If you’re like most men, you’re in it for the workout, for the personal health – the last thing on your mind is the glory of being spotted in the gym. In truth, men are extremely self-conscious when it comes to working out, but it’s rarely addressed. If having the full effort of a home gym seems appealing to you, we’ve got some news for you: it’s far better than a gym membership. Ditch the high testosterone attitude-filled atmosphere, and clear some space to get in the best shape of your life. These are the top twenty-two home gym items that can turn your entire exercise regimen on its head.
The Best Home Gym Equipment
Concept2 has been the leading rowing machine for ages. When we covered our rowing machine buying guide, they were everywhere. After using this for personal resistance training, we’ve crowned it as one of the best home gym equipment investments ever. If you’re hesitant about the price, we understand, but hear out the features before you skip to #5. Rowing machines work out your arms, back, calves, thighs, and your core, all in one fell swoop. There’s no such thing as one single machine that does it all for you, but this one comes pretty damn close.
You get real-time data that’s as reliable as it comes, giving you some insight regarding your caloric burn. Rowing machines are notoriously heavy, and while this one only comes in at 57lbs, it still comes apart into two pieces for easy vertical storage. Let’s say you set aside a healthy budget to get a full home gym today, and you came to us; you may not have the room to accommodate every machine. Storage is a key component, especially when you’re getting multiple pieces of equipment.
Fitted with a functional performance monitor
The seat is 14 inches high
Separates into two for easy storage
- Weight57 pounds
We wish these existed ages ago, because one of us happens to have everything from 10lbs to 60lbs in different dumbbells. Bowflex isn’t just your middle-of-the-night infomercial guilty pleasure; they’re also leaders in innovating the entire workout experience. You don’t have to grab a bunch of new dumbbells every time you bump up to the next weight tier; these are adjustable from 5lbs, up to 52.5lbs on each dumbbell, giving you a wide range of options to choose from.
Each dumbbell has a comfort grip with contour molding, making it easy to hold, even for upright positions while laying on your back, or in a crunch position. That molding also sits between the weights, ensuring that you don’t get that aggravating metal clanking sensation. They’re a bit steep, but they could very well be the last dumbbells you’ll ever need. Make sure to also check our list of best dumbbell racks of 2018!
Combines a total of 15 sets of weight into one
Comes in a space-efficient design
Offer a wide weight range
Fitted with a dial for choosing the weight
- Weight52.9 pounds
The T series come with a little bit of everything. To kick off our home gym mega-list, we started with the most trusted name in cardiovascular fitness: NordicTrack. Hundreds of customers have enjoyed the multiple features, from the built-in MP3 player dock to the pre-programmed workouts. One of the biggest issues with doing cardio properly, is that you need to be in the zone, and half-ass treadmills aren’t going to do the trick.
Apart from the excellent tread length size of 20”X55”, you also get a digital incline adjustment system, allowing up to 10% of your incline to shift, targeting specific muscle groups. You’re in it for the workout of a lifetime, and you’re not going to get there unless you have the right equipment for top-form cardio training. The programs that come with this unit were designed by certified fitness trainers, so you can reap all the rewards, without any of the hourly session costs. The best treadmill, hands down, belongs to NordicTrack, and it could belong to you.
Works with an interactive trainer
Comes in a space-saving design
Fitted with a DurX Smart Response Motor
- Weight198 pounds
In the broader sense of things, the Bowflex PR1000 uses a series of moves, training, and routines to strengthen your muscles. All in all, you’ll do a little bit of cardio training as well as a wide range of strength exercises that will have you whipped up into shape in no time. There are lots of bits attached here and best believe it can look daunting at first. Once the rods, bench pulleys and the rest are out of the pocket, it’s natural to wonder where you’re gonna start from. Nevertheless, fret not because once you get into it, it’s quite easy and straightforward to put together. Once everything is up and running, you’ll be able to enjoy seamless albeit strenuous (you will be working out after all) experience with more than 25 exercises at your disposal.
