What is my budget?
Obviously, the biggest number that will be entering the equation here is the price. While it would be nice to afford some of the more expensive home workout equipment easily, sometimes it's just not an option. Your preferred gym equipment choice might not be the same as for someone else.
Click here to find out how to build your own home gym with just around $650.
The prices on home gyms run the gamut from round $500 right through to in excess of $5000. Here’s a guide to what you can expect to get for your money.
It pays to establish your budget and your training requirements before you venture into the marketplace.
The tendency may be to invest in the biggest, most impressive looking machine. However, that many not be the right one for you, especially if you are new to working out.
How much available room in my home gym do I have?
Most home gyms require quite a lot of space. And, unless you’ve got a Total Fitness or Bowflex machine, it is probably going to be sitting in the same spit, even when you’re not using it.
Make sure that you carefully measure your available space. Be3 sure to add an extra couple of feet all the way around in order to compensate for the bar and general movement getting around and doing the exercises.
Be especially careful about the height requirements of your new home gym. If you are considering a rack type gym, make sure that you have got a couple of feet of clearance above the top of the rack to perform pull ups and chin ups.
Some home gyms re constructed to fit into corners, which can make them much more space efficient.
When it comes to such machines as the Bowflex home gym, you need to make sure that you take into account the height of the power rod resistance rods, which may be as much as eight feet off the floor.
You probably won’t want to move your home gym after setting it up. Be sure to give plenty of thought to its placement before you buy it.
Most of the machines I have recommended here will have no problem fitting into an average size home gym. However, make sure to check the dimensions that you have available with the dimensions of the machine. You're likely not going to be able to match the variety of equipment you see at a commercial gym so make sure you are measuring correctly.
You do not want to get half way through setting up your home exercise equipment and realize that it's too high or your elbows hit wall during your workout.
What are my fitness and training goals for the workout?
In establishing your training goals, consider the following questions . . .
If more than one person will be using the home gym then here are some additional questions to consider . . .
The Body Solid EXM3000 LPS is going to be the cheapest option for workout equipment for those that want some serious resistance. If you are looking to bulk and gain as much strength as possible, this is hands down the best home gym equipment option for strength training.
If you are looking to simply get into shape, grow your strength, and get to an impressive state of fitness than the Bowflex PR1000 is the choice for you. The Bowflex PR1000 is fantastic for high-intensity strength training.
Toning Up and Losing Weight
A suspension trainer is a fantastic tool for toning, burning calories and getting a terrific weight loss workout. Weighing in at just two pounds, a suspension trainer will provide you with the means to do more than 300 toning and shaping exercises anywhere, anytime.
We recommend the TRX Suspension Trainer, which is the most versatile, rugged and functional suspension trainer out there. TRX are the original and the best home gyms suspension trainers.
Without question, the best option here is the Weider Ultimate Body Works. This is an extremely affordable, and very versatile weight lifting machine. It's fantastic for burning calories with high-intensity workouts.
This article has helped with finding the best home gym equipment for you. We also have an article detailing how to purchase an aerobic exercise machine if that is something that you are interested in.
With the variety of home exercise equipment that is available today, it is important to remember why it is you want a machine and what you plan on accomplishing. The best bet would be to get a total gym system that covers every area possible.
While they may take up a bit more room, home gyms are a sound investment and will be worth the money spent. There are also more compact options available, and some options that can even fold up for easy and convenient storage.
Finally, keep your budget in mind. Again, it can be a hefty investment up front, but you are making the investment in yourself and ensuring a healthy future for both yourself and your family.
How much strength training experience do I have?
What is your level of experience? Are you a powerlifter that has been working out in a commercial gym for years and is tired of waiting in line for the squat machine at the gym or are you just now getting into fitness?
Unfortunately, there aren't too many complete home machines out there that will cover all the lifts an experienced lifter would need. I personally recommend that if you are looking to build a truly awesome home gym, you need to invest in a power rack with some bumper weight plates.
We've got a great guide on purchasing a power rack here.
RogueFitness also offers a few different home gym bundles that might interest you as well.
The W4 package comes with a wall mounted power rack, barbell, adjustable bench (as add-on), weights, and a few other goodies.
If you don't think you need or have room for the power rack, the Charlie package comes with all that minus the rack. You can also pick and choose what you want from each package, making the price range from very affordable to extravagant.
Know how much the machine weight before it gets delivered to your home. This will help you to decide where to place it. With some gyms weighing in more than 600 pounds, you don’t want to be overstressing your floor boards!
Ease and Convenience
You want to buy a home gym that can be easily set up. It should also allow for ease of change between exercises, quick cable or weight change and quick-on / off operation of any accessory pieces of equipment.
If a machine is a hassle to use, you will probably give up on it before too long.
What exercises am I going to focus on more?
