Home Gym Ideas
A home gym is a great way to save money and ensure that you never have an excuse to skip a workout, but many people are hesitant to invest in a home gym because they aren’t sure what’s required or how much it will cost. The good news is that almost everyone has enough space for at least a small home gym, and you do not need expensive machinery or complex equipment to set up a great private gym of your own. Take a look at the top home gym ideas from those of us who have been there and know what works!
Set Aside a Part of Your Garage
If you have a garage, you probably have enough room for a home gym… if you look for it. The average home gym only requires around a 10 x 6 ft. space for the most effective workouts and small workout room ideas and that space is often easy to find if you are willing to clean up and maybe move supplies to a shed or storage unit (especially true for larger two-car garages where you have a lot of space to work with).
Use a Corner of Your Bedroom
Do you have an apartment or other living situation where a garage just isn’t an option for small workout room ideas? Take a look around your bedroom: With a little repositioning of bedroom furniture, you may be able to clear out a large enough corner for a basic home gym. The caveat is that ground-floor bedrooms tend to work far better for small home gym ideas than those located on upper floors, where a home gym may be too noisy.
Set Up a Basement or Attic Gym
Take a look at the other available spaces around your home, too! If you have a relatively unused attic or basement, these could be potential home gym spots just waiting to be built up into the perfect exercise area. Some people even have home gyms out on their patios or in unused corners of the living room. It’s all about finding the space that you have.
Free Weights are Your Friend
Forget that pricey equipment! A good set of free weights can do everything those machines can, and they will exercise more muscles with every set, too. So invest in a set of free weights, preferably a version that has several different weight options. Kettle bells are a newer alternative to traditional dumbbells, but kettle bell movements are also harder to master and riskier to perform without training. Always set your weight down gently to protect your flooring!
A Mat Goes a Long Way
You can find affordable, portable and foldable gym mats with many different types of cushioning. Pick one that works for you and lay it down in your home gym. Not only will this help protect your floor, but it will also protect your skin and joints when doing movements that require a lot of floor contact (think burpees or similar routines).
Try A Jump Rope Instead of a Treadmill
Treadmills, despite their advances, remain large and (outside of local classifieds) quite expensive, frequently a step too far for the average home gym. But an incredibly affordable alternative is the old-fashioned jump rope: It doesn’t take up any storage room, you only need a small space to use it, and controlling speed and height allows you to control the intensity of your cardio workout. Don’t skip cardio just because you can’t run—make the jump rope a part of your daily regimen!
Body-weight Exercises Offer a Lot of Options
Brush up on your body-weight exercises: They don’t take up much room, and they are incredibly effective at building lean muscle and increasing strength levels. The simple push-up, for example, comes in many different varieties and exercises muscles across your body, including a variety of chest and arm muscles, in a way that most other exercises still can’t compete with. Sometimes the oldies really are goodies!
Don’t Forget Your Gloves
Invest in a pair of gym gloves for your weights, roller and other equipment. Not only will gloves help protect your hands and give you a better grip, they will also help you get in the workout mindset while at home.
Worried About Abs? Get an Ab Roller
Forget the old-fashioned sit-up or crunch. Those moves are poor at targeting your abs, often lead to back issues, and do very little for your core. A perfect home gym alternative is the simple ab roller, which does a great job of targeting your abs while also helping you train your core (throwing in a few planks is a good idea, too), all without fancy machinery.
Bluetooth Headphones Make Everything Easier
While there are a lot of speaker and music options out there, we are partial to Bluetooth headphones designed for exercise. These headphones keep your music private, can connect with a wide variety of devices and are designed to stay in your ears and resist sweat damage no matter what type of workout you are doing. Plus, you can take them for a run or to an away-from-home gym in a pinch.
Use Your Space and Try Intervals
If you have a space set aside as a home gym and the equipment we mentioned, you have immediate access to a lot of different workouts. Combine them in intervals. For example, a set on your free weights, a set on the jump rope, a set of burpees and back to the free weights. Intervals raise your heart rate and burn more calories than traditional workouts and offer a great whole-body training option.
Racks and Benches Can Help, Too
If you want to invest a little more in your home gym, consider buying a bench or rack. A rack is useful for storage and can help with some exercises, such as advanced squats (although you don’t need weights for a good squat!), while a bench is ideal for body-weight ab workouts and more advanced dumbbell moves. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways of expanding your repertoire without taking up too much room.
A Pull Up Bar is Worth the Investment
If you have a nearby doorway available, buy a pull-up bar! These are safe to use and won’t harm your door—plus, the variety of pull up exercises you can do is great for building back and upper body strength.
Try Resistance Bands
If you are worried about joint trouble or don’t want to mess around with free weights, think about using resistance bands as part of your home gym ideas. You fit these bands on your hands, arms or ankles and pull them in simple exercises that provide enough resistance to build strength, but with less risk of harming your joints. Plus, they are easy to collapse and put away when you are finished!
Always Practice Good Form
Remember, at a home gym you won’t have anyone else watching your form and correcting your mistakes. Unless you have a full-length mirror nearby, you won’t be able to keep an eye on your own form, either. That makes it even more important to understand the proper form for every exercise you do and keep focused on form as long as you use your home gym. It’s very easy to adopt bad technique without realizing it, and this can cause a lot of long-term or even permanent injuries. If you aren’t sure how to do an exercise, take a class at a local gym with a trainer who can show you how to do it.