At-Home Workouts: 5 Essential Items for a Home Gym
Experts name their picks for the fitness equipment you need to build a home gym.
Top 5 Items You Need for At-Home Workouts continued...
At-Home Workout Item 2: Strength Training Gear
What Is It: Equipment designed to strengthen muscles.
Benefits: Body shaping; weight loss; functional fitness, including the strength
to do everyday tasks with greater ease; for women, reducing the risk of
Choices -- $500 and over: All-in-one multi-gym; adjustable weight
training bench; adjustable barbells; suspension resistance trainer. (Allow
35-50 square feet per item).
Choices: $100 and under: Hand weights (free weights); low end bench;
resistance bands. (Allow 20 to 30 square feet).
Trainers' Recommendations: ACE experts recommend "all-in-one" gyms
because they reduce the risk of injury in an unsupervised setting. But Quist
believes resistance bands are also a safe and economical way to build muscle
strength. "By purchasing a few different resistances, from easier to harder,
you can get a total body workout for under $50," he says. If you have a few
more dollars to spend, his choice is a suspension trainer -- sort of super
resistance bands that allow you to use your own body weight to condition
muscles. Quist and Bottesch also recommend hand weights in three graduating
sizes, like 5, 8, and 10 pounds. To increase their effectiveness, Quist
recommends using them while sitting on a stability ball (see next
At-Home Workout Item 3: Balance Equipment
What Is It: Equipment that challenges your balance while you perform
other activities, such as lifting weights or doing crunches.
Benefits: Improves balance, strength in the "core" muscles of the
trunk, muscle stamina, and posture. Also encourages better interaction between
all muscle groups.
Choices -- $50-$150: Burst-resistant stability balls, soft foam
exercise pads; wobble boards; gel-based balance beams.(Balls are sold by the
height of the intended user, and range in size from 45 to 75 cm. Foam pads come
in a variety of lengths, but are generally about the size of an exercise mat --
about 5 feet x 3 feet. Wobble boards and balance beams require about 20
square feet of space. )
Choices -- Under $30: Non-burst-resistant stability balls; disc
pillows; balance dome.
Trainers' Recommendations: "I like stability balls and the foam pads.
They are inexpensive, don't take a whole lot of room, and can provide a variety
of workout options," says Bottesch. While she says both work best when
used along with free weights or dumbbells, they can also be used to help
increase the effectiveness of simple exercises such as crunches.
At-Home Workout Item 4: Flexibility Training Gear
What Is It: Equipment designed to help increase muscle flexibility,
which in turn may help you to use other pieces of equipment more easily and
Benefits: Better muscle tone; better functional fitness; reduced risk
Choices -- $200 and over:
Pilates machine; stretch machine. (You'll need 35 to 50
Choices -- $50 and under: Slant board; stretching bands; foam rollers; mat and towel (10 to 20