Creating a great exercise space in your home, not all of us have the luxury of being able to set aside a room to be the home gym. We may need to create space in a room that is also used for other things. Whatever your circumstance, there are a few things we would suggest you consider when setting up a home gym/exercise space.
Decide where you will work out. This could be the spare room or even home office. If you don’t have this then what about setting aside a small area within your living room? Whatever you have, choose a space that will still allow your home to run smoothly.
There are certain elements of a room that will potentially boost your exercise performance. Don't underestimate how the placement and harmony of a workout room can make a huge difference to your ability and motivation to workout.
Ideally it is good if the room gets natural light. If the room you are using doesn’t have windows then what about adding in additional lighting? Also ensure the room is cleared of all clutter, you want to ensure that when you are working out your attention is on your body and performance and not a wall calendar or work file.
Also think about what it is that motivates you and make sure that’s in the room. If its music then you need to ensure that your music will work in the space, or it may be something visual like a TV.
If you are planning on working out to a fitness DVD then you will need to have a TV or computer at a level that will enable you to work out.
If you can add a mirror to your workout area then this will really help. A mirror will help you check your form when moving and can also make the space feel larger. It is not therefore all about preening and posing with your briefs on.
If space is tight you don’t need to overstock it with equipment that is too large and bulky.
So consider equipment that you can vertically store like a water rower. This is also easy to manoeuvre into position. Or look at equipment that is foldaway, some of our cross trainers fit this bill.
Whilst we wouldn’t recommend the foldable ones as many don’t give great stability, take a look at some of the great indoor cycle models we sell. In fact the greater the look you won’t mind having them in your living room as they almost become a style feature in themselves. And you will get a great cardio workout.
Another favourite for the home gym are the dumbbells, relatively small and easy to store. For an interesting alternative to dumbbells look at kettlebells. For many people kettlebells can be used for the same exercises as dumbbells but also allow you to add momentum and variety to your workouts. Foam rollers are also small and quite inexpensive but great for core work and for kneading out those muscles.
It’s also good to consider equipment that can be used in many different ways. So for many a barbell and weight set is pretty useful.
Why? Because they can be used for your legs (front squat, back squat, lunges, deadlift), the back (barbell row, upright row, power cleans), shoulders (military press, behind the neck press), chest (bench press both incline and decline) and arms (bicep curls, skull crushers, close grip bench press).
A good Olympic bar is about 7ft wide so will need storage but when you consider the amount you can do with it it’s a greatinvestment.
Two further bits of equipment that we would consider real essentials are a weights bench and a rack. A bench that has incline and decline functionality is the best. And as for the rack you may be tempted to bypass this due to space issues. But really measure out if you can do it for the following reason.
Without one you will not be able to do heavier leg, chest and shoulder workouts and if you are working out at home alone then you will need the safety that a rack gives you.
Other items to consider include suspension training, always good for those with little space. The TRX trainer takes up pretty much no space, all you need is something secure to hang it from. The benefits of suspension trainers is they add variety, which we know is the key to you continuing to work out, but they also allow you to work the core and functional range of movements. A punch bag can also be a great addition to a home gym. Great for high intensity but also a great stress reliever and as with the indoor bike they are a talking point and look great.
Finally, don't forget to think about your flooring. This will help demarcate the area you are using as the gym. It will also protect both your property from any damage but also help your gym equipment to last longer.
Flooring if done properly (doesn't mean expensively) will also add some sound proofing to your workouts. Look for commercial grade flooring that will last for years and is really good value for money.
Storage is really important for any home gym. Not only do you want it to look tidy but if you are using a shared space it’s also about safety. You don’t want dumbbells loose on the floor. Look at a good storage rack for your weights. You may want to buy some shelving which can also create a room divider if your exercise area is in a living space.
If your exercise space is in a living room, style may also important. Some storage solutions will also complement the look you have elsewhere in your living room. Check out the Jordan’s equipment storage cage. It holds a lot but is also lockable which is good if you have children around. It’s also on wheels so easy to move around and in a silver paint finish looks very urban and cool.