6 Essentials for Your Home Gym

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6 Essentials for Your Home Gym

Joining a gym is a great way to get in shape, but it's not the only way. You can get an effective workout without ever leaving the house. Here's what you need and how to set up a gym at home.



Dumbbells (Free weights)

A good set of dumbbells will help you start a strength training routine.  Expect to pay $10-$20 for a pair of 5-pound weights. Prices will increase as the weight goes up. 

Stability Ball

An exercise ball goes by many names (stability, Swiss, physio, etc.) and is extremely versatile. You can use them in place of an exercise bench for many exercises, improving your balance and coordination. The balls come in different sizes (based on your height and weight), and a rainbow of colors, and cost around $25 apiece. 

Exercise Mat

Place a good exercise mat on the floor to stretch comfortably and cushion your body during floor exercises—a must if you do a lot of Pilates or yoga. For about $20 you can get a sticky mat (for Pilates and yoga), which is thin—but better than a hard floor. The price goes up for larger and thicker mats.

Jump Rope

Use a $15 jump rope for a quick and effective cardio workout. Slowly jumping rope burns 120 calories every 10 minutes; jump faster and burn 140 calories in 10 minutes. Opt for a thick cloth rope or a plastic beaded rope; thinner plastic ropes tend to twist easier.

Cardio Machines

Once you have the basics, consider investing in a piece of cardio equipment. Make sure your machine has different resistance levels to allow for workout variety and challenge as you progress. Costs vary, from $400 for a basic stationary bike to over $600 for a good treadmill. 

Setting Up Your Gym

Now that you know what to buy, make sure you have enough space for your gym. If you can't dedicate a room to exercising, set aside a corner of the basement or home office. Choose a room with a high ceiling, and a sturdy, clean floor. Make sure you've got good lighting and ventilation (possibly with a fan). 

Try to set up your gym in a place where you'll have access to a TV so you can watch your favorite workout DVDS or a stereo so you can crank some energetic tunes. Better yet, if you have a laptop computer, you can use it to watch workout DVDs, follow along with SparkPeople videos, or listen to music. You’ve created a gym that you can really enjoy! 

Resistance Bands

Bands or "tubes" are great because they are compact, portable, and allow for a wide range of motion. Resistance bands come in 3-5 different levels of resistance and usually run around $15 for a set. 

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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BRENDA_2010

4/30/2009 3:07:36 PM

I enjoy working out at home!! We don't have a big house , but I do have my own workout room. In it includes a treadmill, elliptical, trampoline, stability ball, weight machine, ab lounger, aerobic step, jump rope and free weights.

RUNNINGWILD

4/30/2009 2:15:57 PM

RUNNINGWILD's SparkPage
I have items 1 through 6. Sadly, none of them get used as often as they should. Dang gym membership. :~) OTOH, when people come over I LOOK like I do a lot at home. LOL

JANISTROTMAN

4/30/2009 2:02:38 PM

JANISTROTMAN's SparkPage
I work out at home as that works best for me. I alternate between the ball, leslie sansone and 30 day shred.

PINKMANDO

4/30/2009 8:59:13 AM

PINKMANDO's SparkPage
My husband and I just purchased a home and are working on making a room in the basement into a gym....What perfect timing ot find this information! We currently have a treadmill, a heavy bag, jump rope, and free weights. I just added a ball, exercise mat, and resistance bands to my shopping list!

FREEBRD06

4/30/2009 2:34:38 AM

Hey HAZELNUTBROWN! I got my floor mat from overstock.com. I would think any place that you buy a machine big enough to damage the floor would sell the floor mats.
Try your phone book and make some calls before driving around. (That last part is not an in your face order, just something I always think of).
Hope you find one soon! De Dopey

JIBBIE49

4/29/2009 6:35:18 PM

JIBBIE49's SparkPage
Love this.

THELONEPENGUIN

4/29/2009 3:46:05 PM

THELONEPENGUIN's SparkPage
I love the idea of jumping rope... just need to get past the feeling of looking totally ridiculous! I live in an upstairs apartment, the downstairs neighbor would about have a heart attack listening to my jumping rope inside, which means going outdoors! I need to just suck it up and know that I'll lose weight and look less ridiculous after a while :)

SIMPLERICH

4/29/2009 8:52:11 AM

SIMPLERICH's SparkPage
I had a stability ball before I moved and I used it as a chair at my desk and sat on it all the time. No leaning back in that to stare up at the ceiling hehehe.

KAREN214

4/29/2009 5:16:45 AM

KAREN214's SparkPage
I do most of my exercise at home and find it that I waste less time and money. I have built a home gym over years and keep expanding it with new tool, but I have some fitness items I have had for years and still are using. Exercising I find is better for working moms' and busy people.

LCHADDON

4/29/2009 2:33:50 AM

LCHADDON's SparkPage
There is something I would suggest adding to this. Peddle exercisers. It is rather like having a stationary bicycle, without taking up as much room. and they tend to be less than $30. Great if you do not have the room or money for a full sized stationary bike.

MBJLANGLOIS

4/29/2009 12:27:08 AM

I ENJOY READING ALL THE ARTICLES FROM SPARKS PEOPLE. THEY ARE EASY TO UNDERSTAND .I'M MORE MOTIVATED TO GET IN SHAPE AND HEALTHIER.NO MATTER WHAT CONDITION YOU'RE IN ,YOU WILL FIND THE BEST INFORMATION TO REDUCE WEIGHT AND TO GET FIT. I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS SITE TO ANYONE.
THANK YOU SPARKS PEOPLE, KEEP UP THE EXCELLENT WORK!

NANCANGEL

4/28/2009 12:56:29 PM

NANCANGEL's SparkPage
I love jumping rope.. if my ankle would hold up... I'd be good to go!!

AMYYYYYYYYYY

4/28/2009 11:33:00 AM

AMYYYYYYYYYY's SparkPage
definitely check out your nearby Five Below store. They have free weights (a variety of 1-5 lbs), yoga mats, yoga bricks, stability balls, resistance bands, stop watches, pedometers, and water bottles for $5 or less! But watch out for the candy aisle :)

www.fivebelow.com

CHAN2005

4/21/2009 6:35:37 PM

CHAN2005's SparkPage
Great slide show, never really thought about jumping rope.

DIAMNDSPRKLMOM

4/15/2009 6:11:03 AM

I have been looking for those mats on the floor under each machine.
also just something to protect the floor.

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