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With all the shiny new equipment gyms have to offer, it’s easy to get lured into purchasing an expensive gym membership. Rather than wasting your time and money trekking to and from the gym, build your own fitness center at home. With our guide to the top pieces of home gym equipment everyone needs, you’ll be on your way to your dream home gym in no time.
Treadmills are perhaps the most well-known piece of cardio equipment, and it’s not without good reason. Treadmills are user-friendly and can easily be adapted to any fitness level. The varying speeds and inclines allow the user to structure their workout to their own individual needs and abilities. Whether you walk or jog on the treadmill, this is a great way to get your heart rate up and easily track your mileage and progress.
For individuals who find treadmills a bit too tough on their joints, an elliptical machine is the perfect alternative. Ellipticals provide many of the same benefits as a treadmill, and they allow you to burn roughly the same number of calories. Since your feet and heels remain stationary in the pedals, this machine provides a lower-impact workout and places less strain on knee joints. Ellipticals are very easy to use and are great for anyone just starting their fitness journey.
Stationary bikes are also easy on the joints and user-friendly. This machine provides a low-impact workout that helps burn fat and strengthen legs without placing too much stress on joints. Like traditional bikes, stationary bikes allow the user to adjust the resistance level to achieve a more challenging workout. There are a few different types of stationary bikes, so regardless of fitness level or physical ability, you’ll likely find one to suit your needs.
Free weights are a staple in most gyms, and they should be in your home gym as well. Free weights are popular for strength training because they promote functional fitness. Many exercises used with free weights, such as bicep curls, replicate motions you may experience in everyday life, such as carrying groceries or lifting a child. You can also use free weights during other leg and ab workouts, such as squats or lunges, to increase the difficulty and further improve leg strength.
Similar to free weights, a medicine ball is a great way to strengthen your core and upper body muscles at the same time. Medicine balls are a versatile piece of exercise equipment you can incorporate into both individual and partner workouts with ease. Many medicine ball exercises involve slamming the ball against the ground or throwing it against a wall. These exercises, as well as many others, can significantly improve your core, arm, and leg strength; they may even improve your overall balance and coordination.
For a total-body workout that targets multiple muscles at once, rowing machines are the way to go. Generally, rowing machines are more effective for muscles in your upper body, but they can also provide a great ab and leg workout. The rowing machine’s position and movements work several muscles in your arms and back, which includes the biceps, pecs, and trapezii. As the strength in your back and upper arm muscles begins to increase, you may notice your posture improves and back pain decreases. The tight grip required to maintain proper posture on the rowing machine will also help strengthen hand and wrist muscles, which can be quite useful in other fitness areas.
Perhaps the most versatile piece of exercise equipment, it’s no wonder that exercise mats have made our list of home gym equipment everyone needs. You can use exercise mats in a wide variety of workouts, and they take up very little space. Exercise mats provide a slip-resistant space where you can safely perform balancing exercises to your heart’s content. Exercise mats can also be used for other floor exercises, such as planks, push-ups, and other ab exercises. Padded exercise mats are also available, and they can benefit individuals with back pain.
Balance balls often bring images of 80s aerobic exercise videos full of women with big hair and brightly colored leotards to mind, but balance balls have come a long way since then. Sitting astride a balance ball and slightly rocking back and forth can improve core strength, which will increase balance and stability. Variations of the standard balance ball are also available for more advanced individuals to challenge their abilities. Domed balance balls, in which one side is flat and the other is an inflated balance ball, take traditional balance exercises to the next level.
Resistance bands are easily adaptable to any fitness level and can work with many different exercise routines. These small and unassuming bands can help you stretch and add tension to increase resistance. For individuals with less flexibility, resistance bands can help increase your range of motion and gently deepen various stretches. Resistance bands allow for more dynamic stretching, which helps you prepare for your workout by increasing blood flow throughout your body.
Recovery is equally important to your fitness regime; there’s no better way to tend to your sore muscles than with a foam roller. Foam rollers come in multiple sizes and softness to better target your individual muscles. When used during a recovery period, or following a workout, foam roller can help reduce pain and soreness by increasing blood flow and oxygen to your muscles and tissues. You can also use foam rollers prior to your workout to increase flexibility and prevent common injuries that may come from stiff muscles and joints. As with any new exercise or treatment, foam rolling will feel a bit uncomfortable at the beginning. Remember to take it slow—don’t work your muscles too hard at first; applying too much pressure to an inflamed or sore area may only cause more pain.
Stretching is a very important part of any exercise routine. Many people will stretch extensively prior to exercising, but they fail to do so after a workout when muscles are still warm and limber. Using a wooden slant board to stretch calf muscles is a great way to wind down after a strenuous cardio workout. These boards can help reduce strain on calf muscles and ankle joints, and they can effectively reduce the risk of an injury in the future. Slant boards can also help those diagnosed with plantar fasciitis or those who have suffered from an injury related to their Achilles tendon or ACL.
An acupressure mat is a great way to get all the benefits of an expert physical therapy session without the high cost. Acupressure mats target various pressure points across your body as a way to tend to sore muscles and provide natural pain relief. Like foam rollers, acupressure mats are quite versatile; you can use them on multiple muscles. For instance, using an acupressure mat as a neck pillow could reduce headaches and migraines. These mats have also been shown to increase energy levels, improve sleep, and aid in muscle relaxation.
Stop in to one of our stores, located in several cities throughout Michigan, and speak to our team of gym equipment experts to start building your dream home gym.