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Home Gym Buying Guide

When is the right time to purchase your first piece of exercise equipment? How do home gyms compare/differ to treadmills and ellipticals? How much can I save by owning a home gym compared to paying for a yearly gym membership?

All of these are important questions when you are considering your first piece of exercise equipment. Home gyms are one of the most popular trainers on the market because they are extremely versatile. Like the name implies, a good home gym essentially replaces the “gym” by bringing it all to your home on one exceptionally useful machine.

Home gyms are primarily used for strength training though they also are suitable for cardiovascular activities and some rehabilitation from injuries (though exercise bikes are most common for injury recovery). Home gyms are available in different sizes and types, and on FitRated.com we have also expanded “Home Gyms” to include dumbbells (like the highly touted Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells) and workout benches.

Comparing and contrasting home gyms is very important when you begin your search for a new trainer. As a result, FitRated.com has put together a Home Gym Buying Guide to address the most popular questions as well as things you need to know about home gyms.

Types

Home gyms produce resistance to for strength training activities. Consequently, manufactures have found different ways to produce that resistance, and the most common types of home gyms are: Bodyweight, Power Rod and Weight Stack resistance.

Bodyweight Home Gyms

Bodyweight home gyms utilize natural resistance, in other words your body, to produce the resistance. It’s a really effective type of resistance that requires little to no extra maintenance¬†on the trainer.

Power Home Gyms

Power Rod resistance is a patent of Bowflex home gyms. Power Rod technology is a progressive means to exercise with a unique feel that is much different from lifting free weights. The technology is a lot like a bow and arrow; When you begin pulling the resistance is light and easy, but the further back you go the more resistance you get.

Weight Stack Home Gyms

Weight Stack home gyms are what you may define as traditional home gyms because they have the old-fashion technique of weight plates with a pin that allows the user to select the weight he or she wants to lift for each exercise.

Exercises

It is not uncommon for a home gym to support more than 90 different exercises! Fittingly, home gyms are extremely diverse in their capabilities. Generally, the more you pay and the more workout options you have at your disposal. Almost all home gyms are equipped to support arm, leg and ab exercises. Additionally, most home gyms allow curl, pulldown and row exercises!

Accessories

Companies that produce home gyms often throw in extra incentives to purchase their models by offering sweet extras like workout DVDs, exercise resources, additional attachments (for even more exercise opportunities!), floor mats, weight stacks, resistance upgrades, etc.

While you might find that 3-4 home gyms are similar in max lifting weight, exercises available and resistance type the accessories that one model might offer over the others just may influence your final decision.

Brands

Bowflex and Total Gym are probably the two most popular home gym manufactures because, well, they spend a lot of money each year on advertising. Bowflex runs A LOT of infomercials on TV informing viewers of the many advantages to owning a home gym, and the persistence has certainly paid off! Today, Bowflex is one of the most well known exercise manufactures in the world. They have an amazing reputation.

Total Gym is also very popular because of its celebrity endorsements, including one’s from Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley. Total Gym also has a stellar reputation and a great positive feedback rating from¬†existing¬†customers.

BodyCraft and Weider are other respectable home gym manufactures.

Price

Home gyms range anywhere from over $2,000 to under $500. The old saying “you get what you pay for” certainly applies (if not even more) when it comes to purchasing exercise equipment. Home gyms may seem expensive at first, but when you consider all they have to offer as well as the money you could save as opposed to going to the local gym, and in the end it’s a great investment!

Unless you have your sights set on dumbbells or a workout bench, we suggest you consider at least spending $1,000+ for a home gym. The quality and production of these trainers is far superior to other, cheaper priced models and the warranty is usually much better.