Which Home Gym Equipment Suits You?

rowing machine

If you like your fitness or want to lose weight, then some home gym equipment is probably one of things you've considered at some point. Why not check out some of the options available to you, as it's a great time to buy.

You can use gym equipment for exercising just about all of your muscle groups if you know what you're doing (or don't mind a small amount of research online). From upper and lower body strength and endurance training through to what's called functional training or BodyPump, you'll be suprised at how easy it is to create a workout - however big the space in your home.

From a special gym, to your lounge or the car-less garage, check out some of the more popular equipment below.

Abdominal Exercise Machine

If you want a piece of equipment that isolates your abdominals to help you build a better 6-pack, then buying a piece of equipment that can help you work your tummy has got to be a good things. From toning your tummy and removing some flab, through to building a six pack!

Abdominal exercise equipment ranges from a smaller frame shape (like the one in the picture below) which helps you maintain good form while performing sit-ups or crunches, to a much larger 'weight lifting' ab exerciser found in the gym.

All the pieces of equipment work solely on the abdominal exercises and will not help with cardio exercise or exercising other parts of the body.

Exercise Mat

A universally useful piece of kit! The exercise mat serves two main purposes.

Firstly, it absorbs the impact of aerobic activity during exercise, helping protect your joints from damage. Secondly the exercise mat will provide a non slip surface to help ensure a safe workout (An Exercise Mat will also protect your nice polished floor!).

Exercise Mats are constructed of PVC foam, and should come with a non-slip bottom surface. Thickness varies depending on the intended use of the mat. A yoga / pilates mat will be thinner than a more heavy-duty protective exercise mat (used to protect your floor from say an exercise bike).

Heart Rate Monitor

An increasingly popular piece of equiment, the heart rate monitor is perfect for ensuring you train at the right intensity for your goals - whether it's weight loss or stamina building.

Find out how you can exercise with a heart rate monitor to train within your target heart rate zone (you can also find target heart rate calculators online that help you find your THR).

Resistance Straps

The resistance strap, or exercise band, can be found in most sports shops and comes in various strengths that are normally colour coded to help you find your desired resistance strength more easily. The more expensive models can also come with handles, but usually it's simply the rubber band.

They are cheap, light and easy to pack, meaning they can go with you wherever you go. Resistance tubes are also versatile and can be used to perform a variety of exercises from upper body toning to thigh and buttock sculpting.

The Resistance Strap is a great piece of rehab equipment that can aide you exercise after injury too.

Skipping Ropes

Famously used by boxers, the skipping rope, or Jump Rope as it is sometimes referred to as, is not automatically something that is associated with serious exercise unless your boxer - more with having fun in the playground.

The fact is that a skipping rope is an excellent aid for cardio exercise. They can be a little tricky to get the hang of but you will not find a more effective piece of fitness equipment for the price!

Swiss Ball

Increasingly used for sit-ups, the exercise ball, or Swiss Ball are relatively new pieces of fitness equipment, but are becoming more and more popular.

The Exercise Ball can be used to exercise just the lower portions of the body, just the upper or the whole body at once - you can choose to isolate which muscle groups you want to exercise.

With the Exercise Ball you use your 'core' muscles to stabilise yourself while working deeper layers of muscle. It is great in targeting muscles that are ignored by traditional exercises and ones that are often relaxed and supported when using an exercise machine.

One of the great things about the Exercise Ball is that it is a relatively inexpensive piece of exercise equipment and can be used for exercising at home, and does not take up a lot of space. If you want to use the Exercise Ball in your exercise program make sure that you include some cardio exercise as the Exercise Ball does not target the cardiovascular system.

Weight Bench

Used both for free weights and machines, the weight bench is a great addition to home exercise equipment and ideal for use with free weights and dumbbells as well as using for dips and press-ups.

If you are looking for a weight bench you should consider one that has good stability and will support both you and your weights.

Weight benches with leg weight additions are well worth while, adding an extra dimension to your exercise machine (the weight bench in the picture below is a good example). The weight benches do not take up a lot of room, some are even collapsible for easy storage.

