7 BEST home gym essentials checklist
Home gym essentials checklist is for active people who really want to lose weight and tone up at home without breaking the bank.
Let's face it, there are ton of exercising equipment on the market which makes it almost impossible to know EXACTLY what you really need vs what's waste of money and space. You can do so many muscle burning, heart pounding exercises and sweat like never before with 2-3 pieces of affordable and long-lasting exercising equipment.
I just want to you to remember one thing and that is when you want to get any home gym equipment you need to focus on yourself and your fitness level. Knowing your fitness level and what type of workouts you like to do and enjoy the most will make the process very smooth and most importantly will save you ton of money.
Home gym essentials checklist- The factors that you MUST know
When you are trying to find the best home gym or best home gym essentials to buy there are so many FACTORS that you have to take into consideration before you decide to spend your hard earned money.
As you might know, there are no cheap home gyms or exercise equipment regardless if you are buying new or used. You really need to do your homework and look at factors like:
- What muscles are you targeting?
- Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced?
- Are you trying to get LEAN or BIG?
- Do you want to strengthen just specific muscles or you are targeting the whole body?
- Is this machine the right one for your fitness plan or not?
- Is this home gym going to do all the exercises that you expect it to do?
These are some of the things you might need to ask yourself so you have a clear idea of what do to next. Remember, that not all home gyms are made equally and I'm not talking about the quality of the material.
I'm talking about the design and how some of them are made to do only few number of exercises and others made to do way more than what you need and you end up paying way too much money.
NOT all home gyms target the whole body
Most of the home gym exercise equipment that advertised and promoted online are the home gym machines that are designed to do and mimic the most popular exercises that people usually do at the gym like:
- Bench presses
- Shoulder presses
- Leg curls
- Bicep curls
- Triceps extension
These types of home gyms are the best if you are only targeting the upper body muscles. But, if you are looking to target the whole body then so many of these home gyms fall well below the expectation.
As you can see these exercises don't target so many vital and important muscles that play a big part in your overall strength and well being.
- Lower back
- Many more..
Abs, lower back, and glute muscles are probably the most important muscles if you are serious about burning fat and losing weight and staying strong and injury free.
There are so many very effective exercises that you don't need a home gym to do them like:
- Push ups
- Pull ups
- and many more
like I said you really need to do your home work before you can decide whether you need one or not.
Home gym essentials or just a home gym?
So, you decided to start working out again or you feel it's the right time to move up a level in your fitness. May be you are new to the whole fitness world and want to start working out for the first time.
Or may be the workout that you are doing right now isn't challenging enough and you are feeling much stronger and fitter so you need more weights or an exercise equipment to reach your new fitness goal. Naturally, the first thing we instantly think about is to go out and buy something, whatever that thing is to help us achieve our fitness goal, right?
The BIGGEST MISTAKE?
There are so many people who make the biggest mistake possible by going out and buy the most expensive home gym out there without doing their homework. You really need to know that buying a home gym can the best decision or the worse decision that you ever going to make.
It's not about buying a home gym is about buying the right exercising equipment(whatever that is it may be) that will work for you.
Do you consider yourself Beginner or Intermediate ?
Don't buy a home gym right away, START SLOWLY
When I first started working out I felt that I had to get all the exercising equipment right away so I can start working out like a pro. I was really motivated and fully committed to start off right. all I was thinking about is to get the best equipment that I can afford to help me to get into the best shape possible.
Then, I realized that if I'm going to do that then I'm going lose an arm and a leg to just get that home gym that I wanted. So I decided to take it slow.
You can start slowly and buy what you need to use right away and as you progress in your fitness you can expand your home gym as you go along.
Home gym essentials checklist for a fraction of the price
So, you are decided to start slowly and you feel that it's not the right time to buy a home gym but instead you are going to invest in the exercising equipment that you actually need right now.
The exercising equipment that I'm going to review are the ones that you can buy them ALL at the same time and still going to be cheaper than a home gym.
Let's get started.
Consider these home gym essentials instead:
Buying resistance bands is probably the best decision you are going to make. They are so cheap and versatile that you can do an endless number of exercises with. It's a no brainer not to add them to your home gym.
