Whether you’ve been running marathons since you were a kid or you’re committing yourself to a healthy lifestyle for the first time, making exercise a routine part of your life is a wonderful decision, and adding a home gym is a great way to do that.
Whether you’re just getting started or are looking for the finishing touch for a personal gym, we’ve gathered a list of the must-haves for a home gym.
Find the Right Weights
Dumbbells are a gym staple because they’re versatile equipment that work with a lot of exercises. If you enjoy a wide range of dumbbell exercises, it’s best to go with a larger set, something includes both light and mid-weight. Of course, “lightweight” and “mid-weight” are relative terms; go with the weights that feel challenging, but doable, to you. Go for colorful options if that’s more your fancy, or the highly adjustable and complex models for best overall use (at a cost).
If you’re not sure what weights would be right for you, look up videos and information online, ask a friend who workouts regularly, or schedule a meeting with a personal trainer. Doing your research beforehand can save you money in the long term, instead of having to continuously buy random weights to test out what works.
Choose the Right Flooring
If you’re new to working out, you might not know that the surface you’re working out on can greatly impact your exercise routine. Interlocking tiles are perfect for protecting your floors and providing a bit of cushion between your body and the ground. There are, of course, larger options, depending on your spatial needs; as well as folding mats that can be stored when not in use. Even if you don’t think you’ll be spending much time doing ground exercises, the non-slip feature alone is enough of a reason to invest in exercise flooring.
Look for Something Low-Impact
When we think of staying physically fit, most of the machines and exercises that come to mind assume your body is in top tier shape. But for many of us, there are certain movements we’re not able to do – whether that’s due to physical limitations, previous injury, discomfort, or any other reason. While it’s good to push your limits, it’s important to listen to your body; that is, don’t push yourself to injury.
Looking for a low-impact, full body exercise? An air or a water rower is a great investment. Engage your arms, core, and legs all without putting any pressure on knees or ankles. An elliptical machine is another choice for minimal impact while still getting a good cardio workout; and for no impact at all, a recumbent elliptical is a strong contender.
Get a Cage
That probably sounds a little weird, but when you think home gym and envision a large metal contraption with a lot of handles and pulley systems and a bench, you’re picturing a gym cage or power cage.
These machines vary in their complexity, and really, it comes down to how many bells and whistles you want. At their core, these machines will all do the same thing: Work key muscles through weight or resistance training. So, if you want a cage that has something for every single muscle in your body, get one of those. Alternatively, pick out something a little more cost friendly and a little less intimidating if that’s what you need and/or if this is your first foray into working out.
On that note, be sure to do your research on exercises! Reach out to a trainer or physical therapist if you have any concerns or just want general guidance. It’s great to have the motivation to jump on a workout machine regularly, but rushing through exercises or sacrificing form is a quick way to get injured.
If your flex room is your gym, you probably don’t have the space for machines and weight racks to live year round – after all, guests don’t really want to climb under a power cage to get to the bed. Instead, an easily-packed portable gym is the way to go!
Most of these don’t require weights and instead focus on bodyweight exercises or resistance training. Several options come with a full repertoire of resistance bands and bars or push-up handles to add on.
Maybe even those set ups are too much, though. If you’re flexible – or are looking to improve your flexibility – consider picking up a yoga mat or multi-piece set that can be easily stored when not in use.
Committing or recommitting to a healthy lifestyle is an exciting decision, and you’re going to need to set yourself up for success by acquiring the right equipment. Pair these products with workout gear that makes you feel confident and you’re set to crush those goals!
Mia Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Mia is passionate about the written word and making connections. Outside of work, Mia also serves on the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas.