Are you thinking of building your own home gym?
Everybody knows having a good workout regimen gives you a fit and sexy body you can show off on camera. It also gives you a lot of benefits for the brain. When you exercise, you’re happier, less stressed, and better equipped to take on whatever the world throws your way.
Just ask the most highly paid cam models out there. Working out for them isn’t just something they do to keep themselves in shape. They make working out a part of their lifestyle because it makes life so much easier.
Hitting the gym may be the first thing that comes to mind, but commercial gyms aren’t always the best option, especially if you hate working out to loud pop music and sharing your equipment with others.
If you’re serious about getting a good exercise regimen and following through with it for, well, for the rest of your life, you might want to think about building a home gym.
Home gyms can go anywhere from fully equipped with fancy equipment to a bare-bones exercise corner that contains the most basic accessories. Whatever you plan to build, it’s possible to get a great workout with it.
Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Best Home Workout Machine
Start with a home workout machine that lets you exercise all major body parts. The best home exercise machine we found is the Bowflex Home Gym.
Bowflex has set the standard for home workout machines in the last couple of decades, and it’s easy to see why. Bowflex offers universal workout stations, so you can get your entire workout in one machine. It lets you do more than 60 different exercises so you can get a total body workout.
Bowflex has several different models, but you get all the signature Bowflex features in all machines.
That includes adjustable benches for your bench presses, single-arm rows, step-ups, and other exercises that are best done with a bench.
They also come with lat bars, squat bars, hand grips, and ankle cuffs.
You can adjust the machine from 200 pounds to anywhere up to 400 pounds so you can keep adding resistance as your fitness levels go up. And no, you’re not going to get bulky using the weight machines.
These machines fold up so you can put them away after your workout.
- Made by an industry leader known for its excellent products
- Solid, durable construction will make it last for a long time
- All-in-one weight lifting machines for a total body workout
- Plenty of training videos to make the most out of the equipment
- Can be expensive
If you’ve got the money to splurge on your home gym, you can’t go wrong with Bowflex.
Best Home Fitness Machine
Another one of the most effective home fitness machine options is the Body Solid Best Fitness Functional Trainer and Cable Machine.
Body Solid has a reputation for making durable cable machines, and this is no exception. This is a multi-exercise machine for home gyms that lets you do a variety of exercises to target different body parts, such as Romanian deadlifts for the glutes, woodchops for the abs, and tricep kickbacks for the backs of your arms.
The adjustable pulley system lets you start with lower resistance levels before working your way up. It also includes liftable weights in a 190-pound stack so you won’t need separate weight lifting equipment. That’s going to feel lighter as you become stronger, but it’s perfect if you’ve never lifted a weight before.
- Durable and well-made machine that will last for decades
- A great strength training machine for newbies
- Headache-free assembly
- Can order extra accessories to round out your workout
- 190-pound weight stack can feel limiting after major gains
This cable machine is a great piece of equipment for home gym starters. If you want one that lets you vary your workouts every day, get this for yourself.
Best Cardio Equipment
Cardio is essential. It promotes endurance, stamina, and heart health so you can keep up with long camming days.
You have plenty of cardio options but, so far, the best home cardio workout equipment we’ve found is the Assault Air Bike by LifeCORE Fitness.
This indoor exercise bike offers different degrees of resistance to give your arms and legs a strength workout while you’re working up a sweat.
You can set different goals for your workout, such as calories, time, distance, or speed. The computer offers different workout programs, from Tabata intervals to your own program that you set yourself.
You also get encouraging messages to help you stay focused and have fun during your workout.
- Well-made, commercial-quality exercise bike
- Offers multiple levels of resistance
- Highly advanced computer system with lots of workout options
- Comes with a heart rate sensor
- Adjustable seat for maximum comfort
- Doesn’t come with a heart rate monitor
- Difficult to find because it sells so well
If you want to give your legs a good workout while getting in your cardio, the Assault Air Bike is a good option. You may want to wait around to see when it’s back in stock, though.
Best Cheap Home Workout Equipment
For absolute newbies, it’s best to start with buying cheap home workout equipment before investing all out on a home gym.
Our suggestion is the Theraband Resistance Bands by Performance Health. They were designed to help people recovering from injuries, but they also make great exercise equipment.
Instead of weights, you can use resistance bands to perform a variety of exercises, such as deadlifts, overhead presses, and upright rows.
They also make great compact workout equipment for your home because they hardly take up any space. If you’re traveling, you can bring these bands along so you can keep up with your workouts on the go.
- Durable and lightweight
- Great for a variety of strength training exercises
- No need to invest a lot of money to begin training
- Has a color-coded system to identify resistance levels
- No setup needed
- Portable gym equipment you can bring anywhere
- Resistance training ends at 15 pounds, so you’ll still have to buy other equipment to progress
For the money, these resistance bands are one of the best workout equipment you can buy.
