David is a writer and an avid fitness enthusiast who gained a muscular physique through resistance training.
Exercising at Home
Would you rather work out in the comforts of your own home instead of going to a commercial gym? Many people were forced to exercise at home during the midst of the pandemic in 2020 because of quarantine. It's entirely possible to stay in shape or get in better shape by exercising at home, even with relatively limited equipment.
Some commercial gyms can be costly or too busy, especially during the beginning of the year when people have New Year's Resolutions. Additionally, you need to commute to the gym and spend money on gas, which is expensive now because of inflation and other factors.
Training at home gives you more freedom. No need to wait on other gym-goers who are using the equipment. No need to worry about gym memberships or the anxiety of training in public. Exercising at home gives you more privacy to get work done at your own pace.
10 Essential Fitness Items for a Home Gym
Below I will provide 10 fitness products that can help you build muscle and strength, lose fat, and get in better overall shape.
1. Resistance Bands
If you're looking to build muscle and tone up, resistance bands are a relatively inexpensive option. They don't take up much space, are lightweight, and can be used almost anywhere. Resistance bands come in different colors and varying levels of resistance. Besides building strength, resistance bands can be used to warm up or increase flexibility and mobility. Just make sure that you use them safely. Some people use them recklessly and accidentally hit themselves in the face or sensitive areas like the groin. Never use a resistance band that appears damaged, as it can snap and potentially cause injury.
2. Adjustable Dumbbells
An entire rack of dumbbells takes up a lot of space, and they are very expensive. Adjustable dumbbells are a much more practical item for home gym workouts. They allow you to adjust how much weight you're using for a variety of exercises like bicep curls, shoulder presses, lateral raises, and more. Some adjustable dumbbells are handles that you put weight plates on. Other adjustable dumbbells allow you to change the weight with different mechanisms such as a lever, dial, or pin. They are a good investment because they cost less money than an entire rack of dumbbells, take up less space, and are an excellent tool for building muscle mass.
3. Pull-Up Bars
Pull-ups or Chin-Ups are among the greatest exercises for the biceps, latissimus dorsi, and general upper back area. Your body provides the resistance, but you can add resistance with weighted backpacks, ankle weights, or a dip belt with a chain.
Some pull-up bars can be mounted in your home between doorways. While they are cheap, they can also be dangerous if they fall. Personally, I'd recommend some type of free-standing pull-up bar, as they are safer, more secure, and more versatile. Free-standing pull-up bars usually come with a parallel dip and push-up handles at the bottom. Many versions exist, but the price range of pull-up bars can vary dramatically.
4. Adjustable Bench
An adjustable bench is an indispensable piece of equipment for a home gym, as it allows you to perform multiple exercises. They can be adjusted to different degrees of incline or decline to work your chest, triceps, and shoulders from different angles. Some adjustable benches have a leg developer that allows you to perform both leg curls and leg extensions. They take up less space and are fairly portable. They can be used in a garage, spare room, or outside area.
I use the Weider XRS 20 because it's inexpensive compared to commercial-grade quality equipment. It also allows me to get an upper body workout and a lower body workout without it taking up too much space.
5. Squat Rack
For those serious about making strength gains at home, a squat rack can be a tremendous aid. Not only are squat racks good for doing barbell squats, but overhead pressing can be done from them as well.
Squats are one of the best leg exercises for your lower body when done correctly. They help develop your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Barbell squats even train your core to an extent. When done with a good range of motion, your flexibility and mobility will improve if you maintain consistency.
Hooking up a bench to a squat rack will let you perform barbell movements like bench press or incline press. Squat racks can be adjusted for your height or adjusted for the degree of incline or decline you have set on your bench.
6. Foam Roller
Foam rolling your muscles can help improve posture and range of motion, as well as warm you up for intense exercise. It may also relieve tightness, soreness, or inflammation. Foam rolling is a myofascial release that can be done by yourself. A small study with eight participants showed that foam rolling after exercise helped reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness.
Foam rollers can be purchased at stores or online. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and densities. Some of them have bumpy knobs or ridges on them to dig into the muscles to release knots quicker.
7. EZ Curl Bars
Straight bars can be uncomfortable or too stressful for some lifters to hold when performing bicep curls or tricep movements. An EZ Curl Bar has a "W" shape, giving you more grip options. They may be easier on your wrists or elbows compared to a straight bar. EZ Curl Bars have more balance when they are loaded with heavyweight, as they are shorter. Weight collars can be placed on them to prevent weight plates from falling off. An EZ Curl Bar is an excellent way to build big arm muscles while lifting weights at home.
8. Olympic Barbells
A barbell is essential for performing compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, overhead pressing, and benching. Olympic barbells are superior to standard because they are much stronger and can accept Olympic weight plates. Standard bars are too weak and will bend when hundreds of pounds are placed on them.
Ideally, you'll want a 7-foot Olympic barbell that has somewhere between a 500 lb to 700 lb capacity. The prices vary dramatically, but you don't need an expensive one unless you're a professional athlete that competes in Strongman or a similar sport.
9. Stop Watch
How long you rest between sets significantly affects your performance and progress when working out. A stopwatch tracks how much time you're resting between sets. It can also be used to track running times or other athletic endeavors.
Insufficient rest will cause an overload of fatigue. Your heart rate should go down a bit before doing another set. Otherwise, you'll be unable to replicate the same level of performance. For example, you are unable to do the same number of repetitions as the previous set, or your form breaks down.
10. Bluetooth Earphones
While not absolutely necessary, listening to music while exercising can be a powerful motivator. Sometimes it's difficult or simply boring to work out at home, but music may give you the extra boost you need to start! Bluetooth earphones are especially useful because there's no annoying wire getting in the way when exercising. Lastly, you won't have to worry about any neighbors complaining about the music being too loud.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 David Patrick