Best Workout Equipment to Have At Home

So you have decided to start working-out from home but don’t know where to start. What equipment should you get to help you get into shape?

The best workout equipment to have at home depends on your fitness goals and your current level of fitness. It is often best to start with entry-level equipment before moving on to intermediate level equipment and then eventually advanced level equipment. Whatever fitness level you are at currently you will need some muscle toning equipment and some cardio equipment (though cardio equipment is optional as you’ll see later). Let’s look at the essential pieces of equipment you will need in more detail.

Best Workout Equipment to Have At Home

Creating the Perfect Home Gym

When I refer to creating the perfect home gym I do not mean to imply you have to dedicate an entire room of your house or your garage to workout equipment. Your home gym may include equipment that gets packed away after every use.

Make no mistake though that regardless of the type of equipment you use working-out from home can be every bit as “enjoyable” and give you exactly the same results you would expect to get from attending a gym.

Of course the great thing about going to a gym is that it will have all the latest exercise equipment and more often than not these machines will large and the newest on the market (or equal to them).

Unless you are a multi-millionaire with a very big house it is unlikely that you will be able to, or want to try to, replicate your local gym in your limited home space.

workout at homeSo how do you build a home gym that can give you the same results that you would get from hitting the local gym but without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars on commercial gym equipment?

Well to start you must split the equipment you will need into 2 separate groups:

  • Muscle building/toning
  • Cardio

Most of your workout equipment will be muscle building tools and while you can get some great cardio machines you can do all your cardio without any equipment at all.

At the end of the day the best home gym setup will depend upon your fitness goals, the space you have available in your home and, of course, your budget.

Muscle Toning Equipment

When working out the most important equipment you will use is muscle building equipment. Although this type of equipment is designed for building muscle it is also used for muscle toning.

So, if you are a female who doesn’t want to bulk up or get defined muscles don’t let the term “muscle building” scare you off.

The vast majority of females who weight train do not get big and muscular but instead get a very curvy figure that highlights their feminine form. Starting weight training as a woman does not have to be intimidating or scary.

Men can use the same equipment but train in a different way, and eat a lot more, to build strong big muscles.

We ill look more closely at the type of muscle building equipment you will need in each of the fitness stages mentioned below.

70 – 80% of your workout tie should be spent building or toning your muscles.

muscle building and muscle toning require the same exercises

Cardio Equipment

Although muscle building equipment is the most important of the home gym tools that you will use to get fit and into shape, cardio equipment is also important.

Building and toning muscle is only half the story! To be able to see all that hard work you must make sure you blast away the excess body fat that hides it.

cardio equipment treadmill20 – 30% of your workout time should be spent doing cardio.

What’s more you should always perform HIIT cardio rather than regular cardio for 2 reasons:

  1. HIIT forces your body to continue burning fat even when you are at rest
  2. HIIT only takes 20 minutes per session

So not only is HIIT cardio much more effective than traditional cardio but it is also super fast to do.

Equipment You Need When You Are New to Fitness

Although you can start out by building a “home gym” with all top-end equipment it is often better to ease yourself into it.

Starting out on your fitness journey often only needs basic equipment.

Entry-Level Muscle Toning Equipment

You can get full body workout exercise benches for very reasonable prices. These are entry-level fitness machines.

Total Gym 1400 woman in actionThese workout machines use resistance bands to simulate the type of workout you would get from a weights machine at the gym.

However unlike at the gym, where there are dedicated machines for specific muscle groups, a home all-in-one full-body workout machine can be used to work every muscle group.

One of the more popular brands is Total Gym. Total Gym offers a wide range of full-body workout machines that use resistance bands.

Their range starts with entry-level machines and moves up to more intermediate machines.

Using resistance band machines will allow you to gain muscle but they are not as effective as using free weights. They are great for people who are new to fitness and for muscle toning though.

Entry-Level Cardio Equipment

Just as there are entry-level muscle building machines there are also entry-level cardio machines.

Cardio exercise equipment like the Maxi Climber is a great way to help tone your legs and arms while also burning fat.

This ability to tone muscle while performing cardio is one of the reasons an elliptical trainer is often the preferred exercise machine over a treadmill.

no equipment cardioOf course an elliptical trainer can also be used with the handles in a stationary position so you can focus more on cardio which is useful if you have already worked the muscle groups in your upper body and/or you want to perform HIIT exercises.

Using exercise machines like the Maxi Climber would make it difficult to perform HIIT and that is why HIIT exercises are better performed on a treadmill.

However, you don’t need to spend money on cardio equipment, especially when you are starting out.

You can go road running or jogging, skip on a rope on simply run on the spot. There are a ton of HIIT exercises that you can follow on YouTube like the one below.

HIIT Cardio With No Equipment (video)

Equipment You Need When You Have Been Going to The Gym For Awhile

If you are not new to fitness and already have been training but just want to move your training session to your home or alternative between home and the gym then you will probably need to invest in better equipment.

Intermediate Muscle Toning Equipment

weights benchAt the intermediate level you can still get a good workout from full-body resistance machines but you will need to get a fairly good model.

The Total Gym Fit is the newest model but as per our previous post we believe the Total Gym XLS Plus is the best machine to use if you intend to use a total-body workout resistance machine.

If you want to put on muscle and get a really good workout that rivals the gym then you will need to invest in a weight bench and iron weights as a machine that works on resistance bands isn’t going to help you bulk up on muscle as well as weights can.

Intermediate Cardio Equipment

The best cardio equipment to use in conjunction with weight training is a treadmill.

A good treadmill can be pricey though and it can take up a lot of house space.

Again, simple no-equipment-cardio will do the same job.

No Equipment HIIT Cardio Workout

Equipment You Need When You Want to Build the Ultimate Home Gym

If you are more advanced and have been training for some time or you just have the budget and space to build your own dedicated home gym then you will probably want some serious equipment!

Advanced Muscle Toning Equipment

advanced workout machineWhen you live and breathe fitness and weight training, then only the best will do.

No ordinary weights bench would be good enough for a dedicated home gym of the muscle-mad so you may need something a bit bigger and that offers you a lot more.

There are machines available for home that rival in those you find in the gym.

These machines are top-of-the-range home gym equipment at its finest.

Advanced Cardio Equipment

If you want advanced cardio equipment there is no shortage of it.

However, most are ridiculously priced advanced machines that smack of “overkill” and can cost you over $30K. If that’s too rich for your blood then consider that even a top-of-the-range Nautilus Club Trac Treadmill will cost you over $12K.

HIIT Cardio ExercisesIn my opinion these machines look great in the local gym but you don’t need them for home use.

Even if you have the budget to go for a machine like that the truth is it won’t help you get any fitter than a well-priced Precor (incidentally they are the company who invented the elliptical trainer).

Although you can do some serious HIIT cardio work on a treadmill the same applies to advanced cardio as does for beginner and intermediate – you can do cardio very effectively without equipment.

HIIT Cardio on Treadmill