Home Gym Design Considerations
If you're looking to put together a home gym, you will probably find yourself balancing the constraints of space and budget against the need to have a sufficient variety of equipment to make your workouts varied and effective.
Most people who are planning a home gym build it around one piece of cardio equipment. Cardio equipment tends to be the biggest, most expensive part of a home gym, and therefore requires serious thought and planning.
There are at least six cardio machines worth considering – treadmills, rowers, stationary bikes (upright or recumbent), steppers, cross-trainers, and climbing machines. They each have their merits – rowers, cross-trainers, and climbers, for example, give the best al around workout, because they work both the upper and lower body.
However, what should ultimately help make your decision is quite simply which do most enjoy using? When you go to the gym or health club, which cardio machine do you naturally head for? If you choose the machine you most enjoy, chances are you will keep on using it, and it won’t become an expensive, dusty clothes rack.
Of course, you may be seriously constrained by price or space. If space is your issue, look for models that can fold up when not in use – for example many treadmills do this – or that can easily be rolled away, like a stationary bike.
If price is the big issue, it is worth considering buying a used cardio machine. It’s an unfortunate reality that many people buy a machine with the intention of working out at home but never actually use it. Therefore, you will always be able to pick up a bargain if you look online.
Strength training equipment also offers lots of option, but fortunately, most of them are relatively inexpensive and take up a lot less space than the typical cardio machine!
The simplest option is probably dumbbells – with just a couple of different weight of dumbbells – or some adjustable dumbbells with a variety of plates – you can perform a huge range of exercises for the whole body. Dumbbells are particularly effective because you have to work both sides of the body independently, so you will soon uncover – and rehabilitate – any weaknesses.
If you have a little more space, you can use an Olympic bar, which allows you to work with much heavier weights.
Other great choices for a home gym are resistance bands – very cheap and require almost no space to store – kettlebells, or a suspension system such as the TRX. If you are not familiar with these it is worth learning about them, they are ideal for home use.
Flooring to Protect and Use
Finally you will want to work your core. In addition to a good floor mat – essential for any home workout – you could also consider items such as an exercise ball or a BOSU, that will allow you to really work your core muscles.
With careful selection and planning you can end up with a home gym that enables you to get good, interesting workouts whatever the circumstances or weather.