Home Gyms Exposed: The Home Gym Buyer's Guide For Smart Consumers

Do NOT even think about buying a home gym until you read this important guide...

Body-Solid-EXM3000LPSIf you are motivated and committed with your bodybuilding and exercise, a home gym can be a pretty beneficial investment for you. With a home gym, you have no crowds to tolerate, don’t have to waste time traveling or driving, train when you want wearing whatever you want and listen to whatever you like.

With so many home gyms in the market, choosing the right machine may be difficult. However before you even consider comparing different models, you should first wonder if it’s worth buying a home gym or not.

Is it worth it?

A home gym is not cheap; it is a considerable investment worth several thousand dollars for a top quality machine. This is why people say that a home gym is a worthwhile investment only if you know you will use it.

In other words, you should buy one if you can afford it, if you are serious and committed with your strength training and regularly use gym machines. If this is the case, you can save lots of time and get a good workout with a good quality system.

However if you can’t actually afford a good home gym, and if you are not that committed with your exercise workout, it’s better to invest in individual pieces of gym equipment. Examples are some dumbbells, resistance bands, an exercise mat, a pull-up bar and stability ball. This is not only a better option for you, but also saves you money.

Types of home gyms

If you finally decide it’s better and wiser for you to buy a home gym, you have two types of gyms to choose from. You can choose between gyms with weight plates and gyms that use alternative mechanisms like resistance bands and rods.

Gyms with weight plates

Serious weightlifters should get a home gym with weight plates as it offers more resistance and gives you a workout like one in a commercial gym. These gyms have one or two weight stacks attached to various workout stations like a chest station for presses, an abdominal station and a leg station for curls.

The weights are attached to a cable-and-pulley station where the high-pulley station is for triceps pull-downs and shoulder exercises and the low-pulley station is for biceps curls and leg exercises. Some gyms also have a mid-pulley station for upright rows. The drawback of these gyms is that they are rather expensive and heavier than other home gyms.

XMark-XM-4434-Power-TowerAlternative mechanisms

Some gyms use alternatives to weight stacks like rods that provide resistance when applying tension, where adding or subtracting rods leads to increase or decrease of resistance levels. Some gym sets that cost a few hundred dollars use resistance bands which function with your weight and gravity to strengthen your muscles. These gyms usually come with incline benches where the adjustment of its incline makes an exercise easier or harder.

Though these gyms are cheap, usually less than $1000, most reviewers state that they are not as effective or smooth as gyms with weight plates and that they don’t provide consistent intensity while exercising. Moreover, while these gyms offer good toning for beginners, they are too light for professional lifters. The only advantage of these gyms is that it requires less space than gyms with weight plates.

Use user feedback

As there are limited professional reviews of home gyms user feedback is the best way to collect information about home gyms. While sites like Sears.com and Amazon.com do have many reviews, sometimes the comments on the sites are not that enthusiastic. Moreover there are usually some fake user reviews.

So if you are evaluating home gyms, ConsumerSearch is trustworthy as it offers the most credible user reviews and analysis the pros and cons of the equipment, which is much better than a 5-star review. It’s also better to follow those users who have written more than one review on specific sites or have an Amazon.com verified purchase.

How to get the most from your home gym

Gyms should be chosen not only based on its type, but with the help of the following tips.

Try out the gym at the store by checking the different positions and features. The gym’s components should move smoothly with minimal ease and be quick and easy to move in between exercises.

As gyms consume lots of space, measure your gym space at home before you look for your gym. Your ceiling should also be high enough for a gym where on reaching your arms overhead on the machine, you don’t touch the ceiling and have some room to spare.

Find out how much of weight you need as a 150 pound weight stack is usually enough for average users who want overall body toning. However avid lifters need at least a 200 pound weight stack.

Some expensive gyms that take up more space let another person to work at the same time. In such cases, it’s better to have a second stack of weight for the second person.

Bowflex-Blaze-Home-GymThe gym should have a heavy steel frame with smoothly moving parts. It’s better if the tube frame is at least 2 inches square, has steel cables, sufficient padding, a chrome or enamel finish, nylon-reinforced fiberglass pulleys and an aircraft-quality nylon-coated cable connecting weight stacks to different stations.

As home gyms are one-size-fit-all, their components and adjustable seats should accommodate both short and tall users.

