Home gym FAQs
Is home gym equipment worth the money?
Yes, especially if you plan on using the equipment often.
Outfitting your home gym doesn’t have to cost a ton of money or take up a ton of space — even if you’re intending to stock an entire garage full of gear. And you certainly don’t need a garage or dedicated room — small devices that can be tucked under the coffee table or stored in the corner can go a long way to delivering a better burn without costing a fortune.
It’s can be cost-effective to stock up on affordable pieces of high-quality gear like resistance bands or a single set of dumbbells or kettlebells. Just because treadmills or exercise bikes are associated with physical gyms doesn’t mean you have to have one (or spend the money on one) to officially deem your workout space a “home gym.”
Is it cheaper to have a home gym than a gym membership?
Yes, it can be. Though there’s typically a steep initial investment when buying home gym equipment, you won’t have to pay a monthly fee to workout.
Some machines, like NordicTrack’s exercise bike or Tempo’s workout cabinet, charge a monthly subscription price to access the streamed classes, but these are still less than what a gym membership may cost. Plus, you don’t have to subscribe to those services if you don’t want to, unlike a gym where you have to pay each month regardless of what you use or how often you visit.
Are home gyms effective?
Without a doubt. And if you’re intentional about the gear you purchase and know exactly how you want to use it, a home gym can be even more effective than a standard in-person fitness studio.
Being able to fully customize the setup of your home gym lets you focus solely on the workouts and exercises that are beneficial to you, thus cutting away all the excess equipment often found at something like a 24-Hour Fitness.
Plus, you don’t have to wait your turn to use your equipment. You just use it whenever you want. That level of convenience is nearly impossible to replicate and only adds to a home gym’s effectiveness.
Are home workouts better than the gym?
Just because you’re not visiting a brick-and-mortar gym or fitness studio, doesn’t mean you can’t replicate the workouts they offer. Everything from high-intensity interval training and strength workouts to cardio routines and resistance training can easily be done at home.
Here are a few basic exercise categories to familiarize yourself with before jumping into any home workout routine.
Cardio exercise: Cardio exercise is defined by the American College of Sports Medicine as any exercise that raises your heart rate and breaths per minute while repetitively and rhythmically using large muscle groups. That’s a fancy way of saying that cardio or aerobic exercise is anything that gets you moving fast and hard enough to break a sweat. Typical cardio exercises include running, biking, jumping rope, etc.
The benefits of aerobic exercise are many, including weight loss, stronger bones and muscles, better sleep, lowered levels of depression and anxiety, and even the reduced risk of many types of cancer, to name a few.
The ACSM recommends adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, which can be broken down into multiple sessions as short as ten minutes.
Strength training: Strength training — also called resistance training — is the use of exercise against resistance to build and strengthen muscle. That resistance might come from your own body weight, a dumbbell or other hand-held weight, or a wide range of resistance machines.
Along with improved muscle strength and definition, resistance training helps develop bone density and assists with weight loss.
The ACSM recommends healthy adults do strength training two or three times per week, engaging in eight to 10 different exercises focusing on a variety of muscle groups. Beginners should aim for eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, using the amount of weight that leads to muscle fatigue within that set of reps.
Balance and flexibility training: While various cardio and strength-training exercises help improve balance and flexibility, it’s important to incorporate training that specifically targets these two functions. They make daily living much easier and help improve your overall health and mental well-being. Aim for at least two balance or flexibility workouts each week.
What should I look for in home gym equipment?
When shopping, it’s smart to first develop a workout plan detailing what you want to attain. Though workouts of all varieties do well to work together to improve one’s overall fitness, starting out by focusing on one or two areas helps you refine your goals.
Perhaps you want to strength train; purchasing a set of resistance bands or dumbbells is likely where you want to start. If it’s cardio or full-body toning you’re after, maybe a treadmill or row machine is more appropriate.
This initial research is important because there’s so much more to stocking a home gym properly than attempting to mimic the studios you’re used to. Study the differences between resistance bands and dumbbells to find what suits you best, download and stream a few at-home workout apps, or figure out the best time to work out each day.
Doing this not only informs how exactly you prefer keeping fit and the best methods for doing so but it ultimately teaches you which equipment is right for you and your home gym.
How much does a home gym cost?
This depends on what you decide to stock it with. If you decide to go light and invest in a yoga mat plus a set of dumbbells, you could set up your home gym for under a couple hundred dollars. If you opt to include a treadmill and more wide-ranging selection of weights, you can expect to spend upwards of $1,000 or more.
How do I design a home gym?
Unless you have a dedicated spare room to turn into a home gym, how you design your workout space is an important thing to consider. If you’re limited on space, opt for easily stowable equipment like a set of adjustable dumbbells or equipment that easily packs away or folds up. You can also consider buying something like a storage tote to store all your gear between workout sessions.
What size home gym do I need?
This depends on two things: How much available space you have to dedicate to working out and the kind of equipment you with to use. If you only intend to use a gym mat and a set of kettlebells or dumbbells, you won’t need a ton of space to accommodate this.
However, if you want to include something like a rowing machine, or you have a spare room with space to store your equipment, then you can utilize the available area differently.
There’s no absolute correct size for a home gym. It’s more important that your workout space allows you the ability to comfortably exercise, be it in a small nook in your apartment or in a full-on second bedroom.