Best Home Gym and Tips

by NoShinSplints

Putting together the best home gym is as easy as following some simple guidelines, here are a few tips for a great home gym.

Best Home Gym and Equipment

Where To Find the Best Home Gym

Looking after your health is a year-round endeavor, but with New Year's resolutions and then later "beach bodies" to worry about, now is the time to put together the best home gym your money can buy.

One of the advantages of having a home gym is convenience. Personally I have my weight lifting equipment in the garage, with a treadmill in my bedroom. I never have to worry about icy roads or getting crowded out of my favorite machine, thanks to a sweaty teenager who refuses to wipe down the equipment after using it.

In my case, all of my equipment was found online (either through Craigslist, eBay or review websites).

Following are what I'd consider necessary elements to having the /best home gym/ you can get (in case you're wondering, I used to have a Sole Fitness E95 elliptical, though I sold it for my Captiva from Yowza Fitness, and recommend the Yowza Sanibel or other CardioCoreTM elliptical; Wieder Olympic weight set with a bench, preacher curl, lat pull-down and leg extension stations).

Elements of a Fully Functional Home Gym

Best Home Gym Necessary Equipment

Cardio machine

This can be anything really, here are just some ideas according to budget needs.

On a Budget?

  • Jump rope - About 10 minutes on a jump rope (weighted is better), 3-4 times a week - and you'll notice a difference. Medicine Ball - Learn to use a medicine ball and various workouts with it, most come with ideas and instructions with illustrations to help, another affordable solution.
  • Exergames - This is a term referring to using gaming devices that use motion control (Kinect for XBox 360, for example, is what I have). There are some great games like "Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012" and "Kung Fu Live" which is more fun, but both give a workout. Other choices are on Playstation Move and the Nintendo Wii, but Kinect is my choice.
  • Workout DVD's - An old-fashioned way out but cheap: workout DVD's give you the motivation of taking a class at the gym and instructions to keep you safe and in the correct form.
  • Simply Jogging, Biking, Swimming - Old stand-by exercises like power walking, swimming, biking, jogging - these never go out of style. The "problem" is convenience, and for some the weather can be an issue. Also watch for high-impact exercises over a prolonged duration (like weeks or months of running), it can adversely impact your joints.

But these are all painless ideas on a tight budget - and they all work with consistent effort with minimal costs. I am more of an equipment guy, a gym rat who would rather be at home. 

So though I use the Kinect, jump rope and do enjoy classical exercises like running, I prefer working out on the following (my personal "best home gym" recommendations):

  • Elliptical Machine - I used to have the Sole Fitness E95 (older model), and was happy with it, but sold it to buy my new Captiva from Yowza Fitness. Treadmills and running hurt my knees (I'm in my early 30's), and prefer the low-impact, full-body workout on ellipticals. But any serious home gym should have a cardiovascular machine, IMHO, whether a treadmill, bike or elliptical (or another of your choice).
  • Weight Bench and Weights - Working out with heavy weights is going to burn lots of calories, so I recommend weight training if you have a spotter (someone to help you in case you try to lift too much). A bench press, some dumbbells and barbells (preferably an Olympic weight set with the bigger weights), these are usually $500 or less all told.
  • Kettlebells - Sometimes dumbbells need to move over for kettlebells, I'd recommend both personally for different types of workout. Kettlebells have made a comeback in a big way this year, they're great for carving away the fat and giving safe workouts anyone can do.
  • Smith Machine - This may sound like overkill, but a Smith Machine helps spot you during squats, which is one of the best types of workout maneuvers you can do for burning calories (I don't have one just yet).
  • Pull-Up Bar or Rings - If you train in the "CrossFit" style of working out (it's all the rage, for good reason: it works), you'll want both, but one or the other is fine. Pull-up bars are a must, but rings are more challenging to work with. The more challenging the workout, the more fat you burn.
  • Alternatively,  a Workout Station or "Multi-Gym" - These are like the gym-style workout stations you see with the cables and weights: they're pulley-driven and safe for one person to use unassisted. For that advantage, they're great to use if free weights are intimidating, or you don't have a workout partner to spot you. Also called "Multi-Gyms" by manufacturers.

These elements all comprise the best home gym, and I wanted to cover them in terms of "type of equipment" rather than naming this or that model: honestly you get what you pay for.

Getting only the budget equipment is going to be fine, and in that category I'd put free weights like kettlebells and dumbbells, a weight bench, pull-up bars, etc.

It doesn't need to be expensive, but if you want to cover all your bases, then get a cardio machine to burn calories (treadmills and ellipticals highly recommended), and some weight training equipment: you're all set.

Best Home Gym

Recommended Equipment
Body Solid EXM1500S Single Stack Home Gym

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Schwinn 240 Recumbent Exercise Bike

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Premier Kettlebell Set w/ DVD : 15, 25, 35, 45, 55 Lbs 5 pcs. Get before Holiday.

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P90X: Tony Horton's 90-Day Extreme Home Fitness Workout DVD Program

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Example Home Workouts

Losing Weight Fast at Home
Updated: 12/01/2011, NoShinSplints
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