By Sydney Eaton for Sunny Health & Fitness
Have you been thinking about building a home gym? Throughout the past few years with openings and closings of gyms, masks, and no masks, I've played with the idea of building a more substantial home gym myself many times.
With winter coming, and darker mornings and evenings on the way, I'm quickly approaching my breaking point for investing in reliable fitness equipment to get me through this year as healthy, fit, and strong as I want to be.
If you're feeling similar sentiments, I'm right there with you. I'm all too familiar with the thoughts that may be running through your head - from where will I put my home gym, will I still want it once things get back to 'normal'?
While I can't provide the answers to all the logistics of your setup, what I can guarantee is you'll never regret investing in your health. Fitness equipment is one of the best purchases you can make for you and your family's physical and mental health.
In this article, I'll provide a list of the basic checkpoints I think should be covered in any home gym. My suggestions accommodate what you'll need to establish a balanced routine focused on building cardiovascular fitness, strength, as well as taking care of your body through stretching, mobility, and recovery to increase the longevity of your routine.
Depending on what kind of options you're looking for in your home gym, some of these suggestions may be suited to you, while others you may decide you don't need right now. I encourage you to look through each section and consider what you can do with your budget and space to set yourself up for a healthy fitness routine at home!
1. HOME GYM BASICS & ACCESSORIES
In any home gym, a great starting place is picking up a few basics. For me, the essentials to have in any home gym are going to be a yoga mat and light weight dumbbells. These items are extremely versatile, which I'll get into in a minute. These are the first items I'd recommend to any of my clients working out from home because there's just so much you can do with these two simple items in your arsenal.
A yoga mat is a great tool to have not just for yoga classes but stretching and mobility work on your recovery days or after your workouts, as well as bodyweight or strength training exercise.
Could you work out on the floor in your home? Absolutely, you can. But a mat provides comfort and makes it easy to wipe up sweat and keep your workout space clean. Be sure to check out our no equipment workouts you could do with your new mat at home.
Having some light dumbbells as an option for at home workouts is always a great option. Even once you outgrow light dumbbells for basic strength training purposes, you can always use them to complete more challenging exercises, or increase the workload during circuit or HIIT training classes, like this 15 Minute Dumbbell HIIT Class, for a surprisingly effective workout with just a small investment.
2. HOME GYM CARDIO FITNESS EQUIPMENT
Investing in cardio equipment is a great next step in building your fitness routine from home. Cardiovascular exercise is hugely important for your overall health and longevity. Most importantly, it will allow you to stay consistent in your routine regardless of weather or other circumstances out of your control.
The most important decision is which cardio machine is best for you. What you will use is what you should get, so ask yourself what do you enjoy? You must decide where your budget lies and what priorities are to you when it comes to equipment.
We have the equipment to match every budget and need. Below are a few of my favorite pieces of cardio equipment we offer. They may come at an investment, but they're products that will last you years.
Cycle bikes are great for those looking for a low impact workout and a vibrant community. There's no shortage of fun workouts and variety when it comes to a cycle bike! Check out a 30 minute Dance Cycle class! Lots of fun.
I've decided to feature one of my favorite cycle bikes we offer below. It was certainly hard to pick just one, but this is a solid, sturdy bike built to last, and you just can't beat the features for a home gym, from the SPD clips to the monitor, tablet holder, multigrip handlebars to accommodate all the positions, and full adjustability.
If you love walking, jogging, running, or all the above, a treadmill is perfect for you to keep the body moving even as the seasons change. Get started with a 30 minute Treadmill HIIT workout, designed for beginners. The treadmill I've selected as my all-time favorite, is hands down the treadmill I would select for my own home gym. While it's not the cheapest offering we have, it has every feature you could want from high speeds, and high inclines and all of the comfort features one could want to settle into a long-term fitness journey at home.
Ellipticals are great for those who prefer standing exercise, just like running or walking, but low impact. Many consider ellipticals more suited to beginners, but they're a great cardiovascular workout and should not be underestimated if they fit your needs. Try this Burning Elliptical HIIT Workout for beginners, to kick off your at-home fitness journey!
Below is my personal favorite elliptical we offer. The stride length is nice and long and feels super natural to me, which is one of the most important factors when it comes to selecting an elliptical. What an amazing full body workout!
Rowing is an amazing full body workout. Rowing works nearly 86% of the muscles in your body if performed correctly. And as a trainer, I love it because it helps you train your postural muscles, rather than reinforce poor postural positions that many of us fall into when seated at a desk for long hours of the day. New rowers, get started with this 20 Minute Drill Workout for Beginners!
I have so many favorites when it comes to our rowers, but it's hard to beat the sleek look of the SF-RW5713. Water rowers feel so incredibly smooth and soothing, and this rower is no exception. It's a fan favorite for a reason; check it out if you're on the market!
3. HOME GYM STRENGTH FITNESS EQUIPMENT
I feel like a broken record when I say everyone should include some form of strength training in their routine. However, I'll say it time and time again. Regardless of your fitness goals and lifestyle, some form of resistance training, whether bodyweight, resistance bands, dumbbells, or heavy weights, keeps the body strong and able. Below is just what you need to get started!
Why would one want heavier dumbbells? Well, for one, as you gain strength, it's important to keep challenging yourself as you progress. Challenging yourself means heavier weights.
Adjustable dumbbells mean that rather than needing to invest in multiple pairs of dumbbells as you get fitter and stronger, you can add or take away weight from your single set of dumbbells as needed.
Kettlebells are amazing for mixing up your strength workouts and adding an additional challenge because they create an off balanced center of gravity. Great for challenging your core, balance, and even training for power. Check out this 15 Minute Kettlebell workout for a crazy good full body workout!
A bench is a great option to have in your home gym. It will help you complete a wide variety of exercises from bench press to bent over rows, step ups to Bulgarian split squats, core exercises, and more! The flexibility it will add to your routine is invaluable.
Can you do step ups or Bulgarians with a chair, yes, I have hacked this in my own home. However, when you start adding a significant amount of weight, a true bench designed for strength training will be important for your safety during exercise, as it provides stability necessary to move safely and effectively.
Finally, if you're serious about building strength at home, you'll want a squat stand at the minimum, power rack, or cage for even more versatility. If you're really interested in purchasing a squat rack for your home, be sure to read up all about different types of racks, accessories, etc., in my squat rack guide.
Below is the basic squat stand I would recommend for anyone looking to get started at home. But we have more offerings available if you're looking for something more!
I hope this fitness equipment home gym guide was helpful to you. As I mentioned above, everyone has their priorities when it comes to building their personal home gym. Everything I've included in this article is something I believe anyone, no matter their fitness goals, can benefit by having access to in their home gym. Good luck building your home gym!