There are different types of resistance bands depends on what type of exercises you do and what muscles you are targeting.
Tubular bands are without a doubt the most popular bands on the market. Resistance bands are very popular exercising equipment because they are:
- Don't take any space
- Can be used literately ANYWHERE
- Very durable
I like I said earlier on, YOU CAN'T GO WRONG WITH INVESTING IN RESISTANCE BANDS.
Incorporating resistance bands onto your workouts can be tricky at first but with time you are going to really start appreciating how effective and easy they are to use instead of other exercising equipment. The number 1 reason why bands are so popular because they target almost every single muscle in your body like:
And the list goes on.
Resistance bands are probably the only exercising equipment that can be used for strengthening, losing weight, stretching and rehabilitation.
The main difference between tubular and flat bands it's that flat bands are used to target the back-side (Posterior) muscles and the sides of your body (Lateral muscles). Flat bands are really effective at engaging those muscles with are really difficult to target with regular exercises that you are accustomed to do almost in every popular gym workout program.
They are really effective at toning up and engaging more muscles like:
- DIFFERENT GLUTE MUSCLES
- MUSCLES OF THE THIGH
- THE SIDES OF THE KNEE
What most people don't realize it's that by strengthening these muscles you are preventing so many injuries like:
- Neck and lower back injuries
- Hip injuries
- Knee injuries
With age and daily bad habits, these are the most common injuries that most people will experience at some point in their lives. Flat bands are one of the best way to prevent these injuries, there's no doubt about it.
What to look for when buying resistance bands?
When I bought my very first resistance band I didn't know anything about bands and just bought any bands not knowing what the difference between different brands. To keep this short and to the point, you to look for three things when you decide to buy resistance bands, which are:
- NO PLASTIC HANDLES. Don't buy bands with hard plastic handles. They will hurt your wrists by rubbing into them whenever you do any exercise that involves punching, curls and other fast-paced exercises.
- HEAVY DUTY & ANTI-SNAP TECHNOLOGY. This a MUST with bands. The problem I had with my lighter bands it's that they snap and get ripped quite easily after a while.
- SAFETY IS EVERYTHING. Anti-snap technology prevents the band from over-stretching which means it will not snap and if it snaps it won't hurt your face and any part of your body.
TOP RATED RESISTANCE BANDS
It's important to remember that the prices of resistance bands are very competitive and for that reason it's a good idea you buy top rated and high quality bands because price-wise it's won't make a big difference.
Bodylastics bands is one of the best bands on the market right now.
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It made from with the ANTI-SNAP TECHNOLOGY so it doesn't snap or gets ripped easily, which means it won't over-stretch and that's the problem you will find with cheaper brands.
The handle is not an all-around piece of plastic where it can hurt your wrist in the long run. It has plastic resistance grip and the rest of the handle is made of durable fibrous material.
Shred bands are very similar to Bodylastics and has the ANTI-SNAP TECHNOLOGY and no plastic handles.
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The ANTI-SNAP technology is different to Bodylastics but it has the same principle and mechanism where it ticks all the boxes for high quality, durability, and safety.
These flat bands are made from 100% natural latex and that makes them very durable and comfortable and will last for a very long time.
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Fit simplify bands are tested to be SNAP, STRETCH, and SWEAT resistant. The other thing to remember it's that these bands are thicker than so many similar bands on the market, which makes stronger and last longer.
2- Chin-up/Pull-up bar
The other must-have exercising equipment that every house hold should have is of course the Chin-up bar. If you are serious about having a healthy and a strong back then a chin-up bar is a necessity.
The thing is that there are many people that suffer from back & neck pain and discomfort because their back muscles are so weak and fragile. I'm not only talking about people who don't work out, I'm talking about people who work out all the time but still complain from their back and neck.
Chin-ups and pull-ups exercises are one of the few that effectively target so many muscles with every repetition, like:
- Various back muscles
Just imagine if you were able to strengthen all these muscles, what type of a body will you have ?
When you are buying a chin-up bar there are few things you need to consider.
- Durability. There so many different chin-up bars on the market and they are all different when it comes to how much weight they hold. Make sure you buy the right bar for you.
