Have you ever wanted to work out at home, but beyond basic bodyweight exercises, you are not sure what else you can do to get a kickass workout? Or perhaps you dislike going to gyms for whatever reasons – inconsiderate and annoying gym members, costly memberships, overcrowding, poorly maintained equipment and cleanliness or simply that the nearest gym takes up too much of your precious time to travel back and forth.
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Ah, working out in the comfort of home sweet home, one of the best things in life! Now, you might think that you need a lot of space and even a garage, but not everyone is fortunate enough to have a garage in their house or plenty of space.
Ask any home gym owner what equipment should you buy and they will most likely tell you these ‘must-have’ equipment:
- Power rack
- Weightlifting bumper plates and bar
- Rower (Concept 2 – ouch, my wallet is talking)
- Lifting Platform
These equipment will set you back a minimum of $5000 and I’m being conservative. That’s no problem for any serious gym trainee who wants to invest in a great set up, but what if that is out of your budget or you don’t have the luxury of space?
Fret not. I’m going to share with you how you can set up a well-equipped home gym with the most effective low cost equipment so that you can challenge yourself and get kickass workouts at home!
You’re going to need these equipment:
1. Pull Up Bar
Pretty much anyone who has worked out at home has installed a pull up bar once in their life.
You can buy one anywhere from $20 to $100 depending on the quality and type of pull up bar. Personally, I have bought cheap and more costly pull up bars and I can tell you from experience that you should invest in a better quality pull up bar that will last you for ages.
Here are the common types of pull up bars in the market:
Price when Reviewed: $22.28
The basic portable doorway is the cheapest pull up bar you can get. If you are a beginner and struggle to get one pull up, this will suffice for a start. You can find 2 types of doorway bar – portable and mounted.
- Fits in different door widths (get those that can extend in and out sideways)
- No screws/drilling required (unless you get the ones which require you to drill into the doorway)
- Height is adjustable
- Low quality (may bend over a period of usage)
- Foam handles can disintegrate after some time (unless you can find rubber grip handles which are more durable)
- Not as secure as bars which require you to drill (seen those youtube videos of people falling from mid-air when their pull up bar give way?)
Portable Multi-grip Bar
Price when Reviewed: $22.99
Up a notch from the basic portable pull up bar is the portable multi-grip version which allows you to execute different types of pull ups. It will cost a little more, but it is still affordable.
- No drilling required
- Multi-grip for different variations of pull ups
- May not fit all doorways
- Not as durable as metal pull up bars
- Not as secure as drilled in bars
- Screw joints may bend over a period of usage (depends on quality of the bar)
Wall Mounted Multi-grip Pull Up Bar
Price when Reviewed: $59.95
Of all of the different types of pull up bars out there, this is one of the best you can buy. Because it requires you to drill into the wall, you don’t have to worry about falling while pulling yourself up half way! In addition, they are usually made of metal so they are going to last a long time.
- Multi-grip for different variations of pull ups
- Much more durable than other portable pull up bars
- Grips are usually made of rubber (better durability)
- Heavy (which doesn’t matter anymore after you mount them up)
- More expensive than portable pull up bars
- Height not adjustable once drilled in
2. Ab Wheel
Price when Reviewed: $25.67
You would have seen the Ab Wheel around. It is the cheapest fitness equipment you can get at just $10 to $25 depending on the quality made. As basic as it looks, it will give you a great workout for your core muscles. If you want to get sexy abs and a strong core, start rolling your way with the ab wheel!
3. Battling Rope
Price when Reviewed: $64.99 to $86.99 (depending on size and length)
Ropes aren’t just for climbing and sailing. In the last decade, battling ropes have rose in popularity due to how challenging a workout it can be. They are a great tool to have in your arsenal of fitness equipment. Be it doing it solely for a HIIT workout or as a finisher at the end of your workout, it is one exercise that looks easy, but be ready to be humbled by it.
Not only is the battling rope effective for fat loss training, it can help you get nicely sculpted shoulders and arms. You will know what I mean once you start moving those ropes up and down as fast as you can!
