Have you grown tired of the typical commercial gym? Is the travel time associated with getting to and from your local workout center stressing you out? Or, are you simply fed up with paying high membership fees for a facility that you have to share with others?
If yes, it may be the time to consider creating your very own personal gym at home.
A home gym can be great for convenience, but it isn’t for everyone. Some people get their motivation from the group environment of a gym. They enjoy the classes and social aspects of working out. If that sounds like you, no matter how convenient training at home may sound, it's probably not for you.
But, if you do want that solitude and the ability to use a machine whenever you want at anytime of the day, without much of a commute, then the home gym may be the answer.
Ready to go down that route? Then let’s talk about the best way to construct your home workout space.
Building a home gym doesn’t have to be particularly expensive. People waste a lot of money on unnecessary equipment, multi gyms and overpriced specialist products that quite frankly aren't particularly useful in a commercial gym, let alone a home training space.
There is no reason you can't create a fully functional home gym that will stand the test of time. Keep in mind that your home gym will evolve over time. Start with the very basics and keep an eye out for the upgrades you need. When the time and price is right you can make those additions.
Think about what motivates you and fill your space with the stuff that will help you imagine what you are trying to become. Tailor your environment to your personality so that as soon as you walk into the gym you’ll be reminded of why you’re doing all this and be ready to put in the hard work to achieve your fitness goals.
A very important aspect of gym planning is the flooring, which must protect your property and help make your gym equipment last longer. Proper gym flooring will also help reduce the sound level coming out of the gym.
Aim for commercial grade foam flooring (you’ll find it in interlocking squares). This will last you years and is very affordable.
You can also use individual pieces of rubberized protection, like our Landice equipment mat to protect your machines and floors.
2. Barbells & Plates
For some, this may be the most important piece of equipment you’ll need for your home gym as it helps you focus on your core.
Here is a list of the basic exercises you can do with a barbell set:
Legs: Front squat, Back squat, Lunges, Deadlift
Back: Barbell row, Upright Row, Power Cleans
Shoulders: Military Press, Behind the neck press
Chest: Bench Press (flat incline & decline)
Arms: Bicep curls, Skull crushers, Close grip bench press
You will be able to find all sorts of sets and plates for sale online – including previously used equipment. Keep in mind that you’ll need a true Olympic bar so that you can rely on its sturdiness and won’t outgrow it. These are about 7ft wide, so you need a room big enough to accommodate one.
To make the most of your barbell sets, you'll need a bench. Go for a bench that has incline and decline functionality: you may not use these often, but if you decide to go for a split bodybuilding style training phase it’ll come in handy.
The rack is an important element of your gym set-up and one that should not be bypassed. Without one, heavier leg, chest and shoulder workouts become almost impossible. There is also the safety element to consider as again, most of the time you will be training alone so will want the reassurance of being able to rack the bar easily.
Kettlebells have become quite popular and could be a better alternative to a slew of dumbbells. Kettlebells are a far more versatile and can replicate most of the exercises you would perform with dumbbells. They also bring an element of momentum and functional training to your workouts, providing many more variations without taking up much extra space in your gym. Kettlebells between 25lbs – 35lbs. are ideal.
Some type of cardio exercise equipment is a great way to mix up your workout routine. It’s also an important part of planning your home gym space as treadmills, ellipticals and bikes use up some critical flooring.
Cardio training enables you to add a circuit style workout to your routine, which also helps facilitate fat loss regimens.
Looking for some more information on cardio training? Check out our treadmill training tips booklet for free.
Additional Option – The Mirror
Not essential, but if you have the space, money, and inclination, but mirrors will help you with your workouts.
Some people find motivation from mirrors; others don't. But mirrors are a great way to focus on form, especially when you’re using weights. Improper lifting over time can cause long-term muscle and skeletal issues. Many of us don’t realize how we favor one side over the other. A mirror may help us catch these mistakes before it’s too late. And, in some cases, mirrors can make your home gym seem larger than it is.
The Last Word
A home gym can be a great way to exercise without spending ages away from your family (and dumping childcare on your other half). But it can also prove divisive: to have an effective workout, you need to create a space and time period that's free from disruption and distraction.