Gym goers across the land will know it all too well; the biggest hurdle to exercise is often everything but the exercise itself. It’s the getting there. It’s the changing room. It’s the lacing up your running shoes and slipping into your shorts. It’s finding just the right tune to soundtrack your session. It’s the ever increasing cost of membership and the avoiding eye contact with vague associates on the treadmill. 

Because the actual workout, in all its endorphin releasing, stress alleviating, focus forming glory, is a whole lot of fun. The improvements to mental and physical health are pretty great too. Let’s cut the crap then, streamline the experience and keep it domestic, with these; our 5 IDEAL pieces of equipment to take your home gym to the next level.

A TREADMILL

Cardio, and that all important heart rate raising, is hugely, undeniably, demonstrably beneficial to both our physical and mental health. A regular run helps you burn calories and lose weight, increases lung capacity, strengthens your heart, and reduces the risk of all sorts of disease. Regular aerobic exercise is also said to improve brain function, memory and thinking as well as keeping depression at bay. A true miracle cure (prevention actually), this. 

Why would anyone not? Well, the weather, for one; moody, unpredictable and ever changing on these shores. The uneven terrain and slippery surfaces caused by Great British relentless rain means regular running outdoors can expose you to heightened risk of injury. You know where this is leading; a treadmill should be the first addition to your proper home gym.

A POWER RACK

A power rack is a multi purpose structure which if used right, can give all of your muscles a good going over with a fine variety of lifts and squats. Safety is at the heart of the structure (look for dual mounted safety bars with ‘J’ hooks) which is vital in the home gym setting when gym buddies are scant for spotting. Those with pull up capabilities are a real bonus; goodbye dodgy, dangerous pull up bar slung between your bedroom door frame! These racks (sometimes referred to as cages) needn’t cost a bomb; you can find some very capable ones in the £400 region.

A SQUAT MACHINE

A step up from the power rack in price, but also precision, is a squat machine. With a bit of kit this enjoyable to use, you’ll never need to skip leg day again, as your thighs, glutes, calves, and lower back all get a thorough workout here; ideal for building mass and strength in an area of your body often neglected. As any keen gym goer will know, squats are both the most effective way to build lower body bulk and are one of the riskiest reps you can do in the gym. At home, you want to be afforded as much protection as possible. We love the V Squat Pro Series from the guys over a Power Gym Fitness, as it replicates all the power and performance of lower body squatting, without the risk of injury of the free weight bar.

A HEAVY, HANGING PUNCH BAG

Whether you’ve got pent up anger to take out or you’re in-the-know about the huge physical benefits of the bag, a heavy, hanging one should take pride of place in your home gym. It’s a statement of intent, a multi-muscle workout, a focal point for days when weights and running just won’t do, and a succinct combination of both strength and fitness training. As a rule, a punch bag should be roughly half your weight, though err on the heavier side if you’re up for proper workout. And seeing as you’re reading this, we’re going to assume you are. 

MIRRORS & A SOUND SYSTEM

Because let’s face it, no gym would be complete without stealing a few moments between reps for a full length flex in the mirror. Nor would a workout feel right without a soundtrack of grunting and way-too-loud-on-the-treble techno. Imagine being able to fully appraise yourself post benchpress and dictate the playlist. So, steering away from the workout equipment for a moment, your home gym would also benefit hugely from some full length mirrors and a proper, Bluetooth enabled sound system. You know it makes sense.

Should you be looking for home exercises tips on a budget, check out our article on IDEAL tips for working out at home over here!