Gym memberships are great.
I have one and use it almost everyday.
There’s also times when I don’t make it to the gym.
The times I don’t, I’m still able to get in a workout thanks to an at-home gym I’ve created for myself.
Nothing fancy. Just some basic exercise equipment that provides me all I need to get a good workout.
So what goes into creating an at-home gym? What equipment is necessary? What do you do with the equipment once you have it?
I’ll share with you how I created my own simple at-home gym and how you can create your own as well.
The Right Space
You can create your at-home gym in almost any room in your house since you don’t need much space to work with.
Mine is set up in the second bedroom. Plenty of space with lots of windows for natural light. During the warmer months I like opening the windows for fresh air as I exercise.
Pick a spot or room in the house that you feel comfortable in, that has natural light, and maybe even access to fresh air such as a window or door. Although it isn’t necessary, natural light and fresh air makes for a more enjoyable atmosphere and overall exercise experience.
If you have a huge basement with little lighting and no windows, that’s OK as long as it works for you and your comfortable with it.
There’s lots of equipment you could purchase for your home gym but the basics are all you really need.
It isn’t about how much equipment you have to work with that matters. What matters is how much you can do with the equipment you do have.
Four basic pieces of exercise equipment is all you need.
Sounds simple right? That’s because it is. Why make it complicated and confusing when it doesn’t have to be?
Since there’s lots of exercises and stretches that are done lying down, having a comfortable mat to lie on is a must. Even if you have carpet flooring trust me, get an exercise mat – it’s way more comfortable.
My favorite mat that I recommend is the Crown Sporting Goods 3/4-Inch Extra Thick Yoga Mat.
It’s extra thickness makes it comfortable to lie on when you’re working your abs and doing some stretching. It’s extra durable too so it should last you a long while.
I can’t say enough about having a Swiss ball as part of your fitness arsenal.
You can use it in a number of different ways. You can sit or lay on it to do your shoulder presses and chest presses. It can be used for different leg and ab workouts. It can also be used for stretching. I love its versatility.
There’s all different types and sizes. I suggest going with a medium sized Swiss ball such as the Gaiam Total Body Balance Ball. It’s the perfect size and comes with a pump to fill it up too which is cool.
Having one set of dumbbells is an absolute must for an at-home gym.
The size, style, and weight of the dumbbells will be based on your preference, strength, and current fitness level.
If you’re just starting off, go with a lighter set of dumbbells. If you’ve been at it a while and need a little more weight to lift, consider going a bit heavier with 15 or 20 pound dumbbells.
I always suggest going a bit lighter with the dumbbell weight you select since you can always do more repetitions with a lighter weight and not jeopardize your form with dumbbells that are too heavy.
These 10 lb Neoprene Dumbbells from Perform Better are perfect. I always suggest going with neoprene over cast iron dumbbells because they don’t chip and feel better in your hands when holding them.
Jump roping has to be one of my all-time favorites when it comes to getting my heart rate pumping in no time.
I love it so much I even created this jump rope challenge.
Jump roping is effective because it gets your heart rate up quickly and because of that, you end up burning more calories in a shorter period of time.
Not all jump ropes are the same though and the flimsy ones are the worst. Stay away from those. You’ll recognize them because they usually look and are priced cheap – that’s because they are cheap.
I personally like, use, and recommend a Valeo Jump Rope. he rope is made of solid rubber so it’s extra durable and will last you a while. You can adjust the length too. I especially like the molded handles with a foam grip. Super comfortable.
These are the basics and all you need to create your own at-home gym.
If you have these four items at home, there’s hundreds of different exercises and workout routines you can complete.
It doesn’t take much to get much done. It’s a matter of knowing what to have and how to use it.
Aside for the four basic pieces of exercise equipment mentioned above, there’s a few extras I want to mention that you don’t necessarily need, but are nice to have. Chances are you may already have these.
Unless you’re stuck in time (no pun intended) and don’t yet have a smart phone such as an iPhone or Droid, chances are you already have a stopwatch feature available on your mobile phone.
A stopwatch is great for timing yourself with different exercises such as jumping jacks, jump roping, abdominal plank, and others.
Full Length Mirror
Having a mirror to watch yourself while you exercise allows you to see what you look like with each exercise so that you can make sure your form looks right with each exercise.
It also helps to encourage you as you see your muscles working and taking shape.
Heart Rate Monitor
Heart rate monitors are great for tracking what your heart rate is during exercise so that you can gauge if you need to slow down or speed up. It’s also great for keeping track of how many calories you’re burning.
There’s several good heart rate monitors out there today although I always recommend the Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor to all my clients. It has all the necessary functions without all the bells and whistles and is reasonably priced.
Open For Business
Once you have the four basic pieces of equipment (exercise mat, Swiss ball, dumbbells, and jump rope), you’re set and ready to start exercising at home.
Having an at-home gym is just another option for you to use. You can use it as much or as little as you choose. I use mine mostly on days where I’m unable to make it to the gym because of a busy workday or if it’s freezing out and I don’t want to leave the house.
Sometimes it’s just nice to break up my weekly gym schedule with something different like a workout at home.
Here’s an exercise routine to try out using your new at-home gym. Give this workout a shot once you’re all set up, then come back and let me know in the comments below how it went. It addition to the exercises, I’ve also included 5 stretches to do after the workout on your exercise mat.
Jump Roping (1 Set for 30 Seconds)
Burpees (1 Set for 15 Reps)
Dumbbell Chest Press on Swiss Ball (2 Sets for 15 Reps)
Tricep Extensions with Dumbbells on Swiss Ball (2 Sets for 15 Reps
Alternating Lunges with Dumbbells (2 Sets of 30 Reps)
Pelvic Raises with Swiss Ball (2 Sets of 15 Reps)
Jump Roping (1 Set for 30 Seconds)
Shoulder Press with Dumbbells (2 Sets of 15 reps)
Bent Over Back Rows with Dumbbells (2 Sets of 15 Reps)
Bicep Curls with Dumbbells (2 Sets of 15 Reps)
Crunches on Swiss Ball (2 Sets of 20 Reps)
Lower Abdominal Swiss Ball Passes (2 Sets of 10 Reps)
Child Pose (Hold 1 minute)
Cobra (Hold 1 minute)
Sit & Reach (Hold 1 minute)
Glut Stretch (Hold 1 minute)
There it is – you’re very first exercise routine to try out with your new at-home gym.
Give it a try. It’s a challenge that I know you’ll enjoy.
No more worrying about not having a gym membership or being able to make it to the gym to exercise. You don’t have to worry about knowing what to do either. I’ve got you covered here.
If you have any questions, reach out to me and let me know what they are… I promise to help you in any way I can.
Good luck and get at it! No excuses…. you have an at-home gym now. 🙂