If you like to exercise – and even if you don’t – a home gym offers valuable advantages that can keep you moving regularly. Namely, you can’t beat the convenience of home gyms, where you don’t have to fight traffic, look for a locker or wear your best workout apparel.
Plus, with a home gym, it might be harder to blow off a workout when you’re looking all day at the equipment in your home.
The best home gyms are not necessarily the ones with the most equipment, or the most expensive items. Really, the best home gyms are the ones that get used regularly.
That said, home gyms that are consistently in operation usually are well-equipped. And while you don’t have to spend a fortune, it’s important not to scrimp with your home gym. If you buy cheap equipment, it won’t feel good, may break and you end up not using it.
Assembling a quality home gym:
- Cardio equipment – Pick a machine that you (and others at home, if applicable) will use. Don’t get a stationary bike simply because it costs less than a treadmill. If you don’t like cycling, you are wasting your money. And don’t buy the cheapest model, because you get what you pay for. Shop at specialty fitness stores for the highest quality equipment that will last a long time.
- Strength training options – You can choose among gyms with multiple stations, selectorized weight stacks and cables and pulleys if you have the space and money. Or buy some dumbbells, kettlebells and/or a barbell or two, along with an adjustable bench if you can fit it in your gym. You can also use a group exercise step as an economical bench. Elastic tubing and resistance bands, or suspension straps, are versatile and inexpensive.
- Flexibility tools – Really, all you need for stretching is a mat, which can be used for strength exercises, yoga and Pilates as well.
- Workout DVDs – If you don’t have a cardio machine, a few good DVDs can deliver excellent cardio (and strength) workouts at home, with instruction and motivation. You also can pick DVDs for yoga, Pilates, stretching and more to add variety to your home gym.
- Accessories – Accessories add many options to your workouts. While they aren’t absolutely necessary, they do enhance exercises and motivation. These include stability balls, balance disks, foam rollers, jump ropes, BOSU Balance trainers, medicine balls and more.
However you outfit your home gym, be sure to use it!