A common complaint for home gyms is that they are difficult to assemble as their instruction manuals are not always clear and the parts may not be labeled. So if you can opt to pay for home assembly, it’s worth the expense as it saves you a huge headache.

Important equipment in a good home gym

Here is a list of the basic and essential pieces of equipment a home gym should have:


Adjustable dumbbells are very important for a home gym as dumbbells are versatile and are used for various exercises. Moreover exercises with dumbbells give the best results as your body uses lots of muscle to stabilize them. Look for dumbbells that save space and are easily adjustable.

Olympic Barbell

All home gyms should also have an Olympic Barbell set to perform heavy exercises and to add variety to workout routines.

Adjustable bench with leg extension attachment

Adjustable benches with leg extensions or leg curl attachment is important for long term home gym training for doing incline bench presses, leg extensions, leg curls and many other free weight exercises. If you get a bench with a pull down bar attachment, you will be able to do many more exercises.

Adjustable squat rack and chin-up bar

As you get advanced with your exercises, you can add a squat rack to your home gym. An adjustable squat rack lets you do some heavy exercises, including a self-spot by adjusting the safety bars on its side to a height that catches the bar and protects you if you don’t lift it. A chin-up bar helps you work on a big back.

Dip station

A dip station should be a permanent fixture to your home gym at the advanced gym level as it helps you get a massive chest with powerful triceps.

Standing calf raise machine

While the squat rack does help strengthen your calf muscles, to get enormous calves, you need a standing calf raise machine in your home gym. Its calf block helps you get a full stretch and contraction which are necessary for complete calf development.

Miscellaneous equipment

To add variety to your workout, you could buy some smaller items to add to your home gym. Example is a single handle for the lat pulley to do one-arm cable crossovers and cable bicep curls, an e-z bar for working arms and an exercise ball for abdominal exercises.

Total-Gym-XLS-TrainerTips to help you buy your home fitness equipment

With so many choices available for home exercises, it’s hard deciding where to begin and what to buy. So here are some ideas to consider before you buy your home gym.

Your budget

Before you plan to buy a gym, you should determine how much you can spend on it and buy according to your budget. If you are on a tight budget, you could consider getting some dumbbell sets, an exercise ball or resistance bands. However if you have a higher budget, you could consider buying a home gym or some bigger cardio equipment like an elliptical trainer or treadmill.

Your preferences

Most people buy or do things only because others do it. While your friend may lose 5 kilos jogging, you won’t lose anything if you loathe jogging as you won’t be committed with your exercise regimen.

As there’s no perfect exercise, you should choose an exercise you enjoy as the more you like it, the more committed and harder you’ll work at it. So if you like no-impact activities, you could get an elliptical trainer or bike and if you like swimming, you could join your local health club or YMCA.

Space availability

Many people forget considering their space availability before buying their gym equipment. It’s cool buying a treadmill; however it’s a waste if you have no space to keep it. So before buying anything besides a few dumbbells and resistance bands, you have to first decide where you’ll put everything.

Though you may have an empty garage to store your gym equipment, you may not use it when it’s 100 degrees outside. It can be difficult using an elliptical trainer if it’s taller than you thought. So to avoid problems, measure how much space you have.

PowerLine-PSS60X-Squat-RackBe careful of quick fix gadgets

Lots of people promise you lots of things to make you buy their products. But it’s better to avoid products that promise great results with minimal effort like losing 10 pounds in a few minutes a day and use of only one muscle group.

This means its better buying an exercise ball for core work, balance exercises and weight training than an ab gadget that only exercises your abs. moreover, most infomercials products are rather expensive, where you get better workouts using a set of basic dumbbells and some good and quality exercises.

Will you use it?

Last, but not least, before you actually even think about buying a home gym, you have to truthfully ask yourself if you will actually use it. This is especially important if you have never tried working on a gym before. There is no point investing so much money in a home gym, if you use it for a short time and leave it to accumulate dust later on.

Remember that just buying gym equipment is no promise that you will use it. It’s better to first think of all those activities you enjoy, and choose your gym equipment based on this. This means that if you don’t like riding, no point in buying a stationary bike.

It’s better to start small by first investing in a good pair of shoes and dumbbells or resistance bands and with the help of an exercise video or group fitness class, try to figure out what you like doing to avoid wasting money on your investment.