I have to preface this article with a brief warning. I’m not writing this for anyone planning to install a fleet of Nautilus machines next to their sauna room.
Instead, I’m writing this for anyone who’s trying to figure out what the essential and most effective equipment is that they need to create an effective and smart home fitness regimen.
I’m staying away from large and fancy machines and just sticking with the basics that anyone can use to perform the types of compound full body exercises that will bulletproof their bodies and give them a strong and healthy physique.
Below I’ve listed three items that are at the core of any good home gym.
So, exactly what is the best home gym equipment:
Tim Ferris, author of “The 4-Hour Work Week” and “The 4-Hour Body,” was once quoted as saying that a kettlebell was like a complete home gym with only one piece of equipment and I whole heartedly agree with him.
I stumbled across kettlebells a few years ago and I’ve become steadily more obsessed with them.
In fact, about a year ago I actually put the last of my dumbbells in a closet near my garage and haven’t touched them since.
The reason why is that I’ve completely moved away from doing any kind of tedious muscle isolating exercises such as bicep curls or tricep kickbacks in favor of whole body compound movements like the shoulder press and pull up.
Kettlebells give you access to all of the same exercises which you can do with dumbbells plus a whole group of new and fantastic exercises which utilize the unique characteristics of the bell.
One of the best and most well known examples of these is the kettlebell swing which works all of the massive muscles along the posterior chain and has been shown to have tremendous benefits to your lower back. It also torches calories faster than any form of cardio.
The kettlebell can also be used to perform any of the same lifting exercises that dumbbells are traditionally used for but also adds a secondary conditioning element to them.
Because the weight of the kettlebell shifts as you move, due to its constantly shifting center of gravity center of gravity, it requires an increased amount of balance and conditioning to properly use.
This, however, is not at all a bad thing. It simply means that doing the same exercise that you used to do with a dumbbell with a kettlebell instead will force your supporting muscles to grow stronger.
This in turn will reduce the number of injuries you have and help to translate the strength that you develop during your workouts into the movements and lifts that you perform during your real life.
In short, the kettlebell can be used to build large and powerful muscles doing exercises such as the shoulder press, rows, goblet squat, and deadlift or used to torch calories while building endurance and lean muscle mass with swings or the Turkish get up.
2) Pull up bar
The pull up is a fantastic exercise! It gets a huge amount of muscles all working together to accomplish one basic full body movement.
It primarily targets the back and biceps but uses a host of other muscles as stabilizers throughout the movement.
Simply put it accomplishes more in less time while also conditioning your muscles to work together naturally which makes it my kind of exercise!
There are primarily three different types of pull up bars that you can install around your house. Two of the varieties are mounted in a doorway while the other is drilled directly into your wall.
I personally prefer the door mounted kind which can be removed when not in use as I live in a townhouse and the heavy duty wall mounted variety is really more than I need.
All three kinds are readily available on Amazon and if you want more details on the different types I’ve written a much more in depth article on them here.
3) Jump Rope
Jumping rope is a great option when you don’t want to go jogging outside but still want to get in some cardio work.
Most people tend to associate jumping rope with their youngest children but in fact it can actually be a very difficult exercise and it is guaranteed to get your heart pumping.
There’s a reason that boxers spend all that time in the gym with a rope with a pair of handles on it.
In fact, skipping rope easily burns as many calories in ten minutes as running an eight minute mile according to WebMD.
However, I wouldn’t recommend skipping rope non-stop for ten minutes. The best way to use it is to break it up into smaller pieces throughout the rest of your workout.
For example, you can skip rope for a minute or two in between your regular sets of resistance training in order to keep your heart rate up and not waste time in between sets.
This way you can drastically increase the cardiovascular benefit of a regular workout without adding any extra time to your routine.
Truly a win-win situation!
Also, you can carry your jump rope with you easily wherever you go. It folds right up and will pack quickly into any suitcase or bag making it easy to get in a quick workout in any hotel room.
And with a price of less than ten dollars it’s pretty hard to beat.
Well I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post and that you can see how you only really need a small amount of gear in order to get a complete workout at home.
Let me know in the comments below if you think I’ve left out something really useful that you use yourself and maybe I can add it to the list above!