Have those chilly days already put your motivation levels into question? Maybe the current climate has placed restrictions on numbers allowed within your gym. Your very own home gym could be the answer to keeping your exercise routine in check. Having the right equipment available within your own home allows you to continue to work toward your goals and keep you accountable for your training – no excuses!
When setting up your home gym, it is important to consider what type of training you’re going to be completing. There is no point spending $$ on equipment that is going to sit in the corner and be of no use toward hitting those goals! Take the time to work out what you’re trying to achieve, are you working on strength? Aiming for your first triathlon? Maybe you’re recovering from an injury or have just started exercising. Whatever your desired outcome is, it is important to equip yourself with everything you need to get you started and stay on track. Have your home workouts planned before you make your purchase and ensure you’re prepared for when you need to progress your training.
If you’re in need of some guidance for the perfect set up, here are some ideas to get you started!
Working on Strength?
Depending on how much you’re looking to spend and the space you have available, a Home Gym has everything you need for your strength training (hence the name Home Gym!). While this equipment usually requires a larger space, they do come in various sizes and functionality to suit your needs. Typically, a Home Gym is pin loaded, meaning that the weight is adjusted with pin loaded plates. The weight range on Home Gyms will also vary depending on the style so ensure you check that the weight is suitable for your needs. If you’re looking for equipment to assist you in traditional strength training and provide functionality for a range of movements, this is your go-to.
SportsPower offer Home Gym set-ups that provide everything you need get a full-body workout. If you’re after the full fit-out and serious about leg day, I highly recommend the Bodyworx Home Gym with Leg Press. The weight ranges all the way to 98kgs and comes with plenty of attachments for all your push/pull needs. If you’re needing something with a smaller footprint, Gymtech Home Gym provides opportunity for over 24 exercises and provides up to 66kg of weight to help you get strong!
Free Weights & Functional Training
Functional training and free-weight (not fixed to a machine or equipment) inspired workouts are rising in popularity and are a fantastic way to provide variety in your training routines. These require minimal space and are a lower cost option for setting up your new space. To start with, invest in a good bench. While it sounds simple, these are commonly looked past and are essential for a good workout. The dining room chair may have sufficed during lockdown, but it’s not a good long-term solution! Most importantly, you’ll need some varying weights.
I recommend starting with 3 different sets of dumbbells and choose the weight based on the number of reps you are able to complete. Start with a lighter weight with which you can complete approximately 15-20 reps of most movements, your middle weight should allow you to reach 10-12 reps before the movement starts feeling difficult, and your heavier weight should see you reach fail in the 5-8 rep range. Keep in mind, you will need to be able to complete around 3-4 sets of each rep range.
Progressions are also an important part of training, if you have a weight that you find difficult initially, it is not only a goal to work toward, but also a good way to measure your own progress and strength! With this being said, if you are experienced in your training and have a specific aim within your program i.e. hypertrophy training (muscle building), maximal strength or power, you can choose the weight based on what is appropriate for that phase of training. A good general overview of the phases of training and appropriate intensities recommended by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) can be found here. It is important to note that many of these intensities are based on a 1 repetition maximum (1RM), I would always advise working with a personal trainer or coach to determine your 1RM and ensure your technique is correct when using this intensity guide, particularly with heavier lifting or if you are new to training.
If you aren’t able to get your hands on some free-weights, or you’re not sure where to start when it comes to resistance training, resistance bands are another great option. Resistance bands are a cost effective, lightweight and portable, making them perfect for small spaces and exercising away from your home. PTP offer an excellent range of resistance bands, from a complete system that is basically a gym in a bag, through to individual resistance bands to suit you. As always, it’s best to go in prepared so you know which bands are going to be most appropriate for your workout. A microband is always a must, you’ll almost always use these for activation exercises before a workout and during your main set. Other options include resistance tubes, medibands and superbands, these will all vary in length, width, attachment ability and level of resistance so make sure you know what you’ll be using them for!
Conditioning (a less dreaded word for cardio)
Conditioning, cardio, aerobic fitness, whatever you like to call it, chances are you either love it or hate it. This is commonly due to this type of training being quite difficult or people feeling as though they become bored, leading to a decrease in motivation. Despite this, good cardiovascular fitness plays a vital role in our mental health, reduces risk of illness and disease, assists in maintaining a healthy weight, reduces blood pressure…the list goes on. Over time, physiological adaptations take place resulting in an increased tolerance to this form of exercise. In other words, if you stick with it, it does become easier, and you will start to feel the benefits!
The National Physical Activity Guidelines suggest that adults (18 - 64yrs) should participate in at least 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 – 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week to maintain good health. However, research has found that the greatest barrier to Australian adults meeting these recommendations is due to a lack of time. So, how do we overcome this? Make the workout accessible. While getting out and going for a walk or run is a zero-cost and effective way to increase your fitness, it often comes with excuses or barriers such as the weather, family commitments, not having the time or simply not enjoying it.
