Weight Lifting Complete highly recommends a home gym for all your workouts.
A big time commercial gym will obviously have more gym equipment.
Most of the space taken up in those commercial gyms are used by weight lifting machines and other exercise machines.
Here's the 100% truth about a home gym:
“A home gym can and will compete with any commercial gym once you have the right equipment.”
Your at home gym should be focused around free weights like barbells, dumbbells, and even kettlebells.
Home fitness can easily be accomplished with the best home workout equipment.
A well built home gym will allow you to reach your fitness goals in the comfort of your home.
And please, before we go any further, don't purchase any of those fancy weight machines with weight stacks on them with 6 different weight stations.
And don't purhcase anything like that or similar to that. When I see those fancy machines, I cringe because I know people are falling for that because they think a machine is better or easier to use. It's not better or easier.
What is Fitness Anyway?
Definition of fitness:
“The condition of being physically fit and healthy.” Well, that didn't really help much. Let's go deeper.
Definition of physical fitness:
“A state of health and well being that leads to the ability to perform sports, work, and activities.”
Physical fitness is supposedly achieved through “moderate physical exercise,” proper diet and nutrition, and sufficient rest according to Wikipedia.
What is Home Fitness?
You can definitely achieve physical fitness by working out at home.
For instance, I've been doing all of the following fitness exercises since the year 2000 all in my home gym and outdoors around my home:
- Weight Lifting Exercises
- Cardiovascular Exercise
- Endurance Exercise
- Balance Exercise
- Strength Training Exercises
- Flexibility Exercises
- Stretching Exercises
- Conditioning Exercises
- Bodyweight Exercises
- Power Lifting Exercises
By combining the ability to do all of the different types of fitness exercises above, you can improve your physical fitness to new levels.
And you can do all of that through at home fitness exercises using at home fitness equipment in your home gym.
I've done this and you can too. My home gym was built from a single pair of adjustable dumbbell handles and has increased to an amazing home gym that I love and use every day.
My home gym is my favorite spot in our home. Our kids love it too. And that's a great thing.
How Do You Improve Your Physical Fitness at Home?
Improving physical fitness means you have to work harder at something than you ever have before.
That is how your body improves. For example, I increase my strength levels and become stronger by lifting weight that is heavier than I have ever lifted.
By doing so, my body builds and improves itself so the next time I lift that same weight it will be easier for me.
For cardiovascular exercise, you should always work on improvement too. If you walk on the treadmill every day at the same speed, same incline, and same duration, why would your body need to improve and get better?
An improvement in fitness occurs when you work on getting better. This takes hard work.
This means at home fitness isn't easier than any other method. The actual work is just as difficult, but the home workouts are more convenient (in addition to many other factors too).
Weight Lifting Complete gets tens of thousands of visitors each year looking for Bowflex workouts and Bowflex exercises.
You might be one of those people!
The Bowflex is not the greatest piece of home exercise machinery that you can own, but it's definitely not a bad option if you're trying to get into better shape and improve your level of physical fitness.
Simply beginning an exercise program with any home exercise equipment is the first step to a lifestyle change.
If you don't already have a Bowflex machine, do not purchase one and instead use that money on free weights like barbells and dumbbells.
If you already have a Bowflex machine, you can use it as a home gym but you need to choose the best exercises to use with your Bowflex version.
What is a Bowflex Home Gym Machine?
The Bowflex Company started in 1986 so they've been around for a long time now.
The very first Bowflex home gym was a Bowflex 2000X. Since then, there have been many new models developed. I can't even find a number on how many that might be.
Though, I do find about 25 different models with manuals that can be downloaded on the Bowflex website.
This means they do have good products and you can improve your body, health, and appearance with a Bowflex machine.
“Free Weight Don't Come Close to Bowflex.” What???
A Bowflex video I watched says: “No free weights come close to a Bowflex Home Gym.”
Now that is 100% not the truth. Free weights will always out perform any machine. Yes, their machines use polymer rods or power rods which are supposed to create constant tension on the muscle.
But, you can bet that free weights do the same thing (constant tension on the muscle) and do it better. Free weights still allow the most natural movement. Machines can't compare with that.
The Bowflex company (Nautilus) also have a newer source of resistance that they call SpiraFlex technology. This is also supposed to apply constant tension to each exercise.
They are constantly coming out with new technology and new machines.
