The Ultimate Guide To Home Gym Equipment

You’re only as good as your tools. Muhammad Ali used a pull up bar, Cadel Evans uses a stationary bike and Ronda Rousey uses bodyweight exercises. These legends had different goals. And that means they needed different home gym equipment to reach them – like you will.

The privacy and time saved from training in your home is unparalleled. That’s something these three athletes embraced. And if you can select the right tool for your goal, i.e. the right home gym, you are on your way to achieving your fitness potential. So what exactly is a home gym? A home gym is a spot in your home dedicated to working out. It can take many different forms, but always includes the necessary equipment to achieve your fitness goals.

top3homegymsWith so many options for different home gyms, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. I was initially. Before looking into which home gym to use, take a step back and ask yourself, ‘Why do I want to workout?’. The answer to that question will shape your fitness goals, which I’ve addressed below. Once you identify your goal, you will be ready to select the home gym designed for your goals.

We’ve looked at all training equipment, exercises and training programs – and summarised the equipment you need to achieve your goals, and recommended specific home gyms to get you started. To create the ultimate home gym designed for you, read on.

What’s your goal? Healthy? Hot? Holistic?

As I mentioned, before you can select the right gym equipment you need to select your goals. Let’s look at the goals you are likely to have, and the training programs they require.

How to look good naked 

Lose those love handles! Never underestimate the ongoing motivation fat loss has. After all, with the high calorie foods so easily available and work and life pressures it’s hard to stay slim. Hard but worthwhile.

And yes, weight loss has incredible health benefits as well, from diabetes to heart disease. But looking good naked is more motivating, we’re human after all. Whether it’s for a love interest, to boost self esteem or to challenge yourself – looking fit is its own reward. Health benefits coming along for the ride. After all, who really wants to live to 120??

What training program aids weight loss?

The answer – a program that burns a high number of calories during your workout whilst raising your resting metabolism. Usually people jump on a treadmill and exhaust themselves every day, repeating a ‘the more the better’ mantra. And yes, working hard and pushing yourself on cardio equipment is crucial, but it’s only part of the picture. Combining cardio with resistance training is the key. Your program needs six sessions a week. Sure, that sounds like a lot, but when we break it down you can see it’s doable. From Monday to Saturday, train cardio and resistance on alternate days. Cardio is often the first choice for weight loss, yet combining it with weight lifting is proven to be significantly more effective. Often weight loss is a struggle for many to achieve. So here are two principles to help you overcome those challenges:

  1. Any exercise is better than no exercise – don’t worry about being perfect, worry about getting moving.
  2. The exercise you enjoy the most, will provide the most benefits. Choose the resistance training and cardio combo that excites you the most. And don’t worry if they seem intimidating at first, once you get moving your motivation will quickly build. It’s a positive habit loop!

losing weight

 

Who’s dropped those kilos?

Jessica Simpson, Kirstie Alley and Mathew McConaughey for his role in Dallas Buyers Club are three well publicised triumphs.  And here’s an inspiring story of a man who lost over 130 kilos.

How to bulk up

Getting ‘shredded’, ‘yolked’ and ‘ripped’ isn’t just for the ‘gym bros’. Gaining muscle for strength or aesthetics is for everybody. Have you seen how busy gyms have been lately? Men can bolster their manliness with a few extra pounds of muscle. And women can tone up and take their fitness to a new level.

What training programs packs on muscle?

While there a number of training programs out there, I’ve selected the two best to share with you.

  1. The 5×5 strong lift program is popular among the bodybuilding community. It is simple and works.
  2. If you’re looking for a more thorough program for beginners, this 4 week program is the place to start.

Furthermore, both consistency and variation are important. Sounds contradictory right? Well let me explain. You need to stay consistent with one program for 6-9 months. This allows the body to adapt and build muscle in response to the training. After that time when your body has adapted, it’s time to mix up your program to provide a new challenge for your body with new exercises or a different intensity.

And once you begin lifting don’t forget to increase your protein intake. Find the lowdown on protein powder here.

bulking

 

So who is now a ball of muscle?

Fitness blogger Elliott Hulse is a big supporter if the 5×5 program, while Mark Wahlberg in ‘The Fighter’ showed the benefits of a consistent and varied weightlifting program.

How to be fit for life

General fitness for life is essential for everyone. If the goals above didn’t resonate with you, then this one needs to. Not everyone is looking to be the Superman of fitness. Yet being in healthy shape is crucial for everybody with a pulse! Lifting your kids, staying healthy, playing recreational sport and even your work all require a level of fitness that needs to be maintained. If you have many different fitness needs, this is the path for you.

What training programs helps you get the most from life?

