A home gym can be a worthwhile investment. Of course, we are all busy people, and most of us are pretty good at finding reasons not to go to the gym. But keeping active is so important. It is not only for weight loss, but it has many other health benefits, from strong bones and muscles to combating stress and anxiety.
Most of us know that we should get regular aerobic exercises, such as jogging, cycling or brisk walking. The government’s physical activity guidelines recommend that adults do at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes (1.25 hours) of vigorous aerobic activity every week.
The Importance Of Resistance Training
Perhaps less widely known is that resistance training (also called ‘strength training’) is essential to physical health. The government’s guidelines recommend that – on top of the recommended amount of aerobic exercise – adults do at least two resistance training sessions a week. Each session lasts 20–30 minutes and works for all major muscle groups.
Your Essential Home Gym Equipment
We’ve put together your ten must-have items to get your home gym started. Equipment that is small enough to store away and won’t break the bank but still packs a punch.
The pull-up is the finest upper-body bodyweight exercise there is. Beginners may find it tough to start with, but it’s great for building muscle in your arms, back and shoulders. It will even strengthen your core too. You can also do several basic gymnastic exercises on a pull-up bar to vary your workout. They can be hooked over or fitted inside any doorway and easily stored.
Suppose you use your ultimate home gym for weight lifting purposes to get the most effective workout. In that case, you will want a squat rack, a crucial element for both the namesake squat and a convenient rack for presses and deadlifts. In addition, squat racks with pull-up bars add yet another useful feature to this piece of equipment and are highly recommended for a functional, efficient home gym setup.
- Our Recommendation
- The Orbit Two-Piece Squat Rack is perfect for a home gym on a budget or a home gym with limited space. While it doesn’t have a pull-up bar, it is a perfect, portable option that works wonderfully for not only squats but barbell presses, deadlifts, shoulder presses and more. This product comes in two pieces, so it takes up less footprint, can be easily moved or stored, and can be adjusted to suit any width or grip bar.
Plyometrics, also known as “jump training”, are boxes used as a platform to jump on and off. It involves exercises where muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time. Great for building speed and explosive power. You can also use a plyo box for squatting, bench dips, and other non-jumping exercises. Try using it against the wall if you’re using one for the first time, so it doesn’t move so much if you don’t quite manage to reach the top.
Iron Or Rubber-Coated Weight Plates
This is the most necessary piece for those looking to use their home gym to lift weights: the actual weights themselves. Iron or rubber-coated weight plates go on either end of an Olympic barbell. Typically, they are available in increments from 1.25kg to 20kg. We recommend grabbing a set of each size (1.25kg, 2.5kg, 5kg, 10kg and 20kg), and then when improving lifting abilities, add sets of 20kg plates as needed.
- Our Recommendation
- Our Olympic Weight Plates are available in all popular increments. At $3.00 per kilogram, these raw iron plates provide the functionality necessary to grow muscle. They are cast from black iron, which leads to a very strong, extremely durable product that resists rust and chipping. Except for the 1.25kg option, all plates come with handles for easier transitioning and less pinched fingers.
Initially used by physiotherapists to re-train people after injury, the medicine ball has now become popular for fitness and sport in general. And rightly so. These versatile balls range in weight from one to ten kilos and are a great piece of kit for plyometric (jump training) exercises and core strength movements.
A Flat Bench
While many will associate flat benches with the bench press and nothing else, they are quite a versatile piece of home gym equipment. They can be used for far more than presses and work great for exercises like box jumps, split squats, dips, box squats, rows and much more. A good-quality flat nehc provides a strong platform, slightly under a meter from the ground, and has a durable and firm, thick foam pad.
- Our Recommendation
- Orbit has a bench that is more than just flat but works perfectly for incline and decline presses. This multifaceted option provides extensive benefits and is convertible and easily portable for storage. This makes it ideal for a home gym situation. Pair the incline bench with a good pair of dumbbells, and you will have the perfect base for curls. Pair the decline bench with one of the 20-kilogram weight plates, and you have the ideal situation for weighted sit-ups.
