My husband MJ has been an avid weight lifter since high school.
He had a rack of free weights in his bedroom growing up. When we first got married, we lived in a small apartment and we had even smaller paychecks, but since we were both active duty Air Force, we were able to use the gym on base for free. So while the mountain bikes were parked next to the sofa, there was no need for dumb bells in the galley kitchen.
As we moved into civilian life, the homes and the paychecks got a little larger and we began to acquire more things. MJ’s free weights from high school found a home in the loft of our first house. A treadmill and weight bench joined the weights in the basement of our second home. When we moved to Missouri, we had our basement finished and one room designated as a home gym and added a Smith Machine.
You don’t have to go out and spend thousands of dollars on equipment to have a home gym. You can acquire pieces over time that will help you get a productive workout while still fitting the space you have as well as your budget. The key is getting the right exercise tools to build on later.
- Resistance bands. They are small, light, easy to store, and you can take them with you when you travel. They come in different levels of resistance and they are extremely versatile. You can work almost any body part from biceps, triceps, and shoulders, to your quads.
- Free weights. Hand weights or dumb bells are also a great way to begin building your home gym. Many of the lower weight sets come in a case that can easily slide under a bed or in a closet when they’re not in use.
- Weight bench. If you’re serious about sticking with weight training and have a little more room, I would recommend investing in a weight bench. A bench that is adjustable with an inclining and declining bench will, when combined with your free weights, provide you with a complete workout for your upper body.
- Weight gloves. I laughed when my husband bought me my first pair, but once the calluses began to form, I pulled those suckers out of the closet and have used them ever since. They help you keep a firm grip on your dumbbells and allow you to not worry about sweaty palms and slippery hands.
You’ll also want to get in a great lower body workout too. For that, no equipment is required. For your abs, crunches and leg raises can be done on the floor in any room of the house. Lunges and squats will work your glutes and thighs, while calf-raises will produce shapely calf muscles.
It's pretty easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of gym equipment for sale in athletic stores, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a solid home gym. You can build your gym based on your needs, budget, and space. You’ll get the same results at home as you would with a gym membership.