Excuses, excuses. Everyone has excuses for why they can't make it to the gym or why they can't work out. If I had a penny for every excuse I ever heard over the past 12 years I wouldn’t be here writing this article—I’d probably be on some island somewhere with my feet in the sand and a strong drink in my hand, just listening to the waves crash against the shore without a care in the world. But, here I am. So, let’s think about things for a second. Have you ever looked at your watch and got ticked off because you didn’t make it to the gym yet and there’s no way you can fit it into your schedule to drive all the way to the gym and back with everything you want to get done? I’ve been there. And I’ve found workarounds—which I’m going to share with you. It starts by building out a home gym.
Being a business owner, husband, and father, takes up a lot of my time. No, I'm not complaining, I'm just stating the facts. I won't deny that there are days that I look at my schedule and think there's no way I can fit in a workout—and I have a full studio with commercial-grade equipment at my house. I also forgot to throw in that I even work out of my home office. No excuse, right? Actually, yea, you're right. So, what do you do when you have a gym membership, but the gym isn't exactly near your work or house? You improvise with the products I'm about to show you to create an inexpensive home gym. Snow and/or ice keeping you indoors? No problem!
The items listed below are not only great for you to have on hand at home if you don’t have a gym membership, but also when you do and are in a pinch to fit in a quick workout. Want some even better news? The items below can also be easily packed into your travel bag or suitcase and taken with you when you need to travel out of town on business or for pleasure. Consider it a home gym on the go! Each product also has a link to an example of an inexpensive option.
Anyone who says they can’t get in a good workout with resistance bands is out of their mind. While you’re not loading up the bar with 315 to bang out some presses, you can still improvise and get an amazing pump and engorge those muscles with blood. The nice thing about this set is that it comes with 31 pieces and attachments. This allows you to set up your own circuit so you don’t have to constantly be changing resistance bands and attachments. You can simply set it up how you want it and get to work. The resistance bands specific to this article are also anti-snap so you can breathe a sigh of relief that you won’t have a band snap and potentially cause an injury (or embarrassment at the least).
The set comes in a nice bag to keep everything organized, especially if you want to take it with you when you travel or if you need to pack it up after a workout due to space—or you simply don’t want the bands and attachments laying all over the place in your designated workout area in your home. Either way, this definitely needs to be the first thing you consider when building your no excuse home gym that doesn’t take up much space.
Another great piece to add to your home gym that will take up some space, but you can use for many different purposes is the stability ball. Stability balls come in many different sizes and colors. It’s important to find a stability ball that is anti-burst to provide an extra layer of safety in case something would happen when you are using it. Another feature to look for is an anti-slip surface to the ball. This will allow you to perform exercises without slipping off and potentially injuring yourself.
With the stability ball, you can do core movements for your abdominals and lower back, as well as perform exercises such as a seated biceps curl, seated or lying triceps extension, seated shoulder press, and chest press. The versatility you get with the stability ball puts it on the "must-have" list.
Another use for the stability ball would be for a desk chair (or any chair in your home for that matter). Sitting on a stability ball engages the core and helps maintain proper posture. If you find you have a sore back when sitting in a chair (especially at your desk), try replacing the chair with a stability ball and see if it doesn’t alleviate your lower back pain and/or stiffness.
I know what you’re thinking… “but Matt, you said everything in this article can go with you when you travel. Correct. Many of the stability balls on the market today come with a small handpump that can easily go in a bag, suitcase, or simply throw it in your car. You can then deflate the stability ball and pack it wherever you go. Or, if you have enough room in your car, keep it inflated and just throw it in and on your way you go.
Not sure what size ball you need for your home gym? Check the chart below that shows a height range for each size ball:
4' 0” - 4' 11" - 45cm
4' 11" - 5' 6" - 55cm
5' 6" - 6' 0” - 65cm
6' 0” - 6' 3" - 75cm
6' 3" - 6' 7" - 85cm
While not 100% necessary, it’s nice to have a layer between you and the carpet/floor. This can help keep a barrier between your sweat and the floor—keeping your carpet clean and your floor from becoming slippery where you’re working out. Due to the thick foam, the mat also supplies some comfort from the hard floor you might be laying on. This makes it much nicer when performing abdominal exercises or pressing movements such as floor presses.
The mat also comes with a carry strap so if you wanted to carry it with you when you are out of town, you can simply grab it and throw it in your vehicle. It also makes it convenient to carry around the house when you are getting it out from storage to use and when putting it back.
And there you have it! Three inexpensive items you can purchase to starting building your home gym.