A home gym can be a great investment. However, choosing the best home gym equipment that suits your personal preferences can be a challenge. There are a number of brands such as Bowflex, Total Gym, Marcy, and Body-Solid with various features to help you achieve your workout goals. Their products vary in price and features that target various workout goals ranging from weight loss to muscle building.
However, it can be utterly daunting to choose the right product from the myriad of choices. To help you with that, we have created this guide to help you decide which one suits your workout goals as well as budget best.
Our Top Choices for a Home Gym
The following are our top four picks of the best home gyms.
Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
The Bowflex Blaze Home Gym is relatively superior compared to other similarly priced options in the market. The machine comes with a unique Power Rod Technology that supports over 60 different exercises in addition to making it efficient and comfortable. It has a 210-pound which can be upgraded to 410 pounds with extra weight.
This makes it ideal not just for beginners but also who perform advanced fitness routines. The angled lat power bar is ergonomically engineered to allow you to perform back workouts naturally. It also comes with a sliding seat and multifunctional hand grips which provides extra exercise for different body parts
- It is equipped with efficient tools that allow you to perform over 60 different exercises to strengthen and tone your body.
- Unlike other models, it comes with effective leg workouts, thanks to the lower pulley system and leg press belt.
- It’s foldable to help you save space, making it ideal for those living in small spaces.
- The Bowflex also offers better warranty compared to other home gyms.
Total Gym Force Home Gym
This is your option if you are looking for a product with superior quality and features. Total Gym is a reputable manufacturer that boasts over 40 years of experience. The Total Gym FORCE home gym is made of quality materials which make it sturdy as a rock.
Like other Total Gym products, the FORCE’s performance is top-notch. You can perform numerous different exercises with this machine. It also comes with an exercise flip chart, a workout guide, and DVDs as well as a nutritional program and meal plan to help you achieve your fitness goals.
- It can be easily assembled and folded, saving you on storage space.
- Its attachments are easy to switch or remove for an easy transition to different exercises.
- It is both comfortable and ergonomic as it is padded and comes with flexible nylon strap handles.
- It comes with a complete nutritional program to help you reach your fitness goals.
Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage System
The Diamond Elite Smith Cage system from Marcy is an all-in-one home gym equipment that is ideal for strength training. Its frame features a seven-degree gradient which is engineered to accommodate the natural upper and lower body motion. It also comes with a variety of features which include a bi-functional leg developer, press bar, low pulley system, squat rack, and a separate weight bench.
The Diamond Elite offers a pulley function which is operated with a free motion system that brings out precision for each exercise performed.
- A definitive complete home gym trainer system.
- It comes with an elevated base frame that boosts its stability and firmness.
- Features adjustable bar catches and safety stoppers
Body Solid EXM3000LPS Double Stack Home Gym
The Body Solid EXM3000LPS features a commercial quality heavy-duty machine that is common in gym clubs. It is an extremely solid gym machine that allows up to three users to train simultaneously. The frame of this equipment is made of steel which supports up to 947 pounds.
Its steel frames are coated with an anti-corrosive white paint. Meanwhile, the bases feature rubberized stabilizers to protect your floor from damage. The back supports are made of durable synthetic leather. Lastly, the rollers on the leg accessory feature uniform rubber padding to ensure comfort during leg curls.
The Body Solid EXM300LPS features a number of major workout components. They include:
- A bi-functional pec station that facilitates deltoids and pectoral muscle workouts
- A multi-press station with fully adjustable pads that allows users of all sizes to work out the chest, back, and shoulders
- A mid pulley system that offers superior comfort for abdominal muscle and triceps workouts.
- A high pulley station for strength and endurance training of the triceps, shoulder, and back muscles. There is also a pulldown that provides stress-free access to hold down breakers for users of all sizes.
- A low pulley station for leg workouts.
It is important to note that the EXM3000LPS occupies quite a huge footprint and may not be suitable for those who have a limited space.