All the exercises offered here will undoubtedly do wonders for your upper body as well as your abs. You may even get a few moves in for your lower body. Altogether, this is a well-rounded device that will undoubtedly do wonders for your entire body. Speaking of upper body workouts, this home gym machine is fully equipped to deliver to the maximum. For this reason, there are power rods attached with resistance ranging up to and exceeding 200 lb. Due to the fact that there is a range of cable pulley positions here, you can easily change the angle of resistance to either increase or decrease the effectiveness of the workouts you pick.
Accommodates up to 25 exercises
The bench doubles as a rolling seat
Has a media rack built-in
Allows numerous cable pulley positions
- Weight144 pounds
We’re sure you can think of a couple movies where someone used a medicine ball, and made it look hilarious. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, people thought these things were more about hype than anything else; they were wrong. You get to work your core, focus on balance and coordination, and improve your forearm and wrist strength depending on which weight you go with. A textured grip makes it simple to hold onto, and eight different weight options let you feel-out your current capabilities, and put them to the test.
It weighs 14 pounds
It is made of heavy-duty rubber
Can bounce off surfaces
Equipped with a textured finish
- Weight14 pounds
With this platform, you can choose between two different yet functional heights, three if you count its natural flat position. At the flat position, you can get some lunges in, step, jump or even do some regular flat workout bench routines. Then there is the inclined position which is great for all sorts of exercises targeted at the building of the upper chest. So, anything ranging from flys’ to presses is on the table here. Finally, there’s the decline position which is at the perfect angle for crunches and even standing rows, once you clip on the resistance band.
Even better is the addition of a storage compartment which helps you save a whole lot of space. In this, you can place everything from resistant tubes to hand weights among other small-sized accessories of sorts. With this handy contraption in your corner, you’ll have your workout space declutters in no time. Altogether, this is one of the best pieces of equipment that you can have in your corner. It really comes in handy when you have to work out on your own. Some of the moves you can handle on your own when using the Reebok Aerobic Deck are front raises, low rows, tricep dips as well as the Bulgarian squat. Do not let the fact that you are working out at home limit you in any way. Get in there with this stellar product and enjoy a full-body workout that’s as effortless as they come.
Equipped with an internal storage compartment
3-position angle support
Comes with handy clips
Has a non-slip rubber surface
- Weight28 pounds
What makes this next product even better is the fact that there’s not only a DVD in the package, but you can also equally get access to the instructional workout video online. So, if DVDs are a little too last year for you, simply go online and enjoy the experience with your remote instructor. What’s more, the addition of a digital monitor to this design ensures that you have an avenue to actually track and follow your progress. Here, you can track your time, calories among an array of others. Taking it up a notch is the adjustable resistance that comes in the form of three different bands. These can be added and removed as pleased for when you want to take it easy or challenge yourself altogether. Note that each of the bands included here offers exactly 22lbs of resistance. With that in mind, you can gauge your level and use them accordingly till you’re ready to move to the next level.
The resistance is not the only adjustable feature here, the squat depth can also be changed to suit your level of expertise. Simply adjust the saddle to a 30,60 or 90-degree depth according to how low you want to take those squats. This also goes a long way to sprinkle some variety on your workout program. Furthermore, monotonous exercise is enough to put you off working out as a whole, thanks to this device, you have all the variety you need and then some. Then there are the highly functional handlebars here which offer a wide range of hand positions thanks to their all-around design. Each of these positions is suitable for working out different areas on your body so, take advantage of that. As mentioned before, you will get a complete body workout once the Sunny Row-N-Ride Trainer is in the picture. Altogether, this is definitely a device that every home gym should be equipped with.
