The best home gym equipment to buy to get fit
I’m writing this article for many of my clients who have a desire to work out at home using their own home gym and equipment. Many of you ask me from time to time for recommendations on particular brands or models of equipment, so below you’ll find my suggestions for each of the different type of equipment. The links below are affiliate links to Amazon.
Why do you need a home gym?
You want to tone up, improve your health, lose a little weight, and gain greater flexibility? What you don’t want to do, however, is pay an initiation fee, a contract plus monthly costs, drive to the gym and circle the parking lot looking for a spot, wait your turn for equipment, deal with potential discomfort or embarrassment if you’re surrounded by people in better shape than you — don’t worry, you’ll get there with time and dedication — then shower in a crowded and possibly dirty locker room.
Luckily, there’s another alternative: A HOME GYM. Your own space. Your rules. Getting fit at home means you can work out whenever the mood strikes with no need for travel, you never have to wait for equipment, and once you have your equipment, you won’t have any further monthly expenses.
Not sure what to buy?
If you’ve shrugged off a home gym because you think it requires a dedicated room, a huge expenditure of money, or more knowledge than you possess, I’m here to help demystify the process of creating your own space to take your fitness to new heights.
You can get a great workout whatever your budget and you don’t need a ton of space to do it.
I’ve gathered up the best home gym workout equipment for cardio, strength training, and flexibility and I’ve done the research.
Cardio Equipment for Home
The beauty of a treadmill is that it accommodates you no matter where you’re starting from fitness-wise. You can walk slowly if you are new to exercise, jog if you’re no stranger to fitness, but still have a ways to go, and run once you’re ready for all-out aerobic exercise.
• Best treadmill: 3G Cardio Elite Treadmill
Budget treadmill: NordicTrack T 6.5 Series
Cycling is the best exercise in the fitness world. But nowadays nobody wants to go out for cycling in heavy rains, intense cold, snowfall and scorching sun. Now! To your greatest delight, we have found the best way of indoor exercise in the form of stationary cycling.
This latest technique has been practised since 1990. Several gyms and cycling studios have been opened around the country giving training in indoor cycling or “spinning”, the best form of exercise ever heard.
It is the most effective cardiovascular exercise, imparting tremendous energy and strength to the body. In 45 min period training you will ride a stationary bike, in the form of spin bike, and can burn upwards of 600 calories. It will strengthen your lung pumping capacity. Studies have shown that indoor cycling has reduced body fat and body mass index, within a short period of time.
• Best Home stationary bike: Spinning L3 SPIN Bike
• Best Budget stationary bike: Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike
Maybe your vision of jumping rope is tripping about PE class with a beaded rope and a bunch of 12 year olds. We get it. We were there too. But if you haven’t picked up a jump rope since, or you’re just afraid of looking silly at the gym, here are a few reasons why jumping rope is one of the very best exercises out there (and a lot cooler than you think).
- Calorie Cooker – Very few exercises burn calories like jump rope. Even jumping at a very moderate rate burns 10 to 16 calories a minute. Work your jump rope exercise into three 10-minute rounds and you’re looking at 480 calories in half an hour. According to Science Daily, 10 minutes of skipping rope is about equivalent to running an 8-minute-mile. There’s a reason the American Heart Association created an entire movement around jumping rope (ever heard of Jump Rope for Heart?)
- Build Agility & Quickness – Want to get “lighter on your feet?” Skip rope every day for a few minutes. When you jump rope on the balls of your feet, body connects with mind to make “neural muscular adjustments” to keep you balanced. Essentially, skipping rope improves your balance and quickness/coordination by making your mind focus on your feet for sustained periods of time, even if you’re not conscious of it. Boxers know this. Why do you think jumping rope is a favorite exercise for the best boxers in the world?
- Increase Bone Density – The medium impact of jumping rope increases bone density, but isn’t as hard on your joints as running because the impact of each jump is absorbed by both legs. In fact, according to Dr. Daniel W. Barry, a researcher who has studied the bones of the elderly and of athletes, the latest studies show simply jumping is one of the very best exercises for improving bone density.
- Affordability – Of all the fitness options out there, rope jumping is still one of the most affordable. Shoot, even runners need to fork it over for high end shoes. But jump ropes? Even a top-of-the-line fitness jump rope is only $35. Very simple (but good) ropes can be purchased for as low as $10. And, depending on the surface you jump on, a rope should last you a while.
- Portability – Now you have no excuse for not having a good cardio session. Whether you’re on the road traveling, at your kiddo’s soccer game or visiting the in-laws over the holidays, these can go with you anywhere. The packability and portability of the Jump Rope is second to NONE!
• Best jump rope: Rogue Fitness SR-1F Froning Speed Rope
• Best budget jump rope: Survival and Cross Jump Rope
Resistance Workout Equipment for Home
The All-In-One Machine
While not everyone has space for a full set of olympic equipment, some all-in-one gym machines can fit into a small office space or spare bedroom and give you all the flexibility you need to get a well rounded full body workout. While more expensive than single pieces of equipment, these machines offer a lot of variety and flexibility to create a full on gym session right at home. There are a number of home gyms on the market, but the best bang for your buck is the Bowflex series. Without the need for expensive iron plate weights and having to worry about a place to store them, this all in one home gym offers resistance through the unique system of pulleys and “bows”. It’s easy to adjust your resistance as you gain strength, and the wide variety of possible exercises not only provides strength training to your entire body, it also keeps things interesting.
• Best workout machine: Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
Suspension and Band Systems
Nowdays, home workout equipment has become interesting because of unique systems like suspension training and resistance band training. No longer do you have to create a workout based on load bearing exercises, now you can create resistance by re-positioning the body or adding resistance in the form of industrial rubber bands! While these systems are relatively simple, where they really shine is the amount of space they DON’T take up. These can be stored in a bag in your closet, or even in a small magazine box in the corner of your living room. TRX, WodFitters and many others have built unique workout equipment from industrial materials and allows anyone a blood pumping, full on sweat-fest in their own living room!
• Best strap system: TRX ALL-IN-ONE Suspension Training System
• Best Resistance Bands (Heavy): WODFitters Resistance Bands
• Best Resistance Bands (Light): TheraBand Resistance Bands
Nothing says training like dumbells. A staple in many of my workout routines, but not often one I have the room for in a home gym, let alone the money to outfit sets in increments of 5lbs, is dumbells. That said, one technological advance in weight equipment that is most welcome is the “selectable dumbell”. Allowing the user to “dial in” the weight needed on one unit, these dumbells allow you to purchase one set that can be used from weights from 5lbs up to over 90lbs. And even better, you don’t have to have a large rack space to store all the variables! While they are often not cheap, they do offer flexibility and are compact for even the smallest of home gyms.
• Best dumbbells: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
Don’t get me wrong, a kitchen chair has often doubled as my bench for tricep dips and overhead presses, especially in the early days of my home training while my son was an inftant. But nothing beats a nice cushioned adjustable bench to aid in variability and flexibility in home workouts. Weight benches can be used in a number of exercises not only as support, but also aiding in form and use for exercises like bench glute pulses and the dumbell flye.
• Best training bench: Bowflex 5.1 Adjustable Weight Bench
Home Workout Accessory Items
• Best medicine ball: Day 1 Dual Texture Medicine Balls
• Best exercise ball: TheraBand Exercise and Stability Ball
• Best foam roller: TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller
• Budget foam roller: LuxFit Foam Roller