Not everyone has the money to join an expensive health club. And not everyone wants to. It’s pricey, it takes time out of the day that many of us don’t have and the environment just doesn’t suit everybody.
But that’s not an excuse to not exercise, it just means we need a better alternative.
And here it is, the humble home gym. With a bit of planning and the right purchases we can create our own little training mecca that produces incredible results.
Low-tech training for high-tech returns.
The Benefits Of Having A Home Gym
There are many benefits to having your own place to train. You don’t have to travel across town to get to the gym. You don’t have to put up with the horrendous music. You don’t have to wait for a set of dumbbells or to get onto the squat rack.
You can train on your terms, at the pace and intensity you want to train. And you get to design the layout of your gym just the way you want it.
A home gym is convenient and you can load it with as much or as little gear as you need.
“If my own fitness relied on me commuting across town to a gym, I wouldn’t be a fraction of who I am today.” – Ross Enamait
Some Things To Consider
To have an effective workout you do need a bit of space to train and to focus. Setting up in the living room beside your television, while possible, isn’t conducive to the best workouts. Ideally, you should convert a spare room or the garage into a dedicated gym.
Space – Do you have enough space to build a decent home gym? One in which you can do the important exercises (press, pull, squat, deadlift) and move with a good bit of freedom? There’s no point in buying gear that’s squeezed into the corner of the living room or that will sit unused in a cupboard. Where can you create a bit of space to train? A spare room or the garage? Another inexpensive option is to pool together with some friends and build a garage gym that you can share.
Motivation – Can you motivate yourself to train or do you rely on the gym atmosphere to get going? If you’re the type of person who likes to exercise socially then the isolation of a home gym probably won’t work for you. If on the other hand you love to train in your own little zone then it will be the perfect option.
Cost – Cost is a big concern for most people but as you’ll see below, when you buy the important stuff and forget about the pricey machines, it’s not that expensive to build your own home gym. And you don’t necessarily need to buy things brand new. High-quality equipment that is second-hand is a far better investment than the poorly built gear you get in most shops.
Environment – Will a home gym work for you and your family? How can it benefit everyone in the house? Can you train together? Can you keep an eye on the kids while you get in your daily exercise? Each family situation is different so how can you make it work for yours?
A Yoga Mat – Often the most important yet underrated pieces of kit, a yoga mat, will allow you to stretch, do callisthenics, hand-balance and of course, do yoga, almost anywhere in the house or garden. They are portable and fit into the cupboard when you’re done.
A Skipping Rope – Who needs expensive treadmills or rowing machines when you can get an incredible workout with a skipping rope for a fraction of the cost. Look for a quality rope that’s designed for high intensity training such as the Buddy Lee Rope Master.
Adjustable Dumbbells – A good set of dumbbells will give you a wide choice of exercises to develop your total body strength and conditioning. Make sure to buy enough weights to effectively challenge your muscles with the big compound exercises.
A Barbell – If you have the space then your next purchase should be a barbell for heavy squats, deadlifts, pulls and presses. These exercises give you the biggest bang for your buck and if you’re trying to develop serious strength you can’t train without them.
A Bench – You can pick up a flat bench or for a little extra, an adjustable one, to make the most of your barbell and dumbbell work. Most of the benches on the market aren’t built to last so better to purchase a commercial bench second hand.
The Next Level
Rack – If you plan on moving some heavy weights then you’ll need to pick up a solid rack. This will be your most expensive purchase of all but an essential one for the serious athlete. You can do all the big lifts as well as pull ups, chins and dips with the right attachments.
Kettlebells – These incredibly versatile pieces of equipment can improve your mobility, strength, coordination and power. You may need a bit of coaching to learn the proper moves but kettlebells are great pieces of kit.
Ab Wheel – Ab Rollouts and it’s variations are some of the best core exercises you can do. What looks so basic can work wonders for your midsection.
Your home gym doesn’t need to be perfect. You can get great results with the most basic of equipment when you use it with intensity and consistency.
The key is to put in the work and make the most of what you’ve got. Many great skills and physiques have been developed in bare bones gyms so there really are no excuses.