Fitted with a digital monitor
Has a 3-band resistance system
Each band offers 22lbs of resistance
Fitted with versatile handlebars
- BrandSunny Health & Fitness
- ModelNO. 077
- Weight24.5 pounds
Training with ropes is a novelty today. We have already become accustomed to exercises with weights or dumbbells, but the use of the battle rope (also known as a force rope) is becoming one of the most important pieces of equipment fin any home gym. Without a doubt, the rope exercises look spectacular and provide a variety of workouts, but the benefits of skillful battle rope handling are definitely more. Rest assured that with the AmazonBasics Battle Exercise Training Rope, your natural strength and dexterity will go up many levels.
This ingenious 1.5-inch exercise rope works on your arms, back, abs, legs, core, and a whole lot more. It comes made with a durable polyester blend that won’t break or fray even during the most intense workouts. No doubt, rope training belongs to very intense activities and can be classified as a very demanding interval training. During the exercises with combat ropes, many demanding movements are performed, hence why only a durable product such as the AmazonBasics Battle Exercise Training Rope is to be sought. Even better is the fact that when not in use, it can be easily stored thanks to its compact form. For sure, its durable and compact form will further maintain its quality performance in the long run.
Portable and compact storage
Measures 1.5 inches long
Suitable for intense exercises
- Weight15.84 pounds
Whether you’re doing yoga at home or on-the-go, BalanceFrom’s mat was made for you. A few gents we know even utilize these mats to give them extra support when using foam rollers or dumbbells for over-the-head movements. This includes a carrying strap, allowing you to grab it and hit the road, or hang it up high when not in use.
If you’re picturing how this mat is going to look after a few workouts, don’t worry; it comes with moisture resistant technology, allowing you to easily clean it from top to bottom. Fifteen seconds of soapy water will eliminate any markings left by sweat, and keep it looking brand new. This item is sold exclusively on Amazon. It can also serve as a yoga mat.
Comes with carrying strap for on-the-go use
Double-sided non-slip surface
Moisture resistant for simple 15-second washing
- Weight1.8 pounds
We’ve written about Sunny Health and Fitness products before, and were delighted to give this one a go. To kick it off, this exercise bike is designed for a maximum weight of 220lbs. It’s the perfect cost and stress limit point to slim down those pounds with ultra fit cardio exercise, while providing just enough comfort to keep you coming back for more. Thanks to the rubber foam paddles along the handles, as well as the functional and comfortable seat, you’re kept cradled in comfort while you work up a sweat.
You also get an LCD screen with a fitness tracking feature, tracking caloric loss, distance, and more. Assembly is a little intricate, but after you prop this thing up, it’s going to take a freight train to knock it down. This is a seriously sturdy build with simple-to-follow instructions, making it a straightforward process. Sunny Health and Fitness is all about giving you what you need, and nothing else. This exercise bike rests at an excellent price, keeping green in your wallet.
Adjustable height allows you to stave-off back pain
LCD monitor with fitness tracking
Excellent resistance from the 22lb flywheel and drive
- BrandSunny Health & Fitness
- Weight69 pounds
If you’re going to go for a full-body workout, the type that gets your legs, arms, and core nice and toned (especially with summer coming up), then you’re on the right track. Universal doesn’t enjoy flashy price tags, so they’ve celebrated their rise to Amazon’s Choice by slashing their own price. You get a leg developer to train your hamstrings and provide low-impact strength training, which are coated in five-inch thick foam rollers to keep you nice and comfortable during the entire process.
Stabilizers allow you to work your hardest, and not worry about the bench slipping and sliding on the floor. Carpet, hardwood; it doesn’t matter. You get up to five adjustable positions, giving you control over how you exercise, at whichever angle you prefer, and maximize your affected areas from strength training. We spent a grand total of eighteen minutes setting this up, so if you’re not crazy about taking a lot out of your day to handle it, Universal UB300 Adjustable Bench is the right pick for you.