A Few of the Bowflex Home Gym Models
There are a huge number of Bowflex models. Here's just a few of those model numbers:
- Bowflex 2000x
- Bowflex Extreme
- Bowflex Revolution
- Bowflex Blaze
- Bowflex PR1000
- Bowflex XTL
- Bowflex Sport
- Bowflex Extreme 2
- Bowlfex Classic
- Bowflex Conquest
- Bowflex Extreme SE
Most of the Bowflex models use power rods. I believe, at this time, the Bowflex Revolution is the only model that uses SpiraFlex technology. I am sure that will change in the future.
Choosing the Right Bowflex Exercises
You want to choose variations of the big compound weight lifting exercises.
If you choose the correct exercises, you will be able to use the largest amount of resistance on your Bowflex home gym.
This means that you will be able to increase the resistance more often between workouts when using WLC System principles of progression.
This is very important for building muscle.
Here are the 7 core exercise movements that you should be doing with your Bowflex machine:
- Bench Press
- Overhead Press
- Chin Up
Yes, the Bowflex is not capable of allowing you to do chin ups and dips but you can choose movements that are very similar. For instance, do lat pulldowns instead of chin ups.
I want to warn you, though, that lat pulldowns are in NO WAY close to the real chin ups exercise. Not even close. So you might get yourself a chin up and dip station and start doing those exercises separately.
Again, I highly recommend the use of free weights over any Bowflex machine or other machines. There is no comparison in the results you will achieve.
Home Exercise Equipment
I want to provide you with a guide to the best home exercise equipment.
When you get the best equipment for a home gym, you'll be able to do the absolute best home exercises.
You'll even be able to start a home exercise program that will provide you with even better results than going to a commercial gym.
Home Exercise Equipment for Strength Training
Weight lifting (in my opinion) is an absolute must to increase physical fitness because you gain strength, power, and build muscle.
Without weight training, you'll have trouble increasing your fitness levels.
Here's a list of weight lifting equipment I highly recommend for your home gym:
- Power Rack
- Weight Bench
- Chin Up Station
- Dip Station
- Olympic Barbell Sets
- Dumbbell Sets
- Specialty Bars
- Ironmind Hip Belt
- Calf Blocks
- Weight Plate Holders
- Dumbbell Rack
- Fractional Weight Plates
- Extra Weight Plates
- Cable System
This is a good list to have as a goal. Complete that list and you will have a huge number of home gym exercises to choose from just as I do.
I started building my home gym in the year 2000 with just a set of adjustable dumbbell handles. Now, I have all of the home gym equipment listed and much more.
If you really want to get started with weight lifting at home, simply get a set of adjustable dumbbells and extra weight plates. That's what I did, and it worked well for me for a while.
Home Exercise Equipment for Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular exercise is highly important and you do need some home exercise equipment to do workouts when it's very cold outside, raining, or snowing.
I always recommend you get outside as much as possible for fresh air and sunlight (if you live in an area with fresh air), but sometimes this isn't possible so cardio machines are highly recommended.
For your cardio workouts, I always recommend at least a couple of different machines.
My favorites at this time are the treadmill and the elliptical trainer. Incline treadmill walking is one cardio exercise I highly recommend and the elliptical is awesome because it's a very low impact machine and is very smooth and easy on the joints.
Always Choose Low Impact Cardio Exercises
Keeping levels of stress low on your joints is a top priority so I usually don't recommend running for long distances. I would rather do incline treadmill walking than running. That's my personal preference as my knees were never great with the high impact of running.
A treadmill and elliptical are all you really need for your home gym, but more variety is always better. You might add a high quality rowing machine or an exercise bike.
I am not a huge fan of exercise bikes either because I have to sit a long time for my job and for working on Weight Lifting Complete. I don't want to continue exercise with my legs in the same sitting position. This can lead to issues with muscles being tight making it difficult to perform exercises without pain.
Jumping rope is highly recommended for conditioning workouts as well as sled pulling and sled pushing (for awesome workouts).
Home Exercise Equipment for Stretching and Flexibility
Most normal stretching exercises can be done without any equipment so you don't need any additional home exercise equipment for stretching.
With the WLC System, though, you will use weighted stretching during your weight lifting workouts. This type of stretching will use the weight lifting equipment you already have.
Foam rollers are awesome pieces of equipment you will want to add to your home gym and use for warming up, between sets, or even after your workouts.
