what the weather is doing outside. More expensive models will offer a broader range of options regarding resistance level and data storage, but even a more budget-friendly treadmill can keep you moving in the right direction when it comes to your health and fitness goals.
An elliptical training machine offers many of the same benefits of a treadmill without the wear and tear on your joints. The moveable handles common to most models allow you to incorporate your upper body into the workout. Another benefit to the elliptical is the ability to go in reverse, which allows you to switch up your workout and use different muscles for a while.
On the downside, ellipticals typically have fewer options when it comes to resistance levels and the momentum of the machine can make the work easier for you.
For a similar workout on a smaller machine, a fitness stepper is more budget and space-friendly. Fitness steppers are extremely easy to operate. It’s just like climbing a set of stairs, without all the extra wear on your treads. One disadvantage to fitness steppers is that they can be hard on the joints. One way to prevent this is to take firm, even steps, rather than hopping to the next step.
These versatile machines are expensive and take up a lot of floor space, but if you can manage both, they provide an endless array of workout possibilities. These come in a huge variety of styles, so you will have to do your research to decide which one will work best for you.
Do be aware that a machine can sometimes interfere with a natural range of motion, which means that the lifts you are doing in your home gym may not accurately mimic the type of lifting you would be doing outside of a workout.
These reclined bikes are less likely to cause soreness, as they have a wider, more comfortable seat. This also provides lower back support. Recumbent bikes are a good choice for anyone with stability issues, as it allows you to get a low-impact workout in without any danger of losing your balance.
An upright bike, on the other hand, takes up less floor space and also provides more of a full-body workout. Keeping yourself balanced in the upright position requires you to engage your core, giving your abs a workout as well.
If you enjoy riding outside when weather permits, an upright bike will give you a more accurate recreation of outdoor riding. Standing on the pedals during sprints increases the intensity of the workout, but this is also one of the most common ways to get injured on a home exercise bike.
Home rowing machines are a great way to build muscle, burn fat, and increase endurance, all without putting any stress on your joints and working your upper and lower body. They are one of the few machines that combine cardio and strength training, making for one very efficient workout.
On the downside, rowing machines take up a lot of space and aren’t very easy to move. Some models can also be quite noisy. One important factor to remember is that proper form is very important on a rowing machine to prevent injury.
An ab roller, also known as a core wheel, is an inexpensive piece of equipment that makes it easy for you to increase the difficulty of your core workout once your basic crunches and bicycle kicks become too easy. This is especially true if your main goal is to build muscle.
Studies show that after 10 reps, you are increasing endurance rather than building muscle. Most people can reach 10 reps of basic core exercises fairly quickly, and then need some way to kick it up a notch.
If you’re into strength training, adjustable dumbbells allow you to increase weight without taking up a ton of space. Traditional dumbbells will have weight plates that can be swapped out as needed. These are very secure, but slow down your workout if you are using different weights for different lifts.
More complex sets have varying methods of adjusting the weight, all of which can be done very quickly to keep your workout moving. Be very certain that all locking mechanisms are working before doing any lifting with them, however.
Buying a home weight bench is one of the best investments you can make in your home gym. Strength training is obviously very good for building muscle, but a challenging weight lifting routine can also be an excellent fat burner. While the weight bench itself can be gotten fairly cheap, the barbells and weights to go along with it can get expensive.
Unlike a machine, free weights give you a totally natural range of motion, which means you will be better prepared to lift those heavy boxes when you’re helping your new neighbor move in. On the other hand, free weights require a spotter, which can be difficult to arrange if you are working out at home.
Having a home gym gives you the freedom to get your workout in whenever you want, and the privacy that many people prefer while panting and sweating.
A very thorough full-body workout can be planned out without any equipment at all, especially for those new to fitness. However, as you get stronger, some basic equipment will help you increase the difficulty of your workouts and keep your progress going. Any of the above-listed equipment, if used properly, will give you a safe and vigorous workout and will be an excellent beginning to creating your own home gym.