How to build a home gym

By | January 9, 2007 12:00 am

Expositor Report
Each year it seems a greater number of people are joining gyms. While that’s great news for a society fighting an obesity epidemic, chances are increased membership at gyms across the country is resulting in longer wait times for machine use. For the many time-strapped people out there, that fact can make daily trips to the gym far too time consuming.
One way to get around that is to build a home gym. While gym membership is valuable for a number of reasons, many people simply don’t have the time. With a home gym, your gym’s schedule is your schedule. In addition, many people feel self-conscious about working out in front of others. Such concerns disappear when you have your own gym. Also, with a home gym, you can tailor certain details to your own personal tastes, choosing what music to workout to or what to put on the television while working out.
For those thinking about building a home gym, here are some of the basic elements you’ll want to have. Keep in mind, as you workout more and more, you’ll want to add more and more to your gym.
Space
This is arguably the most important thing you’ll need. The benefits to having a gym membership is a good gym will give you access to a number of machines you need to work each and every part of your body. For your home gym to be successful, you won’t need as much space as a commercial gym, but you’ll want ample space so you can put in enough weights and machines to give your body a balanced workout. If you know beforehand you don’t have too much space available and can’t afford to add-on or replace an existing room, don’t cheat yourself with a less than adequate home gym. The goal remains to get in the best shape possible.
Dumbbells
Any good weightlifting workout will involve dumbbells, which offer a better range of motion than machines or barbells. Whether you’re a newcomer to weight training or an advanced lifter, dumbbells will help you to work a variety of muscles. In addition, dumbbells can be purchased in weights ranging from as little as two or three pounds to as high as you want to go, allowing you to slowly progress as you workout more and more.
Barbell
While dumbbells offer a better range of motion than barbells, that isn’t to say you shouldn’t have a barbell, which will help you ensure you can have a full-body workout. A barbell is especially important for working your chest, as often dumbbells won’t be as safe or provide sufficient weight.
Chin-up bar
Chin-ups are a wonderful exercise, allowing you to work your upper body and build strength. They’re also especially valuable to home gyms big and small, as they can easily be put within a doorway, taking up very little space.
Triceps bar
Though biceps get the glory, triceps are actually more associated with building useful strength. Everyday activities actually require more daily usage of your triceps than biceps, making a triceps bar an essential part of any effective home gym.
Exercise bench
Even if cost is a big issue for you, don’t shortchange yourself with a shoddy workbench. Typically, you can recognize such benches when you see them. Reclining benches that you can adjust are most valuable, as they’ll enable you to do a host of workouts and take up the same amount of space as a flat bench. Many adjustable, reclining benches can come with attachments, allowing you to workout even more areas of your body, including your legs.
Treadmill or stationary bike
These can be among the most expensive items you’ll buy for your home gym, but they’re very much worth it. Cardiovascular exercise is essential to physical fitness, helping both slim down and tone your body while proving particularly valuable to your heart. Also, for those who claim they’re too busy to work out, a stationary bike can provide you with both exercise and the chance to catch up on some work.

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