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Home Gym Buying Guide

home gym buying guide
Many people prefer to work out in the privacy of their own home for various reasons. With a wide range of exercise systems out there, you can work out every inch of your body without going to a gym. Working out can be stress-free without the cost of a gym membership, the intimidation, and the hassle of going out of your way to get to the gym every day.

Below,we've compiled a chart of the types of home gym systems to consider. We've also listed each system by targeted body area, and their most common and popular exercise movements.

SystemTargeted Body AreaPopular Exercises
Lower Body GymsLegs, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, glutesLeg curl, leg press
Total Body GymsWhole bodyBench press, leg curl, rowing
Upper Body GymsArms, shoulders, back, abs, chestBench press, rowing, tricep curls
Power Towers & Dip StationsArms, shoulders, absPull ups, pull downs
Power Racks & Squat RacksArms, legs, quadriceps, biceps, glutesSquats, bench press
Core & Ab GymsAbs, chestCrunches

Types of Weight Resistance

The two types of resistance are weight-based and body weight. We examine the differences between the two types of resistance below.

1. Weight-Based Resistance:

  • Provides a controlled motion and allows you to track progress
  • Ideal if you're looking to isolate a specific muscle group for exercise
  • More high-impact on the body and can be more likely to cause injuries than body weight resistance

2. Body Weight Resistance:

  • Allows you to work multiple muscle groups at one time and gives you more freedom during your workout
  • Low impact workout, body weight resistance decreases the chance of injury (though, you aren't likely to gain large muscle mass from this workout)

Types of Gym Equipment 

There are four common types of gym equipment: cardio, strength training, fitness accessories, yoga & pilates. Read on to find out more about each type.

What are your fitness goals? Home fitness equipment ranges from working out specific body parts to full-body systems. Make sure that you find equipment that will provide the features that you need. 

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1. Cardio Equipment

Cardio equipment helps improve cardiovascular health by raising the heart rate and keeping it elevated. Running, biking and swimming are all cardiovascular activities, which cardio equipment works to replicate.

Treadmill: One of the most popular types of home gym equipment, treadmills provide low-impact, indoor running on a conveyor belt with adjustable speed.

Exercise Bike: A popular pick for home gyms, an exercise bike is an upright or recumbent stationary bike.

Elliptical: Foot pedals move in an ovular motion to replicate running in a low-impact way; it also features handles that can be used for an upper body workout (left).

Stepper: Fitness blocks or motorized step machines are a stationary version of climbing stairs. 

Rower: Copying the movements used in rowing, this low-impact machine puts less stress on the joints while creating a full-body workout.

Large gym equipment can easily be shipped and delivered to your home. For heavy items, inside delivery is available and all you have to do is set the equipment up.

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2. Strength Training Equipment

Strength training involves using weights to tone and strengthen the entire body. Weight can be from your body, free weights, resistance weights, or weight machines. Pull-up bars, push-up stands, weight bars, and weight plates are just a few examples of other strength training equipment.

Home GymsThese total body stations range in functionality and size; from total body to targeted system. 

Dumbbells: A type of free weight that ranges from less than five to more than 60 pounds. Dumbbells usually come as a set of pairs of weights.

Weight Benches: These benches are available in a horizontal, inclined, or folded position, and the incline can be either fixed or adjustable. Features include racks or handles to hold weights or bars.  

KetttlebellsKettlebells are metal balls with handles and range in weight from five to 60 or more pounds. Kettlebell workouts combine strength, cardio, and flexibility training through repetitive motions. 

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3. Fitness Accessories

From BMI to heart rate monitors, fitness accessories help you to get the most out of your at-home workouts. 

Balancers & Stability Balls: Made to promote balance, these are available as balls, blocks, boards, and more. They can be used in exercise and for stretching.

Fitness Mats: Fitness mats provide a non-slip surface for exercise and stretching. They also protect the floor from wear and tear and exercise equipment.

Concerned about space constraints? An all-in-one, total body system works on many different muscle groups, while only taking up the space of one machine. Garage, basement, or spare rooms are the most common places to set up home gyms.

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4. Yoga & Pilates

Yoga and Pilates both provide great exercise, but differ greatly in their practice. Yoga is predominantly about controlling breathing to gain relaxation, and relieve stress in the body and mind. Pilates involves concentrating breathing to specific muscles. 

Pilates Machines: The Pilates machine—a gliding padded bench that rests on a carriage with wheels and springs—helps to achieve length and strength by pushing and pulling. The machine is versatile, because you can perform Pilates exercises by standing, sitting, or laying down.

Stretch Partners: Stretch partner equipment allows you to safely stretch the full body with proper form. This is supposed to replicate the deep stretches that you could achieve while stretching with an actual partner.

Foam RollersFormerly only used by professional athletes, foam rolling and self-myofascial release helps to release muscle tightness by deeply compressing muscles. Foam rollers are used very commonly for muscle mobility and recovery.

Yoga MatsThese specialized mats prevent hands and feet from slipping while doing yoga or Pilates. These range in color, thickness, material, texture, and stickiness.

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