- Design. There are different types of chin-up bars:
- Doorway chin-up bar. These are the ones where you mount them on the door frame and when you are done you take them down. No need for permanent support or brackets.
- Door frame chin-up bars. You mount them into the inside of the door frame using screws and brackets
- Wall Mounted chin-up bars. As the implies you mount them onto the wall.
- Ceiling mounted chin-up bars. You are using the ceiling instead of the wall.
- Free standing chin-up bar stations. These are like a home gym where they stand vertically and you don't need to mount them onto anything but you have to assemble them.
One more thing about chin-up bars, if you stick to doing chin-up/pull-up exercises you will reap the benefits in short amount of time compared to doing the same exercises with other exercising equipment.
TOP RATED CHIN-UP BARS
DOOR-WAY CHIN-UP BAR
Iron gym chin-up bar is probably the most popular chin-up bar out there right now and rightly so.
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The reason that makes it so popular it's the simplicity in design and functionality but yet it's so durable that it can hold up to 300LB. In other words, you can easily assemble it within 10mins and put it up on the doorway and off you go and that's that.
If you are worried about that it might come off the doorway all of the sudden, let me assure you that I have had mine now for well over 3 years and that never happened to me, it's very safe and sturdy when you attach it to the doorway.
DOOR-FRAME CHIN-UP BAR
j/fit door frame chin-up bar is the best choice if you are looking for a permanent door frame bar where you don't have to worry about putting up and down every time you want to exercise.
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j/fit bar is the longest chin-up on the market, it extends up to 40 inches in length so you can install it not just on door frames buy any openings where it's possible and safe.
WALL MOUNTED CHIN-UP BAR
When it comes to any exercising equipment that needs to be mounted to walls or anywhere else. The built and the design needs to be top notch or it's not worth the investment.
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You need to think about things like:
- How far is it from the wall to bar? when it fully installed
- How sturdy is it?
- How easy to assemble and mount?
Ultimate body press bar has the best reviews you can find anywhere by real people, which makes it top rated in it's class.
CEILING MOUNTED CHIN-UP BAR
Ultimate body press guys know how build chin-up bars, they really do. They take everything into consideration from material quality to dimensions and comfort.
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Just like the wall mounted chin-up bar, this one is the same high quality and thoroughly thought well-designed, so you can focus on your workout instead of worrying about if this bar going to fall on you or not. If you are looking for top rated ceiling chin-up bar then this one ticks all the boxes, it really does.
FREE STANDING CHIN-UP BAR STATION
Stamina power tower is more than just a chin-up bar it's a mini home gym if you like.
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You can do pull ups, sit ups, push ups, triceps dips and more. It's very steady and built from steel and the cool thing about this tower it has no end caps which helps in keeping it sturdy and protects your floor too. It hold up to 250 pounds.
As you might expect you need a high ceiling for this one. It's around 80 inches high and and weighs 54 pounds, as you can see this is not a small exercising equipment where you can store it away when you are done. The other thing you need to consider it's the assembly. You will need to spend a good few hours to assemble it, just keep that in mind.
3- Free weights
Getting yourself a good set of free weights you are basically got yourself an almost a complete home gym without putting a hole in your pocket. The endless amount of exercises you can do with free weights it's simply unmatched.
Free weights can really take your fitness to the next level, there's no doubt about that.I'm sure that you will agree with if I said that free weights are probably the most durable piece of exercising equipment in comparison to other exercising equipment.
From my experience, everything single piece of exercising equipment that I have owned over the years they either wore out or broke on me, except free weights. Since the time I bought my free weights till this day not only they look brand new, I honestly have not even one regret on the investment that I did.
COMPARISON TABLE free weight vs Home gym
- You can do so many different exercises
- Free weights are usually made from metal which makes them very durable
- Free weights don't need any maintenance.
- Free weights don't need any maintenance.
- You buy what you need for your fitness level. As you progress you buy more weights, so you can spread the cost over a long period of time.
- Free weights don't take as much space as a home gmy
- You are strict to the exercises that the home gym is designed to do.
- Home gyms are made from so many different parts which means they will wear out or break
- Home gyms are made from so many different parts which means they will need to be maintained all the time
- A good quality Home gym is very expensive
- You really need a large space for a home gym
TOP RATED FREE WEIGHTS SET
If I have convinced you to invest in free weights instead if a home gym, then this CAP free weights set is going to really help you get to your goal much faster and you will enjoy your workouts once again.
