Finding the motivation to go the gym is not always easy – it’s very rarely easy, to be honest – but what if you didn’t have to go anywhere to get your workout done? What if everything you needed was right there in your garage or spare room?
Creating a home gym might seem like a huge expense and a fair bit of work – lugging home heavy weights from a shop or putting together a treadmill is no walk in the park – but it can be a worthwhile investment. Consider how much time you’ll save travelling to and from the gym, and how much cash you’ll save on membership fees in the long run.
Another advantage is that when assembling your own home workout area, you obviously only need to buy the equipment you’ll actually use. If you’re spending £100 a month on a gym membership and only using the exercise bike and a couple of dumbbells, getting those items for your house is going to save you money within months. Home gym equipment also doesn’t need as much room as you might think, with folding versions of cardio machines and weights systems available for those tight on space.
Below you’ll find our round-ups of equipment to consider for a home gym. Click through and you’ll find our top picks for the most common types of cardio machine and free weights.
Some people might scoff at the idea of buying a home treadmill (“Why not just go outside? It’s free!” they’ll smugly remark, before sitting back down on the sofa) but those people almost certainly haven’t tried to train through the bitter UK winter. Treadmills are expensive – expect to pay £500 to £1,500 for a machine capable of handling everything a regular runner would want, and £300 to £500 for a beginner machine – but if all you do is run, your own machine is a better investment than a gym membership in the medium term.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Treadmills For Home
You can pick up an excellent exercise bike for under £150 or bag an elite-standard bike for around £2,000, so if you’re currently spinning away at the gym it can make a lot of sense to move your training home. Cycling apps like Zwift and The Sufferfest provide all the motivation you’ll need during your sessions – or you can just stick on the TV.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Exercise Bikes For Home
If you’re a dedicated cyclist, then picking up a turbo for your winter training is a no-brainer. Most riders will find all they need in turbos that cost under £150 and the very best are still under £1,000. Besides, the kit takes up next to no space, and it allows you to ride your top-notch racing bike without exposing it or yourself to the elements.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Turbo Trainers
Cross-trainers, or ellipticals, have two major advantages over other cardio machines. The first is that they provide a full-body workout because you push with your hands while cycling your legs. The second is that they put your body under far less stress than running because your feet don’t leave the platforms while you move, which removes the impact on your joints. Cross-trainers are pricy – budget machines are £150 to £300, a sturdy home unit comes in somewhere between £300 and £700, and it’s well over £1,000 for a gym-standard machine – but you’ll need nothing else to get a good workout at home.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Cross-Trainers For Home
Another great option for a full-body cardio workout at home, rowers have the price edge on ellipticals. The very best machines – ones used by Olympians, no less – are around £1,000 and there are several options between £300 and £600 that will satisfy all non-Olympians. Most rowing machines also fold up so they can be tucked away in a cupboard.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Rowing Machines For Home
Dumbbells are the obvious pick for your first free weight purchase. They’re cheap, they’re usually adjustable so you can change the weight, and they can be used for a huge variety of exercises. There are few key choices to make with your dumbbells, including what material, shape and weight range you want. You’ll find all the info you need to make those choices, plus our top picks, in our best dumbbells round-up.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Dumbbells For Home
Plan your workout carefully and one good kettlebell is all you’ll need to work muscles all over the body and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Our buyer’s guide features advice from former British Kettlebell Sport champion Jamie Lloyd to help you pick out the very best bells.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Kettlebells For Home
The pull-up is just about the toughest bodyweight exercise there is and if you want to improve your functional upper body strength, a pull-up bar should be the first bit of home gym kit you pick up. They’re cheap at around £20 for a basic bar they’re, plus they can be hooked over or fitted inside any doorway and then easily stored.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Pull-Up Bars For Home