Home Gym Buyers Guide
When it comes to finding a home gym it’s way more difficult than trying to decide which piece of cardio equipment to buy. In this guide to buying a home gym I’ll help you get to grips with the different types of home gyms, and understand which type of home gym is right for you and your fitness goals.
The Different Types of Home Gym
The choice a person has over which kind of home gym to choose is overwhelming. The sheer variety is mind numbing. If you don’t know what you’re looking for then choosing from these can be difficult:
- Weight benches
- Leverage gyms
- Power rod gyms
- Single stack gyms
- Resistance bands
- Smith machines
- Power racks
- Cable crossover machines
- Multi station gyms
The choice is seemingly never ending.
Before you head out on your shopping travels, it’s essential that you have an understanding of what it is you will need from your home gym, if you don’t it’s impossible to make an informed decision.
Each type of home gym has a certain form of resistance. The more common resistance types include:
- Weight plates (much like smith machine, power racks or stack machines like the Body-Solid EXM 1500S for example)
- Leverage plate loaded (example being the Powertec Multi System Workbench)
- Resistance tubing (like the Bodylastics Resistance Bands)
- Power Rods (like the Bowflex machines such as the PR3000)
The choice between them comes down to what your goals are and of course, the budget you’re working with.
Weight plate loaded machines are great for power lifters and those looking to build serious muscle. They don’t have limits in terms of resistance and you can swap and change weight plates on a whim.
The fixed stack machines like the EXM 1500S are a good choice for those looking to tone up and increase strength, they’re similar in size and function as to commercial gym equipment.
The leverage plate loaded machines like those from Powertec are a good option for those wishing to lift heavier weights but want to do so safely without the use of a spotter.
Resistance bands like the ones from Bodylastics are a great option for those with limited space and budget. Also, if you travel a lot they can be handy thing to have as backup when you don’t have access to a gym. Resistance bands are ideal for people looking to tone up rather than build muscle.
Power rods like the ones found on all Bowflex home gyms are the perfect choice for the majority of people. They have a maximum resistance of just over 400lbs and they combine multiple exercises.
Your Exercise Needs
On a general note, the more you spend on a home gym the more exercise options you’ll get. No matter what your goals are with a home gym, you should always look for one that can perform the main lifts including chest press, lat pulldowns, squat, tricep extensions, and curls. If they don’t ascertain all of those then you know it’s not the right gym for you.
No matter what a home gym claims it can do, nothing can beat a free weights for an effective workout.
The Bottom Line – Price!
You’ve looked at your goals, you’ve determined what pieces of equipment you’ll need, you’ve even envisioned how they’ll fit in to your home, but as with everything you’re looking to buy, it all boils down to price!
You can pick up a home gym these days for a lot less then you’d pay for a fancy piece of cardio equipment.
For a little under $100 you can pick up the Bodylastics Resistance Bands, a perfect choice in addition to any home gym. Depending on your goals they can also provide everything you need from a home gym.
An essential piece of equipment for any home gym is a weight bench (preferably adjustable). Buy one of these with some adjustable dumbbells and it will blow most of the cheaper home gyms out of the water.
If you’re looking into buying a single station machine with a built in weight stack then you can expect to pay around $500-$650 for a quality one. However, any less and you’re probably buying a piece of junk.
For an all purpose multi function home gym of real quality then you can expect to pay between $800-$4000.
When buying any home gym, always look at the length of parts warranty, this generally gives an idea of how well the gym is made. Frame warranty is important too, if you have a home gym that has a frame warranty of just 1 year you can expect it to be pretty poorly built. Vice versa if it comes with a 10 year warranty.
Perhaps common sense, but before you go to the store or online to buy, always carry out extensive research. That doesn’t just mean read reviews on the site that sells them, ask around in forums, look for threads on the topic, check on this site, look on Amazon for feedback. Ask people about their experiences with it too and ask how the customer support was if they used it.
Just get an expert understanding of everything before you commit to buy, if you don’t you may just regret it.