How to set up a home gym on a budget


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
How to set up a home gym on a budget

If visiting a gym, or signing up for an expensive fitness studio is not your cup of tea, then a home gym is just what you need.

It'll solve many time management issues that disrupt a regular workout schedule. Once you set up your very own home gym, the only thing between you and a fit body is will power. And while anyone can buy expensive equipment, these times of penny pinching call for budget-friendly fitness solutions. So here's how you can set up a home gym on a budget!

Home gym accessories for warm ups, cardio and cool downs
Many people shell out good money for treadmills, elliptical trainers and stationary cycles, only to later use them as unwieldy clotheslines. Why go that far when you can get a great warm up and cardio session in less than Rs. 3000?

Skipping rope:
Rs. 150- Rs. 1500. Local sports stores sell simple skipping ropes, with and without tape counters for the number of skips. Some sports brands sell ropes with digital counters and, predictably, those cost more (Rs. 1500 - Rs. 2000). But a rope is as a rope does. Use it well and your lean body won't know the difference.

Exercise mat:
Rs. 500 - Rs. 2000. Some local stores stock mats as cheap as Rs. 500, but this is where you might want to consider visiting a good sports store. The mat needs to do three things -

1. Absorb shock and soften floor impact.
2. Reduce friction and slipperiness by promoting a steady grip on the floor.
3. Not get slippery with sweat.

A standard test would be to roll it out and do a push up on the mat, if the store permits. It might sound extreme, but your wrists, knees and ankles will thank you for it later.

Rs. 0. With a good pair of well-soled shoes, the floor serves as the best platform for jumping jacks, squats, lunges, skipping, knee raises, butt kicks - just about any exercise that you would benefit from in a home workout.

Home gym accessories for strength training
You can rely on anything from bodyweight exercises to exercises with dumbbells and barbells and even home gym machines. But, the deciding factor must be your fitness level. For this, you should seek assessment and advice from a trainer. If you're a novice, you might need to start with back-supported weights exercises, or it could turn out that simple floor-bodyweight exercises suffice till you clear the first stage of getting fit. What you'll need, based on workouts:

Workout bench:
The support, cushioning, legs, splits (seat and back support adjustments) must be comfortable and firm. Look to spend anything from Rs. 5000 - Rs. 20,000.

Home gym machines:
The standard selection concern for home gym machines is the adjustable back and seat support, weights range, quality of cushioning and grips, and floor stands. This will be a serious investment of about Rs. 30, 000 - Rs. 80,000. Again, this isn't totally necessary. A workout bench with free weights should serve just as well, albeit with a workout that serves your specific fitness levels and requirements.

Dumbbells and barbells:
The general thumb rule would be to start with weights that you can lift for at least 12 reps until fatigue. Buy new weights as you progress. Some local stores even let you buy weights on exchange, so you can even save some money when you return the old pairs in exchange for new ones. This costs about Rs. 150 - Rs. 500 per kilo/pound depending on the store.

Chrome weights are neat and easy to keep clean but might be too rough for some gentle folk. Padded dumbbells are great for novices. Barbells should be selected based on length (in proportion to your shoulder widths and arms' span), and grip. Barbell weights are sold per weight as well.

Home gym accessories for flexibility, balance and core workouts
Sedentary lifestyles and dysfunctional fitness often result in loss of flexibility. To counter this, flexibility workouts take into account any imbalances and correct them with slow, paused or repeated motions. Your best accessories here are:

A floor mat:
Most flexibility exercises are floor routines, so a mat is a great idea to provide adequate cushioning for your back, knees, ankles and wrists.

An exercise ball:
Great for stretches and many interesting exercises, gym or exercise balls are great for home workouts. Apart from serving as flexibility workout equipment for novices, there'll also great for balance and core work. Starting from the first stage, these will help you with many interesting workout variations well into the higher stages of fitness.

Local stores sell them for about Rs. 600 - Rs. 1000, while branded sports stores sell them for as high as Rs. 3000. Look for quality material that doesn't cause rubber burns and look for elasticity. You might want to buy an air pump as well.

Resistance bands:
Great for stretches and exercises that promote balance and core work, resistance bands are reasonably priced. Look for good handles and grips. Cheap resistance band handles tend to come right off at a high point of tension. And when you're pulling to maximum strength while squatting, that can be quite jarring. Branded sports brands should have them at approximately Rs. 2500 - Rs. 4000.

A chair or workout bench:
Some exercises call for the supine (lying down on your back) position with your legs up on an elevated platform. A regular chair works just fine. If you've got a workout bench, even better.

Home gym accessories for workout and fitness maintenance
Then there are all those other gym accessories that gyms charge the sun and the moon for -
Weighing scales:
Approx. Rs. 1500 - Rs. 3000, based on whether you buy analogue or digital.

Body composition analysis machines:
Approx. Rs. 5000 - Rs. 20,000, based on what error margin you're comfortable with. A standard machine that costs Rs. 5000 - Rs. 10,000 will usually have an error margin of 5-8%.

A juice bar:

You should already have this.

Personal trainers:
Several certified personal trainers offer home consultations for those interested in home workouts. Look at spending anything from Rs. 2000 - Rs. 8000, based on trainer experience. Even if you plan on continuing workouts by yourself, you must get a trainer to assess your fitness levels, and plan initial workouts for optimal results.
Feb 3, 2012
Setting up a gym in your home is a great way for people who can’t afford a full gym membership, don’t have the time to get to a gym, or want a little privacy. It takes a few purchases of the right equipment, but after that, you will be on your way.

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