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Design your own home gym


Published: 06/19/2012

by William Roebuck

 Before you invest in an in-home exercise area, consider your fitness needs, available space, budget and how much time you are able to devote to home fitness.

New home gym equipment is of higher quality and more space-efficient than ever before. Here are some factors to consider when creating a home gym:

* What is your budget? High-quality equipment that is reliable and will work for years can't be made cheaply. However, there are options for every budget. For example, if a $1,500 stair stepper is not in your budget, an alternative is to get some quality step-training tapes and a set of benches with risers for around $150. This would be a better choice than spending $300 on a low-quality machine that would wear out quickly. Another option is to purchase used commercial equipment from a dealer (get a warranty).

* Will other people be using the gym? If so, a treadmill may need enough programming features and a long enough deck to accommodate the different body shapes and fitness goals of multiple users. Similarly, weight machines should adjust to safely accommodate a range of sizes and abilities.

* Cardiovascular equipment should be able to maintain at least 20 minutes of smooth, continuous motion. You should be able to increase the resistance, incline or duration.

* Choosing strength-training tools is a matter of budget and safety. Novice exercisers may be better off with a multi-station gym, which is safer to use unsupervised than free weights. The key is to make sure it's easy to adjust. Resistance tubing is an affordable alternative. Space limitations may mean you have to opt for a rack of dumbbells instead of a multi-gym. Also consider the ceiling height, since some equipment sits high.

* Before purchasing a piece of equipment, inspect it for safety, serviceability, design and features. The equipment should be adjustable, operate smoothly, and be easy to learn, Your body should move in a correct and safe manner. Parts should be easily replaceable. There shouldn't be any design flaws that could increase the risk of injury.

Finally, be honest with yourself about how motivated you will be to exercise at home, before you make the investment. It is also important that you learn how to exercise safely and that your doctor clears you to exercise. Once you have made the decision to design your own home gym, your next step could be on a new treadmill.

 Article courtesy the American Council on Exercise.

Use these guidelines to determine how much room you'll need, in square feet: treadmill 30, single-station gym 35, multi-station gym 50-200, free weights 20-50, bike 10, rowing machine 20, stair climber 10-20, ski machine 25.




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