home sweet home gym

    LET’S FACE IT — THE GYM ISN’T FOR EVERYONE, and if you’re not a fan of crowds, packed parking lots or equipment christened by other people’s sweat, training at home could be your dream come true. The good news is that building a decent home gym is easier than ever, and the key to creating the perfect training space is selecting the equipment that best suits your goals, your space and your budget.

    Check out these four spatial scenarios and their associated equipment suggestions. Then mix and match the gear from any of them to create a gym perfectly tailored for you. Hello instant workouts, goodbye excuses!

    the tiny house

    Whether you literally live in a dollhouse on wheels or a studio apartment, you need to equip your space carefully to ensure that your gear doesn’t double as furniture. Portable, multifunctional equipment is best here so you can set up anywhere and get your sweat on.


    Suspension Trainer A suspension trainer leverages your own bodyweight for resistance, and simply changing your angle or body position can modify any exercise to make it harder or easier. And because the trainer is just a simple set of straps and handles, it hardly takes up any square footage in a drawer or cabinet.

    Resistance Bands No room for a rack of dumbbells? Then invest in a set of resistance bands. They are cheap and versatile and can be used in place of dumbbells or barbells for just about every move you can think of. Purchase a few different “weights” to give yourself options during training.

    Jump Rope Not everyone has the space (or the money) for a treadmill or elliptical trainer, but truth be told, you don’t need a machine to get your sweat on. Jumping rope is one of the most time- and spaceefficient ways to burn a ton of calories while building endurance and cardiovascular fortitude.


    TRX Suspension Trainer $200, trx.com (includes 1-year premium membership)

    Yoga Mat $30, gaiam.com

    TriggerPoint Ball $20, triggerpoint.implus.com

    Resistance Bands $15-$20 (each), performbetter.com

    Kettlebell $90, 16 kg (35 lb), kettlebellkings.com

    Crossrope Speed LE Set $128, crossrope.com

    TOTAL INVESTMENT $400-$500

    *All prices are estimates; cost will vary by brand


    Either perform this workout using straight sets to build strength or create a heartpumping circuit by doing the moves back-to-back with no rest in between for two to three rounds.

    the suburbanite setup

    Out in the ’burbs, you have a little more room to kick around, and here a guest room or den can easily double as your workout space. In addition to being able to house all the suggested Tiny House gear, you are more at liberty to expand your equipment horizons. However, your space still needs to be multifunctional and neat with equipment that can be collapsed or hidden away when company calls.


    Foldable Bench

    Unless you’re planning on using your flat bench for extra seating at the dinner table, you’ll want to be able to stash it when your in-laws are in town. Most foldable benches collapse completely flat and can be rolled underneath a bed or hidden in the back of a closet.

    Parallel Training Bars

    Though they look simple, a set of parallel bars can be used for hundreds of strength moves, and they are appropriate for exercisers of all levels. Perform moves such as dips, push-ups, L-sits and leg raises, as well as stretches and mobility training.


    If you don’t have the wall space to house a bulky rack of weights, then an adjustable dumbbell set is a must-have. This system allows you to change your weight up or down in increments, and when not in use, it can be stashed in the corner without issue.


    Pro Series Expandable (5-50 lb) $440, powerblock.com

    Stability Ball $45, performbetter.com

    Deck Folding Bench $180, power-systems.com

    Parallel Training Bars $110, lebertfitness.com

    Spinner L5 Spin Bike $600


    Parallel Training Bars


    Perform as many reps as you can of each move in 30 seconds and rest minimally between exercises. Cycle (or do another form of cardio) for five minutes at a moderately intense pace, then rest one minute. Complete two to three rounds.


    Lateral Dumbbell Step-Up to Overhead Press 30 seconds

    Flat-Bench Dumbbell Press 30 seconds

    Dumbbell Rear-Leg Elevated Split Squat 30 seconds

    Bent-Over Two-Arm Dumbbell Row 30 seconds

    Stability-Ball Hamstring Curl 30 seconds

    Cycle 5 minutes

    Rest 1 minute

    Vision Bored When choosing a large piece of equipment such as a stationary bike, treadmill or rowing machine, consider the footprint (how much space it will take up), whether it can be easily accessed for maintenance or adjustments, and what is in your line of sight when you use it. Because it won’t matter how many bells and whistles it has if all you have to look at is a blank wall.

    garage girl

    Let’s face it — no one uses their garage for cars anymore, and besides, who doesn’t want the kind of fitness space that spills out into the driveway and makes the neighbors jealous? With this setup, you bring some of the niceties of a commercial facility into your own domain and will never have to share a chalk-crusted power rack again.


    CrossFit Home Gym Package

    Even if you’re not into CrossFit WODs, a setup such as this delivers all the equipment bells and whistles in a single package, and usually at a lower price point than if you were to purchase all the items separately. Depending on the company, a package might include barbells, a rack, bumper plates, a rowing machine, a climbing rope, rings, medicine ball(s) and more.


    hether you used to have cars in there or not, most garage floors are less than pristine, with oil stains, outdoor grime and (yipe!) spiders. A puzzle-piece rubberized floor is easy to install, allowing you to rise above the grit while also giving you the option of easy removal if you decide your car indeed needs shelter.

