Want to start a home gym but don’t know what equipment you need? Read on to discover the essential equipment for the perfect home gym.
Building a home gym can be exciting. You finally have somewhere to train that’s all yours, which means you won’t have to travel to the local gym to wait in line for equipment to be free. However because you’ll have much less space, you must plan ahead carefully.
Before buying any equipment you need to ask yourself a few questions first, like what you’re going to use it for, how many people will use it, and how you like to train.
Once you do, you’ll be clearer on what to buy next and you can make sure you get the right pieces of kit for your gym.
If you’re not quite sure where to start, don’t worry, because in this article we’re going to help you answer those difficult questions so you can select the must have pieces of equipment for your home gym.
Essential Questions to Consider Before you Build your Home Gym
Identifying Your Space
There are different types of home gyms and simply saying the word can mean different things to different people. You might have some space in your bedroom that you’ve carved out for exercise, you might have a full spare room that you’re going to convert you might even have an entire garage that you’re going to transform into a gym, and that’s why identifying your working space is the most important first step.
Figure out how much space you have available to you and where you’re going to build your gym, then you can start to build out your perfect gym.
What are your Goals?
The next step is to figure out what you’re going to be training and what your goals are. If you love powerlifting, you’re going to need some heavier equipment than if you’re only going to focus on cardio, so have a real conversation with yourself about what you’ll be doing in the gym. It’s also worth considering how you plan to progress over time. If you plan to lift weights, but you’re a novice lifter, you need to think ahead to when you do get stronger, and what equipment you may need down the line.
Who Will Use the Gym?
In addition to what your training will look like, you need to think about who’s going to use the gym. If it’s only for you then that’s great you can include what you want, but if others are going to train with you, like a friend or family member, then you need to plan for that beforehand. Do you have enough equipment for you both? Will you be training at the same time? Do you have the same goals? Answer these questions first to make sure no one is left disappointed.
What About Storage?
If you’re going to use a room that is used for other things then you need to have to think about storage. Do you have somewhere that you can store all of your equipment and will you be able to move it on your own? The last thing you want is to end up with a dining room that nobody can eat their lunch in because they have to step over your weights.
Must Have Equipment for your Home Gym
You’ve answered the questions, you know how you want to train and you’ve considered who’ll be training with you, now it’s time to take a look at the must have pieces of equipment for your home gym. We’ve covered a range of items here that can help you train your entire body, so let’s take a look.
Adjustable dumbbells are simply some of the best and most essential pieces of kit for any home gym. Whether your goal is to build muscle and improve your strength or to tone your body and work on your shape, dumbbells are the do-it-all pieces of equipment that you can use for every goal.
Whether you want to squat, bench, or work on your core, dumbbells are the ideal way to train and by getting a set of adjustable dumbbells (not fixed weight) you’ll be able to change from exercise to exercise without having to buy multiple pieces of equipment.
All you need is somewhere to store the dumbbells and weight plates when they’re not in use and you’re good to go. If you only bought one thing for your gym, and it had to help you train your entire body, the dumbbell would be the answer.
If a dumbbell is the best piece of kit for a space-saving full-body workout then the kettlebell is a very close second. Just like the dumbbell, these fantastic pieces of kit can be used to train your entire body and whether you’re looking to improve your functional strength, develop your abs or build your lower body, you can do it with a kettlebell.
It uses far less space than a dumbbell and in most cases, you only need one to do a great range of workouts. It’s such an adaptable piece of kit that most people say if they could only pick one piece of equipment to use for the rest of their lives, this would be it.
The only thing you need to think about is how strong you currently are. Because a kettlebell is a fixed weight, you may find some exercises harder than others if you only have one, so that for that reason you may want to get a few different sizes that you can use.
If you’re going to be using weights then you really need to get a bench as they give you the support you need to complete a great range of exercises.
Whether you need somewhere stable for when you do a bench press or you need something to lean against when you perform a single-arm row, having a bench opens up your workouts to a whole host of new possibilities, which can help you to improve your results and get to your goals quicker.
When looking for a bench there are many to choose from, and fortunately, you can even get benches that use a space-saving design, which is perfect if you’re low on space.
You can get big, bulky benches that go perfect with a barbell and are ideal if you’re using a big space like a spare room or the garage, but if you’re looking for something smaller it’s now also possible to get benches that fold up to make them easier to store.
This means if you haven’t got a lot of space available, you no longer need to be put off by the size.
When you’re ready to move onto barbell exercises it’s a clear sign that your training is stepping up. Barbells allow you to lift much more weight than you can with dumbbells or kettlebells and they also open up a new range of exercises for you to do.
Some you may have done with smaller weights, like a squat or a deadlift, but by using a barbell you can have a much greater impact on your body and lift a far greater weight at the same time.
It’ll help you to build your muscles as you increase your strength and they’re also great for completing full-body compound exercises.
The thing that most people worry about with a Barbell is the size of it and where to store it. Most barbells are between 6ft or 7ft, and although that sounds big, they can easily be stored on the floor at the side of a room or even under a bed or behind a closet, making them far easier to store than you’d think.