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I might add that getting yourself a bench as well, you will never going to look back ever after. That's exactly what happened to me. Since the day I started using free weights I have seen way better results than just using bodyweight or even bands.
4- Adjustable dumbbells
Why Adjustable dumbbells are so popular?
Adjustable dumbbells are very popular for very good reasons because they are:
- They are versatile. You can use the same dumbbell to lift 5LBS OR 100LBS because of the dial mechanism (or similar ideas) that makes it possible to do that.
- They are mobile.
- If you are one of those people who loves to work out at home then you are going to save so much money by investing in adjustable dumbbells than going to the gym.
- They are very to use and compact.
The prices of adjustable dumbbells range between $40-$600. What this means it's that the quality and durability of each dumbbell is completely different to the one next to it.
There are tonnes of adjustable dumbbells out there and every single one of them say they have the best one, which makes it really difficult to know who's saying the truth and who's not. Whenever you decide to buy adjustable dumbbells remember:
The Drawbacks of buying adjustable dumbbells
- Some dumbbells have plastic parts and those parts will break at some point. So, check if those parts are easy to replace and they are not expensive.
- The dial mechanism gets jammed and you can't turn the dial anymore or when it turns it will skip some of the plates and instead it picks the one next to it. If you want to pick 5LB it will pick the 10LB plate for instance.
- They are not sturdy. When you lift them up and try to do reps with them you will hear clicking/wiggling noise. Some people are ok with that and others don't like it.
- They are way longer than hex dumbbells that you see in the gym. Some of the exercises will need to some getting used to and won't be as straight forward as you would've liked it to be.
If you are looking for adjustable dumbbells that are compact, sturdy and just lets you get on with your workout instead of worrying about piece of something going to fall out of it, then PowerBlock is one of the best choices out there on the market.
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Pros of powerblock Elite
- When compared to other adjustable dumbbells it's very compact and shorter even when compared to hex dumbbells that you use in the gym.
- Replaces 16 pairs of dumbbells.
- Weights range from 5-50 pounds per hand.
- The Elite version can be expanded so you can add more than 50 pounds and that's something that most adjustable dumbbells don't have. As you know, when you progress in your workout you will need to add more weights it's as simple as that, just keep that in can expand it 70, 90 or 130 pounds per hand.
- The compactness of the powerblock has the edge over the other adjustable dumbbells. Unlike other dumbbells, the powerblock dumbbells gets shorter as you go lighter and gets longer as you add more weights.
Cons of powerblock Elite
- The pins that are used to select the weights are made of plastic and can break easily. So, you need to be careful when you take them in and out.
- As you go higher with the weights it gets a bit harder to put the pins through so you have to wiggle them around and force it in which can break the pins.
- As sturdy as they are they do tend to wiggle and make sound when you use them during your workout.
- If you have a big hand it will feel awkward when you reach in to hold the handle, it will take time to get used to that.
All in all, despite its cons of the powerblock elite is definitely worth the investment especially because of the expandability feature where most adjustable dumbbells simply don't have it which can save you so much money in the long run.
Probably the first thing will come to mind when you think about adjustable dumbbells is the bowflex dumbbells brand.
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When you look then up on yourube or some forums for some reliable reviews you get the impression that some people really love them and others regret buying them in the first place. Let's look at the PROS and CONS and I'll let you decide if they worth the investment or not.
PROS OF BOWFLEX 552
- The bowflex dial mechanism is probably one of the best things about the bowflex dumbbells. It makes it so much easier to do fast paced workouts where you have to change your weights so often. If that's the case then bowflex is the one for you.
- The price is definitely unbeatable especially when you get 52.5 pounds per handle, which is 105 pounds in total for around $240. You simply won't get this from other adjustable dumbbells.
- You have 15 sets of weights in one. Less clutter makes your workout more safer and more enjoyable.
CONS OF BOWFLEX 552
There are two tings that most people have complained about, which are:
- Most bowflex parts are made of plastic. As we all know plastic material can bend, break and wear out really easily. That's definitely is a major drawback.