Five adjustable positions
Stabilizers prevent slipping on the floor; carpet or hardwood
Includes a leg developer
- BrandUniversal by Nautilus
- Weight39.4 pounds
Ellipticals never went anywhere, we just started making multiple types of ew machines. The stars of the 1990s are still kicking today, but we’re going to warn you now, we do not recommend this without expert assembly. The manufacturer said it took four hours, and we were a bit foolhardy. 750ml of rum later, and the bugger was built, but we can’t exactly say saving the coin was worth it. This elliptical machine comes with just about every modern exercise equipment convenience you could imagine, including a USB charging dock, media shelf, and an adjustable built-in fan to keep your cool during your exercise/
You also get DualTrack LCD displays, which come in handy when you’re trying to switch between and read twenty-two programs, and eight heart rate monitor settings. This product weighs quite a bit (183lbs), so if you’re about to end a lease or move in the next month, we recommend waiting until you get situated in your new place. It’s not going to be easy to move, but the full-body exercise you get as a result is so beyond worth it. You can check out their warranty information here; they’re the same makers of the Universal brand, the #3 item on our list. For more great options like this, check out our guide to the best kettle bells.
Comes with 22 programmed features for multiple exercises
DualTrack LCD displays are easy to read
USB media charging w/ media shelf + adjustable fan
- Weight183 pounds
Recumbent bikes are a cardio solution for the mountain and street bikers in all of us that hit restrictions with the weather. Four days of rain doesn’t exactly make for the cardio workout of your lifetime, but with Schwinn’s recumbent bike, you’re able to get the same resistance workout in that you normally would on your trailer, no matter how big or small. You get 25 levels of resistance, allowing you to mimic natural environments such as hilly forests and downhill roads.
There’s also 29 programs already built into your LCD DualTrack monitor, so it’s more than just the standard calorie burn numbers you see on standard recumbent bikes. Schwinn offers a unique sense of smoothness; you ever get on those crummy standing bikes at the gym, and there’s no flywheel? Rather, we should ask, have you ever used them and felt like there was no chain or rolling movement? Yeah; those sucks, but wich Schwinn, you’re getting a simulation without putting yourself in a bad weather situation.
29 programs on the LCD DualTrack display
25 levels of resistance; get the most out of your workout
High quality flywheel and drive system make for a smooth workout
- Weight93 pounds
First rule about fight club… it’s, it’s in your house, so you’re allowed to talk about it. Punching bags have been notoriously bulky and expensive in the past, but the Everlast MMA bag adds a new player into the game. Firstly, it’s beyond attractively priced, and comes with more than just the bag. You also get a bungee cord with exceptional weight capacity, allowing you to hang your bag wherever you want (so long as the source can uphold the weight). You also get a set of boxing gloves, and lastly, you get over 100” of hand wrap.
The bag weighs seventy pounds, giving you plenty of weight to knock around, while still being able to utilize your bungee cord. Synthetic fibers fill this bag up, blended with a mix of sifted sand to create the perfect impact environment. This bag is even height customizable, so you won’t open the box to find a one-size-for-all solutions. Ready to train MMA style
Bag weighs 70lbs
Adjustable height customization
Custom synthetic filling with sifted sand
- Weight70 pounds
Aerobic stepping helps you build muscles in your legs, works up quite a bit of sweat as a cardio hybrid training session, and allows you to add a small, lightweight item to your home gym equipment arsenal, all without taking up too much of your budget. Assembled, this weighs just under twenty pounds, making it easy to stow away if you’re cramped on space for your home gym.
The Step holds up to 350lbs, or up to 500lbs if you have both risers on. Speaking of those, they increase the height, durability, and consequently, your workout. Go from 4” to 6” or 8” with the full display, working up as you go to achieve the chiseled look in your legs you’ve always been dying to have. These height adjustments also work well if you’re taller lad.