Other Noteworthy Products
Aside from our four top picks, we’ve also included some noteworthy products which you might want to consider. They are the following:
Bowflex PR100 Home Gym
The Bowflex PR100 comes with the Power Rod resistance technology that allows you to exercise comfortably. It serves up to 30 different exercises for your upper and lower body workouts. You can exercise your shoulders and lats with the upper pulley system. The lower pulley and leg extension allows you to exercise your lower body.
Bayou Fitness Total Trainer DLX-III Home Gym
The Bayou Fitness Total Trainer DLX-III is a superior quality home gym for its price range. This machine uses your body weight for resistance, thus alleviating the need for weight. You only have to move up or down the incline to change the proportion of your body weight lifted for effective workouts. This high quality home gym is superbly built with chrome coated rails and comes with an advanced pullup and pushup bar as well as twin handles for extra attachment.
The Bayou Fitness also comes with a number of accessories and extras to enable you to assemble a quality home gym and achieve the perfect workout. These include a biceps curl press bar, chrome coated pull-up and push-up bar, heavy duty squat board, and dual leg cuffs.
The Bayou Fitness may not be ideal for strength training as it is only designed to help you burn calories and lose fat. To build muscle, you will need to lift heavier weights.
Marcy MWM-990 Home Gym
The Marcy MWM-990 home gym is a reasonably priced and compact home gym that gives you a full body workout at an affordable price. With up to 150 pounds of weight stack, it is unlikely that you will find a better alternative at this price range.
The versatile Marcy MWM-990 home gym provides over 30 different exercises for your lower and upper body workouts. It is made of heavy-duty steel and comes with a dual functioning press arm, flexible preacher curl bicep pad, and comfy roller pads.
The all-in-one training machine also offers an adjustable flower attachment to enable you to transition easily between exercises.
Body-Solid Strength Tech EXM2500S Home Gym
The Body-Solid Strength Tech EXM2500S Home Gym comes in a simple design and maximum performance for its price range. It is constructed from high tensile strength steel and loaded with 210 pounds of weight stack to make it able to perform some of the most demanding strength training exercises. It features a pec station, chest press, leg extension/leg curl, lat pulldown, and a seated row among other options.
Body-Solid Freeweight Leverage Commercial Gym Package
The Body-Solid Freeweight Leverage Commercial Gym Package is designed to be sturdy and durable. It is made of high tensile strength steel and fitted with commercial-grade pillow block bearings to ensure smooth movement. The Freeweight allows a variety of different exercise for full body workout.
BodyCraft Galena Pro Home Gym
The Galena Pro is a strong and compact home gym that takes up minimal space. It comes with a chest press, bi-functional pec dec, leg extension, low pulley system, abdominal crunch, and a leg press that are all designed to enable you to achieve a full body workout. It is made of a heavy gauge steel which is coated with anti-rust powder coat paint to give it an edgy finish.
BodyCraft XPress Pro Home Gym Review
BodyCraft’s Xpress Pro is a heavy and built-to-last home gym constructed from a steel tubing frame. It uses adjustable cable arms that allow you to perform hundreds of different exercises. The Xpress Pro uses a 200lb weight stack that provides you with considerable resistance to burn calories and tone your body.
Choosing the Right Home Gym
There is a variety of exercise equipment to choose from. In order to find the ultimate gym, you will need to take the time to make sure that you select only the right equipment depending on your ultimate goal.
Whether you’re a beginner or advanced fitness enthusiast, take the time to determine what you want out of your home fitness equipment. Different fitness goals require different types of equipment. The most important question is what you want to achieve within your stipulated timelines. Generally, people often choose from one of these two main directions:
If you are into muscle building, then you might consider a weight stack or weight plate styled equipment. This will allow you to load as many weights as you require in order to build muscles. When exercising with heavy weights, you actually tear your muscles. Your muscles will then grow bigger as they repair themselves. This is how you gain muscle mass.
You can find a number of resistance-based home gyms that can help you build muscle. However, there are of course tons of high-end choices out there that offers even more resistance. You just have to make sure you have the right budget.
