While some people struggle to find motivation to workout at home, many others dream of creating their own home gym complete with their favorite gym machines. But if you’re short on cash to invest in a home gym or aren’t sure you’re ready to commit to giving up a whole room to exercise equipment, don’t feel like you’re stuck driving to another gym or taking an expensive group class. There’s no need to splurge on an expensive home gym; you can get the same great results using a combination of small equipment, you own body weight, and a little creativity.
Here’s our recommendations on how to build a quality home gym without spending thousands of dollars:
Build a foundation for your home gym with a quality yoga mat. You’ll want to start and end every exercise session with stretching, so don’t skimp on quality when you’re looking for a mat. You can buy the basic size or get a wider mat if you want to cover more floor area. It’s especially important to get a mat if your home has hardwood floors. Mats are ideal whether you want to practice yoga, basic stretches, pilates, or just want a soft surface for floor exercises.
Find a bench, barre, or other surface you can use to work on balance and strength training. These surfaces let you work on one side of your body at a time, which significantly helps improve balance. For example, you can take basic squats to the next level by working one leg at a time (with the other resting on the bench).
Invest in high quality resistance bands and tubes. It’s important to skip the cheapest option and go for a set of bands and tubes that have good reviews. Inexpensive bands and tubes are more prone to snapping, which can lead to injury. Resistance bands and tubes are ideal for stretching your arms and legs before and after exercises, and you can also use them for strength training. You can get bands that attach to doors and walls to get a more secure hold, but be sure to start out with basic tubes for stretching.
Get a set of free weights. Whether you’re just starting out with 2-10 pounds or currently using much heavier weights, you’ll definitely want to get some weights for your home gym. You can buy adjustable dumbbells that shift between 10-50 pounds with just a few clicks. There are a ton of great options out there, but be sure to carefully review any products before you buy to make sure they are safe.
Consider including a kettlebell in your weights. Kettlebells are great for certain strength training exercises and adding weight to certain bodyweight exercises. Talk to a trainer or look up exercises using the web to make sure you’re using the kettlebell correctly to avoid injury.
Use a stability ball for stretching and core exercises. Stability balls can further help you develop balance. Use during stretches to get a more rounded stretch in your sides and arched back. Some people think stability balls are glorified beach balls, but they can actually really help improve your core exercises (like crunches) and help you work higher muscles that wouldn’t necessarily be engaged lying flat.
Create a circuit for cardio exercise. Cardio circuits are one of the best ways to get your heart pumping, and you don’t need a treadmill or elliptical to get results. Use a jump rope to get things started, then transition into mountain climbers, burpees, or jumping jacks. You can find cardio circuit ideas on YouTube and exercise forums around the web. We love cardio exercises that challenge you using your own bodyweight as resistance. You might also consider investing in an aerobic stepper or similar platform.
The most important part of creating an inexpensive home gym is learning to stretch, strengthen, and complete heart-pumping cardio exercises without major machines. This means learning to use your own bodyweight and the small equipment we’ve outlined to mimic the exercises you would do on a machine. There are thousands of exercises you can find using YouTube, glossary websites, and the advice of personal trainers that will give you amazing results with minimal equipment. It’s all about getting creative and taking advantage of what you already have. Save thousands on a treadmill by taking your run outside. Use your bodyweight and kettlebell to mimic leg machines. Find new ways to use free weights to strengthen your arms. There are unlimited routine opportunities with the equipment we’ve included on this list.
Switch it up and keep things interesting! By making smart investments in equipment and learning new ways to challenge your body, you can create a fantastic home gym without spending thousands on big ticket machines.