Created from recycled high-density polyethylene
Holds up to 350lbs of user weight (500lbs with risers)
Non-skid finish for foot grip
- BrandThe Step
- Weight21.2 pounds
If you’ve never used an ab carver before, you’re missing out. The good old fashioned ab roller machine has been an inexpensive way to get some serious core workout; just listen to nearly 4,000 customer reviews that all say the same thing. These treads allow for grip on whatever you’re rolling it on, while the comfort grips contour to your hands, leaving the only burning sensation in your abs; not your palms.
You get an added bonus of foam knee pads to reduce the risk of injury, as well as a 21-day workout eBook that’s free to download. Carbon springs give you an amplified level of results based on the increases resistance. Perfect Fitness Ab Carver is unrelenting, so if you’re looking for a small, inexpensive way to get the six pack you’ve always wanted, get ready to face the beast.
Carbon steel spring provides amplified resistance and results
Wide tread wheel for wide movements, even after gaining 3-5” of shoulder width
Includes a high-density kneepad crafted of foam
- BrandPerfect Fitness
- Weight0.96 ounces
Resistance training is how you get shredded, especially when it’s versatile enough to be used all across your body. We’re talking about TRX and their custom set that allows you to trim fat, build muscle, and increase endurance, as well as your flexibility. It’s a blend between a full-body workout, and an aerobic exercise that does wonders for every part of your body. This lightweight kit is designed to fold up and go with you on business trips, so you can stay in shape without having to hit the second-rate hotel fitness center.
You get three pieces in total, which include a door anchor, suspension anchor, and a training strap. The wonderful thing about these is that you use your own body weight and your environment to blend into your workout, making it versatile and an excellent item to stow away in a cabinet in your home gym. TRX also includes the added bonus of a high quality, thirty-five page workout guide to inspire some ideas, and get in the best shape of your life.
Packs up small; sixty second setup
Includes three usable pieces + workout booklet
Works out multiple muscles to add definition to your physique
- Weight1.65 pounds
Fact of the matter is, we’re all guilty of doing many standard exercises incorrectly. You’re taught wrong in PE, you carry it with you, but you end up doing more harm than good. If your form isn’t good, your workout isn’t as efficient as it should be. CAP gives you two perfect push-up handles to keep your form, and actually burn those calories while working your midsection in the proper way. Anti-slip rubber grips keep it in place, whether on carpet or hardwood, while the foam padded handles keep your hands from sliding all around. These are extremely inexpensive, and work wonders for your core, while taking up virtually no space at all.
Dense rubber footpads eliminate slippage
Gives you proper form for push-ups every time
Chrome-plated w/ comfortable foam handles
- BrandCAP Barbell
- Weight2.1 pounds
It may have started out as a schoolyard game, but jumping rope is actually one of the best ways to work up a sweat, and apply some light exercise to your calves, thighs, and if you do them right, your lower abdomen. Survival and Cross are MMA-specific, and adjustable for multiple heights. If you’ve ever had a difficult time with recumbent bikes or the treadmill, jumping rope could be the bit of fun you’ve always needed to shed pounds, and get shredded. Whereas cardio machines or outdoor bicycles cost a ton upfront, you probably pay more for lunch each day than you would for one of these sets of jump rope.
Extremely lightweight and easy to store
Works wonders for cardio development
Adjustable for differing heights
- BrandSurvival and Cross
- Weight3.2 ounces
You’ve seen them used in every bulk-up scene in Hollywood cinema in one form or another, but now, you have access to one of the bestselling resistance training items ever to hit your home gym. Power Reels is extremely lightweight (2lbs) and fits just about anywhere, making it simple to store when not in use. You’re here to bulk up, to tone your muscles, and gain all the health benefits along the way; it’s about to get crazy.
From the standard motion you see in the marketing material, you get to work our seven muscle groups all at once: Core, legs, back, shoulders, chest, arms, and abs, all in one movement. There’s no limit to the full-body workouts you can do with Power Reels, if you get creative enough. If you can’t see the alternative workout potential, don’t worry; they make it easy. Power Reels has hundreds of tutorials online to utilize your new full-body workout machine in multiple ways.
