Why join a gym when you can own one? Home gyms are popular setups because they’re private, available when needed and not all that expensive. Commercial gyms require you to pay a weekly/monthly fee which may not seem all that much but run up to a lot over the years. Home gyms are just a one-time investment.
Looking at the price of exercise equipment, it’s easy to get jittery about what it would cost. But if you choose wisely, you won’t end up spending more than a few hundred dollars. Here’s a look at inexpensive gym tools that deliver the same results as commercial equipment.
Resistance bands & medicine balls
Used to increase range of motion and flexibility, resistance bands are often part of an athlete’s workout equipment. They look like thick, oversized rubber bands which they basically are. A decent quality band will cost less than $15.
Medicine balls are weighted balls, great for core exercises. An important tool for strength and training, you can take your pick of weights ranging between 2 to 25/30 lbs. A unit costs upwards of $20.
Muscle building and strength training can be achieved using dumbbells which are easy to use and span different weights. Women can begin with 2-pound weights and work their way up while men can start with 5-pound dumbbells. The idea is to not overstrain yourself but achieve proper form with very light weights and progress to heavier ones later.
A pair of weights starts from $5.
Stability balls or Swiss balls are used in conjunction with exercises and sometimes weights to increase strength, flexibility, balance and posture. They sell for around $30 and come with a pump. If they don’t, use an ordinary bicycle pump to inflate.
No ordinary mat should replace an exercise or yoga mat because it isn’t cushioned and firm enough. Whether it’s planking, pushups or crunches you mean to perform, always use a good exercise mat with a nonskid feature. Expect to pay around $30 for a decent quality unit.
It’s more than a kid’s plaything. A skipping rope provides high intensity, high impact exercises that target the entire body. Why it remains so popular has to do with the fact that it’s just plain fun. Choose a rope that fits your height by stepping on its center and bringing the handles towards your torso. If the tips reach below or above your armpits, ditch it for one whose handles reach the center. A unit costs $7-$8.
Heart rate monitor
You may be a beginner or a seasoned exerciser but a heart rate monitor should be had at all times. Overly strenuous workouts do more harm than good, leading to burn out, injury and exhaustion. On the other hand, too little and your muscles and heart won’t be able to benefit. A heart rate monitor (around $100) can tell you if you’re working too hard or not enough. Tip: Calculate your heart rate by subtracting your age from 200 and finding out what 80-85 percent of that number is. If you exceed the figure during workouts, take breaks to cool down.
This list of essential equipments can be expanded with a larger budget. Adding a treadmill is a good idea as is a rowing machine. With the two additions, you’ll spend no more $2,000, far less than what you’ll be paying for years at a commercial gym.