WHAT YOU NEED FOR A HOME GYM
Setting up a good home gym can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. No longer do you have to worry about driving to the gym, changing into your gym clothes, working out in a crowded gym only to change back into your street clothes and drive back home. No longer do you have to worry about when the gym is open. Your home gym is always open no matter what time of day you choose to workout. But what do you need for a good home gym? Of course it's possible to get a great workout with no equipment whatsoever using only your bodyweight. However, that can only take you so far. For a complete workout program, it's necessary to do both bodyweight and equipment exercises. That doesn't mean you need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on expensive machines. You can set up an excellent home gym much more easily than that.
WHERE TO SET IT UP
A good home gym shouldn't be in a high traffic area such as a living room. There's just too much action there and too many distractions to be able to get a good workout. Of course if you live alone, this doesn't apply. But for those of us with families, setting it up in the basement, den, garage, or other low traffic area is ideal. If possible, you want to have ceilings high enough to reach your arms overhead in the standing position. If that's not possible, there are other options. A garage can work great as a home gym. It's away from the main part of the house and is essentially the same as going to a gym. One of the complaints people have with home gyms is they say it's too comfortable and easy to not do the workout. However, a garage obviously doesn't have the same luxuries as other rooms in your house would. Therefore the only thing to do is workout! The bottom line is to set it up in a place where you know you'll actaully do it.
FLOORING AND WALLS
Wherever you set up your gym, you want to lay down some lifting mats on the ground. This will give you a good surface to stand on as well as protect the ground from the equipment. On the walls, having a few inspiring posters is always a good idea. Personally I used to have posters of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Steve Reeves on my wall among others, but you choose whatever you want to put up. As far as mirrors go, have one or two good mirrors but don't cover your walls with them. There are times when the mirror can distract you and there are times when you want to be able to check your form in the mirror.
OK. Now let's get to it! You can set up a home gym with as much stuff as you want of course. But the idea of this post is to give you a simpified list of equipment to get a good balanced workout. These are the things I feel are essential to a good home gym.I bought the majority of my equipment from Fitness Depot.
1) ADJUSTABLE BENCH - One that can change angles from flat to incline. You also want to get one that has uprights to hold a barbell. The better benches also have safety bar attachments. These are useful of you're doing exercises like squats and bench presses so you can dump the bar if you can't lift it.
2) ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS - Powerblock dumbbells are my favourite. It allows you to change the weight by pulling out a selector pin just like on a weight machine. They take up only a fraction of the space you would need for a dumbbell rack.
3) BARBELL AND WEIGHTS - If you can get an Olympic barbell and weights, that's the best you can get. But a standard 1 inch diameter bar is fine as well.
4) TRX - This is a bodyweight suspension trainer and is excellent since you can adjust the difficulty by varying your foot position.
5) STABILITY BALL - There are so many uses of this simple piece of equipment.
6) BOSU BALL - This is a funny looking half ball. The primary use of this is to take advantage of the unstable nature of it. Standing or doing stepups on the round side work great. Or doing core work such as mountainn climbers while the ball has the round side down is another amazing way of using it.
7) RESISTANCE BANDS - There are two types and both have benefit. There is the elastic band type that goes around your legs and there's also the type with handles. It's best to have both.
8) LEBERT EQUALIZERS - These are free standing parallel bars. They can of course be changed to any angle, but parallel bar dips work great with them. Bodyweight rows are another one. There are tons of possible exercises you can do with them.
9) CHINUP BAR - You might or might not be able to do chinups now, but regardless you can do may other exercises with a chinup bar. Simply hanging from the bar can do wonders to decompress your body. There are chinup bars that can be installed in a doorway and there are also the type that can be mounted to your ceiling or wall. The latter is the preferred type, but the doorway bar works just fine. In fact that's what I have at my house!
10) AEROBIC EXERCISE EQUIPMENT - This one is actually optional. Personally I never use treadmills or exercise bikes. I walk outside and practice martial arts for my cardio. But for those cold rainy days, having indoor options can really help. I use a trampoline in that case.
11) YOGA MAT - This is simply so you don't have to lie on a hard floor while you stretch. Simple, but essential in my opinion.
And there you have it! My picks for what I think you need for a good complete home gym. You can always add to it later, but this will give you everything you need for a complete workout. It's a longer list than some people will give you, but I don't just want you to have any workout. I want you to be able to get just as good a workout at home as you could get at the gym. This will do that and when you consider how long this equipment will last, it's extreme;y economical. So now you know what's required to set up a good home gym. Do it and get it done!