Fitness is getting trendier and trendier these days. Gyms are filled with all the exercise equipment you’ve ever heard of (or not heard of) and there’s a new boutique workout studio on every corner offering some type of new exercise guaranteed to make you ripped. While it’s nice to have all these options at our hands, it can be a hassle! The commute, accommodating gym schedules, dealing with other gym-goers or waiting in line for equipment, not to mention the cost of a gym membership — these discourage even the best of us and make for easy excuses to skip the gym.
To cut down on all the extra time and money, we’ve decided to create the best home gym ever! It’s your lucky day, because we’re sharing with you how to pull this off — it’s not as hard as it sounds! Now, you’ll be able achieve your fitness goals without having to figure out complicated and foreign gym machines, stressing to rush to group fitness classes on time or having to shower in a communal locker room. Instead of paying those absurd membership fees of nearly $800/year, you can make a one-time investment on a few pieces of key equipment. Welcome to the freedom of a 24/7 access gym, with your own shower just steps away. Best of all, you’ll never again have share with sweaty strangers who don’t wipe down equipment — yuck!
5 Easy Steps to Get Started
Before heading straight to Sports Authority, check out our 5 steps below. Building a great home gym takes a little planning, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! With our short and sweet step-by-step guide, you’ll be prepared and know what you need.
- Find the space. First, make sure you have the space for your home gym, and plan to use it wisely. We get it, real estate can be hard to come by. Our general rule of thumb is find enough space to fit at least an Olympic barbell and that’ll be enough for one of the best home gyms out there! Designate this area as your gym spot and gym spot only — don’t get lazy and start using it for storage, etc.
- Set a budget and stick to it. A good starting home gym can cost you as little as a couple hundred dollars if you spend correctly. It’s all about knowing what to get, then shopping around for the best prices. You can always check Craigslist and garage sales for easy-to-clean things like free weights.
- Consolidate! Make a list of the exercises that you actually do and what equipment you need to get them done. Now figure out how you can consolidate some of your moves to just a few pieces of equipment. Shop for home gym items that are very versatile and not specialized to just one body part or exercise — it will cut costs and conserve space. Also, don’t equip too well when starting out. It’s easy to get overzealous and try to create the best home gym ever, but you should start with the necessities and build up later as you realize what equipment you’ll actually need and use. A rookie mistake is springing for a ton of bells and whistles only realize later that you don’t even use half the stuff! Be realistic as to what you need and will use.
- Storage is key. Portable and small items are your friends. They save space, tend to be cheaper and can be just as effective when used correctly. Look at that list of exercises and see if you can achieve the same desired results with smaller items. For example, TRX bands can replace a LOT of dumbbells and barbells. Once you’ve got your equipment, find creative ways to store them with bins, racks, wall hooks, etc. A neat and mess-free area will make for one of the most motivating and best home gyms.
- Decorate to motivate! Last, but not least, add some personal touches! Do you need music for motivation? (We certainly do.) Set up some speakers or keep an iPod and a BTS Pro in your gym area! Maybe you like to watch workout videos — then mount a TV or iPad on the wall. If electronics are part of your workout routine, make sure your home gym has a charging station so you don’t get interrupted with dead batteries. Don’t forget to fill up extra wall space with motivational quotes or posters!
Finding the Right Equipment
Now for the fun part — picking out what equipment is right for you to create your best home gym! There are a million options out there, so we’ve done some research to narrow the playing field. Check out our favorite home gym gear that will give you the biggest bang for your buck and save you some space!
When you think of building yourself the best home gym possible (in your little space), it’s easy start fantasizing about all the fancy equipment you want. Let’s start with ground zero, though, literally — flooring. This is an important step you don’t want to skip! The proper flooring will not only protect your home’s floors from your equipment, it will provide the right platform for you to exercise properly (by protecting your knees and ankles). There are many options and most are relatively cheap so you won’t have to worry about your budget taking a hit for this.
Your sweat center can only become one of the best home gyms if you have TRX bands! We swear by these for so many reasons — they’re cheap, compact, lightweight for travel and you can work every single muscle with just one piece of equipment. Of course, there are plenty of TRX-specific workouts, but you can also incorporate them to your normal workouts to make them more challenging (or substitute the bands for dumbbells if that’s what you usually use). Squats, lunges, planks, basically everything can include a TRX band if you’re up for the challenge! It’s definitely one of the best investments for a home gym (or any gym!) and you can find our favorites here.
Olympic Barbell and Plates
If you want to press, squat, or deadlift, the barbell is a 3 in 1 at least. There’s also a lot more you can do with a barbell than those 3 basic exercises, make it a very versatile piece of equipment. Whether you’ve been lifting for years or are just starting out, this one piece of equipment is guaranteed to produce results. The tough part is deciding how much weight to purchase. We suggest starting low because you can always buy more plates if you don’t have enough (or are getting stronger!). If you plan on using your barbell for deadlifts, try looking for a rubber encased plate or bumper plates. That way your floors and equipment don’t get ruined when you drop them. Remember, there are plenty of exercises you can do with just the plates as well.
If you’re looking to build out the best home gym while limited on space, kettlebells may actually be a better choice than a full rack of dumbbells (which can wind up being expensive and taking up a lot of space). They’re perfect for exercises such as goblet squats, swings, and more! Between your barbell and kettlebells, you’ll be able to work all the same muscles as you would using dumbbells. Think about getting a few so you have a couple of different weights to choose from. If you’re not familiar with kettlebells, try some of these exercises out at your local gym before implementing them in your home gym.
A plyo box is actually great for full body exercises and can really help build power. If you’re even remotely handy, you can quickly construct this piece of equipment on your own as opposed to purchasing one. Check out this video if you don’t want to commit any of your budget to a plyo box — it only takes one sheet of plywood! You can easily make the boxes in several varying heights for different exercises depending on your needs. For easy storage, just stack the boxes inside one another!
For home gyms, we don’t usually like equipment that focuses on just one body part, but it’s worth it for that ripped 6-pack! Plus, an ab wheel is so light and small, you can hang it from a nail on the wall to save space. So if abs are your goal, an ab wheel is key! It will give you a full body tension workout, and get this, you can find them for about $10. These may look easy but they are one of the hardest ab workouts, especially if you also need to work on your upper arm strength. Put one of these bad boys in your arsenal and you’ll be seeing washboard abs sooner than you thought possible!
Now that you’ve got the tools to create one of the best home gyms ever, it’s time to get started! Have your own home gym already? Share tips you’ve learned along the way to your best home gym on Twitter, @66Audio. We can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with!