Everyone knows that getting physical activity in is important but the idea of going to the gym stops many from even beginning an exercise regime.
In fact, despite over sixty percent of Americans stating that 2021 they hope to get in shape this year, only a small portion of them will follow through.
And while there are many factors behind Americans exercising less than they should, getting to the gym is one of the major obstacles.
COVID-19 hasn’t made things better, either…
A possible solution? Finding the best home gym that suits your lifestyle, interest, and fitness. Today, we’ll cover why you might want to get a home gym system and how to pick out the best system for you.
- 1 Do I really need to exercise more? How much is enough?
- 2 What are the benefits to a home gym system?
- 3 What is a home gym system? And how does it differ from something like a treadmill?
- 4 What should you look for in a home gym system?
- 4.1 1. What goals do you want to achieve, and does this piece of equipment help?
- 4.2 2. Are there any safety features?
- 4.3 3. Is it practical for your home?
- 4.4 4. How easy is it to set up?
- 4.5 5. How easy is it to replace broken parts?
- 4.6 6. Who designed it?
- 4.7 7. Does it come with any extra features?
- 4.8 8. How easy is it to maintain?
- 4.9 9. Is it worth the hype?
- 4.10 10. Overall value:
- 5 Are there any home gym systems you can recommend?
- 6 Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine Total Body Training Home Gym System with Linear Bearing
- 7 Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
- 8 Total Gym XLS-Universal Home Gym
Do I really need to exercise more? How much is enough?
Exercise, as we all know, is the key to maintaining the best physical health possible. But for anyone who is a tad wary or hesitant when it comes to going to the gym, just how important is it, really?
Quite important; in fact, the benefits of regular physical activity is hard to overstate. Exercise can, of course, help maintain a healthy weight, but it goes beyond that. In addition to helping maintain a physique, exercise:
- Reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, lowers bad cholesterol, and elevates good HDL cholesterol. In addition, regular exercise can reduce your risk for stroke, metabolic disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and arthritis.
- Has been tied with better sleep quality overall. Studies have linked regular exercise with deeper sleep, can help reduce episodes of insomnia, and can alleviate stress that can cause disruptions in sleep.
- Lowers the risk for mental health issues, or can help alleviate symptoms by promoting better sleep, Exercise is most helpful for mild to moderate issues with depression and anxiety, and may even be helpful along with treatment for other disorders such as PTSD and other trauma-related issues.
As far as if you need to exercise more? For the average American, the answer is yes. Under a quarter of Americans are getting the recommended one hundred and fifty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise of seventy-five minutes of more intense activity a week.
But while you can get that simply by taking a walk or going on a jog, there’s another requirement Americans miss: resistance training. In addition to aerobic exercise, resistance training is also essential for your overall health. You should perform resistance training at least twice a week.
That said, more is not always better, especially if it’s to the detriment of your health. You must ensure you are getting the proper nutrition to support your physical activity. And benefits taper off or even are potentially superseded with excessive exercise.
Even if you’re at the right amount, though, having a home gym system can keep you on track and motivated even when your schedule gets busy.
Check out some of the best X3 Bar Alternatives here; and our full X3 Bar Review here.
What are the benefits to a home gym system?
A home gym system may require an initial investment, but it’s a good bet in the long run.
That’s because the initial purchase may actually save you money in the long run in more ways than one. The first reason is more speculation: with regular exercise, if you do not normally get it, you may avoid some doctor’s visits by maintaining better health.
But more directly, if you do already belong to a gym, you could cut costs. The average cost of a gym membership costs just under sixty dollars a month, or around seven hundred dollars a year per person.
That’s quite a bit of money when you think about it, and that’s just the base cost, often not including extra activities or classes. So while the home gym system may cost more upfront, overtime it will certainly save money.
And that’s even more apparent if you have a gym membership and have little time to go. If you buy a home gym system, you’ll be getting a lot more value out of your money.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, purchasing a home gym system or multi gym home gym equipment can motivate you to workout more, and more regularly. Getting to the gym and fitting time for a workout is one of the number one reasons Americans don’t get enough exercise.
