Having a gym membership is great. The right gym has all the equipment you need and then some. There are more cardio devices on hand than you could ever purchase (or have space for) at home, and the weightlifting machines give you all sorts of ways to workout your body.
But do you really need a gym membership?
You still have to drive across town just to workout, and some may not even be open when you are ready to hit the weights.
Plus, you have to deal with all the annoying people at the gym (we’re looking at you, dude that wears sunglasses while doing nothing but curls and girls who spend more times taking Instagram photos than actually exercising).
Here’s The Home Exercise Equipment For You To Invest In!
Working out at home provides all sorts of advantages. You just need to know what kind of equipment to go with to help maximize your gains.
The “I’m Broke and I Know it” Equipment
Hey, we can’t all be millionaires. Plus, gym memberships really sneak up on you.
You see an advertised price for $10 a month, and yet suddenly you find yourself paying close to $50.
How did that even happen?
And try to cancel out on the membership?
You’ll have an easier time getting out of a two-year cable contract than canceling your gym membership.
So why even deal with it?
If you can swing it, working out at home lets you workout whenever you want. It takes less effort to workout (no more driving across town in a blizzard) and you can even cut up your workout into pieces to fit your schedule.
But what kind of equipment in your home gym setups if you’re broke and no it?
We’ve got the answers for you.
For starters, get yourself a yoga mat. When you don’t have much money you can use your own body weight to workout with and see excellent gains. However, working out on carpeting doesn’t work out that well (especially when the carpet is too busy collecting all of your dog’s fur…sweat and dog hair don’t work out well). The yoga mat will prevent you from scooting around on a wood floor as well.
Now, grab a pull-up bar. You can do a ton with pushups, especially if you toss a chair in the mix so you can elevate your feet during different moves.
However, if there’s one thing better than push up, it’s a pull-up.
There are some really great pull-up bars out there that you don’t even need to drill into the wall for. These devices hook up around your doorway, so you just need to find a doorway in your home that has a foot (or more) clearance about the door. If you don’t have this you will need to go with something that drills into the doorway itself, but in terms of great workout equipment, this is the way to go.
Alright, we’re kind of assuming you have this. If you’re looking this stuff up at the library that’s perfectly fine, just take notes and take it back home. You really can get a great strength workout with your body weight and the pull-up bar. The computer and Internet connection just helps with some cardio workouts. Yes, you can grab some used workout DVDs for probably less than a buck, but doing the same cardio over and over is tiresome and boring.
The best way to keep with your workouts is to mix it up a bit, which is why YouTube is great. There are all sorts of fantastic cardio workouts you can perform and instructors who will get you through the workout.
Not a problem either. You can just grab a jump rope. This is one of the best forms of cardio you can do. With varying step patterns, speeds and durations, there’s a reason why boxers and professional fighters turn to jumping rope over other kinds of on the spot cardio (Money Crashers, 2014).
A Few Bucks to Spend
Maybe you have a few dollars to spend. You can’t go crazy, but you want to invest in a few items. That’s great. You might be surprised as to what you can pick up with just a few bucks (if you know how to shop around).
When picking up weights, go with interchangeable weights. This means you can pull off an add-on weight. Don’t go out and buy the set-in-stone dumbbells for your home gym workout.
Buying a set of 20-pound dumbbells may be cheaper than buying 40 pounds of weight, but guess what?
When it comes to increasing your weight, all you need to do is pick up a few 2.5 or 5-pound weight plates, when on the other hand you’d have to purchase 50 pounds of new dumbbells, which really adds up. Plus, if you look around at yard sales and check websites like Let It Go and Craigslist, you can land some great deals.
Just one word of caution. Look at the hole in the middle of the weight plate. There is a small hole, about the size of a quarter, and a large hole, about 2.5 inches in diameter. You don’t want to buy one when your bars support the other. It’s always best to buy the same sized bars and the same sized weights. This way, you won’t have to double-purchase weights.
The beauty with these kinds of weights is you can slowly build up your weight collection. However, you’ll likely want to invest in some sort of a weight bench to really take your workout to the next level. You can do some great things sans bench, ranging from squats and lunges to curls and shoulder presses. However, you really need to be on your back to maximize your chest.
This is where a bench works out well.
