A home gym never closes. Even if you're regularly attending a gym, we recommend having at least a basic set up at home. Having quick and easy access to some basic equipment will eliminate excuses, especially the, "Well, I only have 10 or 20 minutes" variety.
But if you're already paying those monthly gym dues, dropping some serious coin on your home gym probably doesn't make sense.
That's why we've put together a few ideas for you based on 3 different budget levels, all of which are quite modest. Let's get after it...
$100 Home Gym
At this level of budget, you really want the most bang for your buck. We can't waste anything. Here's what we recommend:
Doorway Pull Up Bar
There are so many options for these online, and the prices range from $10 - $60.
Let's assume somewhere in the middle and call it $30.
The pull up is the king of upper body calisthenics. You engage your core, your back, your upper arms, your forearms and grip, and to some small extent, your shoulders.
It's also a great tool for mobility. By simply hanging several minutes a day, you can help reverse or at least moderate the damage of a desk job.
This is a must have. Now, we have 70 bucks to go...
Again, prices range here, but you can definitely find a pair of challenging bells for $60-70.
These little powerhouses are a gym unto themselves. From swings to cleans, snatches to squats, there isn't much you can't do here. And don't forget about the king of functional movements, the Turkish get-up.
If you're working with just $100 to get a home gym set up, a basic pull up bar and a pair of kettlebells will take you surprisingly far.
$250 Home Gym
If you're willing to move your budget just a bit, you can really reach further.
We still suggest starting with the pull up bar, but at this budget, upgrading to a wall or stud mounted system, which will usually set you back $140 or so.
Throw in the same pair of kettlebells, and that leaves us with about $40-$50 to spend. Here's what you can add:
Ah yes, the old schoolyard classic. You can get really fancy here and spend some money, but let's be honest with ourselves: this is a rope that you jump over. Make sure it's at least a good material like leather, but other than that, don't get previous.
A decent rope will probably set you back about $20.
Hey now, let's not forget about taking care of those tissues with a good body maintenance routine. $20-$30 will get you there.
Foam rollers are everywhere and they don't require a mortgage yet can provide a variety of benefits. It doesn't take much either. 15 minutes a day is plenty.
Don't turn into one of these folks that foam rolls their workout time away.
All right, let's take this one step further and double this budget!
$500 Home Gym
With $500, you can really do some damage. If you have this amount to spend, you can have a pretty enviable home gym set up in no time at all.
Let's assume the same equipment from the $250 budget, but let's add some fun toys:
This is a very versatile tool. From dip and push up variations to pull up and row variations, all the way to the sinister holds that be performed, gymnastic rings will add variety and a new level of functionality to your training.
You've seen a gymnast before right? 'Nuff said.
Expect to drop about $70 or so.
Another versatile and challenging gymnastic style tool, these are often overlooked by most people.
Now, if you want to do this on the cheap, and aren't afraid of a little DIY, you can find plans on how to make these with PVC or wood.
Personally, I prefer the metal version, which can range in price but let's call it $75.
With about $100 left of our $500 budget, now is a good time to add a set of dumbbells.
You would be surprised what you can get for $100-$125. A quick Google search and I found several sets of metal 'bells up to 40 pounds.
That's a pretty solid way to round out your home gym.
Remember, all of this can be had even cheaper if you're patient enough to check Craigslist and garage sales. You also don't have to get it all at once.
You need something though - you need to eliminate barriers to getting the work done and hitting your goals. A home gym is the answer.