Your home gym should allow you to work every muscle group of your body, including . . .
You want to ensure that you can exercise your muscles through a complete range of motion.
Many home gyms fall down when it comes to leg training. Look for a machine that allows you to perform leg pressing movement that allows for a complete range of motion of the quads.
What kind of resistance system should I chose?
There is a marked difference between the feel of free weights compared to cable weight stacks, yet along Bowflex power rods or the Total Gym gravity-based system. The only real way to see whether the resistance type appeals to you is to try before you buy.
Free weights will always give you the best workout, followed by pulley cable machines.
The type of resistance that you can get from a home gym varies greatly and will have a large bearing on the success of your workout.
The more expensive units will start with five pound plates and then go up to 10 pounders.
Many home gyms can with a built- in plate weight stack that is attached to the bar you are pulling or pushing by way of cables. Some machines provide you with dual action cables on independent pulleys which allow you to work each side of the body independently when doing exercises like lat pull-downs.
These weight stacks come in the form of rectangular metal plates. They usually consist of 2.5 pound plates for the first 20 pounds and then 5 pound weight plates thereafter. The more expensive units will start with five-pound plates and then go up to 10 pounders.
The more budget home gyms may simply provide you with a weight plates holder that you can add traditional barbell weights to. This obviously requires that you buy the weights separately and load them on and off for the workout.
You will usually find that the weights on these types of machines have a tendency to sway around as the attached cable brings them up and down.
You can also get machines, such as the Bowflex range, that feature Power Rods. The great advantage of these rods is that they are lightweight and compact when compared to using traditional iron plates.
These power rods provide you with a very smooth and fluid movement, which will prevent connective tissue injury.
The Power Rods do have some disadvantages. Much like pulling a bowstring, the resistance varies as you push or pull the resistance. It is only at 100% true resistance during the final third of the movement.
There is also no negative resistance on Power Rods.
Bowflex have recently introduced their new Spiraflex technology to their latest home gym, The Bowflex Revolution.
The Spiraflex technology revolves around cleverly designed weight plates, each of which is constructed with a heavy-duty elastic strap housed inside the plate. When you perform an exercise, the Spiraflex plates rotate around the center. This stretches the elastic strap and creates resistance.
The plates combine with a mechanism inside the machine to create constant resistance throughout the entire range of motion. The result is a more consistent gym quality experience.
Check out the Bowflex Revolution here.
Bands / Weight Straps / Suspension Trainers
Other versions of home gyms use elastic bands and rubber weight straps to provide the resistance. These offer certain benefits, such as being cheaper than traditional weight plates as well as being a lot lighter.
However, they often do not provide the same feeling that you get from the real thing. They also often lack any resistance during the negative (eccentric) part of the exercise.
Studies have shown that it is actually during the negative part of a repetition that the most stress occurs on the muscle fiber (that’s a good thing!). There is also quite a lot more involved in adjusting the resistance with these types of machines.
Suspension Trainers are a great and more affordable option for a complete home gym that is portable and versatile. You can perform more than 300 exercises on a good suspension trainer, and each one of them will be core-centric, turning every move into an ab toner during your workout.
We recommend the TRX Suspension Trainer, which is the most versatile, durable and cost-effective suspension trainer on the market for those who wish to workout at home. The TRX Suspension Trainer includes the trainer, a door anchor, a suspension anchor extender, a mesh carry bag, and a full color 35 page workout guide to getting started. The TRX sets up in seconds and can anchor onto everything from a tree to a ceiling beam. It's one of the most cost effective home gyms available at the moment.
Another resistance option is the Total Gym, which makes use of your body-weight and gravity to provide the resistance. The higher on the ladder you place the body board the harder the resistance. The latest version of the Total Gym also features a bar that you can add traditional weight plates to.
Safety should be paramount on any home gym. The machine should be solid, stable and wiggle free. All cables should be aircraft rated. You should also expect cables to housed inside of plastic covers.
The operation of cables and pulleys should be natural and completely jerk free.
It is always good idea to start with a basic machine that suits your needs and then upgrade with extra add-ons as you become fitter and stronger. The following add-ons are available for many home gyms . . .
Many home gyms will also allow you to add extra weight stacks (or power rods for the Bowflex) as you progress in your training.
It can be a major mission to assemble the larger home gyms. Check reviews s to how difficult others have found it. You may find it worth the time money to pay a professional to put it together for you. If you do decide to do it yourself, make sure that you’ve got at least one other person to help.
You should expect a minimum of five years warranty on the frame and two years on the parts. You shouldn’t expect to get a warranty on labor unless you are spending in excess of $2000.
You will find one manufacturers who offer lifetime warranty on certain parts. Bowflex off a lifetime warranty on their power rods.
Online customer reviews should form an important part of your market research before buying a home gym.
Here are some questions to look out for . . .