Resistance bands are also a good piece of equipment to add as they can be used for stretching and flexibility as well as for assistance on chin ups, pull ups, and dips.
Bands can also be used for adding resistance to exercises so they are very good to have in your gym.
As you know, I highly recommend home gyms or having a free weight gym at home.
I do not recommend the home gym machines that are being sold and marketed as better than free weights. They may take up less space, but you will be wasting much more time and getting far inferior results.
You don't need a HUGE space in your home for a gym. Some people I have helped simply used a pair of dumbbells and set them beside their bed in their bedroom. A pair of dumbbells are better than any weight machine too!
Advantages of Home Gyms
To me, there is absolutely ZERO comparison between a home gym and a commercial gym. I will always choose my home gym over a commercial gym.
If you have the right equipment, a commercial gym will provide no advantages in terms of equipment available.
Distractions are very limited in a home gym compared to a commercial gym. In fact, some people in commercial gyms make it nearly impossible to complete your workouts in the scheduled time.
You won't have to wait to use equipment in your home gym. There won't be sweat left on the equipment from someone else. Also, you won't have “experts” telling you how to do everything.
Music won't be an issue in your home gym. It's difficult to please everyone with the music choices in a gym, but at home, you've got it all to yourself. Music is highly important to weight training and can help you increase strength levels instantly.
Home Gyms Provide Many Advantages and Benefits Over a Gym Membership
Cost is a big factor too. Home gyms will cost more money up front, but you can slowly build them over the years. Commercial gyms cost you much more money in the long run and includes monthly fees, contracts, extra drive time, gas money, and other time and money wasted.
Convenience is the BIGGEST factor for why I recommend a home gym.
You can do workouts any time you want. Just get into your gym and get to work. You'll get the workouts done faster with no distractions. You can even workout more frequently if needed with no extra stress added about making it to the gym.
Let's face the truth: commercial gyms take a lot of extra time. Home gyms save you time.
Where to Build Your Home Gym
You might be looking around your home or apartment to see where you can build a home gym.
Some people convert their garages to home gyms and this is a good option if you don't need your garage for parking your vehicle or vehicles.
Basements are another great option and one that I have used now in 2 different homes. The first home gym I had was in an unfinished basement. My newest home gym is in a finished basement room with windows, and I absolutely love it compared to my last gym.
If you have an extra bedroom, you can use that too. When my wife and I first were married, we had an extra bedroom in a duplex home. We used that extra bedroom for our gym. It was small, but we made it work well.
If you have any extra space in any room, start a home gym there.
Home Gym Flooring
Hard rubber flooring is not recommended. I see many people recommending horse stall mats that are 3/4″ thick and very hard rubber.
I've had those in my home gym, and I gave them all away. They are ridiculously hard, and you might as well be doing your workouts on concrete.
Softer foam flooring is my recommendation to you and something I now have in my home gym. It's absolutey amazing, and I wouldn't trade it for any other floor.
I Am In Love With Soft Foam Flooring in My Gym
In fact, I visit my gym often just for the soft feel of the floor! Seriously.
I love that soft foam flooring so much that I added it in our unfinished basement storage rooms too. Everyone that comes to visit us love the foam flooring and ask where they can get it.
Soft foam flooring doesn't do well with heavy weights sitting on it as it leaves indentions, but this flooring is so easy to replace if you ever need to in the future.
And the cost is very low compared to other rubber gym floors. I keep extra packs of this foam flooring just in case I need to replace some tiles in the future.
Installation of this home gym flooring is very easy too! The install was one of the easiest things for a home that I've ever done. It cuts very easily with a utility knife and is light weight.
Home workouts, without a doubt, are more effective than any commercial gym workout.
But you need the right equipment, the right exercises, and the right home workouts.
This is what a good home workout plan will look like:
Pre Workout Warm Up
Start out with light cardiovascular exercise in your home gym for 5 minutes. This might be the treadmill or the elliptical machine.
Then do 20 jumping jacks followed by 10 body weight squats and some easy push ups.
Next, do some arm circle rotations to warm up your shoulders. I usually follow this with some front to back leg swings and some side to side leg swings.
Usually, I throw a few other dynamic stretching exercises in there just to warm up as good as I possibly can.
