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How to Build a Home Gym…. on the Cheap!

by Harvey Bond
(Chicago, USA)

Many people who have become serious about their body building may be thinking of setting up a home gym, but are turned off by the common perception that it is expensive and hectic to start and maintain.

The good news is, you can build one without having to spend several thousands of dollars. All you need is conscious planning as well as a steady eye on your real physical needs and budget.

Making the Plan

First, identify what your exercise goals are. Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced body builder? How many days per week do you work out? What is your body type? How long do you work out? How long have you been exercising for? Do you intend to gain, lose or maintain weight?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you choose the right equipment, exercise regimen and space to attain your goals. The last thing you need in your home gym is equipment that you do not need in the long run.

Determine your budget. You may choose to buy everything at once if you have enough capital or start with a few basic items, then progressively add more later on as your routine gets more complex and your needs heighten.

Divide your budget according to the different aspects of your home gym such as room renovation, gym equipment, cardiovascular equipment, paraphernalia like a clock, mirrors and mats and other materials you will be using during your workout like gloves and a training log.

Determine the available space you have. Most people find that their basement or garage is the most ideal places because of the cooler temperature and large space. Space is a major factor to consider before you buy any exercise machine or equipment.

Measure the dimensions of the room to ensure that all materials you put in will fit properly. You can layout the room early by getting the measurements of prospective exercise materials as well.

Identifying Your Needs

Get exercise equipment that will provide you with a well-rounded workout and efficiently help you attain your fitness goals. The best approach that saves time, effort and money is investing in multi-functional fixtures that can target a variety of muscles through attachments.

There are setups that already include a pec deck flye machine, lat pulldown machine, machine bench press and cables for triceps and biceps exercises. Compound machines save a lot of space and give you a faster workout compared to moving from one machine or dumbbell rack to another.

Intermediate and advanced body builders, however, may require more space and equipment than beginners since they need to do isolation exercise to lead their muscles to new growth spurts.

Since you need a combination of machines and free weights, determine which items target your muscles most effectively. Avoid buying two types that provide you with the same muscle benefits such as a free weight bench and a bench press machine.

Consider the safety and comfort features of materials as well. Check the product quality to make sure that it will last you for several years. Warranties are recommended as well as replacement parts. Look for a good dealer who is willing to offer you great prices and instant delivery.

Leaving Out the Unessential

Determine the minimum and maximum weights you are using for all exercises. You need to only purchase items that you will actually be lifting instead of acquiring full sets.

Intermediate and advanced bodybuilders usually find little need for very light weights, while beginners do not have enough strength to lift very heavy weights yet. The rule in buying weights is to purchase as you progress. You may only need to add 5 to 15 pounds each month or so, depending on your strength gains.

Ideally, you should only purchase items that you have already used and proven to be effective. Do not experiment with new ones that may not turn out to be productive for your home gym routines.

Ensure that you have complete equipment that will adequately target and build up all muscles of the body. Save cardiovascular equipment for last, depending on the remaining space you have.

You may opt to get a jumping rope instead to save space, or just take a quick jog around the block before or after your weight lifting regimen.

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Updated: October 28, 2012 — 8:33 pm

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