Elliptical Trainers (Cross Trainers)

A superb piece of cardio equipment, the Elliptical Trainer, or Cross Trainer, helps give your upper and lower body, and cardiovascular system a great workout all at the same time, burning more calories in a shorter time - similar to the rowing machine.

The elliptical trainer scores highly on recommendation lists of many personal trainers for it's low impact on your joints - making it ideal for heavier clients. Providing you use a high enough level of resistance and workout for long enough - for many users this gym equipment will be a better choice than say a treadmill.

An Elliptical trainer combines the benefits of the step machine and treadmill and offer a very low impact workout, decreasing the chances of injury.

Exercise Bike

Needing very little introduction, the exercise bike is the one piece of exercise equipment that you are guaranteed to see everywhere - in fact no self respecting Gym would be complete without one!

Exercise bikes have come a long way from the 'early days' and come in all shapes and sizes. Working both the lower half of your body from your glutes all the way down to your ankles, exercise bikes give a thorough cardio workout.

Complete with brake resistance systems, digital displays giving a constant update on your heart rate, calories burned, distance travelled and computer interfaces to plug into your PC - in fact all you could possibly want from a piece of exercise equipment.

If you are thinking of buying a bike have a think about what you need from the bike, and what you want to get out of your workout. Also take time to ask questions about practical things things like frame construction, maximum load weight and portability.

Rowing Machine

For one of the best all round workouts, the rowing machine is impossible to beat. Ask all the professionals or personal trainers, this is a vital piece of exercise equipment that gives one of the best overall workouts.

During your rowing machine workout, the major muscle groups all get a good workout as does the cardiovascular system. One of the great things about exercising on the rowing machine is that is is a very low impact, so reducing the possibility of injury.

There are several different types to choose from, simple pneumatic, fixed oar machines to fly wheel, digital display models. Some gyms actually have models where you can race opponents on the screen - adding a bit of fun the your fitness program. As with other forms of exercise you should ensure that you keep your heart rate in the target zone. Use the target heart rate calculator to calculate what your ideal rate during exercise should be.

Step Machine

Offers a workout that will leave your muscles burning, the step machine offers a great workout for the calves, buttocks, thighs, hips and the cardiovascular system.

The step machine (or stepper as sometimes called) is another piece of equipment that offers an intense, high calorie burning, low impact exercise.

The stair stepper replaces the traditional step bench, with modern step machines being complete with heart rate monitor, a selection of different workout programs, variable resistance and digital displays. If you don't have a great deal of room there are even mini step machines out there to buy.


The ubiquitous running machine or treadmill is a great piece of equipment for cardio exercise.

Although all treadmills and running machines all basically do the same thing there are some differences in the types of machine out there. The basic treadmill will have a rotating belt and possible a hand adjustable incline. The more advanced (and more expensive) can be complete with variable speed, different workout programs, LCD display, automatic incline and heart rate monitor - ideal to keep your at your target heart rate.

The price of these machines has really dropped making them a viable piece of equipment to have for exercising in the home, as long as you have the room!

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Useful Websites

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  • Gym Equipment .co.uk
    From treadmills through to exercise bikes and rowers, you can find equipment for the home or office. We also do gym designs and commercial facilities. Includes Life Fitness, Technogym, Inspire, Jordan
  • Gym Design with GymEquipment.co.uk
    For designing your own gym at home or for commercial venues like school gyms, offices, pt studios or hotels, we provide design and consultancy and some of the best gym and fitness equipment in the UK
  • ┬áSports Fitness
    Sports Fitness is the number one online shop for your sports clothing, fitness clothing, accessories and equipment suitable for a wide range of sporting and exercise activity.
  • Chelston Direct
    Online UK shop providing sport & outdoor leisure clothing & equipment, including surf gear, ski gear, sailing, camping, fitness & yoga products.
  • Beechwood Finance
    Specialist sales aid brokerage offering nation-wide coverage for a variety of capital equipment e.g.. computers, telephone systems, office equipment, fish frying equipment and fitness equipment
  • iWorkout
    Fitness and exercising advice and tips. Buy gym and fitness equipment , supplements, clothes and more online. Get fit and stay fit.
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