3 Essentials for Building a Home Gym

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3 Essentials for Building a Home Gym

Mike Phillips, Ph.D., CSCS and J.P. Barfield, D.A., FACSM |  Jan. 10, 2022

3 Essentials for Building a Home GymIf you’re one of the many people whose exercise routine was interrupted by the pandemic, setting up a home gym could be the right choice in 2022. According to the 2022 ACSM Health & Fitness Journal Fitness Trends Survey, the number two fitness trend is home exercise gyms.  Since online programs routinely offer 24/7 availability, including group or individual options, plenty of people are choosing to build their own home gym.

Why train at home? Many people prefer the lower membership costs, increased privacy, improved health and cleanliness, and reduced total time commitment (no commute!).

Here are three tips for creating your very own home gym.

Choose the right space

Exercise equipment is trendy and can change from year to year, but you probably can’t change up your exercise room as easily as you can swap equipment. Since there are a lot of different equipment options that address your desired outcomes (e.g., cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness), be sure to choose a space that will work for you in the long term and doesn’t disrupt your housemates. 

Choose the right exercises and equipment

Now that you’ve selected your space, pick routines and equipment that will work best within it. If space is limited, go for multipurpose equipment:

  • Stability balls for strengthening muscles, balance training, and increasing stability.  
  • Resistance bands for a wide variety of single-joint and multi-joint resistance exercises, as well as many stretching and mobility exercises.
  • Kettlebells for total-body strength and resistance training.
  • Yoga mats for yoga, Pilates, stretching and mobility.
  • Foam rollers for breaking up adhesions, decreasing soreness and promoting blood flow. 

You can use much of the above equipment to increase your aerobic fitness if you take only short rest breaks between sets and exercises. However, if space isn’t an issue and cardio is more your thing, select high-quality aerobic equipment to avoid constant repairs and replacement. Some great options include:

Choose the right support

A lot of us need external motivation to stay focused through our workouts, and that’s often what’s missing from a home gym. It can be easy to fall short of our workout goals without someone keeping us honest. Fortunately, there are great support options to keep you committed. 

  • Virtual personal trainer. Apps, blogs, and real-time trainers can help you plan and build your exercise program appropriately. The ACSM Pro Finder can help you find an ACSM-certified trainer.
  • Streamed workouts are great options with pre-designed routines to follow. Some require you to buy specific equipment (e.g., Peloton, Hydrow, MIRROR), but many need minimal or no equipment. There are also a variety of streaming platforms, so you may be able to view your workouts on your phone, tablet, computer or television. 
  • Workout buddy. It’s harder to skip a session when someone is joining you (friend, partner, child). A great way to stay motivated at home is to schedule a weekly routine with someone you live with or who can get to your workouts easily.

In 2022, a home gym makes a lot of sense for considerably fewer cents. Cutting out the commute is a huge benefit, and a variety of equipment and supports can come together to create an exercise routine that works for you.

Related Links:
Downloadable resource | Choosing the right professional trainer
Additional resources | Staying Physically Active during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Infographic | Home Weight Room Equipment

Michael Phillips

Mike Phillips, Ph.D., CSCS is a professor of exercise science at Tennessee Tech University.

J.P. Barfield

J.P. Barfield, D.A., FACSM is associate dean for the School of Health Sciences at Emory & Henry College.