Bringing a wealth of physical and mental benefits, exercise is essential no matter your age. Having a home gym is great for those who prefer to workout alone or want better flexibility in terms of the time they workout. You can walk straight from your living room to your gym, taking out the time it takes to travel there and allowing you to just get on with it. Convinced? Start with our guide to setting up a home gym, including equipment you should consider getting.
Establish your essentials
A home gym doesn’t have to be an expensive investment. Start by deciding on your absolute must-haves, which may include the following:
- Resistance bands – These can be used for a number of exercises and warm-ups. Get a few in varying lengths and strengths.
- Bench – Every gym needs an adjustable bench.
- Dumbbells – It should come as no surprise that dumbbells are key for a decent home gym. If you can get a set of dumbbells in different weights, go for it, as you’ll need to progressively overload your muscles to see results. If you can’t afford them or want to save on space, purchase adjustable weights and a few plates.
- Barbell and plates – From compound movements like squats and deadlifts to accessory exercises such as hip thrusts, barbells are a must for those who want to focus on gaining muscle.
- Skipping rope – This is a great way to get in some cardio quickly, without going over your budget.
- Medicine balls – Also known as weighted balls are great for practising core strength as well as a variety of other full body movements.
Much of the above are fairly cheap, especially the likes of resistance balls and skipping ropes. You may not feel as though you require all of them – exercise is a very personal thing, after all.
Choose your space
Finding the perfect space for your home gym can be tricky, especially for those living in small apartments. If you have a garage or another outdoor building that you can convert, then the world is your oyster in terms of creating your own gym. While you may need some extras such as interlocking foam floor mats to make the space more comfortable, the likes of garages are perfect for transforming as they tend to be larger.
If, on the other hand, you have a spare bedroom or even just an area in your bedroom, you’ll need to be more stringent with the equipment you get. Choose smaller pieces such as dumbbells, resistance bands and kettlebells over the likes of barbells to really optimize your space. Be mindful if you’re in an apartment building and have people living below you – you don’t want to be banging around a heavy barbell and disturb your neighbours.
You may be satisfied once you’ve shopped the essentials, especially if you’re only training there part time. For those who really want to up their home gym game, you may want to invest in some more advanced pieces:
- Squat rack – a great investment for the likes of squats, lunges, rows and deadlifts, especially if you’re an advanced lifter.
- Cable machine – if you can invest in one piece of advanced gym equipment, make it a cable machine. The exercises you can do using just a cable machine and its attachments seem endless.
- Punching bag – boxing has a plethora of health benefits, improving cardiovascular fitness, bone health and assists in gaining muscle mass.
- Cardio machines – there are a number of options when it comes to cardio machines, including stationary bikes, treadmills, rowers, cross trainers and stair masters.
- Gym machines – while they aren’t necessary, equipment like leg press, lat pulldown machines and leg extensions are great.
You likely won’t need all of the above, and your choice will depend largely on the kind of exercise you do as well as your budget and space.
As well as equipment, there are a few extras you should grab depending on your space. Heaters, fans and the like are a must, helping you control the temperature so you feel comfortable when you workout. Exercise mats are great if your floor is uncomfortable, particularly if you do a lot of bodyweight exercises. Nobody likes a drab environment, so fill it with motivational posters, plants and mirrors so you can check out your form.
While it may be slightly costly, a home gym is a worthy investment. Don’t feel as though you have to buy everything at once; start with the essentials and work your way through your list to make your dream gym.