Top 11 Fitness Equipment Pieces For Your Home Gym

February 26, 2016


Health clubs always give you excuses for not working out. Some clubs are too expensive. Some are too far away. The hours are inconvenient. They are too crowded. The music is too loud — or too soft.

The excuses are endless. If you want to build fitness rather than invent excuses, there is nothing more convenient than having a gym in your own home, designed for your individual workout needs.

Your first step in setting up your home gym is choosing the right space.

If you plan to use heavy pieces of cardio equipment or machines with large weight stacks, either use a basement room or have a professional check the load-bearing capacity of your floor.

Next, invest in floor mats or pads to protect your floor. Finally, make sure you have enough space to work out safely.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all adults should aim for a weekly minimum of two strength-training sessions and 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of intense cardiovascular exercise.

What this means is that your home gym should have at least one piece of cardio equipment and strength training equipment that enables you to work all major muscle groups in both pushing and pulling directions.

1. Treadmill

If you want a versatile piece of cardio equipment that allows people of all ages and fitness levels to get a good workout, choose a solidly built treadmill with an incline adjustment.

Heavier people and fast runners will need a sturdier, higher weight-capacity model, while older exercisers may appreciate solid hand rails for extra support. For safety, choose a model with an emergency stop device.

2. Stationary Bicycle


A favorite choice for people with knee problems, stationary bicycles are safe, convenient and compact. You can choose from upright or recumbent models, or even ones with arms for a full-body workout.

The hardcore enthusiast can do challenging workouts with high resistance and pedaling speed, and the more casual exerciser can build fitness while relaxing with a book, movie or laptop.

3. Elliptical Trainer


When you walk into the cardio section of a health club, no matter how many other types of equipment are empty, there are always people waiting for the ellipticals. At home, you can have the elliptical without the lines.

The reason these machines are so popular is that they give a versatile, low-impact workout, using several different muscle groups.

You can crank up the intensity without stressing your joints and vary the muscles you use by alternating backwards and forwards motion and adjusting the incline. Choose a model with arms for a full-body workout.

4. Rowing Machine


For an ultimate high-intensity, non-impact cardio workout, choose a rowing machine or ergometer. These give a challenging full body workout that uses your back, legs, shoulders and arms.

It normally takes a few weeks to master the technique, but once you have learned the proper form, you can use this for regular cardio or high-intensity intervals.

5. Jump Rope


If you are short on space but want a high-caliber workout, invest in a weighted jump rope. It is not just for kids. A long-time favorite of boxers, it promotes agility and coordination as well as giving a fast-paced cardio workout that uses both legs and arms.

Best of all, you can channel your inner child with all your favorite remembered schoolyard rope tricks.

6. Weight Bench


Whatever exercises you plan to do, you will need a weight bench. If you have limited space, buy an adjustable model that enables you to do incline, decline and seated exercises.

Some bench systems have racks for barbells or attachments for leg curls and extensions.

7. Dumbbells


A good dumbbell set lets you do exercises for every muscle in your body. If you have adequate space, you can set up a dumbbell rack with individual dumbbells at weights from 5 to over 50 pounds in five pound increments.

If space is limited, choose a single set of adjustable dumbbells to which you can add weight plates as needed. A good set of dumbbells is a long-term investment. They will still be usable when your grandchildren retire.

8. Resistance Bands


For the ultimate in versatility and space-saving convenience, invest in a set of resistance bands. Although they may not look imposing, they can be the foundation of a full-body strength workout for all but the most hard-core bodybuilders.

Make sure to have a good selection of bands, including longer and shorter bands, and some bands with handles.

Just as dumbbells come in a variety of weights, so different types of band produce different amounts of tension. Accessories such as door attachments and wrist/ankle cuffs allow for a greater range of exercises.

9. Stability or Exercise Ball


Most people know that doing crunches and twisting crunches on a stability ball is a great abdominal workout. Even better, using a ball in place of a bench can build core and stabilizing muscles as you do many upper body and leg exercises.

As well as choosing a ball of the right size, you’ll need a ball pump to keep the ball properly inflated. An under-inflated ball gives you a less effective workout.

10. Multi-Gym


A multi-gym system, that arranges a group of traditional weight machines around a shared weight stack, allows you to reproduce a health club in a corner of your own house.

The most common choices include attachments for chest press, flyes, reverse flyes, overhead press, pull-overs, leg press, leg curl and leg extension, with high and low pulleys for pull-downs and bicep curls.

11. Entertainment System


You won’t work out if you are not having fun. Choose a combined music and television system so you can listen to your favorite tunes as you lift and entertain yourself with movies or TV shows as you do cardio.

Make sure to place your system so that you can view the screen comfortably without straining your neck.

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