- There are circular shaped parts that separate the individual plates that tends to break more often than you think. When these break the dial system doesn't pick up the desired plate and you end up with one end that has less weights than the other.
I have to say that the vast majority of reviews really love these dumbbells and they swear by them. It's up to you to decide if they worth it or not?
If I have managed to convince you to start slowly and buy what you need instead of splashing your money on a home gym, then in that case you have get yourself a bench.
An exercising bench can really change the game for you. I remember back in the day when I first started and I used to do my workouts with a stability ball. At the time I didn't know what I was missing till I got myself a bench and I really regretted not buying a bench from the very beginning.
Let me tell what are the advantages of having a bench:
- It will prevent so many injuries
- It will teach you how to have the right posture when exercising, which is one of the most important things.
- Some exercises are 10X more effective when they are done on the bench, like:
- leg exercises.
- Abs exercisies
- Glute exercises
Most people think that bench is for people who want to get big chest and get bulky and that's simply not true. You can lose weight way more effectively using a bench than just doing cardio exercises, that's a proven fact.
When you consider buying a bench for your home gym the first thing you need to think about is the sturdiness of the bench.
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I cannot stress this enough, it's really the most important thing when buying a bench. That's why bowflex 3.1 bench is the top rated workout bench on so many respected fitness sites.
Why you should consider bowflex bench, because:
- You can do as many workout moves that involve jumping and skipping or whatever, this bench won't move an inch. It's a high quality gym grade bench that is clearly made by someone that knows what he's doing.
- For $119 you are not going to find a better deal for one of the best benches on the market. I would have expected the price to be way higher than that.
- You can adjust it to 4 different positions. Flat, 45 degrees incline, -10 degrees decline, 90 degrees postion
- It holds up to 480 pounds. Maximum user weight is 300 pounds and maximum lifting weight is 180 pounds.
- It's long enough for big people, it's 56 inches long which is long enough for most people
Advanced? Home gym is for you
7- Home gym
The only time that you should consider buying a home gym it's when you are at advanced level. As you know that working out and knowing what works for you and what doesn't takes time and effort.
If you have been working out for a while you just get to the point where you know if this or that exercising equipment will help you reach your next goal. That's why it's important to know when is the right time to invest in a home gym.
How to choose the right home gym ?
You are now at fitness level where you feel it's the right time to invest in a home gym. Naturally, when you are looking for the best home gym to buy you need to look at few factors so you can decide what home gym is the best one for you.
1- Easy to use
When I work out I focus on my workout so I can pay close attention to my form and my progress. You really want to enjoy your workout and that will help you see better results. The last thing I want to do is to worry about the exercising equipment that I'm using instead of focusing on my workout.
Home gyms are made from so many different parts and that can be a PROBLEM and DANGEROUS if one part is defected or doesn't fit properly during assembly or even after full assembly. Don't forget that over time and prolonged use some parts will wear out and need to be replaced.
Durability and the material quality are probably the most important factor in the world of exercising equipment. As you know, these machines get a good pounding on a daily basis and if they are not made from good quality material then they won't last for a long time.
2- Covers the whole body
As I have mentioned before that home gyms are not made equally. Some of them are made just to do few exercises and others made to so many more exercises, you really need to do your homework before you decide.
3- Easy to assemble
To keep it to the point, some home gyms come 90% or more assembled and some you have to assemble yourself. You need to pay close attention to that because some of them are really annoying to assemble because of the so many parts that the home gyms made from.
5- Real people reviews
Nowadays, there are so many paid and fabricated reviews out there that it's really hard to distinguish between a fake and a genuine review. The bottom line is that manufacturers pay people to write them good reviews regardless of how good or bad their products are.
Make sure that you go on different websites and fitness forums to know how good is that home gym that you want to get.
TOP RATED HOME GYM BASED ON AMAZON REVIEWS
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You will be able to do 30 exercises with the Marcy home gym. It has dual functioning chest press arm and vertical butterfly. High and low pulleys for lower body exercises. It includes 150 pounds of weights.
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This is a heavy duty professional grade home gym that is suitable for all levels. It has the feel of a gym quality exercising machine. The only thing you need to remember is that the weights are not included.
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