EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from Women's Home Workout Bible (Human Kinetics, 2009) by Diet-to-Go fitness contributor Brad Schoenfeld. Read the feature then see how you can get a free copy of this economical and insightful new book!
Setting Up a Home Gym: The Essentials
by Brad Schoenfeld, DTG Fitness Pro
& author of Women's Home Workout Bible
First, the good news: You don't need to spend a fortune on a home gym. No matter what your budget is, you can build a gym that suits your needs. Now for the caveat: The less money you have the more savvy you need to be in making your purchases.
The key to getting the best value for your money is to prioritize. If your financial resources are limited, focus on obtaining equipment for resistance training first.
The reason is simple: A good resistance-training workout is more dependent on equipment than a cardio workout. Although you can do resistance training using only your body weight, results will be compromised.
Once you've satisfied these requirements, if there's anything left in your budget, you can shift your attention to buying a cardio unit.
To guide you in your efforts, I've designed four categories with exercises and equipment for different budgets. As the budgets increase in each successive category, so does the amount of equipment. Thus, the $500 budget includes exercises from the $100 budget, and the $1,000 budget includes exercises from both the $100 and $500 budgets.
To emphasize the importance of first acquiring the necessary tools for resistance training, I have not included cardio equipment in any of the budgets. If your finances allow, add the cardio equipment afterward. Otherwise, see chapter 6 for innovative ways to get a good cardio workout with little or no equipment.
Budget of up to $100
Don't have a lot of disposable income? No problem. You can perform a myriad of exercises by using your body weight, a stability ball, a chinning bar, leg weights, and a set of resistance bands. Total cost: less than a hundred bucks. Further offset your expenditures by using ordinary household items to supplement your routine. See chapter 3 for a complete discussion.
Budget of up to $500
By increasing your budget to around $500, you can add a high-quality bench and some dumbbells to the mix. The additional expense comes out to less than a year of membership at most health clubs. If you can possibly commit the funds, it's an investment worth making. Chapter 4 delves into this topic in detail.
Budget of up to $1,000
An expenditure of approximately one grand gets you a fairly well-stocked home gym. In addition to the equipment in the previous budget, the extra cash allows you to add barbells and an upgraded bench with a power rack. You'll have a nice little setup with lots of possibilities for varying your routine. The second half of chapter 4 covers all the specifics.
Budget of $2,500 or more
When you invest $2,500 or more, you're into the big time as far as home gyms are concerned. The major purchase here is a multifunction resistance unit with a cable apparatus. This piece, when combined with the other home equipment, comes closest to simulating the health-club experience. All that's missing is the masseuse and the personal trainer. Chapter 5 provides a complete overview of what's important when considering machines.
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Author: John McGran