You can put together a cheap home gym that gets the job done if you buy the essentials. As long as you stick with the proven equipment list -and stay away from the latest ab-flexor- you can’t go wrong.
Building a home gym doesn’t have to be particularly expensive.
People waste a lot of money on unnecessary cardio 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 for between £1,000 and £2,000.
There are plenty of places to buy used fitness equipment, such as classified ads and auction sites like eBay, where you’ll often be able to pick up equipment for less than half what you would pay for it new.
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.
Easily the most enjoyable part of creating your own gym space! Have a think about what motivates you and fill your space with the paraphernalia that will help you visualise what you are trying to become.
Tailor your environment to your personality so that as soon as you walk into the gym you’ll pique your subconscious mind to prime you for hard work and success.
The following are my 8 home gym must-haves:
Dumbbells are essential for the home fitness gym, necessary for presses, arm exercises and even a few core exercises.
There are many kinds of dumbbells out there, from the cheap to the boutique. All of which fall into one of two types: fixed weight or handles only.
Handles are plate loaded. This requires you to slide the weight plate on yourself and then fasten the weight with collars.
Most handles are either standard or Olympic. Standard are smaller in diameter than the Olympic version.
You’ll want to coordinate any plate loaded barbells you purchase with your dumbbells. That way the plates are compatible.
Standard handles start at around £8. Olympic handles are pricier and longer. This added length actually takes getting used to on a few exercises.
You need a good barbell, and, like dumbbells, they come in standard and Olympic.
Again, definitely be sure that they’re compatible with your dumbbells.
Although, an Olympic bar won’t fit on a standard bench, a 7-foot standard bar will work on an Olympic bench.
A standard barbell set includes a 20 pound bar, 2 dumbbell handles (with collars) and 85 pounds of plates. A unit like this will run about £80 – 100.
This isn’t a lot of weight, so you’ll probably want to buy more before too long.
In a truly cheap home gym, you can use any old bench for presses and one-arm rows. Make sure that it’s 2 to 3 feet wide and solid.
A piano bench could work if it’s heavy enough. Otherwise, a picnic bench also works well.
Get creative: you can put something under the front or rear to have an incline or a decline bench.
4) Chin Up Bar
A chin up bar can be constructed out of any material that will support your weight. You can find a chin up bar for £10 to £40.
5) Swiss Ball
Although I think that these are somewhat overused, they can add a little variety to your home fitness gym workouts.
In addition to making you look more sophisticated by simply having it around the house, they also increase balance and tend to strengthen the core muscles. You can find one for $20.
6) Jump Rope
Jump rope for cardio: £5. Simple.
If you have a few stairs in your house, you can add a couple outstanding exercises. These include the lunge and the step-up.
Since they elevate heart rate, both are good if you’re performing circuit training. And, if you live in an apartment building with several flights of stairs, your cheap home gym includes a free stairclimber.
8) Back Garden or Yard
If you have a backyard, you can always do basketball style conditioning drills, such as sprints and short intervals.
Make sure to build up your joints and tendons first with slower, more deliberate strength training to avoid injury.
And if you have solid walls, you could bounce a medicine ball. This move is good for ab development and keeping a high heart rate.
Now that you’ve built it, don’t forget to use it.
The cardio issue
‘Wait,’ I hear you thinking. ‘Where does the treadmill go? And what about the cross trainer?’
I understand your concern – but I just don’t think that they are necessary.
Firstly, we can get a thorough warm-up from dynamic stretching and bodyweight exercises, so we’re covered there.
And as far as fitness and fat loss goes, my transformation coaching clients do running. My solution to fitness concerns is simply to lift weights faster. There are plenty of muscle sparing training regimes that rely solely on density of repetitions and muscle sparing cardio in the form of bodyweight exercises.
Long moderate intensity cardio workouts aren’t necessary to change your body, and don’t necessarily have to be a part of your gym set-up.
Anyway, if you really have to run, go outside and hit the pavements!
Make sure you have the right program
If you can’t enlist a neighbour or a friend to train with you, you may want to mitigate a little risk by developing a workout plan that will deliver results without putting you at risk of getting stuck under a bar.
6×6 training is a brilliant program for fat loss, muscle gain or recomposition, depending on how you tweak your nutrition. It involves 6 sets of 6 reps using a reasonably light weight, with the main focus being density of reps rather than weight.
HST training or German Volume Training are also great ways of delivering great muscle mass gains without having to use really heavy weights.
Get the technique right
Remember you will now be training all alone, so there won’t be anyone to check your technique or warn you if you are putting yourself at risk.
If you are unsure about any of the exercises in your regime.
Investing in just one session with a good trainer to show you how it’s done could pay dividends later if you consider the cost of picking up an injury.