6 Essentials for Your Home Gym

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6 Essentials for Your Home Gym

Joining a gym is a great way to get in shape, but it's not the only way. You can get an effective workout without ever leaving the house. Here's what you need and how to set up a gym at home.

Dumbbells (Free weights)

A good set of dumbbells will help you start a strength training routine.  Expect to pay $10-$20 for a pair of 5-pound weights. Prices will increase as the weight goes up. 

Stability Ball

An exercise ball goes by many names (stability, Swiss, physio, etc.) and is extremely versatile. You can use them in place of an exercise bench for many exercises, improving your balance and coordination. The balls come in different sizes (based on your height and weight), and a rainbow of colors, and cost around $25 apiece. 

Exercise Mat

Place a good exercise mat on the floor to stretch comfortably and cushion your body during floor exercises—a must if you do a lot of Pilates or yoga. For about $20 you can get a sticky mat (for Pilates and yoga), which is thin—but better than a hard floor. The price goes up for larger and thicker mats.

Jump Rope

Use a $15 jump rope for a quick and effective cardio workout. Slowly jumping rope burns 120 calories every 10 minutes; jump faster and burn 140 calories in 10 minutes. Opt for a thick cloth rope or a plastic beaded rope; thinner plastic ropes tend to twist easier.

Cardio Machines

Once you have the basics, consider investing in a piece of cardio equipment. Make sure your machine has different resistance levels to allow for workout variety and challenge as you progress. Costs vary, from $400 for a basic stationary bike to over $600 for a good treadmill. 

Setting Up Your Gym

Now that you know what to buy, make sure you have enough space for your gym. If you can't dedicate a room to exercising, set aside a corner of the basement or home office. Choose a room with a high ceiling, and a sturdy, clean floor. Make sure you've got good lighting and ventilation (possibly with a fan). 

Try to set up your gym in a place where you'll have access to a TV so you can watch your favorite workout DVDS or a stereo so you can crank some energetic tunes. Better yet, if you have a laptop computer, you can use it to watch workout DVDs, follow along with SparkPeople videos, or listen to music. You’ve created a gym that you can really enjoy! 

Resistance Bands

Bands or "tubes" are great because they are compact, portable, and allow for a wide range of motion. Resistance bands come in 3-5 different levels of resistance and usually run around $15 for a set. 

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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2/11/2017 11:32:56 AM

J38850's SparkPage
The resistance bands is a good idea that's why I love the (body gym by Marie Osmond) it has a bar that you can roll up to make it harder as you get stronger. It has stirrups to put your feet in to do different kinds of exercises it's one of my favorite piece of equipment.


8/25/2016 8:13:21 PM

AUNA_CYCLE's SparkPage
Having a fan is a really good idea, since you'll get really warm/hot from exercising.


5/30/2016 6:24:19 AM

NJP123456789's SparkPage
Sounds doable!


4/11/2016 11:05:26 AM

I work out primarily at home so this is a very helpful article. We don't have a lot -- and our family has combined equipment. We have a standing fan bike that we recently purchased at Walmart after trying out a few used ones that we found at Garage sales - primarily my husband uses it for now. A stability ball appeals to me, but where to put it is a question. We have a jump rope, but jumping no longer works for me - but hopefully for my adult daughter. We have done weights/dumbbells in many ways -- filling water bottles with sand, using canned food, and finding thrift store ones that are priced better. We also check out sports stores with used supplies. Have read on Spark that Craigslist is a good resource, but haven't checked it out yet.


2/8/2016 11:23:30 AM

I use canned soups for my weights, and you can run outside. Half the battle is eating; Once you do your awesome work out.. What do you eat?


1/7/2016 8:48:54 AM

Save even more money. Instead of buying stability ball, do you exercises from the end of your couch. Instead of buying a cardio machine, run outside. Weights are even cheaper if you can find them at thrift stores.


8/27/2015 11:33:34 AM

The machine is too expensive and takes up too much space. No place to put a stability ball. The rest, I agree.


8/26/2015 11:57:53 PM

MJMENDEL956's SparkPage
I have 4/6 and still don't make time to exercise . I need some extreme motivation because I'm tired of feeling lazy! Fyi: I'm a mother of 4 kids with a full time job, so maybe lazy isn't the right word choice, but I do need to make exercise a priority!


8/26/2015 11:56:13 PM

MJMENDEL956's SparkPage
I have 5/8 and still don't make time to exercise . I need some extreme motivation because I'm tired of feeling lazy! Fyi: I'm a mother of 4 kids with a full time job, so maybe lazy isn't the right word choice, but I do need to make exercise a priority!


8/26/2015 8:32:30 PM

Sounds expensive.


8/26/2015 8:08:20 PM

Try a membership at a good gym! - More variety, classes, informed instructors that make sure you are doing it right. The best deal as far as I am concerned is the Y.


8/26/2015 3:49:53 PM

Free weights. Use soda bottles or food cans.
Walk machines. Prefer fresh air and a nice view to relax the spirit as well as exercise


8/26/2015 9:20:28 AM

RLLG12's SparkPage
I would rather walk or swim or use a video


8/26/2015 9:08:21 AM

73SUPER's SparkPage
Exercise ball? Would rather have a real bench.. Wouldn't lift weights off of it. Agree with most of the items tho'.


8/26/2015 6:50:13 AM

How much does all this cost?

Comment Pages (16 total)

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