Weight Lifting Workout Example
Here's an example home workout (full body workout) you might be doing (this is just a single workout and not all will look like this):
Exercise (1 set each for 6 to 12 reps)
1. Safety Bar Squats
2. Weighted Push Ups
3. Dumbbell Lunges
4. Pendlay Rows
5. Parallel Dips
6. Squat Raises
7. 1-Arm Overhead Press
8. Close Grip Chin Ups
9. Trap Bar Deadlift
10. Hammer Curls
For the home workout above, you would need the following home gym equipment:
Power rack, safety squat bar, hip belt, weight bench, trap bar, dumbbells, barbell, weight plates, chin up station, dip station, and calf block.
The above home gym equipment allows you to do a top-notch at home workout as shown with those 10 exercises.
After each exercise, you will also perform a weighted stretch which is accomplished with no additional equipment. This weighted stretch provides additional benefits all in the comfort of your home gym.
Cardio Workout Example
A cardio machine such as the treadmill is an important piece of your home gym because you need to have the ability to do cardio workouts.
Once you have a couple of cardio machines, simply alternate between them for your cardio workouts.
If you have a 20-minute cardio workout planned out in your program using the WLC System, it might look like this:
0 – 2 minutes: warm up at treadmill speed of 3.0 mph and 0 incline
2 – 5 minutes: 3.5 mph and 1 incline
5 – 8 minutes: 4.0 mph and 2 incline
8 – 11 minutes: 4.5 mph and 3 incline
11 – 14 minutes: 5.0 mph and 4 incline
14 – 16 minutes: 5.5 mph and 5 incline
16 – 18 minutes: 4.0 mph and 3 incline
18 – 20 minutes: 3.5 mph and 1 incline
This is a great example of a cardio workout you can perform as one of your home workouts.
Notice how the intensity starts out low and increases over the course of the workout. The intensity is then lowered towards the end of the workout.
You can do your cardio workouts much easier at home and more often as needed during a fat loss cycle.
There's no reason to drive to a gym to do a 20-minute workout. When you have the right equipment at home, you can workout more often (as required) and get even better results.
Conditioning Workout Example
During muscle building cycles and periods of higher calorie intake, I recommend conditioning workouts.
These workouts at home are to increase your levels of physical fitness.
A conditioning workout might consist of farmers walk where you carry heavy weights around for a couple of minutes at a time.
Or, one of my favorite conditioning workouts is pulling a sled forwards and backwards.
This can be done on a concrete basement floor or out in your yard. I have used an old tire with weight plates on my basement floor, and I have also pulled my kids around on a weight sled in the yard (taller grass is more difficult).
Chopping Wood is an Awesome Conditioning Workout
Another good conditioning workout is chopping wood. I love to chop wood with a large maul and a 16-pound sledge hammer.
This is very good for you and increases your fitness levels.
An increase in physical fitness is important because you'll be able to get even better results from workouts at home.
For instance, a person with low levels of physical fitness won't be able to do many sets of weight training which limits the overall muscle building stimulus from a workout.
Exercises At Home
You can do a very large variety of exercises at home when you have the right equipment, but you can even do a good number without any equipment at all.
If you don't have any weight lifting equipment, gym equipment, or cardio machines, you can still do many bodyweight exercises right there at home.
Here are 3 bodyweight exercises you can do at home (you don't even need a home gym) right now:
- Push Ups
There are also a huge number of exercise variations of those 3 bodyweight exercises that you can do.
For instance, here are just a few of the lunge variations you can do at home:
- Lateral Lunges
- Reverse Lunges
- Curtsy Lunges
- Jumping Lunges
- Stationary Lunges
- Walking Lunges
If you do have the right weight lifting equipment discussed on this page, you can do hundreds of exercises at home.
There Are No Limitations With a Home Gym
There really is no limit to what you can do in a home gym.
Start your gym with just a couple of pieces of weight lifting equipment, and build it from there. As you build your home gym, the number of exercises you can do will greatly increase.
But, you don't need them all when you're first starting to workout at home.
Instead, pick the best exercises and work on getting very good at them and getting very strong on those exercises.
This takes time and you will be building your home gym with more gym equipment while you are getting good at those exercises.
Conclusion to Home Gym
I absolutely love home gyms, and I hope the information on this page has truly helped you.
Please ask me any questions you might have, and I'll provide the help you need with your home gym.
Remember, Weight Lifting Complete highly recommends free weights such as barbells and dumbbells for your gym equipment.
You truly don't need any fancy machines for your gym. Nothing can beat free weights!