Best Home Weight Lifting Equipment
Weight lifting is one of the best ways to maintain a fit and healthy body. If you incorporate weights into your routine – and we recommend you do! – check out the Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine by California-based Impex.
This all-in-one workout machine has arm and leg stations that let you exercise all major muscle groups. It also has a free weight rack to hang up to six plates so you can organize your dumbbells and barbells.
- Heavy-duty steel frame and aircraft cables that are built to last
- Lets you exercise all major muscle groups
- Free weight rack accommodates a wide range of weights
- Relatively easy to assemble
- Does not come cheap
For serious weightlifters, we recommend the Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine.
Best Portable Exercise Machine
Love jump roping? Then the best indoor exercise equipment for you is the Valeo Rope System. This jump rope from Valeo Fit has a durable rubber rope and cushioned handles for a comfortable fit.
The rope has an adjustable length, so it’s good to use however short or tall you are. It also includes 1-pound weights in each handle to make you work just a little bit more.
- 10-foot-long rope is adjustable
- Weighted handles to give you a good arm workout
- Sealed ball bearings for smooth, even rope rotation
- Cardio-focused, not good for strength training
For a beginner looking to invest in home gym cardio equipment, this jump rope from Valeo is a great place to start.
Best Home Exercise Equipment for Beginners
When you’re starting to get serious with strength training but don’t want to invest in an all-in-one exercise machine, get a weight bench instead.
The Flybird Adjustable Weight Bench is a solid, stable weight bench that can be adjusted according to your preferences. It has a variety of seat and back positions so you can do a wide array of exercises, from hip thrusts to Bulgarian split squats and even mountain climbers.
- Heavy-duty exercise equipment made of industrial-quality steel
- Sturdy, stable bench provides great back support
- Cushioned seat and back for comfort
- Adjustable backrest lets you do a variety of exercises
- Minimal assembly needed
- Easy to move and space-saving
- May be a little too short if you’re over 5’9”
For beginner weightlifters, it’s important to invest in the best support equipment. You can’t go wrong with a Flybird Weight Bench.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Equipment for Your Home Gym
Before you jump into building your own home gym, you need to consider a few things. What are your fitness goals? What’s your workout plan like? And how do you make sure the equipment you buy will meet your goals?
What you want to achieve
The equipment you buy depends on your fitness goals. Are you trying to burn extra fat? Do you want to put on weight or add muscle definition? Perhaps you just want to feel more energized so you can show up with enthusiasm for your cam shows? Your goals determine what kind of home gym you want to build for yourself.
If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start small by investing in basic equipment. This is the perfect time to get yourself resistance bands, jump ropes, and maybe even a cardio machine, such as an indoor bike or a rowing machine.
If you’re further along your fitness journey, you may be thinking of investing in some serious home gym equipment. As an advanced exerciser, you know that strength training is a crucial part of any fitness regimen.
A weight bench is a basic piece of equipment that you’ll find a lot of use for. Or if you’re ready for it, a high-quality all-in-one workstation is a great investment for any serious home exerciser.
How you plan to get there
Your fitness goal is what you want to achieve at the end of your journey. Your workout plan is a detailed breakdown of what you’re going to do to achieve that goal. What goes into the workout plan is just as important in choosing your exercise equipment.
For example, if your goal is to gain strength and muscle, your workout plan includes a lot of weightlifting and strength training. A possible routine could include a lot of weighted squats, deadlifts, and pushups. If this is your plan, you’re better off investing in free weights and a weight bench.
You also need to think about your cardio equipment. While strength training is superior for sculpting your body, cardio is crucial for quick fat-burning and building heart health. For the best results, your home gym should include a combination of strength and cardio equipment.
How to find high-quality equipment
Home gym equipment isn’t cheap, so it’s important that you buy high-quality pieces that will pay for themselves in the long run. These will be more expensive up front, but the equipment will last for years – some even a lifetime.
Think of your home gym as an investment. It’s a good way to save money on gym memberships because good home gym equipment can last a lifetime.
How do you determine what makes a good piece of exercise equipment? Read the product reviews. Go beyond the five and four-star reviews and dig deep into every little detail you can find.
Good manufacturers also offer amazing warranties for their products. Look for warranties that cover the equipment for three years or beyond. Some of the best companies even offer lifetime warranties. That’s an indication of how confident they are about the quality of their products.
How to know which products are going to last
How do you know if a piece of exercise equipment is going to last a long time? You don’t want to buy something that breaks down after a few months. Here are a few things to look out for to make sure you’re investing in durable home gym equipment.
- Long-lasting frames made of iron or steel. Avoid anything made from aluminum because it’s a lightweight, ductile metal that can lose its shape quickly.
- Industrial-grade cables and generously padded seat cushions and handles.
- Powder-coated finish that makes it less susceptible to corrosion than unfinished, bare metal.
- Rubber or plastic-covered metal handles that can be cleaned and disinfected easily.
- Padded feet to keep your gym equipment from damaging your floors.
