When it comes to exercise equipment for the home gym, there is no shortage of choices. No matter what your goal, how much space, time or money you have, there are always dozens of goodies for your home workout space. But what do you really need and what works?
The answer is that a lot of home gym equipment would work a lot better if the person using it put more effort into it! Seriously, though, there are some things more deserving of your precious time and money. Here are Mo's top choices. They were chosen for price, space efficiency and effectiveness, but if you really want a big power rack capable of spotting your 500 pound squat, go for it. You certainly get a lot of value for your money.
1. Homemade Suspension Trainer: There are dozens of ways to make a homemade suspension trainer, but the easiest, and cheapest is rope and pvc pipe. If you don't know how to make this, you can read how here: Functional Suspension Training Tools
2. Homemade Suspension Trainer, Chains: As with the rope and pvc pipe version, the chain you need for this is pretty cheap. You will need eyehooks for the ceiling joists, about 20 feet of chain, and four carabiners. So this is a little more expensive than #1, but still a bargain and with the added advantage of quick and easy adjustment.
3. The Real Suspension Trainers: Read: TRX or Jungle Gym XT. A lot of people love the Jungle Gym XT for the split design and comfortable handles and foot cradles. But they are both comfortable, and TRX is built like a tank. Check it out:
4. Dumbbells: You can get as fancy or cheap as you want with these. You might be thinking BowFlex Selecttech right? Well, sure, those are nice, they have some that go up to 90 lbs. and they take up little space. They fail in the price category, however. Several hundred dollars per pair.
Advantages: Multiple dumbbells in one, quick adjustment, ergonomic handles you will love, and a handy stand for setting them on.
Disadvantages: Expensive, big. The dumbbells are BIG.
You can get a lot of bang for the buck by spending less than $100 on an adjustable pair. You know, the ones with the spinning collars? With some imagination, this a complete gym, and buying extra plates is cheap and easy.
5. Medicine Balls or Sandbags: Both of these can be improvised, but I suggest popping for good medicine balls. They are well worth the money. Notice I used the plural? Buy a set with a minimum weight of 4 or 5 pounds and a mazimum weight of 10 or 12. Alone, these can be a great workout (see: Medicine Ball Workouts )
Combined with bodyweight exercises and plyometrics, medicine balls will kick, your, butt.
On the other hand, sandbags can be improvised for a few bucks. Buy sand or salt (like the kind used in a water softener,) tape the ends, secure in plastic trash bags, and stuff inside a duffle or quick-tie sack. You will want three: One light, one moderate, and one brutally heavy.
Have other ideas? Looking for cardo equipment? Sorry if it didn't make this list, but if cardio is what you really want, hit the road. On your feet that is. If you want to build some lean, fat-burning muscle, however, the equipment listed above will provide hours of gut-grinding, muscle pumping entertainment. Check out the articles below for some on ideas on getting started:
Looking for rope, chain, or sandbags?