    Plyometric Box

    A solid plyo box is an incredible in-home tool and can be used to train your whole body with or without weight. Step-ups, dips, box jumps and endless plyometric drills are at your fingertips.


    Foldable Wall-Mount Rack $500, roguefitness.com

    CrossFit Home Gym Package (includes barbell, plate set, Concept2 Rower, climbing rope, rings, medicine ball, slam ball, 5 kettlebells, AbMat) $2,725, roguefitness.com

    Plyometric Box $135, roguefitness.com

    Superbands (Pull-Up Package) $70, roguefitness.com

    Rogue Echo Bike $800, roguefitness.com

    Gym Flooring $1,000-$1,500, rubberflooringinc.com

    TOTAL INVESTMENT $5,230-$5,730


    After a thorough warm-up, complete as many rounds and reps as possible (AMRAP) of the following workout in 25 minutes. Record your score and try to beat it next time.

    the she shed

    If you’re lucky enough to have a no-limit budget, get your gym out of the house and into its own space. This custom setup includes state-of-the-art equipment that collects all your metrics, integrating ondemand boutique studio classes (such as those offered by Peloton and Technogym) and your own biostats to help you maintain motivation and track your progress.


    Peloton Bike

    Enjoy the intensity and camaraderie of a group fitness class — without leaving your home. Peloton offers more than 90 live weekly classes that range from five to 90 minutes and that are led by some of the most popular instructors around. See your realtime metrics, such as heart rate, cadence and output, and compare them with others who are virtually working out with you.

    Multifunction Machine

    There are a bevy of options (and price points) for this kind of equipment, so look for a product that allows you to perform a multitude of your favorite exercises. If you can see the machine in person, test it out and make sure everything locks securely and that all moving parts glide smoothly.

    Skillrun Treadmill

    This incredible piece of equipment gives you a treadmill, a sled and a parachute trainer all in one. It provides guided workouts and a large touch screen, and an easy-toreach toggle makes increasing and decreasing speed and intensity a snap.


    Choose a light to moderate weight for the strength moves, and work at 70 to 75 percent max effort during the cardio intervals. Rest 30 to 60 seconds between strength moves, and complete the workout two times through.


    Cable Single-Legged Deadlift to Row 15 (each side)

    Cable Squat to Woodchop 15 (each side)

    Treadmill Run5 minutes

    Cycle5 minutes

    Smith-Machine Hip Thrust 15

    Dumbbell Flat Bench Press 15

    Treadmill Run5 minutes

    Cycle5 minutes

    Medicine-Ball V-Up 15

    BOSU Side Shuffle 30 seconds

    Treadmill Run5 minutes

    Cycle5 minutes


    Skillrun Treadmill $10,000+

    Peloton Works Package $2,500, onepeleton.com (membership not included)

    Dumbbell Set and Rack $900, fitnessfactory.com

    Multifunction Smith/Cable Machine $6,100, tuffstuffitness.com

    Adjustable Bench $330, bowflex.com

    Rubberized Plate Set $575, yorkbarbell.com

    Medicine-Ball Set and Rack $640, (8 balls, 6-20 lb) performbetter.com

    BOSU Elite Balance Trainer $200, bosu.com

    Yoga Mat, Blocks, Foam Rollers, Resistance Bands $150-$200, performbetter.com

    Gym Flooring $1,000-$2,000, rubberflooringinc.com

    TOTAL COST $22,395-$23,515


    Want to outfit your home gym like a pro? Come to the IDEA World Convention July 8-12, 2020, in Anaheim, California, to test-drive the latest and greatest in fitness equipment on the expo floor! ideafit.com

    Making the Grade

    Fitness equipment comes in different “grades” based on how much it is going to be used, and most large companies make multiple versions of the same piece: home, light commercial and full commercial. Home-grade equipment is typically the cheapest and will withstand consistent use by one or two people, at most. The light commercial version is more reliable and will have the sturdier feel of a piece you’d find at your local gym or box. A full commercial piece is an absolute necessity for anyone planning on having multiple people use it throughout the day — for example, if you’re setting up a small studio to train clients or have a number of friends chipping in on it.

    Also, beware of the crappy stuff. “The biggest mistake people make when buying equipment online is not knowing the quality of the source,” says Ron Martin, sales manager at FitOne Fitness. Purchase from companies with a reputable name in the commercial and studio gym settings, even if you’re buying the home version of their gear. If you already train at a gym, you will recognize the more reputable names such as Precor, Life Fitness, Freemotion, Hammer Strength, York, Rogue, Perform Better and TRX. If it’s been a while since you had a membership and you’re unsure what is best at present, consult a specialized fitness equipment store and sales staff (steer clear of big chains) to steer you in the right direction, or attend a fitness conference expo and try the equipment out for yourself.