If your aim is to lose fat, burn calories, or tone your body, a weight-based home gym is your best bet. However, you cannot go wrong with any other home gym including the resistance-based gyms. Doing high repetitions will result in burning of more calories which will enable you to get rid of fats and tone your body.
Most people initially set out to lose fats and then tone before ultimately adding muscle. As such, you are better suited going to a weight-based gym from the start. However, if you have no intention of adding mass, then the resistance-based home gym is your best fit.
Other considerations that you need to decide on when choosing home gyms include:
Your Workout Space
If you are considering investing in a home gym, then it is likely that you have a workout space reserved. Measure this space to determine if the equipment you are considering can be safely used in the space.
The clutter associated with dumbbells and plates is adequate to cover an entire room. Resistance-based machines, on the other hand, take up less space. You might be able to save up on space if the pieces can be folded or stored away when not in use.
Most home exercise equipment come with special features that can help you ensure safety and boost your overall workout experience. A treadmill may come with features like a heart rate monitor, speed trackers, and programmability. Most resistance-based machines have safety features that prevent weights from falling on you. However, you may need to exercise caution with equipment lacking the right features with regards to safety and stability.
Cost and Maintenance
The cost of the equipment and expenses involved in running it will require that you set a budget. When you discern the amount of money you have to spend, you can set expectations that are a tad more realistic. You should be ready to invest a tidy sum of money if you are looking for a quality home gym equipment that will perform well and last a long time. Also, you can figure out the equipment that is a priority and build your home gym one purchase at a time.
Different Home Gym Styles
Home gyms can be broadly categorized into two different styles: resistance-based and weight-based home gyms. Let us take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of each style.
Resistance-Based Home Gyms
Resistance-based gym machines are the most ideal for those who are starting out and individuals with physical limitations. This is because of their smooth movement which makes them easy on the joints. As a result, your body will not be subjected to the usual wear and tear that is characteristic of the weight-based gym machines.
Overall, resistance-based gym equipment are ideal for maintaining an elevated heart rate, burning fats, and body toning. However, you will need to lift weights in order to gain muscle. This can be difficult to achieve with just a resistance-based home gym alone.
- Resistance-based home gyms are suitable for beginners and persons with physical limitations as they are easy on the joints.
- It is easier to shift from one exercise to the next. A resistance-based machine only requires you to move a safety pin and switch to another exercise.
- Resistance-based home gyms provide the reliability of a safe and expected array of movement that allows you to work out both fast and gentle convulsion muscle fibers.
- You won’t even require a spotter to train safely. There are attachments to hold the stacks in case your hands slip or your muscles cannot move.
- Resistance machines are made of moving parts including bearings, cables, and pulleys that can fail regularly. They require frequent servicing, so it is important that you adhere to the manufacturer’s servicing schedule to eliminate this problem.
- Except for the Bowflex models, you will need to dedicate enough space for most resistance-based machines. Unlike free weights that can be moved around and stored in a closet when not in use, most resistance-based machines are fixed.
- The rods and bands that make up the resistance style home gyms lose their elasticity over time which can result in a loss of resistance. This can make it challenging to determine if you are improving or not.
- It is also difficult to build muscles with the resistance style home gyms.
Types of Resistance Based Home Gyms
There are a variety of resistance-based home gyms in the market. They can be broadly classified into Bowflex and the rest. Bowflex machines are differentiated as high quality and innovative resistance systems. They are designed like weight stack gyms and come with a horizontal bench that enables you to perform different variations of exercises.
Bowflex machines principally use rods in the resistance machines. Higher end models in the “Total Gym” brand use resistance plates. Total Gym is yet another manufacturer of high quality machines which uses bodyweight, inclined bench, and bands as the resistance system. Other less popular resistance-based equipment have similar designs, although the quality might not be on par with the same standard.
The bottom line is, you can find a lot of styles and options in the resistance-based group. If you plan to go for a resistance-based home gym, make sure you do appropriate research first.