Now, you might instantly think towards a bench press with the weight rack and everything. You don’t need to go that far. Even if you have the money, you might not have the room. Instead, pick up one of those adjustable benches at the gym without any racks attached to it. You can even buy new ones from the store for less than $50 (check Amazon as you might find a great deal that offers free shipping). This kind of bench is great as it allows you to do incline and decline bench presses. You can also work out with an incline curl, which is one of the best curls you can do as it increases the stretch of your arms.
One thing to consider when working out with weights is floor pads. These are large, interlocking pads that absorb the impact of weight. It’s a good idea to invest in these. Even if you’re working out in a garage you should look to pick these up as it will protect the weights from impacting a hard cement surface.
In terms of cardio, you can still go with the Internet connection option and a jump rope. You might also want to consider picking up a medicine ball. These are great for cardio workouts when you want to add a bit of weighted resistance without hindering your gains on a rest day (Business Insider, 2016).
You Have the Cash and Space
Alright, so let’s say you have the money and, probably, more importantly, you have the available space to build the ultimate home gym setup (again, the beauty of building up a home gym is you can add more weights and equipment as you go).
Well, when that’s the case you have a few additional options.
For starters, let’s look at the actual bench press. Having a barbell instead of dumbbells here really helps out an on. You simply can lift more weight a bench press (getting into the initial position with heavier dumbbells puts increasing pressure on the elbow and shoulder joints which may increase your chance of injury). Now, you can still get a great workout with just dumbbells as lifting slower using dumbbells can make up for the lack of additional weight in many ways, but there are simply times where more weight is better (especially if you’re going for strength gains or size gains). You will still need to consider the diameter of the mounting hole in the center of your plate.
Do you want to keep the dumbbells the same or do you want the larger mounting hole?
There is one general difference (between the size of the mounting hole) here, and it may only come up if you’re lifting extremely heavy (we’re talking 300 pounds or more). Barbells with the wider mounting size can hold up more weight. With more resistance placed on a thinner bar, it increases the chance of damaging or even splitting the barbell. You’ll want to check the weight max on the barbell if you have something thinner, and chances are unless you’re really powerlifting big this will never be a problem, but just something to consider.
Alright, outside of an actual bench press, what else should you go with?
This is one of those times where you might want to consider a Smith machine. Now, in general, we’re a bit hit and miss on the Smith machine. We really don’t like the guided aspect of it. With the guided feature it turns the device into a glorified weight machine, and weight machines really handcuff your ability to work your body. Most machines completely take out the work your stabilizer muscles are used for. There’s a reason why someone at the gym might be able to put up 300 pounds on a Smith machine bench press, but if they were to try a non-assisted bench they might struggle to put up over 200. So why do we even bring this up? Safety.
If you have a home gym it means you’re likely workout out at home. And if you’re trying to lift big, you are not going to have a spotter. Now, we have found this can be an incredible motivator. You don’t have a spotter so you know there’s nobody there to help you. However, spotting issues can come up, especially when you’re squatting. With a squat, if you can’t get back up you might collapse under yourself which will lead to injuries.
The Smith machine can help prevent this. If at all possible, we recommend going with a Smith machine that isn’t guided but has different catching rings, so if you can’t lift the weight back up you just move two-inch back and you have the catching rings right there. Either way, it is something to keep in mind.
One piece of equipment that is often overlooked is the cable pull-down. In terms of actual machine equipment we like, this is the best. The cable pull-down gives you additional workouts even free weights can’t offer. Some elastic bands might work in its place, and actually, the combination of elastic bands and free weights together can take certain lifts to the next level (i.e. wrap elastic bands around your free weights as if you were going to do a curl. Free weights are most difficult in the middle of the curl while elastic bands are more difficult at the top. By combining the two you have maximum tension on your muscle throughout), but we love the cable pull-down.
So consider picking up something with this feature.
Lastly, how about cardio? What if you want a cardio device you can hop on after a long day without thinking?
Well, it depends on a few different things. If you want a something with low impact, go with a bicycle or an elliptical. We’re not the biggest fans of a straight treadmill because we feel just get outside and run if that’s your thing (plus running in cold weather is great for opening up your lungs). If you want the biggest calorie blast bang for your buck, there are some solid machines that are part stair stepper part elliptical. These give a feeling of running in the stand. You’ll hurt after, but you’ll blast your butt and leg muscles while blasting calories all the same.
There are some great workout devices out there and building a home gym is always a solid idea. You don’t need to have a large amount of free cash to build a gym either. So start small and begin growing your gym. In the end, it’s like paying off your car. It’s yours, you love it, and you don’t need to pay monthly to use it.