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ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Build a Home Gym with this Budget Friendly Fitness Equipment

Build a Home Gym with this Budget Friendly Fitness Equipment

Reading Time: 5 minutes 42 seconds


DATE: 2021-07-02

Cost should never be an impediment to fitness. Interactive cycling bikes and boutique gyms may be popular, but not everyone can afford them. If you're on a budget, you can create a home gym without spending an arm and a leg. Here's how to do it.

Budgeting Fitness - Gym Membership or Home Gym?

If you're ready to get serious about fitness, you have an important decision to make: where you'll work out. There are pros and cons for both working out in a gym and at home. One of the most important is cost. If you don't have a lot to spend on fitness, you need to consider which option is more budget friendly.

The answer, unfortunately, is not clear cut. It depends on your goals. If you need weight machines, for instance, to meet your specific fitness goals, a gym membership may cost less than buying everything for a home gym. On the other hand, if your goals allow you to use simpler pieces, staying home could be more cost effective. Here are some things to consider:

  • Generally, if you plan to work on fitness for years, a home gym is probably most affordable. It may require a big initial investment, but for a gym you'll keep paying month after month.

  • The average cost of a gym membership is $58 per month.

  • Paying $58 per month amounts to nearly $700 per year. Over just five years, that gym will cost you $3,500.

  • A basic gym membership may not include the cost of extras. You could pay more per month to get all the services.

  • If you live in a city, the monthly cost of a gym membership is typically more than $58.

Check out these exercises you can do at home as alternatives to your favorite gym machines that are just as effective.

Try This Budget Friendly Fitness Equipment for Your Home Gym

If you've run the numbers and decided it makes more sense to create a home gym, you can still do it without breaking the bank. Big, fancy equipment is fun to use and, in some ways, can make training easier, but it isn't necessary for most people. Build an affordable gym in your home with this budget friendly equipment:

A Jump Rope

Home gym equipment doesn't get much cheaper than a jump rope, or more basic. Basic isn't bad in this case, though. You can get an excellent cardio workout with nothing more than a jump rope. It's portable too, so you can take your workout to the backyard on a nice day or on a business trip or vacation. Start small if you haven't jumped rope since elementary school. Use it for just a few minutes a day as you build up the right strength and endurance to do it safely.

A jump rope is just one of a few inexpensive pieces of workout equipment experts consider must-haves for a home gym. See what the others are here.

Yoga Mat

You'll never want to get down on the floor to do push-ups, planks, and other bodyweight exercises without a good mat. You can do a lot with body weight, so don't forget to add a mat to your budget friendly home gym.

With a good mat, you can do yoga, floor Pilates exercises, and all types of bodyweight moves, from push-ups to crunches. A mat also prevents injuries by giving you a little cushioning when doing all types of workouts.

Step or Plyo Box

If you have something sturdy to step up on or sit on, you can do a lot of exercises. Weighted step-ups will give you a heart-pumping cardio workout, and a box or step also gives you a firm base for doing upper bodyweight exercises. Use them for power plyo moves to build strength, agility, and speed.

Exercise Ball

An exercise or stability ball is a versatile and inexpensive piece of gym equipment. You can find entire workouts built around using a ball and your own body weight. It's great for ab work especially because the ball forces you to use your core muscles to remain upright and stable.

You can even use a stability ball in place of a workout bench for things like chest presses and bent over rows. Just be sure to work your way up from simple moves on the ball to more challenging exercises requiring balance. Falling off a ball can cause injuries, for instance striking your knees on a hard surface.

Free Weights or Kettlebells

Weight machines are great for targeting specific muscles and hitting bodybuilding goals, but they aren't necessary for strength training. Free weights or a set of kettlebells provide everything you need to get a good resistance workout.

Which style of weight is better for your workout goals? Check out this ISSA blog that considers the dumbbell versus the kettlebell.

Resistance Bands

An even cheaper set of equipment for strength training, resistance bands are versatile and durable. Buy one set of bands with varying levels of resistance, and you can target just about every muscle in the body. The different resistance levels allow you to progress.

Make sure you have something sturdy in your gym for attaching your resistance band. You can do a lot of exercises without it but being able to hook a band onto something fixed will give you more options. A quick online search will give you some ideas for safely anchoring resistance bands to a door.

Suspension Training Set

If you can afford to spend a little more on resistance training, look for a set designed for suspension training, like TRX. You can anchor the system on doors and beams inside or on a tree for an outside workout. As compared to resistance bands, these sets allow for more moves that hit muscle groups.

You can do squats, chest presses, rows, lunges, hamstring curls, and much more with a suspension set. These include exercises that mimic what you can do with weight machines in the gym. The TRX system comes with instructions for doing exercises and access to an app with thousands of workouts. Start with beginner moves and work your way up to more difficult exercises to avoid injuries and accidents.

Pull-up Bar

For the ultimate upper body and core workout, all you really need is a pull-up bar. They are inexpensive and fit into any doorway. If you can do pull-ups and chin-ups, you'll build strength in most of your back muscles, your arms and shoulders, and even your hands. There are more variations on a pull-up than you imagined. You can do a lot with this inexpensive bar.

Running Shoes

Take your home gym outside. Running is one of the most effective and inexpensive types of workouts you can do. You don't need an expensive pair of shoes, but they should fit properly and match your gait to avoid injury. Go to a local running store for expert advice on the best pair for you.

Buy Used Fitness Equipment

To get pricier pieces of equipment at the best price, contact gyms in your area. Many gyms sell their used equipment at a good price. They have to replace equipment from time to time, and if they can get some additional money out of them, they will.

Contact gyms in your area to find out if they're having a sale any time soon. Also keep an eye out for any gyms closing. Unfortunately, gyms sometimes go out of business, especially since the onset of the pandemic. They generally try to recoup some of their losses, which means you can get a good deal on used fitness equipment.

You can also find used equipment from individuals liquidating their own home gyms. Look on Craigslist, Facebook marketplaces, and similar sites. You'll see people selling their rowing machine, treadmill, bike, squat rack, and more.

Working out at home or in a gym is a matter of choice and budget. If you prefer to stay at home, you can get a great workout using inexpensive equipment, your own bodyweight, and the right knowledge. If you're working with clients virtually, give them these suggestions for budget-friendly additions to their home gym.

To learn everything you need to know about fitness, equipment, and helping people meet their goals, check out the ISSA's Certified Personal Trainer - Self-Guided Study Program. Learn online and at your own pace to become a professional trainer.

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