A must-have piece of equipment for your home gym, the kettlebell is so versatile, and you can get good results. A kettlebell workout can burn up to 20 calories per minute from squats to push-ups – about as much as running a 6-minute mile. A kettlebell uses muscles in your body from head to toe, and it focuses a lot around your core and increases flexibility. A 2kg weight is perfect for beginners, and both men and women can use them as part of their workout routine. Just choose the weight that works for you.
The exercises you can do with dumbbells are endless. Plus, they’re cheap and usually adjustable, so you can change the weight to suit you. Look for the hex-shaped dumbbells with black rubber coating as they’ll last the longest and are the most comfortable to work out with. It’s a good idea to get a few different weights to accommodate the different exercises you’ll be doing.
If you haven’t used a skipping rope since your school days, then you’re in for a surprise! There’s a reason boxers use skipping ropes in their training. It’s fantastic cardio and is also great for coordination.
Skipping can give you a full-body workout that uses your abs to stabilise the body, legs (calves, hamstrings, quadriceps) for jumping and upper body (forearms, deltoids) for turning the rope. They are low in cost and are a small kit to store away. But they can have a big impact on your exercise routine. Get a durable rope to work on your cardio if you’re a beginner. Or look for a lightweight wire rope to work on speed or a weighted rope to work on strength.
Also known as toning bands, they are very cheap and effective at building strength and improving mobility. Plus, they bundle up into a tiny package so you can shove them out of sight when you’re not using them.
Trampolining is a fantastic top-to-toe workout. It’s a fun way to lose weight and keep fit. It’s also low impact, making it great if you’re recovering from an injury. Did you know that rebounding exercise is 68% more efficient than jogging? It can also help tone your muscles and strengthen your skeletal system, improve balance and posture, and is also the most proven way of eliminating cellulite. And, you can even do it while watching TV. What’s not to love?
Weighted Hula Hoop
The hula hoop isn’t just for young girls! Experts claim it burns more calories than other anaerobic exercises. It helps with a fat loss around your middle and is a great core workout.
Don’t be surprised to find slightly bruised hips after your first couple of goes, but this will soon stop. A hoop is also easy to store behind the sofa or under the bed, and some can even be taken apart to make it even easier to hide away when it’s not being used.
Your home gym, of course, would not be complete without a barbell. Both dumbbells and barbells are free weights. Compared to gym machines, they force your muscles to work harder and require greater stability and balance. A typical barbell is four to seven feet long and one inch thick. This equipment works best for compound movements, such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts. Although, it can be used for a whole host of other exercises.
Ideally, start your training session with barbell exercises and finish with dumbbells isolation movements. Alternate between the two and see how your body reacts. If you have a weaker muscle group, prioritise dumbbell exercises. To gain size and strength, perform heavy lifts with a barbell.
FAQs About Home Gym
You get home after a long day or just after waking, change into workout clothes, and move into the next room. Here sits your complete home gym. You do your workout, then walk a few steps out of the home gym and go back to the rest of your routine: no lines, no travel time, nothing to pack. Home gyms are a far more effective option for time-conscious professionals looking for an efficient and quick workout option.
We have heard it all.
- Why pay $2,000 or more for a home gym when I can pay $30-$36 a month for an Anytime Fitness membership?
- Do I put my home gym in a bedroom or garage?
- What if I don’t have the space for a home gym?
- Going to a larger gym gives me discipline and motivation to keep working out.
These are all excuses and nothing more. If you have the space, have the (minimal) budget, and lack the time in the day to travel back and forth to the gym, the home gym is the perfect option for you. To assist you in the process, we here at Orbit Fitness will walk you through the process of developing a home gym. In the end, you will be surprised at how much you can fit into a reasonable-sized home gym at a surprisingly low cost.
- You can add plates to your set as you progress.
