How to build your home gym on a shoestring

It is the dream of many people to have their own home gym filled with an elliptical, treadmill, functional trainer, bike, weight set etc.  However, this type of investment is not feasible for a lot of people. So I am going to try to give you some ideas on how to put together an effective home gym on a shoestring budget.

Let’s start off with some basics.  The first and simplest piece of equipment you will need will cost you around $100 – a good pair of training shoes.  Obviously strapping on your trainers and going for a stint around the block is a great cardiovascular workout.  But a good pair of training shoes is the foundation for any workout.  Next, a few simple tools you can us to put your slick new trainers to some good use:

–    Exercise ball: This is a must for every home gym. For approximately $50.  You can get a good quality exercise ball. It is the most versatile piece of equipment for you core training, plus it can double as a workout bench for most of you chest and back workouts. Place you feet up against the wall while lying prone (facing down) on the ball and you can even use it for hyper-extensions. It can also offer some variation for you leg workouts. For instance, try squeezing the ball between your back and the wall while you do squats to take some of the pressure of your lower back target you glutes more. Or put you rear foot on the ball while doing lunges to isolate one leg and add some instability. To shred your core, try doing a plank with your hands on ball and then bring one knee forward to touch you wrist. Repeat for the other side. Or switch it around and do the same thing with you feet on the ball. Slight variations of these simple exercises can make it easier or harder.


–    TRX Suspension Trainer: You pick up a basic TRX kit for around $150.-. This workout piece was developed by a navy seal and can is an extremely functional strength piece. You can anchor it to your ceiling or you can use a door anchor to attach it above you door. The suspension training requires you to keep you core tight during the entire exercise in order to keep you body straight. It is easy to progress and make exercise more difficult by simple adjusting the angle at which you perform the exercises.

–    Powerblock dumbbells: Dumbbell training is one of the oldest and still most popular types of training. Traditional dumbbells however, take up a lot room and are very pricey. The Powerblocks are an all in one dumbbell so that you only need one set of dumbbells and you can simply select the size you need for each individual set. They come in a steel or urethane construction and are extremely durable with an awesome warranty (15 years for the steel, lifetime for the urethane). There are several different sets to choose from, with prices starting as low as $150.-. Their weight ranges from 3lbs all the way to 130lbs.

–    Flat / Incline / Decline Bench: A good flat/incline/decline (FID) bench can be purchased for around $260.-. Along with a set of Powerblock dumbbells a FID will offer you dozens of strength training possibilities for every body part. In a decline position it doubles as a sit up bench and when you set it to flat you can use it for step ups or lunges.

–    Sandbells: Use these instead of a medicine ball for you core workouts. The sand shifting in between your fingers will force you to train your grip strength. It will also force more of your stabilizing muscles to contract during you workouts. You can also use these versatile devices for kettlebell type swings, snatches, whole body slams, tosses and they even double as gliders. Take a look at this blog post that compares Sandbells to Kettlebells and Kettleballs.

 –    Resistance tubes: Good quality resistance bands vary in price from around $15. – – $50. – based on length and tension. With the addition of a $5. – Door anchor these can be used for whole body resistance training.

With a combination of these devices you’ll have all the tools to get in shape in the comfort of your own home without breaking the bank.  If you want to add a larger cardio piece to your home gym, the most cost efficient pieces are spin cycles and rowing machines. You can get good quality units for under $600.  (keep in mind, stay away from treadmills and ellipticals around this price point).


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