How To Create A Basic Home Gym
At it’s most basic, working out at home requires only your body, gravity and a little bit of space to move. There are many body weight workouts you can do that require no equipment at all.
But suppose you’d like to go a little further. Here are some suggestions for where to begin…
Having a dedicated space (or even a whole room) somewhere in your home is great, but not required. If you need to move the coffee table out of the way that can work just fine. If you take a good look around you’ll find you can carve out a little space for yourself somewhere.
If you can, a block of space in one room, about 7′ x 8′ will do. If you can’t get an open space that size then look for smaller areas where you can comfortably accommodate various movements. Is there room to do a push up? A lunge? An overhead press? Some moves can be modified to the space as well.
If you do need to move a coffee table or a chair, just make sure it’s easy to do. If it’s a hassle just to get the space ready then you’ll less likely to follow through and do your workouts.
A couple of extras: If possible it’s nice to have a couple feet in width of open wall space, a doorway, and ample ceiling height.
Music & Video
Unless you’ve already know how to create your own workout programs you’ll probably want to have some way to watch online videos. Being near a TV with a streaming device is ideal but you can make due with just your smart phone if needed.
There are still workouts sold on DVD, workouts on DVD available at your local library, not to mention a collection you might already have. So, having access to a DVD player can be a nice addition to your workout space.
Streaming from the Internet gives you access to thousands of free workouts available on YouTube. There are many paid sites that offer online workouts as well. My favorite is BeachBody On Demand. They have a wide range of workouts and the monthly membership is very reasonable. (Affiliate link)
Some workouts simply require a good selection of music. However you get your tunes, be sure you have easy access to them in your workout space. Consider creating a playlist or two of music that makes you want to move!
The first thing I recommend is a mat. A yoga mat is great for yoga and stretching. If you’re on a hard surface you may need a thicker mat for exercises on the floor in order to protect your knees, hips and spine from pain and potential injury.
If you want to build muscle (you do) then you’ll want to invest in some type of resistance training tools. Among your options are things like dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands.
Resistance bands are a great place to start, especially if storage space is an issue. They’re probably the most economical option as well. Bands are light and compact and easy to store out of sight. They’re also very portable. So, it’s nice to have them if you have to do a lot of travel. They can be used to train every muscles group. They come in different styles, sizes, and resistance levels. If you can find a place to anchor a band (they make door anchors specially designed for this) then you really have everything you need.
If you do have the space and a little money to invest, I recommend dumbbells. They’re so versatile and effective for strength training. A good range of weights to start with might be pairs of 5lbs to 12lbs for women and a bit heavier for the men. But this will vary depending on your experience and fitness level.
Beyond a mat and some weights a few of my favorite additions to the basic home gym include a stability ball, sliders, resistance loops, a pull-up bar, and a folding chair (good for step ups, triceps dips, assisted pistol squats, etc.).
Your Gym Will Evolve
As you move forward in your home fitness journey you’ll learn what works for you. There are many excellent pieces of fitness equipment out there that you may want to add as you go along. Bringing in new things can help keep you motivated for working out.
After you’ve got the basics and have spent some time working out at home you’ll have a better sense of what works in your space and what you’d like to add. Hopefully, you’ll find some workouts that you really like and they will influence some of your equipment choices as well.
Don’t worry too much about where you start. Changing things up is a part of the process. The fitness world is a big place with nearly endless options. Take a look at what you have right now and find the workouts that are a fit. The Internet is a great resource for this or you can hire a trainer to create custom workouts tailored to you and your home gym.
The most important thing is to just get started.