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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...

Trainers' Recommendations: "I personally love the foam rollers -- 4- to 6-foot-long rolls of extremely dense foam that you can lie on or use under your legs or arms to help break up adhesions and allow underlying muscles tissue to stretch ... to a greater degree without hurting yourself," says Bottesch.

At-Home Workout Item No. 5: Guidance 

What Is It:  Whether it comes from a personal trainer or a how-to DVD, instruction is an essential part of any beginner's home gym.

Benefits: Reduces the risk of injury; increases effectiveness of workouts; ensures better results.

Choices -- $100 per hour and up: While several sessions work best, experts say even just one hour with a personal trainer in your home gym can go a long way. 

Choices -- $50 an hour and under: Many trainers run their own, fully equipped fitness studios, and charge less if you go to them. While they can't always duplicate the equipment you have at home, they can approximate. Another option:  Ask several friends to chip in and offer to host the session at your home gym. Everyone can learn something -- even if they don't have a home gym.

Trainers' Recommendations:  "Not only can a personal trainer help ensure you are doing your workouts correctly, they can also motivate you, help keep it interesting, [and] teach you new things to do with the equipment that you already own, which can ultimately help you stay with your program," says Bottesch.

6 More Tips for Creating the Perfect Home Gym

Here are few extra tips from Bottesch and ACE that can help you get the biggest bang for your fitness buck while creating your home gym.

  1. Quality matters.  While you may not be able to afford the "top of the line" in gym equipment, buy the best you can afford. 
  2. Prioritize your purchases. You're better off buying the best of a less expensive piece of equipment (like resistance bands) then buying a lower-end version of a pricey piece of equipment (like a multi-gym). 
  3. Test it first. Test out each piece of equipment before you buy. Things to look for include not only quality, but also ease of use, adjustability, and ease of assembly. 
  4. Inspect it. Check it out before you buy and after it arrives at your home. Factors to look for include safety, stability, service/warranty, overall design, and appropriate features. If weight or height is consideration, be certain to check whether there are any limitations. 
  5. Consider others.  Are you the only one using this equipment? If not, check to see how well the item can accommodate others of different heights, weights, and strength levels. 
  6. Get a checkup.  Before you plunk down your hard earned dollars for any equipment, see your doctor and get his or her OK on your new fitness program. Mention the type of equipment you want to purchase and discuss any medical precautions.  If you have a chronic condition, such as heart disease or an orthopaedic concern, be certain to get your doctor's suggestions on the best and safest workouts for you.

 

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Reviewed on October 02, 2009

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