Thursday, March 27, 2008

Build Your Own Fitness Home Gym

If you are looking to build a home gym this year, there are some important criteria that should be taken into consideration. A good home gym offers versatility, the ability to have a few pieces of exercise equipment perform a wide variety of exercises. It must be durable and be able to handle the rigors of hard resistance training over a long period of time. Exercise equipment shouldn't take up a lot of space. There are many exercises you can do with your own body weight and a mat, so the home gym equipment shouldn't clutter up the workout space, nor be difficult to store. Finally it should be affordable. No one likes investing in a $1000 home gym just to use it as a coat rack or have it collecting dust in the corner within 3 months. This list of exercise equipment should offer solutions in each category listed above and it should provide a challenging and fun workout environment.

Exercise Ball

One of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment, the exercise ball can be used in place of a bench for any supine or seated exercise. The exercise ball comes in a variety of sizes and depending on brand, is made of varying material. Because of the stress placed on a ball during a workout, it is important to look for a ball that is burst proof and it will not pop under you during a workout. To obtain the right size, a ball that sits with your hips and knees at 90 degrees is most likely what you should use for a majority of the exercises. For most, a 55cm or 65cm ball is sufficient. An exercise ball can be purchased for around $25-$60.

The exercise ball will provide an element of instability that cannot be duplicated by a bench; therefore you can improve core stability, and strengthen the integrity of your joints including shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. The more stable you become, the stronger you will be and will drastically reduce the incidence of injury.


A good home gym isn't complete without a few sets of dumbbells. 5-50lbs in increments of 5 will make a complete set for every type of exercise. Dumbbells are good for full body exercises that resist gravity. Exercises such as lunges, squats, shoulder press, bicep curl and chest press are just a few on the list of dumbbell exercises. They are durable, versatile, and a good set will last you a lifetime. A good set of dumbbells may cost $50-$100 for 3-4 sets of varying weight.

Foam Roll

A hard foam cylinder is used for self myfascial release, or self massage. A supplement to stretching, a foam roll can help to increase flexibility in a way that stretching cannot. In addition, it can help to relieve knots and adhesions within muscle tissue. If you don't like being sore after a workout, a foam roll can help to alleviate the soreness and therefore should be a staple item for your home gym. Invest $20 in a good foam roll that will take away your pain and soreness after a tough workout.


The Xerdisc is an air filled rubber disc used for improving balance, and stability. The same exercises that you do while standing (ie..shoulder press, squat, bicep curl) can all be done while standing on an Exerdisc. Improving joint integrity and balance will allow you to become a more stable, stronger individual and the exercises are fun and challenging. It can also be used for ab exercises such as crunches, and anything you can do to make ab exercises harder has to be good! A quality Xerdisc may run about $40.


Tubing comes in a variety of sizes based on the level of tension you want. Tubing can be used for most exercises in place of dumbbells and they will provide a variable tension. The plus side to using tubing is that you can gain resistance from a lateral position that dumbbells cannot provide. Exercises such as wood chops, torso twists, and pulling exercises like the bent row and lat pull are just a few that you can do with tubing that you can't get with other forms or resistance. Tubing is also safe for seniors looking to stay active as there is no risk of dropping the weight. Tubing is color coded in relation to the resistance it provides. I suggest 3-5 different tubes from thin to thick to give you opportunity to perform many exercises with small and large muscle groups. They are usually about $5-$8 a piece and can be used around doorknobs, in door jams and any other stationary post.

This exercise equipment should provide everyone from the novice to the advanced, a well rounded home gym that you can invest in for less than $200 total. The level of versatility, durability, and challenge that is provided by these pieces of equipment is unmatched by any single unit you can buy, and should give you years of workouts that can be changed and progressed as you continue to get into better and better shape. Consult with your personal trainer as to what exercise equipment may be best for your home gym.

Copyright (c) 2007 Charles Carter

Charles Carter, BS in Exercise Science is President of LIVE, llc of - visit the website for more information on weight loss, core fitness programs, optimal diets, and online personal trainer and dietician services. For more information on products go to

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