- Replaceable handles, seats, computers, and other parts.
What exercises you can do
If you choose the right setup, you may only need one or two pieces of home gym equipment. Usually, you’ll need one strength training machine and another for cardio.
Many strength training machines are very versatile. They allow you to work all your major muscle groups with a variety of exercises in one workout. A good strength training machine should let you switch from one exercise to another without having to disassemble and reassemble pieces in the middle of your workout.
As for cardio machines, they aren’t as versatile as strength trainers in terms of the different kinds of exercise you can do. You can only get a cycling workout on an exercise bike, for example. But you can program the bike to change terrains so that you can increase or decrease the resistance levels.
Most cardio machines have computers that let you change things such as the angle, elevation, or speed so you can still vary your workouts every day.
If you’re still confused about building a home gym, we have some more info for you. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about home gyms and the answers to them.
How can I set up an effective home gym?
The first step in setting up a home gym is to figure out your fitness goals and the plan to achieve that goal. Are you going heavy on strength training, cardio, or a balance of both?
Once you have determined that, figure out how much space you have. Exercise machines can take up a lot of space, so you need to allot some of your home’s square footage for that.
Some basic equipment, such as jump ropes, resistance bands, and free weights, don’t take up as much space as a weight bench or a full-blown weight machine.
If you have a small space, don’t worry. You can achieve the same results you can get on an all-in-one machine with free weights or resistance bands. You just have to tweak your workout plan for that.
You also need a few other things.
Be sure you have plenty of mats to help you keep your footing. They also help cushion the floor when you’re doing pushups or situps. Mats for your exercise machines also protect the floor from unsightly scratches and nicks.
A cooler or a mini-fridge is also handy. You need to stay hydrated while working out, so having cool water nearby can be a godsend.
If you love working out to music, set up some speakers as well.
Lastly, a large fan or air conditioner can help you stay cool during your workout.
What are the benefits of getting a home gym workout?
Besides getting the same health benefits you can get from a gym workout, exercising at home has a few other advantages.
First of all, you save money in the long run. Your investment in home gym equipment will pay for itself because you won’t be paying for gym memberships you don’t use. Of the millions of Americans with gym memberships, more than half don’t even go to the gym at all. That’s huge money down the drain.
You also save time because you no longer have to drive to the gym and back. The time you save you can use for longer warmups and cooldowns so that your body eases in and out of your workouts effectively.
Also, it’s much more convenient to work out at home. You don’t have to dress in a new outfit every day because no one sees you working out. You can exercise anytime, whether you’re a night owl or a morning owl, and have the equipment all to yourself.
And speaking of using your own equipment, you also eliminate worries about germs and microbes and other nasty things left behind by the last person who used the equipment before you.
You can exercise at your own pace and don’t have to compete with gym rats jacking up their weights or reps to unrealistic levels. You develop mental discipline because you’re the only one pushing yourself to do your best.
Lastly, you have the ultimate luxury of showering and dressing in your own bathroom without having to share it with strangers. There’s no better benefit than having your own bathroom to yourself.
How often should you work out?
How often you work out depends on your goals.
If you’re absolutely new to exercise, it’s best to start small by exercising at least three days per week and then building up to five days as your fitness improves.
For rapid body transformation, most experts suggest you work out at least five days a week. That includes three days of strength training and two days of cardio.
You can alternate your strength and cardio days. For example, you can lift weights Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and then do cardio on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
You can also do three days of cardio, two days of strength training, and one day for a full-body workout.
The final day of the week should be dedicated for rest. You need to give your muscles time to recover because this is the time that they repair themselves so they can grow bigger.
Before you begin any kind of exercise program, always check with your doctor first. If you have underlying health conditions that may be caused by age, weight, genetics, or other factors, your doctor can help you create a workout plan that’s suitable for your body.
To get your body into the best shape possible, you need to combine strength and cardio training. Both are critical in keeping your body and mind healthy by increasing muscle, revving up your metabolism, and building your stamina.
When creating your home gym, you want to invest in durable equipment that you can use regularly without worrying about it breaking down. They should also be easy to assemble and easy to use. You need to be able to move from exercise to exercise without thinking if you have set up your equipment correctly.
Just be sure that you have a large enough space for your home gym. If you don’t have that much to spare, focus on portable gym equipment that you can fold up and put away when you’re done.
There are different kinds of exercise equipment. You can get a complex Bowflex machine with all the bells and whistles, simple resistance bands and jump ropes, or a sturdy weight bench for free weights. You don’t really need to have an entire gym set up in your home to do a good workout. You just need one or two high-quality pieces to get going.
The important thing is you’re exercising consistently. Set aside a time each day for your workouts and put it in your calendar. Otherwise, something less important will take that slot. When you calendar it in, you make an appointment with yourself and you get zero excuses to miss it.
That way, you’re always getting the most out of your home gym while inching closer to your fitness goals every day.