Five Essentials for a Great Home Gym July 1, 2015
Five Essentials for a Great Home Gym July 1, 2015

When you’ve set up a home gym, it’s all about you: That means you can stage your own abs class at 3 a.m., hurling curses as you’re feeling the burn. But your newfound independence comes with a challenge: When it’s just you, the mat, the rower, some dumbbells and the sound of your neighbor’s barking dog, who’s going to give you tips on your Russian Twist, or tell you when you’re not adequately isolating your biceps as you curl?

No worries. With the right equipment and expert advice, you can turn a scary proposition into a winning workout strategy. Just be sure to work these five essential elements into your new fitness temple:

  1. Choose your cardio smartly. Elevating your heart rate and sustaining it for 20 minutes or more can be a boon to weight loss, cardiovascular health and muscle toning. So what will it be? If you want only one machine, a treadmill is the most versatile cardio vehicle. For a lower-impact session, an elliptical trainer, a stationary bike or a rowing machine are all more joint-friendly. Likewise, a recumbent bicycle isolates the lower-body for those with back issues.

  2. Get the most from your gear. Strength training helps you burn fat, improve flexibility and reinforce circulation and balance. The equipment you choose—whether that includes free weights, an all-in-one bench or resistance bands—depends largely on your goals. Free weights are great for targeting specific muscle groups, though they call for guidance and practice to master effectively. In any case, a utility bench is a fine complement to any weight set; it helps to refine your form and isolate muscle groups.
    Inside Tip: Let FitnessBuilder put those new free-weights to work. One out of every ten of FitnessBuilder’s, 1,000 workouts includes a free-weight workout. Already a user? “Boost the Burn”, “Chest Superset” and “Hardcore Arms” are just a few of our great free-weight workouts.

  3. Build your playlist. Legendary running coach Jack Daniels notes in his book, Daniels’ Running Formula, that elite runners take about 180 strides per minute. Keep that pace by moving to tracks like “Electrify, “ (Beastie Boys), “Vacation,” (The Go-Go’s) and “All Together Now,” (The Beatles), among many others.

  4. Take a look at yourself! Who’s got the greatest lats of all? There’s no greater motivation for getting fit like looking at yourself in a full-length mirror; and not in that, “look at that gut” kind of way. Rather, to paraphrase super-blogger Dan Pearce, “Mirrors show you who you are, who you were and who you want to be.”

  5. Sweet inspiration. You’re going to need some help building and evolving your program. A fitness app—whether it’s one that helps you track your workouts and work towards goals, or something more comprehensive–is going to keep you using your new space and stay in the game.

So now you have barbells clanging and the Beastie Boys in the house–and you’re seeing results. That’s great, though you may want to keep your newfound enthusiasm on the DL. This is, after all, your personal temple of fitness: Who wants to wait for the treadmill?

Keeping on your fitness game is easier than ever with FitnessBuilder on your iPhone, Android and the Web. PumpOne’s complete workout guidance and tracking tools include over 1,000 workouts tailored to your fitness goals and the ability to create your own sessions from more than 7,000 exercise images and videos. Download it from the App Store or Google Play, or sign up at

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