Home gyms are a great way to stay consistent with workouts and maintain your fitness, provided that you use them regularly. While one advantage of home gyms is that they are economical, don’t skimp too much or you may lose interest and your adherence will decline.
Although you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune on home gym equipment, it’s worth it to invest in some key products to maintain your motivation and continue seeing results. After all, you are investing in your health, which is important. Certainly with an unlimited budget, you can equip yourself with higher-end items, such as premium cardiovascular equipment and perhaps a functional trainer. But you can do a lot with one quality cardio piece, some strength training tools and various accessories. Remember, a comprehensive fitness routine includes cardio, strength and flexibility training.
Many choices exist, but here are our top recommendations for a versatile, effective home gym:
- Zero Runner – This new product is better than a treadmill because it lets you replicate natural running strides without any stressful, repetitive impact that can cause fatigue, compromise form or lead to injury. Virtually anyone can walk, jog or run on the Zero Runner, which also engages the upper body for a total-body, efficient session. Plus, with the free SmartLink app, you benefit from unique stride tracing technology, cross training programs and professionally designed workouts to meet your goals.
- Elliptical – OK, technically, you only MUST have one piece of cardio, but if you have room for two, or you don’t like to walk or run, then an elliptical is a low-impact, total-body workhorse that provides excellent cardiovascular conditioning for virtually any exerciser. Octane offers traditional standing ellipticals, lateral models and recumbent versions; along with resistance bands and CROSS CiRCUIT, combined cardio-strength interval training routines that maximize your efforts.
- Dumbbells – You need a few sets in different denominations to work the upper body. For space efficiency, try the Bowflex SelectTech models, which are adjustable from 5-10 pounds all the way to 52.5-90 pounds, depending on which model you choose. Everyone in your house can use these!
- Barbell – This is ideal for lower-body exercises like squats and lunges. Pick from a classic version with weight plates and collars or Body Bars, which come in different denominations and are covered in foam rubber for comfort.
- Step bench and risers – An inexpensive item, this can be used for cardio (following a step video, for instance) and strength exercises like chest press, dips, incline or decline work and more.
- Stability ball – These big, colorful balls add incredible variety and valuable challenge to multiple strength exercises and core workouts.
- Elastic resistance bands/tubing – Using these lightweight tools in different resistance levels provides more strength training options to change routines and challenge the muscles in new ways. Plus, they are portable and you can take them with you when traveling.
- Workout videos – When you need inspiration or change, using a video or online workout is a great option for cardio or strength training, as well as for formats where you might require more direction, such as yoga and Pilates. Get a few, or subscribe to an online service, so you can rotate among them.
- Mat – For obvious reasons, a mat provides a place to do strength exercises, core work and stretching. Get a nice, comfortable one since you will use it a lot.
- Foam roller – To help you loosen tight muscles, relieve pain in soft tissues, stretch and improve circulation and range of motion, these oblong tools are a definite must-have in your home gym.