Home Gym Equipment Ranked from Best to Worst
Best Budget Equipment
Go to pretty much any professional gym, brimming with high-tech workout machines, and you can bet they also have jump ropes. There may be no easier (or cheaper) way to get your heart going with a cardio workout than with a jump rope. And best if it's a speed jump rope: a vinyl cord with handles.
A solid set of dumbbells won't cost you much and will seriously up the game of your home gym. You can target every one of your major muscle groups—arms, chest, back, and even legs—with a few basic dumbbells. You should be able to find a set of light dumbbells (from five pounds to 20) for around $50, with higher weights costing more.
You might be tempted to disregard kettlebells—weights with handles hardly feels revolutionary. But kettlebell workouts are a great way to stay in shape. They're just as versatile as dumbbells in the way you can use them to target each of your body's major muscle groups. With even more options such as heart-pumping kettlebell swings.
Don't regard resistance bands as some kind of "as-seen-on-TV" rip-off products. These things work! Most sets offer bands with resistance that range from ten to 50 pounds, helping you to build muscle while getting in some good strength training. While resistance bands lack the intensity of free weights, they're excellent for lower-impact workouts.
Nice But With a Higher Price
You can go all out and pay big bucks for the whole Peloton Bike experience. But if you just put priority on pedaling, a basic upright exercise bike is all you need. Or maybe something like an AirBike to get your arms into the action and get a more intense cardio workout. With the perk of a computer that measures your speed and distance while tracking fitness goals.
If Peloton Bikes are the Ferraris of the home gym, rowing machines might be considered the Subaru Outbacks: boring, maybe, but reliable and they sure get the job done. Rowing machines offer cardio and strength training, targeting your core, back, arms, and legs. All in a low-impact workout that's easy on your ankles and knees! Plus, you can usually find a good rowing machine for under $300.
This is another piece of gym equipment that can run from cheap to a small fortune. You'll find some in the $300 range, but spending $500 for a quality treadmill is more reasonable. And while the outdoor versus indoor running debate may never be truly settled, an indoor treadmill with speed and incline/decline settings, plus computer fitness trackers, makes a great addition to a home gym.
Worst of the Worst
You'll see lots of claims all over the internet saying that the ViPR tubes can replace dumbbells, barbells, and any free weight you can imagine. They can't. A viPR tube is just a 40-pound piece of rubber. Sure, tossing one around might give you something of a workout. Maybe instead of paying north of $150 for a fitness tube, you can just get yourself a log.
If you believe there's magic in those squats, then you might get fooled into buying a Squat Magic, which could just as easily be called the Butt Spring. As it only costs about $50, this unnecessary piece of exercise equipment won't set you back too much. But it is unnecessary—you don't need any exercise gear other than decent sneakers to do air squats.
If you think hanging weight from your head and putting serious stress on your neck sounds dangerous, you're right. And necks aren't the area most people want to focus on bulking up anyway. So best to avoid the possibility of a neck injury that could be with you for years and possibly a lifetime.
Home fitness is easier than you might think. If you get the right equipment you can create a home gym that perfectly suits your fitness needs.
Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.