Best Ideas for Setting Up a Home Gym -- And Using It
December 14, 2020
It is easy to buy into the TV ads that show you amazing products and amazing actors that get great results. It is also amazing how much you can spend on products that end up becoming clothes racks or dust collectors. The two keys I have found for success in the realm of physical fitness are internal motivation and external accountability.
Your program and equipment should address your goals, and your goals should be based on your motivation. What is really important about your home program and home gym equipment is whether they meet your fitness goals. Accountability keeps you on track. Finding someone or something that helps keep you motivated prevents the dreaded New Year resolution effect. Once you have those things in place, the rest is just action.
Home Gym Ideas
A good home fitness program should be a balanced workout that includes strength training, flexibility and cardio fitness during the cold winter when outdoor exercise is not a desirable option. Once you know what kind of program you are after, equipment should complement and allow you to progress the program.
Barbells and dumbbells are relatively inexpensive, and they can provide the same benefits as an expensive weight machine. Plus they are more versatile and are easier to manage. There is a degree of control that one has to learn when using them, but this can improve performance and reduce asymmetry in your body.
Elastic resistance bands are another good, inexpensive purchase and are just as versatile as weights.
Cardio equipment, like treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical machines, can be expensive purchases, but are good to have during the inclement Northeast Ohio winters as an option to running outside. If you already bike for cardio, consider a bike trainer stand. This allows you to use your bike inside when weather doesn’t allow you to be outside on the roads or trails.
There are also a lot of instructor-led-style online or streaming classes or recorded workouts that can be helpful, but make sure you know your limits and don’t overdo.
Right now with COVID-19 making it more challenging to go out to a public gym, a home solution is a great way to address your goals and avoid the setbacks and overall decline that occur with long periods of inactivity and sedentary lifestyle. And there is nothing wrong with getting all of the big and expensive equipment, just know what you are getting into and how you want to invest your resources.
Do Your Research
Before purchasing home gym equipment, do your homework to be sure you get the best value for your money. Make sure you look at reviews, talk to people who have considered or bought that type of equipment, and consult professionals for advice. Don’t just buy what looks good or what the ad on the TV is selling you. Keep in mind, in most cases you will not need a commercial grade product or need to pay that much for equipment.
After doing your research, if you’re interested in online or recorded workouts, find ways to try out or borrow copies to see if they are right for you before spending big bucks on something that might end up in the trash.
Along with affordability, space is another consideration in buying home gym equipment. Most equipment have specifications and dimensions. Make sure you measure and visualize locations, as well as think through the arrival and installation or setup process.
A personal trainer, athletic trainer, or physical therapist can help you get the most out of your home gym and are great resources to consult on options to optimize your situation.
Working with trained professionals even for a visit or two can help you design a routine that meets your particular goals while optimizing the equipment you have or are acquiring in the most productive way.
Matt Hartzler, PT, ATC, is a physical therapist at UH Streetsboro Health Center.
At the Center for Rehabilitation Services at University Hospitals, our team of specially trained clinical sports medicine rehabilitation specialists take a comprehensive approach to athletic rehabilitation. Learn more about sports medicine rehabilitation services at UH.