Weight-Based Home Gyms
Weight-based home gyms are commonly used for total body strengthening and toning. They have also begun to make inroads as vital in weight loss.
A weight-based home gym incorporates gravity as the main source of resistance and a combination of simple machines to convey that resistance to you. This is a simple yet proven means for weight training. It uses stacks and plates to increase the resistance. You can even stack the amount of weight you are comfortable with and exercise accordingly.
The main advantage of weight-based home gyms is that they can withstand all the wear and tear. In contrast to resistance-based machines where you have to replace the rods as their elasticity wears out, you do not need to replace the stacks and plates. Also, a weight stack home gym has a virtually limitless amount of exercises available on a single machine.
A major disadvantage of a weight-based home gym is that you may grow too big for your weight stacks or plates as you gain mass and get stronger. As a result, you may require to buy additional weights.
Keep in mind that some weight stacks don’t come with a weight upgrade, while weight plate gyms don’t come with any weights at all. As such, you will need to buy the other components you need. However, the good thing about this is that you can freely add as much weight as you want based on your needs.
Basically, a weight-based home gym often requires a fairly larger initial investment. In spite of that, it’s a really solid choice and will surely last you a lifetime.
Advantages of Using a Home Gym
Lose Body Fat and Gain Muscle
The main reason why you should invest in a home gym is that it is the most ideal way to achieve a full body workout. While treadmills and exercise bikes are good at burning calories, you can only achieve a full body workout if you invest in a home gym. An entry-level, reasonably priced home gym offers more than 30 different exercises for both your upper and lower body as well as the abdominal area. On top of that, you can still burn calories and lose body fats with high repetition exercises.
A major feature of the home gym equipment is that it will help you gain muscle. While most other fitness machines aim to improve cardiovascular fitness and burn calories, a home gym will enable you to build strength and muscle.
A home gym will only require a large initial investment but will ultimately be cost-effective when compared to a local gym membership. Gym membership and signup fees can dig a bit into your income. The local gyms may charge you anything from $60 to $150 or higher depending on your locale.
In case you move to another area or even change your club membership, you will be required to pay for a signup fee again. A quality home gym will cost you around $600 which is on worth around 6 months of gym membership fee.
Think about your current living scenario. You probably wake up in the wee hours of the morning to hit the gym. Or, you have to drive to the gym straight from work and end up getting home late. You then may have to wait for machines to become available and have many distractions during your workout.
A home gym will save you all this hassle. You will only need to get changed and pop into the gym room. You also don’t have to wait for the machine to become available as it’s always available for you. This makes a home gym ideal in today’s fast-paced society. With a home gym, you will have control over your own environment. If you fancy training while playing music, you can have that. Having control over your own environment will make the workout even more fulfilling to help you achieve better results.
Freedom and Variety
With your own home gym, you can exercise however you want. You do not have to follow club gym rules that are aimed at giving everyone a fair chance to exercise. Also, if you are the kind of person that prefers to exercise in peace, a home gym can be ideal than the crowded club gyms. There are no distractions whatsoever, and there are even a variety of exercises that you can perform. Even the most basic home gym equipment offers more than 30 different exercises. With your own home, you can organize your workouts as you please and with better focus.
Crowded gyms can act as an incubator for germs. Nasty viruses that can cause diseases such as diarrhea and stomach aches can survive on the surface of gym equipment. By working out at your own gym, you can maintain high sanitation standards. This is because you will able to control your workout space.
Home gyms are incredibly cost-effective when compared to a gym membership. For the cost of just a few months’ fees, you can be the proud owner of your own home gym. Provided you can spare the additional space for it and allocate around 20 to 30 minutes a day, a home gym can help you reach your fitness goals without the additional stress associated with a gym membership. You will not have to deal with the hassle associated with crowded gyms and will not have to worry about other people.
With a home gym, you can achieve a diversity of training goals including burning calories, toning your body, and building muscle. However, you will need to select the home gym that best fits your goals. Whatever your decision, owning a home gym is a lifetime investment that will go a long way in keeping you physically fit and well.