The gym can be a very intimidating place. Fortunately, setting up your own personal gym isn’t difficult. In the long run, it can even save you money compared with the monthly membership fees at a “real” gym. But there’s a lot to consider before you start investing in at-home exercise equipment: What’s your budget? How much space do you have? How motivated are you to get off your own butt when you don’t have the incentive of a personal trainer, workout buddy, or regularly scheduled group class?
What Types of Exercises Should You Do at Your Home Gym?
You’ll need some variety in your new at-home fitness program. You don’t want to overwork certain areas of your body while neglecting others, and you don’t want to bore yourself doing the same thing every day. So consider a range of exercises that will cover cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility.
- Cardio — You need to get that blood pumping. Running shoes, walking shoes, or a bicycle will do the trick, although you’ll have to leave the house for any of that. (If you have the budget and space, you could do those same exercises in a spare bedroom or basement with a stationary bike or a treadmill.)
- Strength training — Use free weights, exercise tubing, and/or resistance bands.
- Flexibility — A mat to lie on is really all you need. Choose from a variety of thicknesses depending on how much cushion you need for comfort.
Select the Right At-Home Exercise Equipment
When choosing at-home exercise equipment, look for items that will help you incorporate each of those three exercise categories into your various workouts. Consider also your available space. Do you have a dedicated workout room, or will you be storing your equipment in a closet when not in use? And finally, think about your budget.
Keeping these things in mind, the following at-home exercise equipment options should give you a good start on escaping all the unpleasantness at your local Fitness Factory:
- Exercise tubing and resistance bands are inexpensive options for strength training. They’re also easy to put away when not in use. They can even be incorporated into more intense cardiovascular exercises. Consider using them with an around-the-door anchor strap for even more versatility.
- Another strength training option is weights and kettlebells. Keep the budget low with just a few free weights, or go all out with a power cage, a bench, and racks of plates. You might also want to buy some foam tiles to protect your floors.
- Stationary bikes and treadmills are great for cardiovascular workouts. Consider also rowing machines, air bikes, and ellipticals. These machines can be pricey, though. If all you can afford is a jump rope and a set of dice, you can still get a great workout. If you plan to do a lot of sweating in a confined space, the breeze from a powerful fan can be a lifesaver.
- Crunches and planks can give you a good core workout without any equipment. But consider a balance ball or ab wheel for intensity and variety.
- For flexibility exercises, you’ll want a yoga mat to separate yourself from the floor. For deeper stretches, add a yoga strap, foam roller, yoga blocks, or that balance ball.
It is possible to create a workout area in the comfort of your own home. Choose the equipment that will help you meet your fitness goals while varying your workout as well.