This requires a general, mixed program. It should include body weight exercises, cardio and resistance training. Flexibility is also important for your rounded fitness, so I recommend adding stretching or yoga following three workouts a week.

fitness

 

Who is living life to the fullest?

This is the exact type of workout designed for those that are busy with endless demands, similar to what Barack and Michelle Obama’s workout schedule.

So which goal will you make your own? Choose the one most important to you now. Focus on this goal first. You can add new goals as your fitness grows. Now let’s look at the home gyms that will give you the tools to reach your goals.

Which home gym equipment matches your goal?

Now you have selected your goal, it’s time to pick your weapon of choice to achieve it.

Weight machines

Weight machines provide a whole body, resistance workout. With so many limbs and moving joints they can appear complex, like a human body. And like human body, each part has a specific purpose. You can train your legs, core and upper body with a variety of movements. All matched to your ability and goal.

Pros

  • Safest option to avoid injury
  • Easy to learn correct form
  • High reps can increase heart rate
  • Target specific muscles

Cons

  • Takes up space
  • Less functional

Which goal will it achieve? Gaining muscle and losing weight

Product recommendation: The Spirit Pro 300LP is a great bet, with up to 135kg of resistance and exercises to target the whole body. Not to mention the lifetime warranty on the frame. Your other option is a Smith Machine. It is a combination of free weights and machine – I’d recommend using it if you’re looking to increase your power. You can’t beat the range and quality of this machine.

Free weights

No they’re not that kind of ‘free’. You have to pay for them haha. Free weights get their name as they’re ‘free’ from machine and cables. Free weights can include the Olympic movements of the clean and jerk, but to most fitness people they include a number of exercises using a barbell and dumbbells.

Pros

  • Requires little space
  • Natural, functional movements
  • Turns on core stabilising muscles
  • Wide range of exercises available

Cons

  • Higher risk of injury
  • Steeper learning curve

Which goal will it achieve? Gaining muscle and general fitness

Product recommendation: Head over to Trojan Fitness for your free weights. The barbell and dumbbell set is the best place to start. And don’t forget a bench!

Body weight

Body weight is using only your natural resistance, making it the most functional movement. This includes dips, pull ups, squats and push ups – and just because your body is the resistance doesn’t mean you can complete the movements without the right equipment.

Pros

  • Uses very little space
  • Functional
  • Natural movements
  • Utilise stabilising muscles

Cons

  • Body weight is often the incorrect resistance for people, either too much or too little.
  • Weight can’t be altered to increase resistance

Which goal will it achieve? General fitness.

Product recommendation: For the best work out I suggest you go with a power station – this one from gym direct is a ripper. However, if space or price is an issue this body weight pack from rebel is a great start.

Cardio

Whether on the bike, rowing or running cardio is one of the most popular fitness activities. Cardio is great for both your heart and waistlines.

Pros

  • Bike and rowing can be easy on your joints
  • Easy to begin
  • Functional movement
  • Watch TV while you work out

Cons

  • Takes up space
  • Running can be stressful on your joints

Which goal will it achieve? General fitness and weight loss

Product recommendation: Whichever you will enjoy the most, this, rower, cross trainer, bike and treadmill will all burn any fat.

You’re ready to start!

Now you’ve identified your goal and the equipment you need to achieve it, you can begin. Good luck! As I mentioned, getting started is the most important thing. And indecisiveness can hold you back, so I’m going to quickly address a common issue.

Often I hear the question, “What if I have more than one goal? What If I choose new goals?”, and they’re questions I’ve asked myself. Over time, as you achieve your goals and add new ones, you can then purchase new equipment. So be sure to bookmark this page and come back when you hit your first goal. Now let’s take a look at the extra’s you can add to your home gym as it grows to make the best gym ever, or at least in your neighbourhood!

What can you add to make the best gym ever?

  • A foam roller is a great stretching tool, to maintain flexibility while your fitness grows. This roller is sure to remove any tight spots.
  • A yoga mat is another tool that gives you a place to stretch in comfort. Try this one.
  • Protective flooring will look after your floor, body and equipment. Here’s your best bet.
  • Motivation is key. A full length mirror and inspirational posters are the best place to start.

Time to hit the gym

Having identified that you want to lose weight, gain muscle or be functionally fit you now have the necessary information to pick the right home gym equipment for you. Whether it’s a weight machine, free weights, body weight or cardio, you can be sure that if it matches your goal – it’s right for you. Having weighed up the pros and cons, you are now prepared to invest in your health, fitness and beachbody with a new, tailored home gym.

So go ahead, choose the goal that best suits you and purchase the home gym to help you achieve it. How soon can you get in shape?

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