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There are many reasons why you might consider setting up a small gym at home. Maybe you’re not a fan of big box gyms because you’d rather not pay the monthly fee, or maybe you’re not comfortable working out with sweaty strangers surrounding you. Maybe you do have a gym membership, but you also want to have a few exercise props and equipment available at home for when you need them.
Whatever your reason, there’s no disputing the fact that home gyms can be very useful and effective. That being said, you don’t have to break the bank to build one! All it takes is a little planning and foresight to get what you need without overspending.
Start out by reviewing the amount of space you can dedicate to working out. Don’t worry about not being able to dedicate an entire room to your home gym. Even with limited space, you can easily workout comfortably and efficiently. All you need is a big enough space where you can move freely without hitting your furniture. You don’t want to end up head-butting your cat while you do the downward-facing dog pose, do you?
Next, figure out what routines you enjoy. Yoga is a common option for people who want to improve their flexibility. Total Health HQ has some great body-weight workouts. You can even do high intensity interval training (HIIT) as long as you have enough space for mountain-climbers and burpees. The best exercise is the exercise you will do regularly, so forget complicated equipment — figure out what you actually enjoy first.
Finally: time to select your equipment! A pull-up workout bar ($19) is compact, easy to stick above your doorway, and can workout multiple areas of the body. It tones your biceps and triceps, strengthens your core, and sculpts your shoulders and back muscles.
If you want to improve your body’s flexibility, all you need is a yoga mat and some online workout videos. Get a thick, non-slip yoga mat ($23.49) with the right amount of support so you don’t hurt your joints while exercising. It can be used not just for yoga, but also for dynamic stretching, pilates, and barre3.
You’ll also need a set of dumbbells of varying weight. These are useful for a variety of workouts, or just to add some challenge while you do your usual cardio routine. Get a set of three neoprene dumbbells in 2, 3, and 5lbs ($24.99) so you can select the weight you want for that specific workout.
If you have space, a stability ball ($15.25) is a good addition to your home gym. Use it for abdominal workouts, or to test your stability. Hold a plank on top of one of these and your core will be shaking like a leaf in no time.
The last thing I would add to the mix is to join a online program Like Fitness on Demand, Daily Burn or Beach body on demand. These programs all allow you to workout in anywhere, with Expert instruction, and use very little equipment. The results that I have seen over the years of using these platforms have been fantastic, and often times better than the results seen while using a gym.
Of course, even without any of this equipment, you can do a pretty good workout routine on your own. Design your own “circuit” routine that includes burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, squats, and lunges. Add challenging exercises like Russian twists and bicycles to spice things up when they get too easy for you.
A home gym is all about moving and getting your heart rate up without having to leave the house. It can be old-school and low-tech as long as you’re getting the workout you need, so why spend a lot of money on equipment that you don’t require anyway? Now get moving!
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