- They can be used to exercise all muscles.
- They’re relatively easy to store.
- They can be used on their own to increase the difficulty of squats, sit-ups, etc.
- They can be dangerous – you’ll need to keep them out of reach of children.
- It’s easy to injure yourself with poor technique and heavyweights.
- woman doing a squat for an at-home workout
- Squats are simple exercises that are great for building leg strength.
Cultivating Equipment To Cultivate Mass
Home gym equipment expenses can add up quickly. We aren’t going to pretend that you can get high quality and low prices simultaneously. Some people spend tens of thousands of dollars on a full-fledged home workout in Mecca! However, this doesn’t need to be the case in almost all situations. The reality is, it is simple to build an effective home gym for around $1,000 to $2,000.
There are only a few crucial pieces of equipment necessary to get started if you plan on using your home gym for non-cardio activities. Whether you plan on gaining muscle, losing weight, or a combination of the two, the following items will go extremely far into ensuring that your goals are reached:
- A squat rack with a pull-up bar
- Olympic barbell
- Iron or rubber-coated weight plates
- A flat bench
You can handle all major lifts that hit extreme muscle groups with the above. From here, branding out to items such as dumbbells, more convertible benches, jump ropes, ab wheels, treadmills, ellipticals, and more will assist with providing an all-around, customised success routine from the comfort of your own home.
Budget Does Not Mean Low Quality
If you find yourself on a budget, it is important to note that this doesn’t mean you need to buy cheap, low-quality equipment for your home gym setup. Instead, it should cause one to focus on the pieces of equipment that are the most versatile and effective to provide a full-body workout.
Remember, cheap equipment of low quality will lead to decreased satisfaction, far less use, a higher likelihood of injury, lower resale values, and a higher chance that a replacement purchase will need to be made. Would you rather spend $20 every year on a plastic dumbbell that cracks regularly and spills concrete dust everywhere or $50 on a single piece of well-formed iron that you can pass on to your grandchildren someday?
If You’re A Beginner
If you’re beginning strength training, you could start with dumbbells (from $30 for a 20kg set) and buy a barbell (from $40, including weights) later. Because you need different weights for different exercises, you’ll probably need to swap the plates on the barbell frequently. Look for “collars” – these are the locks that secure the weights to the barbell – that let you change plates easily. Lever locks and spin-lock collars (where the collar screws on from the end of the bar) are good choices.
Functional Resistance Training
A more recent strength training trend is moving away from exercising muscles in isolation to exercising lots of muscles simultaneously with practical actions and natural movements – so-called functional training. Movements take place in three planes: front-to-back, side-to-side, and rotational, to develop strength, balance, flexibility and coordination while training the brain.
For example, instead of building leg strength by lying down on a gym machine and pushing up weights with your feet, you do squats – as if you were sitting on and rising from a chair. As you get stronger, you can increase the challenge by holding weights. This exercise builds strength and helps develop balance and coordination – important as we get older and find sitting and rising more challenging.
- Value for money.
- If done properly, you’ll give yourself an excellent full-body workout that’s novel and fun.
- Provides practical skills and strengths that are useful for everyday activities.
- It can be done solo or with other people.
- You can create equipment out of items you might have at home.
- The technique is everything – if you don’t get it right, it could be useless, or worse, harmful. Seek advice from a qualified personal trainer before you start.
- Some homemade equipment can be pretty bulky, making storage and workout space an issue.
Crafting an incredible home gym doesn’t have to be expensive and is far more within reach than you may think. With a little research and due diligence, clearing out a space, and purchasing some good-quality equipment, you will be well on your way to eliminating lines and wasted time and crafting a more effective, less exasperating workout experience. By working out at home, you will also have far more time for things that you enjoy. It will set a strong example for your family. It will also allow you to invite friends to hang out and provide accountability. No guest passes. No waiting for a rack to free up. No circling parking lots that are far too small. No garbage music pumping. Your choices, your ultimate home gym.