What are the best home gyms out there?
This is the question that everybody asks before they buy a home gym.
After all it's a big investment, and if you have to spend a thousand bucks, you better choose carefully.
You want to make sure that you pick the right home gym for your needs, but it is so hard to take a decision if you can't at least try it out first.
But where can you try a home gym? If you're lucky you can try one:
- At a friend's house (do you know anybody that has one?)
- At the store (fitness store only)
If you have a friend that owns one, they can give you a personal opinion and you can try it too.
If you go to a fitness store they're likely to let you try one, but if you go for one of those...be prepared to spend a lot of money.
I was shocked the first time I went for an inquiry! One that didn't seem that great was something like $3,500.
Sorry, I can't spend that much.
Are There Cheap Home Gyms?
The answer is yes, websites like Costco, Walmart, Sears, Canadian Tire (only in Canada) list home gyms that are cheaper, much cheaper than other stores.
But...guess what...you're right, how is the quality?
Second question, what if I don't like it?
That's right, you can't know unless you order it, assemble it and try it for a while.
They have pretty good return policies, but if you wanna go for that you will have to disassemble it, put it back in the package, and return it.
Big, big, big hassle.
They're not the best home gyms existing, but they're cheap, you save lots of money, that is something to consider.
Some time ago I had a "Marcy Home Gym", here it is:
What Should the Best Home Gyms Allow You to Do?
Let me say this first: I don't consider the Marcy one of the best home gyms, but overall I was satisfied. It came with a chart of about 15 exercises, which is not bad...
My Marcy Home Gym allowed to do:
- Seated chest press and flys
- Lat pulldown
- Leg extension and standing leg curls
- Bicep preacher curls pad
- Low pulley
The total weight of the stack was 150 lbs.
I found that with some imagination I could adapt and do many more exercises, especially after buying some more equipment like ropes for triceps or handles.
I didn't have some features like shoulder press, rows...something that you usually want to be able to do.
Generally speaking, the best home gyms should allow you to do:
- Chest workout (press and flys)
- Shoulder workout (shoulder press and raises)
- Arms workout (biceps and triceps)
- Leg workout (leg extension and curls)
- Back workout (lat pulldown, rows)
- Abs workout (resisted crunches)
and should have these features:
- Adjustable seat and leg workout components: some home gyms are "universal", but it can be an issue if the seat is too low or too high, or if the leg pads are too close or too far etc.
- Incline/decline bench positions: you will feel very limited if you can't workout your upper chest or lower chest. At least it should provide a solution for that.
- Provide enough resistance: I think that 150 lbs is a good weight, but maybe not enough for some of you.
Which Home Gym Should I Choose?
Deciding which home gym to choose should take some time. You need to look around, check features and prices, read reviews, make sure they have good return policies etc.
The main factors to consider are:
- Price: as always, define a budget and search for solutions that match.
- Features: do you want a complete home gym that allows you to do everything? Do you need leg workout components? Do you need to do flys?
- Adjustable seat and attachments: as I said above, make sure you can adjust the seat, the leg workout attachment and anything that could make your workout more comfortable.
- Size and weight: how much room do you have for your home gym? Do you have to place it in your basement? Some gyms are big and very heavy...and consider that bringing all the pieces downstairs is already more than a huge workout!
- Expected use: if you're not going to use it very much, evaluate well what you buy. Probably you don't want to go crazy with something that you use once a month... If you are serious about training and want to replace your gym membership, get something good.
- Your assembling skills: do you have experience assembling things? Do you have someone that can help? Assembling a big gym can be overwhelming...
The Marcy MWM977 Home Gym that I showed you above is simple tu build (it took me around 3.5 hours alone), and not too heavy. Instructions were clear and simple to follow.
Olympic Bench Home Gym
If you don't have special needs, there are "home gyms" that consist of a incline/decline/flat bench with a rack that you can use to rest your barbell (chest press, shoulder press, squat) and a leg workout attachment taht you can load with weights.
You will need free weights to complete your workout, click here to read about adjustable dumbbells for home workout.
I mean something like this:
Best Home Gyms at Fair Price (Under 1,000$)
The Marcy Home Gym I showed above is an example, but there are several like that, more or less expensive. As always, Amazon has some pretty good deals.
I am going to post a few examples that are usually discounted enough to drop the price under 1,000$:
I think these gym are a good compromise between cost and features, with one of these you can do an overall workout of your body, save money and room. Plus, when you are assembling them it doesn't drive you crazy.
Professional Home Gyms (More Than 1,000$)
But there are home gyms that are so much bigger and complicated than that. If you are armed of patience and time, and want something that can make everybody jealous, here are some awesome home gyms.
Click here to see all Home Gyms and prices on Amazon
I've never used a Total Gym, but apparently Chuck Norris loves them, and so many other people too.
Total Gym claims they have one of the best home gyms on the market. They are very popular machines and I am sure you've already seen a lot of advertisement on the internet.
They have a variety of model for very different prices, from 400$ to something like 3,500$.
You know it's one of my favorite online stores, and of course you can find Total Gym also on Amazon.
Bowflex Home Gym
Have you ever tried a Bowflex?
I tried it, I was impressed, and then I decided to get one. Here is my new Bowflex Blaze, I consider it one of the best home gyms out there:
I wanted more flexibility when I exercise. I think that cables are the best option for a home gym, they give you a lot of flexibility and it doesn't matter if you're tall or short. I'd say that versatile is the best word to describe the pulley system.
That is a great advantage, especially after trying another home gym that kinda limited my movements.
The resistance changes from easy at the beginning of the motion to hard at the end. I find this is great as it allows you to start your exercises with no need of spotters, and it's safer when you stop.
Imagine doing incline dumbbell bench press: it's hard to start from a very stretched initial position, you even risk to pull muscles. The Bowflex makes it easier to start the movement, plus in that position is useless to push hard (in terms of muscle gains).
It comes with instructions for 60 exercises, but if you're used to the gym it's easier to adapt and do more than 60, much more...you just need to know variations.
The best feature of the Bowflex Blaze, but that is in common with most Bowflex models, is that you can do:
- Rowing (the seat can slide)
- Leg press
- Deadlifts (not in the instructions, but you can use the low pulleys for deadlifts)
Click here to see the Bowflex Blaze exercises list and discover why I consider it one of the best home gyms.
If you decide to go for a Bowflex you can choose between several models.
Currently, on the Bowflex website, they are shipping three (did you find this information wrong? Click here to let me know).
Click here to see the best prices for Bowflex Best Home Gyms at Amazon
I hope you liked this review and that you also have a better idea now on how to choose your best home gym.
I personally owned two gyms, the Marcy and the Bowflex Blaze.
For the flexibility it gives me I would definitely say that the Blaze is one of the very best home gyms. Of course together with other Bowflex models.
I use it a lot when I can't make it to the gym and it can definitely replace one gym session.
It costs more but it's worth it. And if the problem is the cost, I hope I gave you some good advice on cheaper home gyms (described above).
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