Build a Home Gym ***WITHOUT Breaking the Bank***

Build a Home Gym ***WITHOUT Breaking the Bank***

Building a home gym can benefit anyone for a variety of reasons. For starters, you eliminate the excuse of not having enough time to get to the gym. With use of a home gym, you also eliminate the excuse of not being able to workout because you cannot find a gym with child care or you cannot find a gym to meet your monthly budget. In addition, a home gym will allow you to get in a workout even you are short on time and need a quick 5 minute high intensity workout. Whatever the reason maybe, know this. A home gym allows you to be more consistent. A more consistent program, thus allows you to progress in order to achieve your goal(s).

Since my middle school years, I have always had equipment around that have allowed me to meet my goal(s). It all began with a pull-up bar, bench and a set of cheap, vinyl wrapped weights from Wal-Mart. Though I state cheap, they were efficient at stimulating muscle growth and strength.

Grant it, a home gym can be a great investment. But, the issue with home gyms is that many have no idea where to begin and many believe that it is expensive. This is where this article comes to fruition.

If you are on a tight budget, I recommend these to get your home gym started:

Kettlebell:

I love kettlebells as well and was originally going to try and decide which was more important, kettlebells or resistance bands? But, I couldn’t decide so I am leaving them both. 🙂

Kettlebells are a great way to build strength, power, and improve aerobic fitness according to a Strength and Conditioning Research topic on Kettlebells by Bret Contreras and Chris Beardsley. The kettlebell can be used in a multitude of exercises, whether athletic or general, and can target each of the natural human motions in what Dan John describes as the push, pull, squat, hinge, and carry.

As I do love a good kettlebell swing, I highly recommend individuals who are inexperienced seek help on proper form. When it comes to kettlebell swings and Turkish get-ups, I always head over to Neghaar Fonooni as a reference. So, that is what I will continue to do. If you want some great tips on performing the kettlebell swing, check out her YouTube video titled, “Kettlebell Swing Tips“.

Currently, I own two 9lbs, two 35lbs, two 53lbs, and one 70lbs Rogue kettlebells. I own a few other non-brands from the local sporting goods, but will soon be replacing them with Rogue brand kettlebells because I love them that much. Each kettlebell has a matte black finish to prevent the kettlebell from rusting, providing optimal grip, and maintaining its quality design compared to other brands.

Rogue Kettlebells

Grab your high-quality kettlebell at an affordable price from Rogue Fitness. These kettlebells are cheaper per pound, offer a great grip, ultimately fast shipping, and the customer service is A+++.


Resistance Band:

I love resistance bands and have always recommended them as a training tool. Why do I initially recommend bands versus free weights you ask?

  • Versatility: You can take bands anywhere as they take up very little space in your suitcase. Whenever I travel, I typically bring my resistance bands. Note: It may be a bit challenging to stash your kettlebell in your luggage with everything else. Just saying. 
iPhone 4 042

Brought my resistance bands on our honeymoon to Italy.

  • Variable Resistance Training (VRT): This style of training allows the resistance to be varied throughout the exercise’s range of motion (ROM). As the resistance band is stretched from start to end of an exercise, the tension becomes much greater. As the tension increases, further muscle fibers are recruited to complete the exercise. In order to increase the initial magnitude or further resistance of the band, one notion is to reduce the initial length of the band and another is to apply additional bands.

As I started my business, Reed’s Wellness and Fitness Training, traveling to individual’s homes to personally train him or her, I needed equipment that was portable, would get results, and were inexpensive. Resistance bands did just that! I experimented with varying brands and came across a set at a local sporting goods store called Fitness Gear. I like the durability of these, the use of a carabiner to vary resistance, and the ability to hook the bands to varying objects with use of the carabiner, door anchor, or straps. The bands can be purchased at your local Dick’s Sporting Goods or here on Amazon.com. The kit is available in different levels (Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3).


Foam Roller: 

The foam roller is a great tool for self-myofascial release (SMR) which helps to improve both mobility and posture while not affecting performance. This tool is a foam cylinder and is available in varying sizes and densities. Simply stated, the foam roller is used to loosen tight muscles. In a recent research article by Junker & Stöggl (2015) within the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the foam roller was found to be an effective tool to improve flexibility in a 4 week program.

For further research on foam rolling, please visit the Strength and Conditioning Research article on Foam Rolling and Self-Myofascial Release by Bret Contreras and Chris Beardsley.

Currently, I am using and loving the M80 Foam Roller. I will write a review on it soon. To buy your own M80 Foam Roller, visit Amazon.com. Personally, I feel that it is a better product in regard to quality than others placed on the market. 

Rogue Foam Roller

Rogue M80 foam roller and I the day after running a half-marathon


Jump Rope:

I am a true fan of the jump rope for conditioning. Matter of fact, when I think of the jump rope for conditioning now a days, I think of Eric Bach of Bach Performance who wrote an article recently titled, Why The Jump Rope is the Best Conditioning Tool You’re Not Using: Three Ways Jumping Rope Builds Athleticism, Shreds Fat, and Preserves MuscleI will leave this article for you to review. Within this article, Eric discusses the jump rope as an ideal warm-up tool, increases athleticism, a great conditioning tool to burn fat while maintaining lean muscle, and how to select a jump rope to meet your goal(s).

Why do I recommend the jump rope? In addition to what Eric has discussed in his article, it requires very little space, it is an inexpensive piece of equipment, and your heart rate can get jacked REAL QUICK!

Head over to Amazon.com to grab your jump rope!


 Pull-Up Bar:

Whenever a client says they want to be able to do a pull-up and then I tell them we are going to work on pull-ups today, they laugh and say “I can’t do a pull-up!”. Well, guess what, nor can Justin Beiber. However, there are ways to work up to a pull-up as described in my article, “To Pull or Not to Pull-Up: 7 Exercises to Improve Your Pull-Up“. Justin should have read my article. But, to be able to do a pull-up, we have to progress and practice.

In addition, there are other exercises which may be performed with use of the door frame bar, such as, hanging straight and bent leg raises, tricep dips, pull-up and chin-up variations, and more.

Why do I recommend such a bar? Once again, it is inexpensive! In addition, you can easily place the bar overhead and remove the bar in a matter of seconds.

Grab your workout bar here.


Exercise Mat:

Whether you are jumping around, varying core exercises, kneeling exercises, stretching, and so forth, you want something to absorb the shock and that is comfortable to lie on.

The only consideration I would take in regard to choosing an exercise mat is spacing. If you plan to leave equipment and what not sit out, I would recommend the interlocking/puzzle mats or thick, rubberized gym flooring. I know Onnit has released a roll out mat that is pretty durable as well.

If you need the space outside of working out, I would recommend a fold up or rolled up mat.

There isn’t much else to say about an exercise mat. 🙂

Grab your exercise mat here on Amazon.com.


If you’ve got some additional income to spend on exercise equipment for your home gym, here are some other options: 

Ab Wheel:

Battle Ropes: I love my Onnit Battle Ropes! 

Onnit Battle Ropes

TRX Suspension Trainer:

 

I hope you have enjoyed this article on how to build a home gym without breaking the bank.


 

What does your home gym consist of? 

Joshua Reed
Joshua Reed is an Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and is the owner of Reed’s Wellness and Fitness Training. He currently operates a small space in Ludlow, Kentucky and travels to see clients in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area. He offers both personal, online, and small group coaching from his location, the client’s home, and/or outdoors. He is a 2012 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Adult Fitness and Wellness Management. Joshua currently attends the University of Kentucky’s, where he is earning a Master’s degree in Biomechanics with a concentration in running mechanics and injury prevention.