Just be aware that there are different lengths and diameters of battling ropes. For females or beginners, get those that are shorter in length and narrower in diameter. And vice versa for those males or those who are more advanced in strength.
Price when Reviewed: $149.95
Who wouldn’t have heard of the TRX if you have been in fitness long enough?
One of the most popular fitness equipment in the industry, some people love it, some hate it. While not the cheapest ‘home’ equipment you can buy, the diverse range of exercises that you can execute with the TRX makes it a valuable add-on to your collection of home exercise equipment.
Because of its portability, you can also pack it in your luggage and continue staying fit while using them in the hotel room when you are traveling overseas.
5. Strength Bands
Price when Reviewed: $37.90 (per unit)
Strength bands are a fantastic exercise tool you can have because of how versatile they are and how challenging they can be. I speak from experience, having used them personally and conducted boot camp classes using bands alone. Pretty sure that my clients were cursing me during the workout.
Strength bands come in different sizes (or rather, thickness). Depending on how strong you are, the different sizes of bands allow you to perform different exercises. As usual, stronger individuals can start using thicker bands and vice versa for females or weaker individuals.
Not only can they help you build lean muscle, it can help you burn fat and improve your endurance as well. Apart from using them directly, they can also be used for barbell work if you do join a gym or decide to purchase a barbell set in the future.
6. Agility Ladder
Price when Reviewed: $13.75
A staple for sport athletes, the agility ladder is typically used to develop agility and speed for better sport performance on the field.
However, you do not need to be an athlete to benefit from the agility ladder. A simple equipment that you can buy or make it yourself for cheap, it is fun to workout with. While some people dislike doing traditional bodybuilding exercises, they love how fun and challenging the agility ladder can be.
Apart from doing agility drills that help improve your agility, footwork and coordination, you can also perform other exercises such as lateral push-ups and jumping squats. Start stepping your way to leaner legs!
7. Swiss Ball
Price when Reviewed: $18.95
One of the cheapest exercise equipment you can buy, the Swiss Ball has been around for a long time. While it is a good tool to have, I have seen it being misused – squats on a Swiss Ball. Are you training to get into the circus?
Some of the things you see trainees or trainers doing is just Mind-boggling. I digress.
While the Swiss Ball is typically used to help strengthen your core muscles, many fitness professionals and therapists recommend it as a chair. Because of its instability, your body has to stay upright and constantly balance itself from falling off. So for those of you who are suffering from poor posture, definitely consider changing your expensive office chair for a cheap alternative that can be used to kick your ass into shape!
Price depends on size
Some of you might not have heard of kettlebells before, but they have been around since the 1700s. Kettlebells were first developed in Russia back then for weighing crops primarily.
And while the Soviet army began utilizing them as part of their physical training programs in the 20th century, they have only become popular in the last decade or so.
Be ready to eat humble pie as these kettle looking little poods can push you to your limits and give you an intense workout like you have never done before.
In the past, kettlebells typically come in 4kg increments (8kg, 12kg, 16kg, 24kg and so on), but in recent years, manufacturers have come out with 2kg increments so that users can progress to heavier weights with better ease.
Probably the most versatile exercise equipment in the market, you can execute tons of exercises, be it to achieve a stronger core, lean and sexy legs, sculpted shoulders and arms or simply an all-round fit, athletic and lean physique.
The only down-side of kettlebells is that while they do not cost as much as a weightlifting set or a power rack, expect to invest a couple of hundred bucks at least, but they will last you forever. For the average female, a good start will be 4kg, 8kg and 12kg. For the average male, start with 8kg, 12kg and 16kg.
There you go. All you need are these 8 effective and low-cost exercise equipment for a kickass workout at home. Forget about wasting money on costly gym memberships which you hardly use at all. Forget about wasting your life away in jams getting to the gym and back. Forget about other gym users that annoy you and make you question the existence of humans. Start working out from home sweet home now and get your family to be fit and healthy too!
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This article is written by Carl Chia of http://www.carlchiafitness.com who is a personal trainer, strength & conditioning and exercise nutrition coach from Singapore. For useful tips on how to become leaner, stronger and all things related to fitness and training, check out his website!