Home Fitness Equipment To Keep You In Shape

For more and more people, home fitness equipment has become a must-have item. The convenience of having access to exercise equipment in their home is a big factor, as is the cost savings of home fitness equipment in comparison to gym or fitness club memberships.

But what is the best home exercise equipment on the market? The answer is “it depends” because each person has different needs, different space available to hold home fitness equipment, and different budgets available to spend.

In generally, the simplest equipment is the most likely to be used on a regular basis. If you select home fitness equipment that is too complicated, too hard, or just not something you like to do, chances are it will sit in a corner somewhere collecting dust. Think carefully about what kind of equipment you are most likely to use, and whenever possible, try it out ahead of time to make sure you really like it.

Home Gyms

A common piece of home fitness equipment is the home gym. This type of equipment is primarily used for building muscle, shaping, and toning the body. There are three main types of home gyms:

• Traditional
• Power rod
• Gravity resistance

Traditional home gyms may have free weights and barbells, or be machine-type gyms with several stations and functions attached to a single steel frame. A free weight system is good for exercise enthusiasts who are knowledgeable about proper form and technique for lifting weights. For less experienced users, though, a machine-type gym offers most of the same benefits while helping to ensure good technique by using prescribed motions. A traditional home gym usually requires quite a bit of space to hold the equipment and also allow enough room around the perimeter to access the stations and perform exercises.

Power rod home gyms have surged in popularity over the last decade, driven primarily by the Bowflex brand of home fitness equipment. A power rod machine uses flexible rods of varying stiffness connected to a cable and pulley system. When the cables are attached to different rods the user can either increase or decrease the resistance they will experience. Power rod equipment typically requires less space than a traditional home gym and is usually less expensive. The materials are not as durable, though, and this type of home fitness equipment is not suitable for serious athletes who require sturdier equipment with a greater range of weight resistance.

Gravity resistance home gyms are typically the lightest weight and least expensive type of home gym. This home fitness equipment uses an adjustable metal frame and a gliding board or bench to perform exercises. The user lies on the board in various positions, and by pulling on a cable and pulley system, the weight of their body creates the resistance they experience. This type of system is often quite compact, folding up for easy storage. The disadvantage to that feature, though, is that equipment kept out of site tends to be out of mind and not used on a regular basis.


Another popular type of home fitness equipment is the treadmill. While this tends to be a large piece of equipment and can be quite expensive, it is also a very versatile piece that is suitable for exercise enthusiasts of varying fitness and skill levels. The most expensive models are extremely durable and can handle a great deal of intense use by serious runners. More mid-range models are not quite as durable, and the low-end models are generally best suited for walking and light uses.

Treadmills can take up quite a bit of space so you should make sure your home can accommodate the size and weight of whichever model you select. Do not put your treadmill in a garage or any other space that is not climate controlled, because the motor and other parts are not designed for outdoor or semi-outdoor use. Look for a treadmill that has at least a 1.5 horsepower motor, and preferably one that is 2.0 horsepower or more. The belt should be long enough and wide enough to accommodate the length and width of your stride, and it should be constructed of at least two-ply material to withstand the friction and impact of your activity.

Elliptical Trainers

This type of home fitness equipment first appeared in the 1990’s, and it has gained tremendously in popularity ever since. Modern elliptical trainers provide motion and exercise to both the upper and lower body, making it an effective and efficient full body workout.

When looking for an elliptical trainer, whenever possible opt for a rear drive system rather than a front drive system. Rear drive machines are far sturdier, more reliable, and provide a smoother motion for the user. The resistance system will vary according to price, with the least expensive models using a manual system, mid-range models using a motorized brake system, and the most sophisticated high-end models employing an eddy current brake system. Stride length is another important thing to keep in mind, because different people have different natural strides. Look for an elliptical trainer that allows you adjust the stride length to suit your own body style and stride length.

Stationary Bikes

Stationary bikes have been around for several decades, yet they remain popular as simple, easy to use home fitness equipment. Modern stationary bikes come in many shapes and sizes, so it is fairly straightforward to find one that fits in the available space inside your home. While traditional bikes have the user sitting upright, just as they would on a regular bicycle, more and more exercise enthusiasts are turning to recumbent seating instead. A recumbent exercise bike allows you to sit in a slightly reclined position while pedaling with your legs in front of you. The benefit of this type of bike is that is places much less strain on the back, making it well suited to people who are prone to back soreness or pain. Some models also come with the option of arm motion, too, usually accomplished with handles or a cable and pulley system.


Whatever type of home fitness equipment you choose, the most important thing to do is select something that you will find enjoyable, convenient, and easy to use. If you don’t, it is likely that you will gradually stop using it and it will become just another item sitting unused in the corner. The best home fitness equipment is that which you use regularly, so make your own comfort level the most important consideration when making a selection.

About the Author: Julie-Ann Amos is a freelance writer for http://www.fitness-n-exercise-equipment.com, a consumer guide to the best home exercise and fitness equipment. Copyright 2005 http://www.fitness-n-exercise-equipment.com Source: www.isnare.com