How To Build A Home Gym

Here’s how you can transform your home with a few well-chosen strength-training items that can cost less than a monthly gym membership.

Psst! There’s a little secret your local sweat box doesn’t want you to know: Working out at home offers just as many benefits as a fancy gym membership. Even if you live in a one-bedroom apartment with minimal space, you just have to turn on your imagination to work out through a few cheap purchases to gift yourself a lifetime gym membership. You don’t need a huge selection of bars, dumbbells, or machines to build significant levels of muscle and strength. All too often, a gym membership can even inhibit your progress because it requires you to be in a specific place during a certain time to get your workout done. Fortunately, bodyweight training combined with some well-chosen home workout equipment is a great option for anyone just starting out. Here’s how to choose the best equipment so you can combine it with bodyweight training and exceed all of your fitness and performance goals.

entry level budget

Cost = one month gym membership

swiss ball

Why: It gives you more moves than Jagger and will build full-body strength with an emphasis on your core. Upgrade it: If you buy adjustable dumbbells, you can use the ball as a substitute for a weight bench, allowing you to do just about every exercise imaginable.

pull up bar

Why: Turn any doorway into a strength station that uses your body weight to train your back, biceps, and abs in particular. Upgrade it: Buy a medicine ball or dumbbell to hold between your legs for increased resistance.

resistance bands set

Why: These offer you a flexible form of resistance that can be used alone or combined with the Swiss ball to burn fat and build muscle. Upgrade it: double the bands to provide additional resistance.

roller wheel for abs

Why: The wheel isolates your abs. Move it left or right to target your obliques and you have a complete core workout. Upgrade it: You can use it on soft surfaces like grass or carpets to add more resistance, as you get stronger.

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mid-level budget

Cost = two to three month gym membership.

lightweight medicine ball

Why: Pair it with the Swiss ball to make your abs work harder, or throw it up in the air to add a plyometric and sports conditioning element to your workouts. Upgrade it: Buy a 10kg ball to do your heaviest sets and warm up with the 5kg ball.

Power Block Adjustable Dumbbell Set

Why: These allow you to work each limb individually and are the crux of just about every fat-burning, muscle-building exercise imaginable. Upgrade it: As you get stronger, buy additional plates to make them heavier.

suspension trainer at home

Why: Based on the same principles as Olympic rings, suspension trainers are completely portable, so you never have to stop training, even on vacation. Upgrade it: Invest in a weighted vest to increase the resistance of your body weight.

advanced level budget

Cost = 1-2 years of gym membership

adjustable cable machine

Why: Cable crossovers keep muscles under tension during the lifting and lowering phase of each exercise and are fully adjustable. Upgrade: Buy a rack with an adjustable pulley system and included bench press system.

power rack

Why: You’ll never need a spotter if you have an electrical rack. Do risk-free exercises like squats, bench presses, military presses, and deadlifts. Upgrade it: Buy a rack with Olympic weight plate holders so you never have to stub your toe on the weights left lying around.

weight set

Why: Both the barbell and dumbbells can be used on the bench, giving you the full scope of gym exercises that you can use to achieve any goal. Upgrade it: Pick an exercise you’d like to increase your weight on, then buy new plates for the barbell or dumbbells.

adjustable weight bench

Why: This multi-angle platform allows you to work absolutely every muscle in your body. There are even training options like step-ups for legs. Upgrade it: Get a weight rack that sits on top of the bench, allowing you to perform exercises like bench pressing.

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