3 must-have items for your home gym

November 6, 2014

With the right strength training equipment, working out from home is easy. Discover the best home-gym equipment options for a workout perfectly suited to you.

3 must-have items for your home gym

1. Weight-lifting stations

If you don't want to worry about organizing dumbbells, a home gym may be ideal.

  • These home versions of the weight machines you see in the gym usually combine several exercises in one or two weight lifting stations, all tied to a communal weight stack.
  • You may need to switch out attachments or adjust seats between exercises.

What to look for: A strong, stable frame that doesn't wiggle when you push and pull on it. The weight stack should be heavy enough to challenge you as you build strength and endurance.

2. Free weights

If you want the complete freedom to do any strength training exercise, go for a set of dumbbells.

  • A light, medium and heavy pair—six dumbbells in total—are enough to get started. You can add heavier weights, and sell or trade the lighter weights away as you get stronger.
  • You can also purchase barbells for home use, but they're not as beginner-friendly as dumbbells.
  • Not only are the lightest barbells always going to be heavier than the lightest dumbbells, you also need a weight bench, a weight rack—and sometimes a spotter—to use them safely.

What to look for: Barbells and dumbbells should have easy-to-hold handles that fit comfortably in your hands. They should be light enough to lift with good form, but still heavy enough to challenge you.

3. Suspension trainers

If you enjoy using your own body weight as resistance and want to build a rock-hard core, do your weight training with a suspension trainer—a pair of handles mounted at the end of long, flexible straps.

  • You first sling the straps over a ceiling beam or attach them to the top of a household door.
  • Then you lean on the handles and use them as a base for doing any body weight exercise, from pull-ups to push-ups or body weight rows.

What to look for: The suspension trainer must be rated to hold your weight, and designed to be used with whatever supports you have available—usually either a roof beam or a strong doorway. Check your home's structure, and if it's right, this could be the right home gym exercise equipment choice for you.

If you don't want to spend time or money commuting to a gym, you can purchase your own strength training equipment and work out from home.

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