If you’re looking for one piece of do-it-all fitness kit, then you can’t go wrong with a power cage. Perfect for use in a garage, basement, or spare room these specially designed cages are ideal for at-home training.
The structure itself is fairly simple, it looks like a four-walled cage, however, you can also buy a range of attachments to go with your cage to give you even more exercise options to choose from. You can get rope pulley systems, T-Bar attachments, pull-up, and press-up stands plus so much more if you really want to, helping you to create the ultimate home gym.
However, if you don’t have the space for all the extra add-ons, there’s no need to worry, because the cage on its own is still fantastic. You can complete any barbell exercise of your choosing with a power cage (and other exercises too) and the best part is you can replace the need for a spotter by using the reinforced safety bars that slide into the cage. This means you can truly lift as heavy as you want, safe in the knowledge that the cage is there to help you.
It’s the perfect way to train your entire body and reach your muscle-building potential without having to leave the house to go to the gym.
Exercise bands are such wonderful pieces of equipment that have seen a surge of popularity in recent times and a big reason why is because they’re so adaptable. There are two main types to choose from, the bigger loop bands that can be used for a range of exercises such as deadlifting, rowing, or even to help you with pull-ups, and the smaller glute bands that are great for your lower body.
Our advice is to get both. They can help with so many different activities and with a variety of options to choose from they can make your workouts much more challenging than you think. They’re also great if you’re someone who travels a lot. Simply stick these in their travel bag, and you’ve got a ready-made portable gym for wherever you find yourself.
These super-adaptable bands are great, whatever your goals are.
Whether you’re looking for a way to warm up or you want something that you can use to work on your cardio and get your heart rate up, a weighted jump rope is a great choice. You can complete a great range of conditioning workouts or you can use the rope in between exercises to give your heart rate an added boost.
Boxers use a rope as a core part of their conditioning so it should come as no surprise just how great these are.
Just like the resistance bands, they’re also easy to travel with, so you should have no problem sticking the rope in your bag and bringing it with you if you’re someone who has to travel a lot.
Warming up, cooling down, stretching your body are all equally important when it comes to exercise and trying to build a strong, fit and healthy body. It’s not just about lifting weights or doing cardio, you need to make sure you take care of your muscles before and after exercise too.
Having a high-quality exercise mat will allow you to spend some time healing your body as you help your muscles to recover.
Whether you use your mat as somewhere to stretch or do core exercises or you enjoy doing yoga and you’re thinking of giving it a try a few times a week, having a soft, strong, and durable mat is a great choice for your gym.
If you haven’t seen (or used) this before, then the idea that a foam roller is essential for you, could be a strange one, but hear us out. Through our lifestyles, how we sit, how we work, and how we take care of our bodies, many of us have aches, pains, and tight muscles that could be solved pretty easily if we just took time to care for our muscles.
That’s where a foam roller comes in. Whether you use it to ease the tension in your quads after a heavy day doing legs, or you’ve got a tight back and you want to feel loose and free, a foam roller can help you ease the tension that you’re feeling and allow you to move much better.
What About Cardio Equipment?
When it comes to cardio equipment we feel that this decision should be taken by you because it’s all down to personal preference.
Nonetheless, we took a look at some of the popular cardio choices for you below.
If you’re an avid runner, then having a treadmill in your home gym that you can use for winter training is a great idea. There are plenty of space-saving models that you can use and there’s even a range of treadmill based workout programs that have started to become more popular
Treadmills are great for burning calories, they do wonders for your overall cardio ability and they can be great if you like to run indoors, and not outside on roads or trails.
We could take the same argument we made for the treadmill and make it for the bike. They are great for burning calories, you can keep up with your training even when it’s cold during the winter months and there’s been a huge rise in cycle-based exercise programs that you can use and follow along with at home.
Our advice would be to get a spin bike over any other alternatives because they offer you the chance to complete a great workout at a high intensity and burn much more calories than you can on the other types of bikes.
Rowers are fantastic pieces of cardio equipment and they could be the perfect option if you’re looking for something a little different. You can get great space-saving machines that fold up when you’re done with them but when they’re in use, you’ll have a fantastic calorie-burning piece of kit ready to use. The only thing you need to consider is how long they are when you’re using them, because if you’re in a small room, these may be a little harder to make work.
Cross Trainer / Elliptical
Probably one of the most popular pieces of home-based cardio equipment, the elliptical is a fantastic machine that you can use for higher intensity workouts or something slower-paced and steady. They’re great if you want something to use while watching TV or listening to music and they’re also good options for anyone who has mobility issues or joint problems.
So there you have it, the ultimate guide of must have exercise equipment for your home gym. If you could, I’d recommend getting everything on this list, but depending on space you may be a little limited.
So our advice is to go back to the stat and have another think about the type of exercise you want to do, and what space you have available, then get started building your perfect home gym. With the help of this list, you've got everything you need to get set up.
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