Creating The Right Exercise Space in Your Home
How do you go about creating the perfect exercise space in your home? With few of us having the ideal home gym space, we need to think about creating space in a dual use room, or buying gym equipment that is aesthetically pleasing and stylish with an existing room.
Allocate Your Space
First things first, decide exactly where you want to work out. Whether it's a spare room, home office or maybe you are lucky enough to have an empty garage. If there is not a dedicated space you can work with, then set aside a small area within a bedroom, office space or conservatory?
Whatever options you have, choose a space that allows your day to day home to continue to run as smoothly as possible - otherwise you'll quickly find nothing will work.
Fitness Feng Shui
There are certain elements of a room that will potentially boost your exercise performance. Don't underestimate how the placement and harmony of a pilates or gym 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.
Your Gym Equipment
If space is going to be tight you don’t need to overstock it with gym equipment that is too large and bulky. You also don't need anything that once you've used it once or twice, then sits in the corner not being used ever again.
So we think you should consider equipment that either you can fold or that you can store vertically, like the Classic WaterRower. This particular model is also easy to manoeuvre into position thanks to the inbuilt wheels at the end. Or look at the bulkier equipment you choose being a foldable option - like treadmills.
What About Indoor Bikes?
Whilst we never recommend foldable bikes (as they give very little stability due to the design), why not look at some of the great indoor cycle models we sell that have an incredibly small footprint. You need to consider 'Upright' bikes for this, rather than the 'recumbent' versions. Depending on your taste, you may also be able to buy indoor bikes that offer a level of style and design, meaning you won’t mind having them in your living room so much. Plus, they can then be used whilst you put on your favourite TV show.
Dumbbells & Kettlebells
Another favourite for any home gym are dumbbells. They are relatively small, easy to store if only a few pairs and even with more pairs, you can choose a vertical storage solution to save space. 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.
As an aside, you can also get great use from foam rollers as small and inexpensive items, that offer a great way to knead out those sore muscles.
Multi Purpose Barbells & Olympic Sets
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.
The Must Have
For any home gym, small studio or personal training studio, two further bits of equipment that we would consider essential are a weights bench and a rack. A bench that has incline and decline functionality is the best, although any adjustable bench will be great for a wide range of exercises.
As for a rack you may be tempted to bypass this due to space issues, but once you check your ceiling height (at least 2.4m for a full rack), then measure out if you can do it for the following reasons. 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.
Added Value Accessories
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 boxing 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 gym flooring. This will help you zone out the area you are using as your gym but more than that, it will also protect both your property from any damage and help protect your gym equipment from damage.
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.
Storing Your Gym Equipment
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.