How to Workout at Home – The Budget Friendly Home Gym

Want to know how to workout at home and hit every muscle in the body and not limit yourself to one specific type of training? You can have the option of hypertrophy training, real strength training, and you can even challenge your cardiovascular system. You will be able to perform hundreds of exercises in the comfort of your own home and you can do it with only 3-pieces of equipment. That’s right, that’s all you need to challenge every muscle in your body and what’s more, it won’t take up too much space.

You might be thinking this is some type of universal gym equipment you’d find in a hotel “exercise room” and you might be thinking it’ll cost thousands of dollars, but you’d be wrong. You can get all of this for less than $700 and that’s with the optional adjustable dumbbells.

Now, some of you may think this sounds like a lot, but you have to remember you won’t be limited to one specific type of training! Plus, starting out you will have the option to buy the separate hex-dumbbells. Then you can get the whole setup for far less. Not to mention, the equipment should last well past the point of saving money on gym dues.

Don’t go thinking this is some “As seen on TV” gimmick this is real equipment you’ll find in any gym, and more likely than not you can exercise just as effectively if not more so with these three things than with all the other equipment in the gym. You see, we’ve all been lied to. Yup, all of us. What do you see when you walk into a commercial gym? Lots and lots of expensive equipment, right? The more the better, right? And who do you think paid for all that equipment? Well, you did with your expensive membership dues, and what irks me is gyms wear it like a badge of honor. “We have 30 treadmills (ten are broken), 20 ellipticals (half aren’t being used or used incorrectly), 30 different weight machines (some may cause injury), and 4 smith machines (will cause injury).”

You know what I see? Exorbitant membership fees and people duped into believing this is what’s required to get in shape. Sure, It’s nice to have options, but picture it this way, with your membership dues you pay for every square inch of gym real estate whether you use it or not, and how much are you actually using?

Seriously, how much fun do you have staring at a TV going through the mundane process of trying to offset your daily calories consumed and improve your cardiovascular efficiency through physical exertion? I guess some call it cardio, I call it boring. What about doing the same machine circuit day in and day out? With a number of those machines proven to cause injury, it amazes me people still drudge through the same pain inducing routine week after week.

With that being said for a select few with very specific goals and levels of strength you may want to reconsider that gym membership. This includes those of you interested in bodybuilding, Olympic lifts, Crossfit style lifts, Group/class training, or you’re at an advanced level of lifting and need more weight than what dumbbells can offer. You guys will require a little more than what’s listed below. As for those of you looking to gain strength, burn fat, look better in the mirror, improve athletic performance, or just get in shape then this setup will work for you. The best part about it is this can be simply a starting point. As your strength grows so can your home gym. Then you’ll have no excuse for forking over all that cash for gym dues. I recommend checking out my Home Gym Equipment list on what else you should get for your home gym.

Now, Let’s talk about how and why this works and why we should stop thinking more is better. Our skeletons not only keeps us from being puddles of mush but also work as a lever system for our muscles to act upon. Each push or pull you do, in or out of the gym, is in reality only a muscle pulling on a boney lever. That’s right even the bench press is the pectoralis major muscle pulling on the humerus bone.

That being said, there are only so many different ways our muscles act upon our bones to move us through space. The intricacy of the musculoskeletal system can make those movements extremely complex. Take a professional pianist playing the piano, for example, and the amount of dexterity required to stroke all those keys.

When it comes to lifting weights and improving our fitness there are only a few movements we need to be concerned with. Our biggest concern should be using the right amount of weight, number of repetitions, and rest times so that we can achieve our fitness goals. That’s without the need of 10 different ways to exercise each muscle or muscle group. To make a long story long, a muscle flexion is a muscle flexion no matter what machine or exercise we perform.

Some of you may be thinking what about all the different isolation exercises? I cover this more in-depth in my Strength Routine for Beginner’s. Essentially, performing a thousand different types of bicep curls is a huge waste of time for beginners. You need to organize your workouts to emphasize bigger movements like the squats, rows, and presses. It may be more difficult to do these exercises, but it will improve your physique far better and faster than wasting a whole day dedicated to arms.

OK, I’ll step down from my soap box. If you’re still with me it’s time to talk about the equipment. Use the links to check out a more in-depth breakdown for each.


This should be number one on the list of anyone looking to build their own Temple of Fitness. If you have plenty of space then go for any standard set. The “Hex” design is among the most popular style thanks to their near maintenance-free design. If you’re limited on space or like things compact then I suggest going for the Bowflex SelectTech 1090s. For our budget gym, you can get a few hex dumbbells at a time or splurge for the SelectTech’s, either way you can’t go wrong.

For more information…

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Review

Hex Dumbbell Breakdown and Review

Stability Ball

Also known as a Swiss Ball, these are excellent for adding a balance factor to almost any exercise. For our budget gym, this can double as a bench allowing you to do dumbbell presses, incline dumbbell presses, and shoulder presses just to name a few

As a safety precaution avoid buying a cheap stability ball. The better ones are rated for a certain amount of weight, so be sure to check the specs before buying. They can pop and if they do while performing an exercise with weights overhead… well, you see where I’m going with this.

For more information…

Spri Elite Xercise Ball Review

Pullup Bar

There are several options when it comes to a Pullup bar. I review a great option in the link below. For our budget friendly home gym, it will really add some great options to your arsenal. Chin-ups are among one of the best ways to hit the lats, core, and biceps. Not to mention does wonders for your physique. If you want to build up some real upper body strength then master the chin-up.

For more information…

ProSource Heavy-Duty Easy Gym Pullup Bar

So there you have it, everything you need to get started on your road to fitness. Once you get the equipment you might be thinking “So, now what?” Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Use the links below to check out some great routines you can do from the comfort of your own home. You can use any combination of the workouts below. Just be sure you are following the allotted 48 hours rest before working a muscle or muscle group again.


A 10 exercise circuit routine designed to help kick your fat burners into overdrive. This workout is intense but can be modified for beginners or kicked up a notch for those more advanced.


Here’s one specifically geared towards what most women are looking to work when they workout. It’s a nine week program with four phases. These are total body routines but emphasis is placed on the glutes/legs, triceps, core development, and fat loss.

There are many more exercises and routines you can do with this setup. Check back as this page will be updated with more routines!

As always, if you like what you have read or you have a question please leave a comment below.

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2 thoughts on “How to Workout at Home – The Budget Friendly Home Gym

  1. Emily Reply

    hi there
    well I knew dumbbells were going to be in the workout from home kit but I did not know you were going to include a stability ball and a pull up bar. But what a great idea! Convenient, does not take a lot of room and you can do so many exercises. I work out 5-6 days a week and I cannot believe it when I go at the gym and I see the same people doing the same exercises every day! Change it up people! Otherwise, it is not effective and it just becomes a chore. I am a woman but I work out every muscle. I especially like to work out my shoulders and back. But I do vary every day. I also have a kettle bell and a Bosu ball at home and use them every day.

    • Jeff Smith Post authorReply

      Hi Emily. People do tend to get stuck in a rut when it comes to working out and they wonder why they aren’t seeing any results. Exercise is all about getting our bodies to adapt to a particular stress and then introducing a new stress once we’ve adapted. The human body is an amazing thing and requires a new challenge every time we workout whether it be a new exercise or that extra rep at the end of a set. Just like you said, if you aren’t challenging yourself every time it becomes a chore. That’s why I love trying new exercises and with this setup you’re almost unlimited with what you can do! Thanks for the great comment! Have a nice day!

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