To get in shape, you don’t need a whole gymnasium dedicated to working out. There are plenty of compact options available. You can get a safe effective workout in smaller spaces and not blow your budget. If you have a small room or basement and want to have a quality home gym then look no further than the list below.
With this equipment, there are plenty of exercise options to target every muscle in the body. By adjusting the intensity and tempo, You can tweak the exercises to be more cardio focused. With a few of the right pieces of equipment, the options are endless. I will start with the bare minimums and finish with the extras you can add on later.
What you need will depend upon your fitness goals.
The whole premise of strength training requires moving heavier weights than what you’re used to. The best starting option is to go with dumbbells. Besides your own body weight, they offer the most flexibility out of anything else on the market.
You can buy individual dumbbells or you can go with adjustable dumbbells. Since space is likely a concern I recommend the adjustable dumbbells.
Although they may cost more at first, you will save space and money in the long run.
Some of you may want to go for the traditional dumbbells. They can certainly be more resilient to drops. Plus, if you have adequate room and don’t want to spend too much starting out this is the way to go.
#2 Bench or Stability ball
If you’re on a budget get a stability ball. Don’t be fooled by the typical stability ball applications. A stability ball is a great way to perform many of the most popular exercises. For example, you can use a stability ball to perform dumbbell chest press and incline presses. You can also do seated shoulder presses and many core-blasting movements.
Replacing a stable surface with a stability ball will force you to more actively engage your core. This will make lighter weights more difficult to lift. Not only will this result in burning more calories, you can get away with using lighter weights for longer. Since lighter weights are less expensive this can help save a little money.
The other option is to get an adjustable bench. Benches are practical for almost every workout. You can effectively isolate and target many major muscle groups. This is a huge advantage if you want to build mass. A stable platform allows you to lift heavier weights. This will allow you to overload muscles more effectively.
Next to pushups, pullups are one of the best upper bodyweight exercises you can do. With a pullup bar, you can also do some core exercises as well, such as hanging leg raises. Also, they are inexpensive and don’t have to be permanently fixed to a door frame or wall.
Seriously, the above three items are all you need to get started. The setup above will provide you with hundreds of exercises that target every muscle in the body. This will work well for most people. This is especially true if you are a beginner, but some of you may want to take it a step further. Below are two separate lists depending on your goals. Whether you’re interested in building muscle or slimming down, you can find the answer below.
Building Muscle and Strength
Squats, deadlifts, bench press, and rows are essential movements to building strength and muscle. To make them more effective, you need to be able to lift heavier weights. This will target the type II muscle fibers responsible for strength and size. (Learn more about weight and repetitions.)
To do this, you will need a few additions to your home gym. One of the best additions is an adjustable squat rack and a barbell set. This can get expensive, but fear not, there are budget options available.
#1 Power or Squat Rack
For those limited on space, I recommend the Rogue S-1 or S-2 squat rack depending on budget. Just make sure you pay attention to ceiling height. This rack has the ability for different add-ons such as a dip bar, plate storage, and a pull-up bar. You can get the basic rack starting out and then upgrade as needed.
Another option is from Amazon.com. If you are budget conscious and aren’t too limited on space you can go with the Valor fitness BD-11. It come with a plethora of options and won’t break the bank.
You can perform many squat, Chest press, and deadlift variations with a set of dumbbells. They are effective and can help beginners perfect their form. For those of you that are beyond the beginner level, you should look into upgrading to a barbell set.
A barbell allows for lifting much heavier weight when performing fewer repetitions. This targets the type II muscle fibers leading to great size and strength gains.
If this is your primary goal and the dumbbells just don’t cut it anymore, it’s time to upgrade.
Don’t worry! Quality barbells don’t have to break the bank. Roguefitness.com offers some of the best deals on barbells you can find. They’re made in the USA and trusted for use at the CrossFit games so home use will be no problem.
Amazon.com offer’s many barbells for under $100. While this may seem like a good deal I cannot recommend them due to quality and safety issues. See the full barbell review for more details.
I recommend getting at least one set of bumper plates and a variety of smaller increment plates. This will offer the most options on what you can do with the barbell. Ther are many sets available on Amazon.com
For bumper plates, I recommended Rogue Fitness once more. When it comes to equipment that takes a beating you can’t go wrong with Rogue.
If your primary goal is to slim down this is the list for you. In conjunction with the first three essentials listed above, you will want to focus on getting the heart rate up. What’s great is you don’t need a room full of cardio equipment to do it.
When it comes to burning calories and fat, circuits are your best friend. To learn more about circuits check out my Different Types of Weightlifting Sets.
Swings are an excellent exercise to elevate the heart rate and burn calories. Not to mention they’re easy to master. With kettlebells, you can also do many other high-intensity exercises. I review several options when it comes to kettlebells.
This is the ultimate cardio machine when it comes to burning calories. It effectively gets the upper and lower body working. This means you are going to efficiently burn huge amounts of calories. You can learn more about Cardio rowing in the full review. There you’ll find a great rower workout and learn how you can get a home rower that won’t take up too much space.
Med balls may be old school, but man are they effective. You can perform some awesome high-intensity exercises that will melt away the fat. There are many options available depending on the type of exercise you plan to do.
Once you have your home gym setup learn how to use it with my online coaching. You can learn more about it on my Online Personal Training Page.
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