Having a way to exercise right in your home is a way to ensure you get your workouts in even with a tight schedule, is a good option for anyone who feels self conscious about working out in public, or even for parents who need to be around their kids and can’t take that much time out of their day.
Plus, having exercise equipment right in your home might motivate you to work out more.
But I enjoy cardio more than I enjoy strength training. Can’t I just focus on one type of exercise?
While certainly, any exercise is better than none, there’s a reason why it’s recommended you get both strength and cardio training. While cardio training (whether jogging outside or on a cardio machine), as the name implies, is critical to your cardiovascular health, strength training comes with important benefits of its own.
Resistance band or strength training, in addition to general exercise benefits we’ve already mentioned, has the ability to strengthen and tone muscle, improve overall strength, protect joints, improve posture, and even increase bone density. As if that were not enough, strength training can also actually decrease your risk of injury if done properly.
What is a home gym system? And how does it differ from something like a treadmill?
While there’s no doubt that a treadmill can help you reach some of your workout and fitness goal items, a home gym system is focused on resistance training and aims to replace multiple pieces of gym equipment.
The reason this is important is because, unlike with aerobic exercise, where you technically only need a pair of sneakers, resistance training requires at very least free weights, ideally a weight stack. Even consistent exercisers may not get the resistant training they need if they opt to exercise at home.
A home gym system typically consists of strength training equipment that provides a mini gym experience right at home. Often, these are multipurpose machines that work for different muscle groups.
But home gym varies a bit in terms of what kind of equipment they incorporate. Some basic types of home gyms include:
- Total Gym Concept: Adjustable heights, with inclined workout bench settings, these home gym equipment systems focus on forcing you to use your body weight to resistance train.
- Combination: Normally smaller equipment, like dumbells, medicine balls, steps, and other resistance training is incorporated into a single weight bench for a dynamic but simple exercise session.
- Stacked Weights: Home gym systems that used stacked weights (weight stack) either with cables or barbells.
- Multi Combination Machines: As most popular with a Smith machine, these machines use planes with attachments, as opposed to free weights or weight stack racks.
What should you look for in a home gym system?
Let’s face it: looking for a gym system can be downright confusing and, at times, overwhelming. But luckily, there’s criteria you can look for so you don’t get bogged down and skip the purchase altogether.
1. What goals do you want to achieve, and does this piece of equipment help?
You can have the best home gym system, put in consistent work, and still not get results. Why? Partially because different home gym systems target different areas on the body.
You should decide, even before you start looking, what your overall goals are. If it’s for overall fitness and muscle tone, combination systems with multiple attachments may be a good way to go. But there are gym systems that are meant to target specific areas. With a home gym system, you’re likely getting some of these activities in one, each of which targets different areas of your body:
- Seated Leg Press: Works on quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves
- Lat Pulldown, also known as a Shoulder Girdle: Best for the largest back muscle and building up overall strength, especially for activities like pull-ups
- Biceps or Triceps Bar: Best for toning biceps and triceps, often using a cable system
- Chest Press: Tones chest, biceps, and triceps (alternative to bench press).
- Hanging Leg Raise: Works on your core and hip flexors.
- Rowing: This are less often included with home gym systems and do have some resistance training but it’s more considered a cardio workout.
Obviously, home gym systems will not incorporate all of this technology, nor will the approach be precisely the same. Nonetheless, keeping these types of exercises in mind can be helpful when examining the features and types of exercises a home gym system offers. In other words, make sure the equipment is catered towards what you’re most interested in toning.
2. Are there any safety features?
This is an important aspect that perhaps too many customers overlook. What safety features prevent you from getting hurt when doing a workout with the home gym system? Keep in mind that, were you to go to a regular gym, you would need someone to spot you when lifting and training with heavy weights.
Any home gym system you go with should come with safety guards in place. Adjustable equipment and safety stoppers that automatically catch weights should be considered.
You should always ask if equipment can be used alone and requires supervision, and decide what makes sense for your workout habits. It’s also important that there are lock features to prevent younger children, should you have them, from getting hurt.
