How do I Choose the Best Home Gym Workout?

Jessica Ellis

While professional gyms offer some advantages, nothing beats the convenience and specificity of a home gym. In addition to saving time by removing transportation requirements, a home gym can be tailored to offer personalized equipment that has the advantage of not being sweated on by strangers. Choosing the best home gym workout may be a process of trial and error, but can lead to improved strength and flexibility and the motivation to meet workout goals.

Elevated risers are a cheaper alternative to a stair master in a home gym.
Elevated risers are a cheaper alternative to a stair master in a home gym.

There are three parts of any good home gym workout: cardiovascular exercise, weight training, and stretches geared toward improving flexibility. Although some of these areas may require some creative thinking to incorporate into a home gym, they can all be achieved with little equipment or expense. By creating a home gym workout that includes lots of variety in each of the three areas, getting to a workout can become a joy instead of a tedious task.

A yoga mat will come in handy for stretching and for yoga or Pilates training.
A yoga mat will come in handy for stretching and for yoga or Pilates training.

Cardiovascular exercise may be the most difficult type of training to incorporate in a home gym workout. Since this type of work involves fast-paced movement that increases heart rate, it often requires a lot of space to perform effectively. Some people have the space and budget to afford home cardio machines, such as treadmills, elliptical machines, or stationary bikes. For those working in limited spaces, consider getting cardio exercise by walking or jogging outside for at least 30 minutes. Boot camp-style workouts can also provide great home gym workouts with tapes or online routines, just be sure to keep movement at a steady pace that keeps the heart pounding.

Exercise pants.
Exercise pants.

Weight and strength training is another important area to consider when planning a home gym workout. Some health experts recommend purchasing a set of adjustable free weights, or two pairs of weights in a light and heavy size. Adjustable free weights will be very useful as strength is increased, as an exerciser can increase the weight load to help continue building muscle and endurance. Strength training exercise routines, such as Pilates workouts, can also be great for toning the body.

Treadmills can provide a workout that's equivalent to a run during hazardous weather.
Treadmills can provide a workout that's equivalent to a run during hazardous weather.

Flexibility exercises such as stretching can be performed every day to help avoid injury and to keep the body limber. Stretching routines, such as those found in yoga practices, are also a great way to get a home gym workout even in a small space. Equipment needed for yoga or stretching may include a mat to help prevent slipping, resistance bands, and stability balls.

Although recommendations vary, some health and fitness experts recommend at least three cardio and two strength training sessions per week. Additionally, many experts say that the same muscle group should not be exercised two days in a row, to prevent injury. This gives an exerciser ample opportunity to mix many different exercises in his or her home gym workout, which will help work the whole body and prevent boredom from setting in.

There are many websites that offer strength workouts, yoga practices, and cardio programs for free. Additionally, exercise books and workout tapes can help add variety by giving a large range of workout styles to pick and choose. By incorporating variety into a home gym workout, an exerciser may give him or herself a better chance of staying on a regular workout program.

Practicing yoga on a regular basis—whether at home or in a natural setting—can improve flexibility, strength and stamina.
Practicing yoga on a regular basis—whether at home or in a natural setting—can improve flexibility, strength and stamina.

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