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There are countless reasons why building a home gym is the perfect way to kick off the new year and dive into fitness resolutions. Turning a corner or room you aren't using into a quick workout space cuts back on your commute time to a physical gym, allows you to try out new movements in the privacy of your home, and ensures that bad weather doesn't keep you from hitting your daily workout. Plus, if you plan correctly, home gyms can also save money that would ordinarily be spent on membership fees.
While the options for equipment are endless, here are the top, budget-conscious factors to keep in mind when assembling a quick and easy home gym.
Ready the Room
Choose a Space
The space in your home that you decide to set apart for a home gym should reflect the kinds of workouts you plan on doing. In general, living rooms aren't the best option, as you or a family member might end up tripping continuously over dumbbells and other equipment. A garage, spare bedroom or other kind of flex space works the best. If you are living in an upstairs apartment, be mindful of neighbors living underneath you, and consider moving workouts that require a lot of jumping outside.
Protect Your Floors
If you decide to work out in a space that doesn't have carpet, there are protective measures you can take to keep your floors from getting dented and scratched when dropping a weight. Foam, puzzle piece exercise mats are a great choice, with interlocking tiles that provide support, cushion, and skid prevention, starting at roughly over a dollar a square foot.
You don't have to buy a treadmill or rowing machine to get a great cardio workout from home. For a limited space, low-cost option, purchase a jump rope to get your heart pumping or hang an inexpensive boxing bag if you are working out in the garage and want to kick your workout into high gear. When the weather allows, start your workout with a quick jog outside or make use of your stairs to simulate an uphill jog.
Depending on the kind of workout you are planning, dumbbells, kettlebells and a barbell are the optimal choice or a budget-conscious home gym. Barbells can be expensive when combined with the cost of purchasing a rack and weight plates, but these can be assembled for under $500. Consider buying adjustable dumbbells, which can range from 5 to over 50 pounds and reduce the need to buy multiple dumbbells. The right weight for a kettlebell depends on fitness level, but most beginners start at 18 pounds, whereas those who have been training for a while can work their way up from a 35-pound kettlebell.
Resistance bands are a great way to build strength and muscle tone at a low cost. Some sets come with varying resistance weights and handles, so that you can attach them to your doorway, and implement exercises that you could ordinarily do with cables at the gym. Other resistance bands come in a loop for a variety of leg and back exercises and to assist you in performing pullups.
Pull-up bars can easily be fixed on the doorways of your home gym if you want to challenge yourself with chin ups and pullups.
Entertainment or Education
If you plan on working out with an instructor online, you may want to pull a TV or computer into the space to follow along. Consider placing these items on a rolling cart so that you can easily tuck them out of the way when you aren't using them.
Other accessories to consider are:
- A Bluetooth speaker for the ultimate workout playlist
- Yoga or other workout mats for ab exercises, pilates, yoga and stretching
- A full-length mirror to watch your form carefully while you exercise
- A folding chair, which you can do tricep dips off of the seat of or sit in while performing upper body dumbbell exercises
With 6 to 7 essential items in your home gym, you can mix and match weeks of intense workouts in the comfort of your home at your pace. Whether you choose to spend your afternoon performing yoga workouts or bench pressing, the health benefits will last much longer than the workout.