You’ve decided that it’s time to get your workout routine into gear, but where do you start? I spoke with a number of fitness experts to figure out the absolute best way to get started with home workouts, from how to set up your space to which essentials you can’t live without. Here's what I found!
Step 1. Find appropriate space
The first step to building your home gym is finding an appropriate space in your home. Some people may want to use an out-of-the-way spot like a basement or extra bedroom, while others prefer to build their gym right into their garage or on an empty wall of their apartment. Be sure to consider these points before your gym setup at home: How much space do you have available for equipment and exercises? Where will you find most of your exercise equipment? Is there enough space in that area for both training and working out? If not, how will you work around it?
The best way to find your space is firstly understanding what your goal is what you'd like to focus on. Some equipment takes more space than others, and that's why it's important that you take a look at the equipment too and decide what you'd like to include within the home gym.
Step 2. Home gym essentials list
You’ll want to set up your own gym, but don’t rush out and buy every machine you can think of. Be smart about what you need for each body part, and think about making do with free weights instead of machines. For instance, dumbbells are easier to transport than a leg press machine, which often weighs hundreds of pounds.
Here's my list of essentials:
If you want to incorporate cardio equipment into your workout, then it’s important to invest in equipment that is easy to transport and store. Instead of buying a treadmill or elliptical machine, consider exercise bikes and rowing machines that fold up easily. Be sure to set these up in front of your TV so you can keep an eye on your favorite show while getting fit. Again, it really depends how much space you have.
If you do believe that foldable equipment is too much, then getting things like weighted jump ropes and hula hoops can be a great way to save money and space. For instance, one of the top rated weighted jump ropes on Amazon only costs $7.99. Similarly to hula hoops, they are great for shaping up your torso and only cost approximately $35.99. Here is a one of the best rated hula hoops on Amazon which has been built from rubber which makes it easy on the skin and it weighs 3.3lbs - the perfect weight to slim down your waist.
Related: best overall exercise equipment for home
Strength training equipment
There are two main types of strength training equipment you’ll need to build your home gym: free weights and weight machines. Free weights are anything that doesn’t come with an attached cable or pulley system, such as dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells. Weight machines use cables or chains to either add resistance to your movements or perform all of them for you. Some gyms combine both types in one workout area; others separate them into different areas entirely. What type of equipment you choose depends on your preferences and budget, but most people find they need both to get fit and stay that way!
To start with, I would recommend getting dumbbells, barbells, a bench and a squat rack. With these four types of equipment, you'll be able to perform most of the compound exercises. Compound exercises include lunges, squats, chest press, shoulder press varieties, and more.
Having a look through Amazon and analysed all the best equipment, there is also multigym equipment that you can get if you have more space and a bigger budget. It has most of the equipment you'll need aside from free weights which are great for other exercises and muscle groups.
Related: best overall exercise equipment for home
In order to recover your muscles, you need to have some type of equipment that will help you keep them in working condition. For example, there is resistance bands that you can use to do light work outs and stretching as well as yoga matts. The most important aspect of your recovery equipment is that it helps you strengthen your muscles while helping you to stay in shape. Some great options include foam rollers and Theragun.
Foam rollers are great for rolling out any muscle knots that may be affecting blood flow into the muscles. In turn, this can affect their recovery and cause fatigue since they aren't getting enough blood flow and oxygen during workouts. So, I suggest that you get a medium density foam roller is great for deep tissue massage. Take a look at this one on Amazon for only $26.99.
On the other hand, Theragun is used to generate a deep tissue massage. It stimulates blood flow and oxygen and it can be used to release stress, tension and joint pain. The Theragun is great if you are planning on exercising more than 4-5 days a week. You'll need proper recovery equipment to help you recover better.
Step 3. Plan out your storage
Now that you know what equipment you're going to include in your home gym, it is time to plan out how you're going to store it. Take a good look at the space you have and consider what you'll need in order to store it in a way that doesn't get in the way of everything else in that space.
For example, if you're planning on getting dumbbells, it might be a good idea to get a dumbbell rack so you can store them in an organised manner. Here is a squat rack from AKYEN which is great for a home gym. On the other hand, if you are going all out and you want to get dumbbells, weight plates and kettlebells, then a more comprehensive weight rack would be more suitable. For example, the JX FITNESS 3 Tier Weights Storage Rack is great for all these things.
Step 4. Set Up Ideas
So now, you need to set up your equipment. Don't just stack it in one pile. Take an inventory of what you have, and lay it out in an organised way so that nothing gets lost or damaged. Think about stacking things vertically so that they take up less space on your floor area (especially with dumbbells and barbells). You also don't want to have everything stacked on top of each other because when you pull one thing out to use it, you will have to move everything else in order to access it, which kind of defeats the purpose of having all your stuff organized in an easily accessible way in a home gym setup.
My suggestion is to have a big wall mirror on one side and weights rack on the side with the rest of equipment well laid out in front of the mirror. You need to be able to see yourself so you can watch your form. This is important in order to avoid injury and drive greater results. However, it all really depends on the space that you have.