If you love working out or want to become more consistent with it, installing a DIY home gym is a fantastic option. Easier than heading out to the gym, and less expensive than you might imagine it to be, a DIY home gym is a great way to stay in shape and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
Not only will you save on a monthly membership, but the convenience of a DIY home gym will encourage your consistency and eliminate excuses. If you’re going to install a home gym, consider tricking it out with some of these ten essentials:
A DIY Home Gym is Your Inexpensive Membership Alternative
Essential 1. A Small Mirror
A mirror is great for checking your form and ensuring you’re doing your exercises correctly. While most gyms have floor-to-ceiling mirrors along entire walls, you don’t need to go this far to ensure your home gym gets the job done.
Instead, invest in a small mirror from a home goods store. A full-length mirror, like you’d put in a closet or bathroom, will work just fine. To ensure the mirror stays stationary and safe, affix it to a wall away from machines or weights.
Essential 2. Machines that Fit Your Goals and Lifestyle
When you head to a gym in town, you’ll have access to virtually every machine and weight system you could ever want. Unless you have a massive home gym budget, though, this won’t be possible in your home gym. Instead, invest in the right machines and weights for your goals and lifestyle. For example:
Runners, Racers and Marathon Mavens: a treadmill and some leg weight systems
Beach & Outdoor Activity Lovers: a rower/incline trainer, abdominal machine
Body-Builders: A total body home gym system
Beginners: An elliptical cardio machine
If you’re not sure what you should add to your home gym, start with the pieces of equipment you use most frequently at your gym. Look for used and second-hand equipment to lower the cost. There is always someone that’s upgrading, de-cluttering or downsizing. Therefore, take advantage of the sale and reap the second-hand savings.
Essential 3. Free Weights
If you want to outfit your space with free weights, invest in 3-5 sets of dumbbells. The range of weights should suit your capability and goals. Likewise, consider investing in some kettlebells. They are incredibly versatile and can be a helpful boost on your fitness journey.
For best results, look for kettle-bells that feature large, smooth handles and no painted coating. In general, these will fit your hands better, and there is no risk of paint peeling or chipping.
Essential 4. Tools for Toning & Stretching
Remember that calorie-burning and muscle-building aren’t the only things to focus on when exercising. Additionally, if you’re going to have a functional home gym, you’ll want some tools for toning and stretching. Foam rollers are ideal for this, as are knobby balls designed to relieve plantar fasciitis and similar conditions.
Other items to consider:
- therapeutic bands
- yoga mats
- exercise ball
Store these in a large basket near the front of your home gym. In doing so, you won’t forget to use them after every workout!
Essential 5. A Pull-Up Bar
Your favorite gym includes a large selection of pull-up bars and gymnastic equipment. In like manner, you can hack your home gym to serve the same purpose with a simple pull-up bar.
Easy to install in any standard doorway, a portable pull-up bar allows you to perform a series of basic gymnastic exercises, including chest-to-bars and similar moves.
Essential 6. Jump Ropes
If you think the fun of jump roping ended when you were ten, think again. Jump ropes make for fantastic cardio exercises and flexibility moves.
Designed to work your coordination and keep you on your toes, jump ropes are a great addition to any exercise regimen and can help you shed weight and stay thin.
For best results, look for a wire lightweight rope or a weighted rope for strength training. If you have the budget for it, invest in two ropes so that you can have one for speed and one for strength training.
Essential 7. Medicine Balls
Medicine balls are multi-functional which makes them great for plyometric exercises and core strength movements.
- throw them against a sturdy outside wall
- carry them while you do walking lunges
- use them for abdominal exercises
For best results, look for a soft medicine ball. While they are still heavy, they are more comfortable to lean on. Furthermore, soft medicine balls are more forgiving if, let’s say, you don’t catch that last rep you tossed. Ouch. If you’re not sure what weight you should be using, invest in a ball that’s on the lighter side, as these are generally used for speed and power exercises.
Essential 8. A Plyo-Box
If you’ve experienced CrossFit or similar exercises, you know a plyo-box can be an essential addition to your gym. Plyometric exercises (or jump training exercises) are ideal for building power and quickness with explosive short bursts of exertion. Additionally, a plyo-box can be used for:
- Box Squats
- Bench tips
- Split squats
- Dips and Push-ups
If you don’t want to invest in a pre-made box (And, trust us, you don’t have to), you can build your own wooden box.
Essentials 9. Weight Plates
Once you’ve got the barbells, you need some weight to put on it! Luckily, weight plates are easy to find and inexpensive to purchase. Look for a selection of weights – a few in 2.5, 5, 10, and 25-pound weights will work well.
If you’re working on Olympic lifting tactics, be sure to invest in some rubber bumper plates, as well.
Essentials 10. Enticing Extras
Your home gym should be a place you want to spend time. With this in mind, consider investing in:
- a stereo system
- a mini-refrigerator
- some motivational decorations
- a portable fan
- a TV
Use your imagination to fill your home gym with things that make you want to hit the iron. A quick trip around the internet will help you find some great options, and installing them is sure to be relatively cheap and inexpensive.
Be sure also to invest in a scale to track your progress, a camera on a tripod (if you want to take before and after pictures), and some storage selections to keep your weights and accessories organized.
When you add these items to your DIY home gym, you’re sure to wind up with a nice place to get fit and feel good.
The Best DIY Home Gym Starts Here
If you thought you had to invest thousands to set up a DIY home gym, think again. These ten must-haves are ideal for outfitting your DIY home gym intelligently, and ensuring you’ve got the items you need to get the results you want. After all, what’s better than working out at your DIY home gym and saving time and money?