Exercise, as you know, is essential to living a long and healthy life. It is extremely good for your heart, keeps your weight down, and is downright addictive (in a good way!). However, paying for a gym membership can be expensive as well as time-consuming to travel to and from a gym every day.
So, what's the solution? Investing in a home gym that has all the essentials can be a great step in eliminating time pressure and extra expenses, giving you the freedom to increase your fitness capabilities from the comfort of your home. In this article, we are going to break down how to build an effective home gym, what to consider during the process, and things to watch out for.
So, you've decided to set up a home gym. Congratulations! Having an effective home gym that provides all the essentials to achieve your fitness goals is a great way to minimise the cost of an average gym membership while also giving you a great quality workout. But where do you start with setting up an effective home gym?
1. Goals and Motivations
Firstly, you should figure out what your goals are. Don't worry, your goals can and will change over time as you get fitter and stronger. For right now, figure out what you want to achieve. If you're a beginner at the gym, pick some attainable goals to start out with. Do you want to start lifting to build muscle mass? Great. Are you looking to lose weight? Awesome. Or are you looking for a combination of both? Sweet!
If you are at an intermediate or advanced fitness level, then chances are you have already got a stack of goals you want to achieve. Having a home gym that keeps you motivated and allows you can smash out your workouts is going to be the primary goal in creating this setup.
Once you've decided what you want out of a home gym, it's going to make it a lot easier to decide where your setup is going to live.
The next aspect of setting up a home gym is what space you have to work with. We've all seen those fitness gurus who have decked out their garages with an array of fancy equipment. However, if you are poor on space, there's no reason why you can't also have a good quality setup-you just have to get a bit creative with it.
Assess the space
Is it a garage, a spare room in your apartment, or maybe a backyard patio? Measure the space and figure out what you have to work with first before deciding on what equipment to buy.
If you have a small space, then you might have to utilise a wall for hanging racks or purchasing extra shelving to store equipment. You'll also have to be selective on the type of equipment to fit a smaller space. If you have lots of room, you'll have a much easier time fitting in all the home gym equipment and gear you need.
Lucky for you, there are heaps of adjustable equipment options that are perfect for smaller spaces such as folding treadmills and adjustable dumbbells. Similarly, smart home fitness devices like the ProForm VUE will give you a total body workout without the need for a lot of space.
You also want to be mindful of the floors when it comes to installing bulky exercise equipment. If you are setting up your gym in a spare bedroom, then investing in a couple of rubber gym mats to absorb sweat and provide a conditioning layer between you and the carpet and is a good measure to prevent unwanted odour and discolouration.
In the same sense, if you are setting up in a garage with concrete or tiled floors, mats prevent any damages to the flooring like cracks and dents if you go too heavy on a squat and have to bail halfway through. Even if you're a pro at deadlifts and chest presses, it's better to be safe than sorry.
With your goals in mind and your space picked out, selecting the right equipment is the next big hurdle to jump. You should consider what kinds of workouts that you are most likely going to be doing that best align with your goals. If you are predominantly going to be doing cardio-based workouts, then picking a treadmill or an exercise bike is great for those kinds of workouts.
On the other hand, if you are focusing on building muscle and less on cardio, then having a combination of strength equipment like weights , whether that be free or machine-based, is a great first start.
However, if you're not too sure and you want to be able to swap between both cardio and strength-based equipment, then it's a good idea to just start with the basics. Once you figure out what you like and don't like, then you can work on adding more specific items to your gym.
A few things that we would recommend you start with include:
- A fitness mat: Having a good quality fitness mat or yoga mat for your workout space is going to make the world of difference when it comes to your workout performance. It will provide a padded and non-slip surface for when you are crunching those abs or performing any workouts on the ground. They are easily storable and provide great versatility for any workout.
- A bench: Including a quality bench in your home gym is going to provide so many workout opportunities. Not only can a bench be used while doing a variety of weighted exercises, like chest press, rows, seated bicep curls, etc., but can also be used during cardio workouts. For example, step-ups, box jumps, and bench hops are great exercises to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing.
- Some form of cardio: Every home gym should have some form of cardio available. Cardio helps with maintaining a good cardiovascular system as well as conditioning for strength training. Treadmills are a fantastic go-to for your basic cardio workouts like walking or running. However, if you are on a budget or simply don't have the space, there are other alternatives to a treadmill that will suit everyone. For example, a skipping rope is a fantastic and space-conserving way to get a good cardio workout in. You could also try things like jumping jacks, high knees, or mountain climbers. For these exercises, you just need enough space to move around.
- A set of weights: A good set of weights should be at the top of any home gym list. If you are a beginner, then investing in a quality set of hand weights like dumbbells would be a great first step and you will see results quickly. If you are more advanced in your weightlifting, investing in a bar and plates is going to offer you the same training effectiveness as a gym. In this case, including something like a half rack to your home gym is going to give you more versatility to your workouts and provide outstanding results from home.
- Multi-use equipment: Adding some multi-use equipment like resistance bands , exercise balls, medicine balls , etc. are great additions to consider for your home gym. They can be used for a variety of workouts including cardio, strength, HIIT, you name it. Including equipment that is not only versatile but adaptable to you and your fitness is a must for any home gym.
Now that you're set up with the basics, you can easily add more dynamic and specific equipment later. Things like a boxing bag , rowing machine , and battle ropes can all be added later once you get your initial setup sorted.
4. Workout Routine
Now, it doesn't matter if you're a beginner or an advanced athlete, having a good idea about what you are going to do in the gym is crucial to hitting maximum effort. Building a solid and effective workout routine is just as important as the equipment, so take some time to write out a plan for yourself. This will be a huge motivator for your workouts because you'll know exactly what needs to get done and how.
How to plan a basic workout routine
First, start by planning your workouts by day. If you're a beginner to the gym, we recommend working out 2-3 times a week, and if you are intermediate or advanced, we recommend working out 4-5 times a week.
There are also heaps of workout styles and focuses when it comes to planning a workout routine. These include:
- Strength: Weightlifting, muscle building, and bodyweight exercises that isolate the muscle for improved strength and mass.
- Cardio: Aerobic exercises that get your heart rate up for a prolonged period of time. For example, running, swimming, jumping jacks etc.
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): This form of exercise combines high volumes of activity in bursts with small rests in between sets. Things like 30 seconds on and 10 seconds off for 5 rounds is a perfect example of a HIIT workout.
- Low Impact: Low impact exercises are great for recovery days and people with injuries or limited joint mobility. For example, swimming, walking, yoga, cycling, etc.
With all the different kinds of workouts available, it is important to find something that you enjoy doing as this will mean you are motivated and more likely to stick to it.
Always remember to start any routine with a 5-10-minute warm-up, to make sure the muscles are warm to prevent any unnecessary injury. Make sure to cool down afterward with some form of stretching or a cool-down walk. This will help your muscles recover more quickly and prevent excessive pain or injury.
Building an effective home gym is not about all the different kinds of workout equipment you can fit into your garage. It's about creating a space where you can have quality workouts from home, with the right equipment that will allow you to smash your goals and achieve amazing results. Remember, building an effective home gym is about you and what you want to achieve, so get out there and build an amazing home gym!
Shop our range of home gym equipment at rebel now.