Some Home Gym Essentials Your Going to Want and Need
I’ve trained from home and commercial gyms for over 20 years and over that time period, I’ve accumulated a short list of what I believe to be important tools that will help you with your fitness regimen. I truly believe that regardless of your fitness goals, whether you’re focused on weight loss or muscle gain, these tools are requirements for all fitness levels. In addition to home gym machines, there are other extras you’ll want or need dependent on the design of your home gym or space but for purposes of this list, we will focus on the absolute necessities.
Dumbbells – Dumbbells are bar none, the single most important piece of equipment you can have in your home gym arsenal. They are so versatile that they can be used to target virtually every muscle group. The weight requirement will vary but if your budget will allow, try getting adjustable dumbbells. You’ll have a range of weights all in one dumbbell and it takes up less space.
Resistance Bands – Another versatile piece of equipment, resistance bands provide a low impact and effective way for strength training. Although they typically come in the form of tubes with handles or elastic bands, my preference are the bands as I am phobic of the handles snapping on the tubes. I haven’t seen that happen yet but I’ve heard stories. None of them pleasant.
Exercise Balls – You’ve gotta love exercise balls. They’re fun and surprisingly effective. Depending on what type of exercise you’re performing, you will find yourself engaging almost every muscle. They’re perfect for helping you improve balance and strength. I’m actually sitting on one right now as I’m writing this article! Core baby, core!
Pull Up Bar – Whoever invented this tool should pat him/herself on the back. I can’t tell you how many times I use this and how convenient it is. Don’t get the pull up bars that need to be screwed in or installed between doorways. I have the one developed by Iron Gym and it can be placed in the door jamb in seconds. Works perfectly, although it does require tightening every so often but other than that, perfect tool for lats. Oh, did I mention you can also use it for pushups and dips?
Curl Bar – Curl Bars are bars with a contour shape to help with gripping and are typically used for curling. There are 2 types: Standard and Olympic curl bar. The standard weighs about 10 to 15 lbs. and use standard weights. Olympic curl bars are around 25 lbs. and use Olympic weights. I recommend Olympic style curl bars, especially if you own a barbell, that way you can interchange the weights.
Power Rack – The power rack is a popular piece of equipment commonly used in weight training with multiple purposes. It is typically used in weight training for legs, chest, arms, back, and shoulders but there other creative uses for it as well like pull ups and dips. Some of the power racks come with accessories like pull down cables and benches. Just be a little creative and the power rack will be the very best piece of gym equipment you own.
Olympic Bar (Barbell) – If you’re going to have a bench, then this is a must have. This is a very effective tool with multiple uses, e.g., chest, arms, legs, etc… Serious weight lifters use barbells for chest exercises (flat, incline, and decline), squats, lunges, dead lifts, and arms (curls and tricep curls). Make sure to use collars.
Treadmill – Unless you’re a jogger, this is a must have in my opinion. Although they are the most expensive out of the list, treadmills provide the necessary cardio for those who prefer to be indoors or those who cannot run outside due to weather conditions. I use it after some of my workouts and crank it up to max incline.
Flooring – I know this doesn’t appear to be a necessity but believe me, when you have weights continuously hitting the floor, after a period of time it takes its toll. Thick rubber mats are the ticket. I’ve heard of people using rugs but that doesn’t provide the necessary protection or cushion for dropped weights.
Punching Bags/Jump Rope – I couldn’t decide which was more important so I decided to combine these. Punching bags and jump ropes go hand in hand in my opinion. Both are excellent for cardio. Make sure you tape/wrap your wrists before you hit the bag. Bending your wrists is not a pleasant felling.