I walked into the commercial gym yesterday after a long day of work excited to begin my workout. After warming up I proceeded to the squat rack to start my resistance training workout. I unfortunately ran into a bit of a roadblock. I was planning on starting with some Back Squats but there was a young man in the power rack performing barbell biceps curls with horrible form (a definite no-no!).
I decided to go to Plan B and rearrange my workout only to find that the flat benches were all occupied as well. This trend continued and everywhere I turned the equipment I desired was being used. I was happy that so many people were working out but at the same time I was frustrated that my well-laid plans were spoiled. I learned a long time ago that it is wise to have a back-up plan in place for situations like this so I decided to head home and revert to Plan C, which was my home workout routine.
I have found that having the option to workout at home is essential for people with busy schedules, for others who do not like going to crowded gyms, or for people who need a contingency plan for just-in-case situations (that's me!). Another reason to have a home gym is that warmer weather has finally arrived and you may be less likely to go to your commercial gym.
I have helped people design expensive, well-equipped home gyms and I have helped others design very cost-effective, space-saving workouts areas. My personal home gym consists of a Stability Ball, 5lb to 95lb Dumbbells, some Kettlebells, an adjustable Weighted Vest, Adjustable DB Handles, Elastic Bands, 2kg to 10kg Medicine Balls, Ankle Weights, an AB Roller, a variety of Exercise Videos, and a minimal amount of space!
Anyone can have a Home Gym and there are many reasons to have one. The following list of questions should help you design a Home Gym that will suit your needs, your space, and your budget!
Questions To Ask When Building Your Home Gym:
The First Step: Ask Yourself Why?
Why do you want a home gym? What will it give you that you do not already have? What is your empowering vision of your ideal physique or athletic accomplishment? What are your short and long term goals? Always begin with a vision of the end results in mind, as this will guide you in your efforts. If you have not developed a vision of what you want to accomplish at this point, then that is the first thing you need to do. Develop a plan of attack for building your body and building your home gym.
Without a plan you might end up disappointed with the lack of results and frustrated that you bought the wrong equipment. Ask yourself what kind of results you expect your home gym to deliver? Is your home gym going to supplement your commercial gym membership (as a contingency plan)? Will you be doing your cardiovascular exercise outside or inside on a machine? Will you be doing stretching, strength training, or both? Is your home gym going to be the only place that you work out? Think about these things when designing your home gym.
I. How much are you willing to spend ($$$$$$$)?
How much do you want to spend, plain and simple? If you are just starting out with an exercise program, you might consider starting small with a simple, yet very effective, pair of Dumbbells. You can perform a full-body workout with a pair of dumbbells, some bodyweight exercises, and with a little knowledgeable of proper exercise technique. If you want to do it inexpensively, hire a knowledgeable fitness professional to design an individualized exercise program that you can do with a pair of Dumbbells in the comfort of your home. I have listed a variety of items that you might consider adding to your home gym.
A. Cardiovascular Machine
If you insist on performing your cardiovascular exercise routine at home be prepared to spend some money! Be aware, a gym quality treadmill, stationary bike, rowing ergometer, or elliptical trainer is going to cost you. You can buy used or refurbished gym quality equipment for a discounted price and if I wanted a cardio machine for my home this is probably the route that I would take. If you are thinking, "I'll just save a few hundred dollars and buy an inexpensive treadmill at the mall," make sure you do some research and ensure that you will buy something that is going to last and that will fit y our needs. I know many people who have purchased flimsy treadmills and regretted it soon thereafter. There are quality treadmills out there you just have to know where to look. I would recommend talking to my friend Bob McKinnon at McKinnon Technical Services (603-644-7539) who knows gym equipment like the back of his hand. He can point you in the right direction if you want to!
B. A Multi-Purpose Home Gym Machine
There are numerous multi-purpose gyms on the market and some are better than others. Chances are, if you turn on your television late at night and flip through the channels, you will be exposed to clever marketing using beautifully sculpted fitness models promising results in six weeks or less if you purchase their machine! Guess what. You can get results without a two thousand dollar machine that will most likely be collecting dust in a year anyway! Why not begin your quest for improved fitness with a modest investment in a pair of Dumbbells? Why not purchase a $20 book on how to get into shape? How about meeting with someone who specializes in coaching people through the process of positive physical change such as fitness professional or Registered Dietician? Infomercials are notorious for clever marketing and they can be very compelling. Avoid impulsive buying and do some research first before purchasing an expensive multi-gym. I recommend consulting a qualified fitness professional about the usefulness of such a machine, interviewing people who have that machine, and possibly even test-driving one before you make this decision. I have to mention that every Spring and Fall I see countless multi-gyms sitting out on someone's lawn as part of the annual yard sale. I wonder why that is?
If I had the room in my apartment, I would go out and buy a Barbell today! With a 45 lb. Olympic Barbell you can perform a wide variety of exercises in a variety of different ways. If you are an athlete, you have the space available, and you want to improve your sports performance, learning how to correctly perform the Olympic Weightlifting movements (Clean and Jerk, Snatch, and all the variations) can take your performance to the next level! To name a few, exercises such as Squats, Overhead Squats, Deadlifts, Bent over Rows, Bench Presses, Overhead Presses, and Upright Rows can be performed. I would recommend having an adjustable Power Rack and adjustable bench to augment the versatility of the barbell. Space and total cost are big factors when considering purchasing a barbell.
If you want to save money and space, dumbbells are the way to go. You might consider two to three sets of dumbbells (they can be purchased at a sporting goods store for any where between $.35-$.75/pound (In Concord, NH, Check out Olympia Sports in the Mall, Sears, Target, Walmart, Northeast Fitness, or check out the newspapers for the least expensive way to go!). I prefer the metal dumbbells but there are also rubber coated and adjustable dumbbells available. "Power Blocks," (perform a search on the internet to learn more about these) are adjustable dumbbells and are a great tool that take up a lot less space in your home gym, offers great versatility, and offers adjustable resistance to suit your needs. There are also other forms of adjustable dumbbells that consist of two handles, collars, and series of different size weight plates. see here best cardio machines
When selecting weights, it wise to start light and gradually purchase heavier dumbbells as you need them. I am able to perform wide variety of exercises with Dumbbells. If your goal is fat-loss, then a properly designed resistance training program that incorporates multi-joint Dumbbell exercises will help you achieve your goals more efficiently than many gym machines that "isolate" certain muscle groups. Remember, the more muscle groups that you incorporate, the more energy your body burns, and the better your results will be! Exercise technique is a factor but I'll happily let you know that I have taught 90-year-old women and 11-year-old boys how to perform the most "difficult" Dumbbell exercises with pristine form.