Comes in 3lbs or 8lbs of resistance
Works seven different key areas at once
Lightweight; two pounds, making them good for travel and storage
- BrandPOWER REELS
- Weight2.2 pounds
Foam rollers were a trend for a while, and only recently did they step back into the light. The old problem was that they warped after three to six months of use, and didn’t really make good on their promise. TriggerPoint flipped those stereotypes on their head with their patented ultra strength foam roller. No matter your weight, how many exercises you do, or how many days pass by, this won’t warp or fade with time.
Foam rollers assist in lats, calf exercises, and even help you build your quads, core, back, and obliques. Physical therapists utilize durable foam rollers to help slowly rehabilitate damaged or apathed muscles, thanks to the stability and relative comfort they provide. If you’re trying to get proper form or simply start small, this lightweight and easy-to-store foam roller from TriggerPoint is an excellent first step.
Won’t lose shape over time thanks to corrugated construction
Works well with physical therapy and slow-burn muscle training
Aids and assists in performing key oblique and core movements
- BrandTrigger Point Performance
- Weight7 ounces
Workout gloves have been subject to ridicule and excellent meme use, but in reality, they’re an essential part of your workout wardrobe. The right gloves provide grip, comfort, and light protection, which is exactly what Trideer achieved with these inexpensive, durable gloves. One common issue is lifespan, which is where Trideer took a step-up. These gloves are rated to last you years, all while providing a breathable experience to reduce palm sweating and tendon soreness. Whether you need additional grip on the dumbbells, or your push-ups just feel more complete with a pair of workout gloves on, these full-palms are the way to go.
Comfortable adjustments to contour to your needs
Palm grip for weightlifting and rowing machine use
Breathable mesh interior + built to last for years
- Weight8 ounces
The previous one we covered may not be for everyone, but if you’re still looking to get the right resistance, Black Mountain is your go-to. Not only are they a less expensive option, but they come straight from the manufacturer, with a lifetime warranty that’s all but set in stone. Comfort grip handles support easy attachments to your multitude of bands, letting you contour your workout to specific days and/or your current fatigue level.
You can get up to 75lbs of resistance with the right band, and if you’re ever uncertain as to which one is which, you get a handy legend that comes inside your storage bag. Simply check, reset, and you’re all good. Small home gyms benefit from lightweight and easy-to-store items, which is exactly where Black Mountain comes into play.
Allows up to 75lbs of resistance
Metal clipping system to soft-grip handles; interchangeable
Manufacturer’s lifetime warranty
- BrandBlack Mountain
- Weight3 pounds
Black Mountain puts out low-cost, excellent quality products, which is why this stability ball caught our eye after inspecting their resistance bands. Black Mountain ball is the same one used by professionals, athletes, and even physical therapists. You could sit your entire family on this ball without it popping; it’s rated up to 2,000lbs of weight resistance, giving you complete and utter assurance that it’s safe and stable as can be. Included is a hand pump to give your lungs a rest before hopping on, and a manufacturer’s warranty to ride on.
Rated for up to 2,000lbs
Includes hand pump
Same exercise balls used by physical therapists
- BrandBlack Mountain
Give the doorframes in your home some credit; they can handle far more than you think. Use the resistance and stability of your home to hang Iron Gym Total Upper Body workout bar from the frame, and immediately begin doing pull-ups to work your core and obliques. It takes three seconds to hang and ensure security, and you’re good to go.
Alternatively, you can pop this on the ground to aid in push-up form and various other exercises. Your handles are adjustable to three different positions, and best of all, your wallet won’t have to do any flexing at all: it’s one of the least costly items on our list. Continue reading to find out what you should be doing for a full-body workout from home, how to set up your gym, and more in our comprehensive buying guide.