3. Is it practical for your home?
When we ask if it’s practical for your home, it’s a fairly simple, if important consideration: do you feasibly have enough room to use the equipment to its full extent? You’ll want to have ample room, of course, not only to use it, but also to maneuver.
A smaller machine is sometimes just as good as a larger one. Pay attention to what makes sense for your home (and your budget) and focus, if possible, more on desired features than overall appearance.
4. How easy is it to set up?
Is assembly required, and is it practical for you to do? Make sure you know what’s exactly involved before you buy. It may seem like a small thing on the surface, but you’re not going to get anywhere on your health and fitness goals if it’s a pain to set up. And if you ever want to move it for any reason, how easy is it to reassemble or pack away? Can you do this on your own, or would you need assistance?
Another thing to consider: are there any attachments that can be used as standalone? This is less usual, but it could be an attractive option for anyone who wants, for example, a free weight training.
5. How easy is it to replace broken parts?
While you certainly want to look into durability, you also need to consider that things happen, and in fact, gym systems do wear out. How easy is it to replace broken or missing parts, and who can you order them from? How expensive are they? And of course, you’ll want to check if there’s a warranty, options for extended warranties, as well as the company’s return policy.
6. Who designed it?
The company behind the design matters. You want to make sure a home gym is not only safe but also designed to really produce results. The manufacturers should have a solid reputation among experts and customers alike, as well as a foothold in the fitness industry.
Who are the people behind the design? Is it optimized for fitness industry? You also want to see if there is a reason behind the design itself. It’s best to purchase a home gym system that was designed by someone with a fitness experience that understands the needs and mechanics of successful workouts.
7. Does it come with any extra features?
No slip straps, exercise charts, fitness instructional videos, and other perks sometimes come with home gym systems. If that’s important to you, make sure you ask. But also keep in mind the most important feature is instructions as to how to use the machine. You should only purchase a home gym system that is easy to use and includes clear instructions, not just for use, but also for assembly and maintenance as well.
8. How easy is it to maintain?
Are there any special instructions that are needed to maintain the machine? Is it reasonable and within the limits of what you would really do?
9. Is it worth the hype?
Celebrity endorsements are among the most common ways that exercise equipment, including home gym systems, can gain traction. While there is nothing inherently wrong with an endorsement, keep in mind that this does not translate to a great product.
Make sure that everything that is promised–in terms of equipment, is there. And be wary of anything that makes obtuse promises, such as ensuring you will lose a certain amount of weight or gain a certain amount of muscle.
This does not make much sense when you consider it depends on the individual and how the home gym is being used. Instead, look for gym systems that promote more general results, such as toning or strengthening different muscle groups.
10. Overall value:
Given the features, how easy it is to assemble, is the price reasonable? How does it compare to other home gym systems? If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is: expect to spend a few hundred, up to fifteen hundred dollars on a home gym system.
We don’t recommend going much lower than a few hundred, because either there’s going to be fewer features, or it may not be well constructed.
Are there any home gym systems you can recommend?
Your best way to find a great home gym system is to ask questions and comparison shop. With that in mind, we do have a few top rated home gym systems that you might want to start with, at least. These are not only rated at an average of four stars or above by customers, but they also happen to have a variety of features at a fair price point.
These are some of the best home gym systems with a complete equivalent of home gym equipment in one total body workout machine:
Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine Total Body Training Home Gym System with Linear Bearing
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The Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine Total Body Training Home Gym System with Linear Bearing Md-9010G, Silver (MD-9010) is made from all steel, with a reinforced frame with a strength of up to two thousand pounds. Features include dual action press arms, leg developer, weight rack, and an all in one workout station.
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We love the XLS because it's easy to use and easy to assemble, two of the most common problems with other home gyms we've tested. It's a bit more expensive, but that's because it's a good value and highly USABLE.
It includes many attachments, including leg pull, ribbed squat, and training deck. It also comes with nutritional charts and exercise guides to support your overall health.
Check out how Total Gym XLS Compares to its upgraded version, Total Gym Fit here.
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