Working out at home is one of the most convenient, practical and money-saving options for getting in shape. We’ve got the best home gym equipment you can find without breaking the bank.
The initial investment of purchasing a home gym for weight training eventually pays for itself when compared to a monthly gym membership fee, not to mention the initial cost to sign up.
The traditional multi-station home gyms are excellent because they offer everything you need for a full-body strength training workout in one easy-to-use piece of equipment.
Despite being significantly cheaper than the most expensive gym memberships, these machines can be expensive themselves and tend to take up a lot of space.
Home gyms today offer many cheaper, smaller alternatives to standard weight machines that still work to bulk you up.
With the technology available today, you don’t even have to buy a huge home gym machine. These all-in-one options are great for many, but if you want to save money or even take your home gym with you while you travel, you can purchase home gym equipment such as free weights and suspension trainers.
These tools often give you even more exercise variety than machines. Whether you want a Home Workout Plan, or need exercises without weights, we’re here to help! Sign up for a PRO plan today for workouts that you can do in your new home gym.
Weider Cross Bow
One of the most popular all-in-one home gyms on the market is the Bowflex, but there is a cheaper alternative that uses the same basic technology: The Weider Cross Bow.
Both machines use rods made from a rubber-like composite material as resistance. A pulley system attaches the cables to the ends of the rods so when you pull against the cables, instead of lifting a weight stack, your force causes the stiff bars to bend.
You change weight amounts by hooking the cables to the corresponding bars that equal the “weight” you wish to lift. You can even detach the rods and use them for exercises on their own in a similar way to barbells and body bars.
- 240 pounds of resistance that is upgradeable to 440 pounds on older models
- 340 pounds and up on newer models
- Lat tower
- Leg station for curls and extensions
- An adjustable bench
- 65 exercise options
The Weider Cross Bow from Weider Fitness is cheaper than the Bowflex and comes with more standard exercise options.
The cheapest Bowflex currently sold is the Bowflex Classic, which comes with only 210 pounds of resistance, 30 exercises and no extras like a squat rack, preacher curl attachment or ab attachment that the more expensive models offer.
The one unfortunate problem is that Weider does not sell this gym anymore, but you can still find new gyms for sale online for $500 and used ones for $300.
Replacement parts are available online and the gyms have a reputation for being sturdy, so you shouldn’t hesitate to buy one just because it is discontinued. The Bowflex sells primarily online as well; either way, you are taking a chance ordering a gym that you do not get to first try out in person.
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Total Body Works 5000
Chances are, if you have been searching for a home gym, you have come across the Total Gym.
Endorsed by Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley, the Total Gym is a bodyweight exercise machine that uses an adjustable glide-board and two cables to give you options for a full-body workout with minimal equipment.
The Total Gym folds up for easy storage, offers functional, unsupported training and lets you perform Pilates exercises that you would otherwise need an expensive Pilates Reformer.
The Total Body Works 5000, another Weider Fitness entry, is significantly less expensive and comes with more standard options.
- Seven incline options for the adjustable bench so you can change the intensity of each exercise
- 50+ exercises
- Optional resistance bands to add up to 50 pounds of additional resistance
- Folds and slides for easy storage
- Workout guide
A new Total Body Works 5000 costs $600, but the least expensive Total Gym starts at $2,000, on sale.
Jungle Gym XT Suspension Trainer
If you are familiar at all with suspension trainers you have likely heard the name TRX. The TRX is an effective, highly-acclaimed product. It uses your body weight to give you a challenging, unique and functional workout.
But so does the Jungle Gym XT suspension trainer, and for less money. The Jungle Gym XT, offered by LifeLineUSA, can hang from a doorway like the TRX. It has two long cables that hang from the ceiling.
You attach handles or foot cradles to the ends of the cables.
The setup is similar to Olympic rings except lower down so that either your hands or feet stay touching the ground.
The Jungle Gym XT has some special perks:
- The cables can either be hung together in a “V” shape or separated for wide-angle spacing
- Holds up to 1,500 pounds
- Can hang it from the ceiling or from a non-scuff door attachment
- Comes with ergonomic handles and feet cradles
- Includes a 90-minute DVD and large workout poster
- Costs less than $100
The Jungle Gym XT suspension trainer is portable, effective and offers numerous exercise options suitable for beginners and high-level athletes.
Gym in a Bag
The Gym in a Bag with Flexolate technology is a home gym system using free weights. It is not a machine with a bench or different stations. It is a simple setup consisting of color-coded resistance bands and a steel bar.
Resistance bands are a unique type of free weight. The elastic material resists when you pull on it, similar to a rubber band. The thicker the resistance band, the harder it is to pull. Resistance bands are lightweight and durable.
What makes this system unique is that it avoids the common grip style of lifting, utilizing cuffs instead to increase the difficulty and maximize results while reducing stress on your joints and tendons.
Inside the bag you find:
- Four resistance bands offering light to very heavy resistance
- Wrist cuffs
- Ankle cuffs
- Door attachment
- Flip chart with 40 illustrated exercises
- Instructional DVD
Because it has wrist cuff and ankle cuffs you have the option of doing targeted exercises for your upper and lower body.
There are two sizing options for the cuffs including small/medium and medium/large.
Almost any exercise you can do with a barbell or dumbbells, you can do with the Gym in a Bag.
Bands allow for even more versatility than dumbbells though, but cannot ultimately offer as much weight as a heavy barbell.
Bodylastics Exercise Resistance Bands
Perhaps the least expensive home gym option is a set of the Bodylastics resistance bands. The basic Bodylastics product has five resistance bands of different “weights,” two handles and two ankle cuffs. It costs around $30 and comes with a DVD and a travel bag.
If you need heavier bands, you can order the Bodylastics Max Tension for around $60, which comes with additional bands. The drawback of this type of product is that you have to remove the handles or cuffs every time you wish to use a different band.
The alternative is to buy individual resistance bands that each have their own handles, but this takes up more space, costs more and does not give you the ankle cuff option.
Alternative Cardio Options
You cannot go wrong with a basic jump rope or a mini trampoline. Both of these items take up minimal space and cost significantly less than the hundreds of dollars you would spend on a cardio machine.
The mini trampoline is easy on your joints and can be a lot of fun. They require less coordination than a jump rope, but you cannot throw a trampoline in your gym bag when you feel like exercising outdoors. We even have a Jump Rope Workout Plan!
Setting up a home gym takes some time and some money, but once it is done you have everything you need to keep yourself healthy, strong and looking good. You also eliminate any excuses.
No bad weather, traffic, or high gas prices can keep you from your gym.
Customize your gym your way. Just remember to clean your equipment regularly. Unless you have a maid, there is no staff to take care of maintenance and repairs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How many days a week should I exercise?
Three to five workouts a week is recommended for best results.
How do I create my own weight training workout plan?
You can either sign up for an Exercise.com PRO membership or enlist the help of a personal trainer!
What is proper weight training form?
In order to learn proper weight training form, meet with a personal trainer so that they can walk you through the proper technique needed for a wide variety of lifts and exercises.
No more excuses! You can get fit at the gym or at home. Go PRO today for access to home-gym workout plans now.