Designing Your Home Gym

Exercising at home is a great alternative for anyone who is short on time, looking for convenience, or doesn’t enjoy the busyness of a commercial gym. Many people interested in setting up a home gym aren’t sure where to start. Before you invest time and money in designing a gym of your own, consider your needs, available space, and budget. There is a wide variety of home equipment available on the market. Choosing from the many options can be a challenge. Always make sure you test a piece of equipment before you buy it. Here are some factors to consider when creating a home gym.

Creating your home gym doesn’t have to break your bank. Look at your fitness needs. Do you want a large piece of equipment like an elliptical, or are you looking for smaller pieces like an exercise ball, band, or jump rope. If you are looking for a larger piece of equipment like a treadmill or an elliptical remember you will usually get what you pay for. When it comes to exercise equipment of this caliber, expensive equipment is priced high for a reason. High-quality equipment that will last for years and not become a clothes hanger can’t be made cheaply. However, there are options for every budget. For example, if you really want a $1500 stair stepper, but it isn’t in your budget, some quality step training DVD’s and a set of benches with risers can be purchased for about $150. You can find the step and risers at any major discount store. This would be a better choice than purchasing a $300 machine that provides a rough workout and will wear out quickly.

You might also try buying from a used equipment store with a good reputation. Push, Pedal and Pull and Second Wind are two Twin Cities stores that sell used equipment. Other less costly and very useful items include a BOSU balance trainer, exercise ball, kettle bell, jump rope, hand weights, and exercise band. Most can be found at your larger discount stores and come with an exercise video to show you how to use it. 
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 here to view product reviews of a variety of pieces of equipment listed under a variety of different categories.

Will other people in your household be using the home gym equipment? Make sure the equipment you purchase can help everyone using it achieve their goals.

Equipment Design and Features 
If you are going to purchase a large piece of equipment ask the vendor about the warranty and service plan. For example, most treadmills will need to have their belts serviced. Find out if your vendor will do that for free or if there is an extra cost for that service. The equipment should also be adjustable and easy to learn. There should not be any design flaws or weaknesses in the equipment that will increase the chances of injury.

Square Footage 
Look at the space you have available. You may want to purchase a treadmill and have the money available, but you may not have the space. Make sure to take ceiling height into consideration as well. Here are some guidelines to consider when looking at how much room you will need:

• Treadmill and elliptical – 30 square feet each 
• Single station gym – 35 square feet 
• Free weights – 20 to 50 square feet 
• Stationary bike and stair stepper – 10 to 20 square feet each 
• Multi-station gym – 50 to 200 square feet

Finally, before going out and spending money and time on equipment, be honest with yourself about how much you will use your home gym. Is it worth the investment? It’s also important to understand how to exercise safely and to have your doctor’s clearance if you have not participated in any activity for quite some time, or you are under a doctor’s care for a chronic medical condition.