The home fitness market has grown up in recent years. In times past, the majority of home gym gear was either extremely flimsy or ridiculously expensive. Fortunately, it’s now possible to fit out a highly functional training facility in your home without either sacrificing the quality of the equipment or taking out a second mortgage. In this article, we discover the 9 essential items that you need to equip the ultimate personal home gym.
Essential #1: Power Rack
If you’re serious about getting in shape, a power rack is non negotiable. In fact, it needs to form the corner-stone of your entire set-up. A power rack allows you to train safely when you’re doing basic compound exercises. You will want a rack that will provide you with at least four feet by four feet inside the rack to give you plenty of room to move.
A power rack is a big, expensive piece of equipment, so you’ll want to make sure that you make a smart purchasing decision. Ensure that the frame of your rack is sturdy and secure. You’ll want at least 2 x 2 inch, 12 gauge steel uprights. As far as maximum rack load goes, look for a minimum of 1,000 pounds. The bar adjustment pins should run along the entire length of the uprights and be spaced about an inch apart. Having numbers alongside the holes makes it easier to adjust.
Look for a power rack that comes with a dip bar and a pull up bar.
Essential #2: Barbell Set
A barbell, plates and collars will be your main training tools, so it pays to spend a bit more to get the right set. You can get discounts by buying an entire set. Look for a 300 pound set, which will give you a full complement of weight plates.
The Olympic bar should be 7-foot long and weigh forty four pounds. It should have a max load of at least 1000 pounds. You should be able to find a quality barbell set for around a hundred dollars.
Essential #3: Suspension Training System
A suspension training system is a complement of straps, buckles and cords that make use of gravity to deliver up to 300 exercises. It utilizes your body weight to open up a whole new range of movement possibilities.
Suspension training overcomes the limitation of finite resistance that you get with bodyweight training. Simply adjust the suspension strap to make the exercise harder or easier. Another benefit of suspension training is that the unstable nature of the resistance makes it great for doing core work.
A good suspension training system will supply you with a suspension trainer with military grade webbing, a carry bag, doorway anchor and DVD or online training video.
Essential #4: Adjustable Dumbbells
One of the benefits of training at a commercial gym is that you have access to a full complement of dumbbells. When you get stronger, you simply grab the next pair on the rack. To accomplish this at home would cost you thousands of dollars. Fortunately there is better way.
A selectorized adjustable dumbbell set provides you with the ability to select any dumbbell weight you desire between the lightest and heaviest that the set allows. The dumbbell is nested on a block that houses plates that are either 2.5 or 5 pounds in weight. You simply dial the weight that you want and lift it off.
When looking for a selectorized dumbbell set, make sure that the size of the plates don’t make the dumbbell too large for isolation exercises like alternate dumbbell curls.
Essential #5: Exercise Bike
An exercise bike is an excellent cost effective way to cater to your cardio training requirements. With it you can do both slow, steady state and high intensity cardio training. When looking for an exercise bike, go for a bike with the heaviest flywheel that you can afford. You will also want a bike that provides magnetic frictionless resistance. The bike should allow you to fully customize the positioning of the seat and handlebars and it should provide you with a quality console that displays all of your important training diagnostics, including calories burned, speed and distance.
Essential #6: Foam Roller
A foam roller is a cylindrical device that allows you to perform self myofascial release anywhere, anytime. It is great as a pre-exercise warm-up and cool down. You can get a roller with a flat surface or with protruding nodules that allow you to really get into your trigger points.
Essential #7: Jump Rope
A jump rope may well be the least expensive piece of equipment that you purchase for your personal home gym. But that certainly doesn’t make it the least important. Skipping is one of the most effective calorie burners that exists. For an investment of just a few bucks you’ll have a fantastic way to burn off stored body-fat, improve your cardiovascular efficiency and enhance your hand-eye coordination, all at the same time.
Look for a rope that is made from leather, has 90-degree connections and ball bearing swivels.
Essential #8: Heavy Bag
Having a heavy punching bag in your gym provides you with a great way to warm up before hitting the weights. It’s also a fantastic stress releaser. And doing a few 3-minute rounds is, in itself, a great cardio workout.
You’ll want a ceiling mounted bag that has an extremely secure mounting system. The hide of the bag should be made of a heavy material. However the bag should not be too thick that it has no give.
Essential #9: Adjustable Bench
You’ll be doing a lot of your training either sitting or lying on an exercise bench, so it’s imperative that you have a secure bench that you can trust. The bench should be adjustable to at least seven angle adjustments, including a decline angle.
You want a comfortable pad, but not one that is too comfortable. The padding should give way to about a half inch when you push your thumb into it. Don’t worry about a bench with uprights because you will be able to use the bench in conjunction with your power rack.