Thankfully, the development of fitness cardio equipment as seen the at-home options be as good as what you can find in a gym. Depending on the type of exercise you like, here are some options for your next home gym addition:
Exercise or stationary bikes are a great option if the thought of running doesn’t excite you, you’re in need of a lower impact option or you love a good spin class. A bike can be an investment; however, it takes up little space and can provides an excellent leg-burning indoor sweat session. If you’re time poor, try putting the bike in the lounge room and switch out the couch for the bike while you’re watching TV. If you’re a keen cyclist, this can also be a great replacement for those days the weather is against you. There are many variations in exercise bikes, including spin, upright and recumbent ranges. If you’re after the experience of feeling as though you’re on a real bike, a spin or upright is your best bet. If you’re after comfort and want the feeling of kicking back while you burn those calories, a recumbent bike will do it.
Treadmills are perfect for those who enjoy walking or running but don’t always get the chance to go for a walk or run outside. Plus, you can even mimic those dreaded hills with an incline in the comfort of your own home. Chances are you’ve probably never though too much about the treadmill you have used at the gym, but when buying one for your home there are a few things you should consider:
- Do you have the space? Will it be easily accessible, or will you need to move the treadmill around?
- What functionality are you looking for e.g., would you like inbuilt programs, heart rate sensors, incline/decline options?
- Is the use predominantly for walking or running? This is important as this will assist you in deciding the horsepower (hp) and belt width and length for your treadmill.
- Does it fit within your budget? Quality treadmills do not always come cheap, so it is important that you have done your research before deciding on what one is best.
The up-and-coming cardio equipment of choice! Rowers have become increasingly popular and when used right, are a fantastic full-body workout. The movement doesn’t always come as naturally as cycling or running so technique is important to ensure you’re getting the most from your workout. If you’re new to the rowing world, I highly recommend keeping an eye out for gyms hosting sessions with Jane Erbacher from Erg Army – she is the queen of rowing and will forever change the way you move on a rower.
This is also a great option if you are tight on space as most rowers can be stored upright when you’re finished. They are a low impact form of cardio, offer varying resistance levels and enable you to track your workout through various ways such as time, distance, strokes and calories burned. Rowers are perfect for both high-intensity interval training and long-distance endurance training. If you’re looking to mix up your cardio workout with something new, this is for you!
If cardio equipment isn’t for you, then sweating it out with some gloves and mitts might be! Boxing is always great fun when done with a partner as they can hold the mitts, keep you motivated and get a great workout in too. If you don’t have someone to join you, there is still options for you to punch it out! Boxing bags can come free standing, attached to a stand or have roof hanging and wall mount options. Determining what one to use will depend on the space you have available and whether you have somewhere sturdy to mount the bag to a wall or hang from the roof – keep in mind they can be heavy!
Bag aside, you should also ensure you have the correct gloves and wraps to avoid injuries to your hands and wrists. I strongly recommend investing in some wraps to provide support to your joints and minimise impact to your knuckles. When choosing gloves, it is always best to go with a glove that have a fixed thumb and choose a weight that is appropriate to your hand size. Here is a guide to help you choose the right size (note: this guide is based on imperial measures)!
Sweat it out with a home workout!
Get Strong: Home Gym
1 minute of body weight squats
1 minute of push ups (incline, knees or toes)
1 minute of overhead sit-ups or plank hold
3 x 10-15 reps
Leg press or Goblet squat
REST 60-90 sec
3 x 10-15 reps
Prone leg curl (single leg)
REST 60-90 sec
3 x 10-15 reps
Standing single leg hip abduction
REST 60-90 sec
Calf and hamstring stretch
Get Strong: Functional
8 x Inchworms
1 minute of crab walks with resistance band around feet
1 minute of T- push ups (incline, knees or toes)
1 minute of overhead sit-ups or plank hold
AMRAP (as many round as possible) – 6 minutes
20 bench step-ups (10 each leg)
20 microband jump squats or squats
20 microband donkey kicks (10 each leg)
20 bench jump overs
10 incline push ups on bench (knees or toes)
20 resistance tube high pulls (10 each arm)
20 resistance tube punches (10 each arm)
20 resistance tube bent over rows
All 10 each side
20 plank heel raises
20 resistance band woodchops
20 supine oblique crunch with resistance tube
20 mountain climbers
2 x 15 glute bridges (feet elevated)
2 x 15 side lying clams with microband
3-minute steady pace on chosen cardio equipment
Main set: 2.5km (rower or treadmill)
Convert this to minutes on a bike e.g., 5 minutes faster pace, 2 min 30 slower pace (25 min total)
500m fast pace
250m steady pace
400m fast pace
200m steady pace
300m fast pace
150m steady pace
200m fast pace
100m steady pace
100m maximum effort pace
50m maximum effort
200m cool down (slow)