The number one indicator of success in the gym is consistency. If you show up and put in the work, you will see results no matter what program you are following. But what happens when you get home after a long days work, maybe there’s a blizzard outside, maybe you’ve convinced yourself that you’re just feeling “weird” and don’t think today’s a good day to go to the local gym and train?
Why not take that obstacle out of the equation?
It’s a lot harder to come up with an excuse if the gym is right down the hall.
There are a thousand pieces of equipment, some with names like the Bicep Power Max 5000 or the Electric BootyMaker Ultra … and while they can have their place, this will be a short list of the essentials. To make it on the list the items need to;
- Be Versatile – Can be used to target multiple muscle groups
- Be Affordable – Can be picked up for cheap but also have high value in that they will last.
- Maximize Space – You need room to move and if you have large pieces of equipment in a small bedroom that’s going to be tough. So the equipment needs to be able to be stored easily and out of the way.
All right on to the list!
Now here’s the good news. If you’re human – and most likely if you’re reading this article you are – you ARE your home gym. There are some amazing workouts you can do with just your bodyweight alone that can get you into amazing shape. These are movements that you most likely did back in school gym class, ie. pushups, planks, squats, but also include some very interesting animal movements (Check out our post on how to add these to your workout -> Becoming A Beast)
- Portable – Hey, your body goes wherever you go!
- Scalable – There are a ton of progressions you can go through with bodyweight exercises. An example is a pushup. If a standard pushup is too difficult then lower your knees to the ground and start from there. On the flip side if it’s too easy then put your feet up on a stool or the couch.
- Learn the movements – Using your bodyweight is your best bet when starting out. If you’re unable to squat down with just your bodyweight then it isn’t a great idea to load it up with a barbell on your back. Get the unloaded version down first.
Bands are an amazing addition to any home gym and can give you a great workout all on their own. Ideally, you’re going to want a set of 3 shorter bands with three different resistances as well as a couple longer ones. The great thing about bands is that they are inexpensive (a quick search on Amazon shows you can get a set of 5 for $20 bucks!), they are portable, you can bring them with you anywhere (even on vacation for a portable hotel workout) and they are versatile.
Use them in your warmup to prime the muscles that are going to be used, or as part of your main routine. Either way bands are an excellent starting point.
- Low cost – $20 for a set of 5
- Easy to store – Because they’re so small they can easily be put away in a closet, on a shelf or hung up
- Versatile – You can hit the entire body both upper and lower with bands. A quick search on youtube will show a bunch of different exercises you can do.
The kettlebell is a great addition to any home gym as you only really need one to have a complete full body workout. You may have seen someone doing kettlebell swings at the gym or seen this movement online as the kettlebell has become extremely popular in recent years. This one movement can have the benefit of overcoming the negative effects of sitting by strengthening the posterior chain as well as make for a killer conditioning tool.
Some quick tips for purchasing;
- Woman looking for a starting kettlebell weight should look for a 15lb or 18lb
- Men the 26lb or 35lb.
- Easy to Store – doesn’t take up a lot of room
- Build Strength and Lose Fat – the kettlebell is unique in that with a few key movements (swings/get-ups) you can have a great workout that both builds strength, conditions the body and help to shed those unwanted pounds
- Badass – I mean, how cool are these things. Swinging a weight like this is just sweet!
The Start of Your Own Gym
All you need is a couple of items to have a great workout. You don’t need the fancy machines nor do you need a gym membership. You can build strength and lose fat all in the comfort of your own home. With just your bodyweight, bands and a kettlebell, you can make it easier to stick to a training program and spend less than $50 doing it.