5 Equipment Essentials Every Home Gym Should Have
To be honest, for some of us, going to the gym regularly is an inconvenience – it shouldn’t be but we live in an imperfect world. We have to will ourselves ever so strongly to follow through with our fitness pledges but other factors get in our way: we have babies we can’t leave unattended, the weather is not favorable, we are embarrassed to go to the gym in our imperfect bodies, the commute, the packing, and the list go on.
Fortunately, there is an alternative; a home gym. I know you are picturing a fully equipped gym that only celebs can afford, but what we have in mind is far from it. What about a simple gym with a few types of equipment in your basement, or one that involves pushing your furniture to the side in your apartment, getting your workout done, and then tucking away everything in your closet when you are done. The beauty of this arrangement is that you can work with any budget and space.
Here are a few basic pieces of equipment (with varying budgets and spatial requirements) you can equip your home gym with so that you don’t have to miss out on all the amazing benefits of working out:
The ubiquitous yoga mat is arguably the most important home exercise accessory you can own. If you intend to work out on a hard floor or outside on the grass or dirt, the mat will provide you with much needed cushioning, protection, and support. The mat will also absorb sweat and protect you from disease-causing germs on the floor. Other benefits of owning one are:
• It will prevent your hands and feet from slipping as you do your body weight exercises – by absorbing the sweat.
• With a yoga mat, you keep your body warm as you exercise especially if your floor tends to be cold.
• It doesn’t take up too much storage space. Roll it up when you finish working out and put it away.
They come in varying lengths and thicknesses. To find one that perfectly suits you, do your research based on how you intend to use it. A good yoga mat will also allow you to focus on what matters most; your practice.
The typical set of resistance bands comprises a heavy duty base and a couple of giant stretchy rubber bands. You place the base on the floor, hook up the resistance bands to the base, and attach handles to the bands in order to get your workout started. Alternatively, there are sets that don’t come with the base; just the bands. The benefits of resistance bands include:
• The bands provide the resistance you need to simulate exercises that you would be doing at the gym. You should buy bands of varying resistance to target different muscle groups in your body.
• Resistance bands are popular with many fitness experts because they can provide you with anything from rehab to an intense workout program.
• They are ideal for you if you live in an apartment because they require little space to use and to store. When you are done using it (set with a base), you can just slide it under your bed or store it in your closet.
• Resistance bands are appropriate for people with varying fitness levels; from beginners to advanced users. They are also relatively cheap.
When running outside is not convenient, you can do your running and jogging inside if you invest in a treadmill. Aided by advances in technology, manufacturers are coming up with “smart” treadmills like the ones discussed in this guide on the best ProForm Treadmills for home gym that come with some cool and helpful features. For example, they can monitor your body fitness stats and synchronize them with your fitness apps; there are also training programs that you can install in your treadmill to optimize your workout. You don’t need to worry about space if you live in an apartment because you can fold it and store it when you are done using it. You can even keep it in an upright position.
Dumbbells (or Kettlebells)
Not going to a gym doesn’t mean entirely giving up on weight exercises. You can still add weights to your fitness repertoire while working out at home to augment bodyweight exercises. There are different kinds of dumbbells and kettlebells with varying weights and sizes. The choice as to the ones you pick largely depends on your fitness levels and the kinds of exercises where you intend to use them. You can have a mixture of both heavy and light so that heavy dumbbells will be for strength exercises and light dumbbells for endurance training. There are adjustable dumbbells that you can buy if saving space is of utmost importance to you. Nevertheless, dumbbells, in general, are easy on the space and a must have in a home gym.
Foldable Workout Bench (fitness station)
A foldable workout bench is not so far removed from the regular benches in gyms in terms of application; in fact, it is probably more versatile. It is a smart investment for a home gym because it enables you to ergonomically do the more strenuous exercises. In addition to that, it offers stability and support. The merits of owning one include:
• It can be configured in different ways
• It can be folded up for storage
• Has slots for fitness bands
• Good for weight exercises and cardio workouts
In many people’s New Year’s resolutions, pledges to start working out feature prominently. Gym memberships skyrocket and people actually follow through for a few days, or even weeks before they give up and go back to serving up excuses and gaining weight. If having a gym membership is not practical and exercising outdoors is not feasible, you can equip your modest home gym to fulfill those resolutions. The key concerns that most people have with equipping a home gym is the cash and space. With the above-mentioned equipment, you can kill two birds with one stone; they are easy on your wallet and space. There are many others not listed but that are good additions. Ultimately, the convenience of having a home gym means that you will run out of excuses to not stay in shape.