Three second installation; hook it, and you’re done
Holds three different grip positions
Versatile to use on the floor for multiple workouts
- BrandIron Gym
- Weight4.74 pounds
Home Gym Equipment Buying Guide and FAQs
How to Choose Equipment for Your At-Home Gym
Goals - Is it health? Weight? Do you just want to resemble the sex icon that you know is inside? Whatever your reason, it’s never bad or too late to decide to get into shape. We recommend you grab a goal, and hold onto it fiercely.
Workout Plan - You should have three workout categories in your mix, which we’ll talk about later in this guide. Your workout plan needs to be effective, and target muscle groups to bulk you up, and help you lose weight.
Quality - Quality seems rather relative; if it doesn’t have odors from plastic and rubber construction, doesn’t fall apart, and actually feels the way it’s supposed to, it’s a big plus. You don’t have to use an uncomfortable machine. Seats, ergonomic grips and similar comfort features don’t cut-out your workout quality.
Durability - Your health and body are both investments you’re making, and last time we checked, nobody invests in short-term garbage that’s bound to fall apart. Check for materials like cast iron, non-odorous rubber capping, titanium, anodized aluminum, and multiple layers of steel for larger machines.
Versatility - Can it be used for more than its initial intended purpose? Some take creativity, some tell you about hundreds of different options. If it’s versatile, it’s an automatic bump up the list.
How We Chose Our Selection of Gym Equipment
Most of us own or have owned these pieces of equipment before. This was a collaborative effort on behalf of the Gear Hungry team, with a few cooler, newer items we found and threw into the mix. We used the following criteria to figure out this list:
- Item Size
- Weight Limits
- Expected Lifespan
- Assembly Time and Difficulty
- Three-Tiered Workout Plan Readiness
Nothing is more important than your health, and nothing shows more command over your life than a toned body that you’ve slaved over. We want to ensure you have the best of the best, so we narrowed it all down to just twenty-two items to give you a rockin’ home gym.
Home Gym Equipment FAQ
Q: How to Set Up an Effective Home Gym
A: Guys, we’re going for the V-shaped body. It’s what drives your gender of preference wild, and it’s universally seen as taking care of your body, and silently commanding respect from others. For that, you’ve got to take a few elements into consideration, which we’ll talk about now.
First, you need an empty space. If you can’t set up multiple machines or mats with dumbbells, designated areas, etc., then that’s great for you. Just be sure your machines won’t be clanging against each other. Many of us, whether it’s due to apartment living or what, have a small amount of space we can dedicate to this. To understand what equipment you’ll need, let’s look at the three main workouts you want to be focusing on: cardio, strength, and full-body.
Cardio keeps the heart pumping; jump rope, a recumbent bike, or a treadmill will do the trick here. Strength training comes into play with dumbbells and squat racks, and finally, full-body includes machines or equipment that does more than cover a basic category. It works muscles you didn’t know you had, and focuses on toning everything to its sexiest point.
You can get resistance bands, a foam roller, jump rope, and a set of dumbbells to give you all these different workouts. They’re excellent, time-tested favorites, but then you get into treadmills, rowing machines, and benches, giving you a lot more stability and conformity to your workout. Setting up the gym is about effectively targeting each type of workout, and finding what’s going to work in your space. However, these are a few home gym tips to help you make it as efficient as possible:
- Use mats for traction, especially when you’re doing planks, sit-ups, or push-ups
- Have access to a water cooler (we have a guide on them here) for constant hydration
- Grab a Bluetooth speaker or use built-in MP3 docks on specialized equipment; music gets you pumped up
- Maintain distance between each mat setup or machine so you’re not scraping the paint off the walls, or having to squeeze in between machines to answer the door
- Keep it well-ventilated with a large fan, wall AC unit, or a dehumidifier; the optimal atmosphere will help you breathing throughout your workout
- Set aside specific time each day; interval training works, but too many breaks in between will nullify some effects
Q: What Are the Benefits of an At-Home Gym Workout?
