Starting a Home Gym

Equipment ideas to start working out at home.

I am asked many times by clients what type of equipment they should have if they want to work out at home. My answers tend to vary greatly on the needs of each individual. So if you are thinking about creating your own home gym, I will try to give you the best advice I can for several budgets, personal needs and space

For those of you who want to keep your investment low and have limited space then I would recommend a yoga mat and resistance tubing. 

If you have space to add more then I would suggest a physio ball, and some hand weights (2 each of the following 3, 5, and 8 lb. for women or beginners and 5, 10 and 15 lb. for men or intermediate).  I would also suggest a suspension trainer like the TRX system. 

Space and storage can become an issue and all the items mentioned above can be stored in relatively small spaces (with the exception of the physio ball).

For those that have a basement workout area or more dedicated space, then I would suggest a Bosu and a variable barbell system. So far I haven’t even touched upon cardio equipment as this become a much bigger financial and space investment. If you live in an area or climate where you can get outside most of the year, then do so and get into a walking or running or even biking program/regimen.

However, those of you reading this mostly likely live in Shrewsbury where our winters can dump more than 48” of snow each year making it hard to get outside. So if you’d like to invest in cardio equipment then I would start small. Jump ropes—you can jump outside or take it into your garage on bad weather days.  Jump roping will require a little bit of working space (about 80 sq ft per jumper and you will need ceiling heights about 11ft.), but very little storage space.

Did you know that jump roping for 1 minute will burn 10 calories? So in just 10 short minutes that’s 100 calories, which is equivalent to running an 8-minute mile.

Unfortunately I find that most clients don’t want to jump rope and want more traditional equipment. I love the treadmill, but it’s a space hog. Unless you plan on having a dedicated workout spot in your basement I would suggest you stay with a device that causes less vibration. And a really good treadmill with incline will need sufficient ceiling height. Also, if you plan on using the treadmill on second or third floors, you can expect to feel the house vibrate a bit from the pounding.

Now stationary bikes are good, but I personally find them a bit boring, however they won’t bounce your house and take up a little less room and you won’t need to worry about your ceiling height as you would with a treadmill.

An elliptical machine is a good all around cardio choice for homes. It is a non-impact piece of equipment and won’t shake your house when used on upper levels. For people with foot or knee issues, this again is a non-impact activity so your joints aren’t getting pounded. You can typically vary the incline and resistance so you can get a great workout. The ceiling height can be an issue but I haven’t found that my head rises higher as I change my incline as it does on the treadmill.

Cardio equipment can be pricey. You can find some items for as little at $900 or as much as $5000 or more. Shop around and ask friends what they like. Definitely tryout the equipment before you make your purchase. I like the guys over at Fit Equipment Etc. on Route 9 right here in town. They have a varied inventory and will let you tryout their machines.

I also would suggest that you invest in some workout DVDs in the exercise modality of your liking. There are many choices out there, and I hope to provide some guidance in exercise DVDs in a future article and to also post some exercises online with the Patch. I need to hear from you if you’d like that, and I can go a post an exercise of the week. Great places to find DVDs are the and also from a great company like Collage Video.

So, you have no excuse not to workout. Stay tuned for more details on working out in small spaces, outside, with DVDs and more tips. Now get moving.


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