A: There are quite a few, so to keep good on time, we’ll jot them down real quick:
- No self-consciousness like you’d have at the gym
- Depending on your equipment, it could pay for itself (as opposed to monthly gym memberships) within 1-3 years, and from then on, you’re just saving money
- You’ll save time by not having to drive to and from the gym
- You don’t get stuck with gym showers or atmosphere
- Even if the weather outside is pretty shit, you’ll still be able to get a full workout in
- Most workout machines retain upwards of 70% resale value
- Pick up and put down whenever you want; you’re not living by anyone’s schedule but your own
Q: How Often Should You Workout?
A: Health and fitness are subjective topics, because everyone is different. Assuming you’re a normal male with no health restrictions, and you’re just trying to get in shape, we recommend exercising at least five days a week. Cardio is something you can do every single day, because it burns fat in the moments that you’re performing it. Strength training breaks down your body and rebuilds it, so you should limit strength training (more on that in a moment). If you’re doing both of those, full-body workouts should be added in twice a week.
You have three goals in mind: lose fat, build muscle, workout every part of your physique. Respectively, each of these three exercise categories do that for you, but you can’t overdo it. We’ll get into the nutrition aspect in a moment, as well as a little tidbit about your body temperature.
Cardio Workout - Cardio is all about keeping the heart rate going, the blood flowing, and burning fat. When the heart starts beating faster in a safe parameter, your body begins taking calories and minerals from your fat storage (that’s the toned-down version, but the science of it is in-depth). Essentially, in the middle of performing cardio right on down to the last step you take, you’re burning fat and cutting calories. Hydration is key afterwards.
Strength Training Exercise - Less is more; seriously. With strength training, you create thousands of micro tears across your activates muscles. That soreness you feel the next day is directly related to your workout. Your muscles lactate when they’re used, they tear, and they have to essentially heal and rebuild themselves. When they rebuild, they’re stronger, and slowly getting larger. You shouldn’t exceed strength training three times per week, unless you’re a total bodybuilder.
Strength training also has something called the afterburn effect. We just talked about cardio a moment ago, which only burns calories and shreds down fat while you’re performing the workout. If you get in a proper strength exercise, then feed your muscles protein and minerals afterwards, your afterburn keeps fat cells burning for up to thirty-six hours after your workout, thanks to increasdd hormone production that targets stored fat cells.
Full-Body Workout - This is a little bit of everything, blanketing your body in an even workout across the board. You can get away with these two times a week plus cardio if you’re switching out strength training. Our recommendation is to get in three days of cardio, one of strength, and at least one of full-body. That gives your broken-down muscles time to heal and form a couple of days a week, while still reaping the rewards of your determination, and your new home gym.
Proper Nutrition After a Workout
There’s no one magic cure-all to rebuilding your body after a workout. You’re wise enough to know what food is garbage, and what is actually healthy for you. Even if you don’t want to admit it, you’re going to have to stick to lean proteins, fresh or frozen vegetables, and immense hydration with nothing but pure spring water.
Your body needs iron, magnesium, potassium, and other key vitamins and minerals after a workout, for way too many reasons to get into right now. Having cruciferous veggies, lean protein, and enough water to flood your system, are all key to building your body up, and keeping fat out.
Important Warning: Your Body Temperature After a Workout
We talked about the afterburn effect in a previous section, so we know that our body can still work for more than a full day on its own, even after the workout has stopped. You need to plan your workouts accordingly, and if you end up going iron man and doing two per day (not recommended), you’re going to need to space them out, as well as put a gap between your workout, and any physically demanding activities with friends.
Your body temperature is raised for four hours. That means that from the moment you stop a workout, you have four hours until your body temperature is back to normal. During this period, it’s very simple to throw yourself into heatstroke, or underestimate your body’s current condition. Pay attention, especially if you’re going for high intensity workouts.