Do you want to avoid the monthly cost, the time and the hassle of a commercial gym?
You do not have to spend a large amount of money to get a home gym that can be quite effective for working out, especially if you are a beginner.
You should have some basics such as resistance bands, a lighter dumbbell, and a heavier dumbbell.
As you progress, or if you are starting out at a more advanced stage, you can upgrade with a doorway pull-up bar, a set of adjustable dumbbells, an exercise bench, a weight rack, and a rack to hold the dumbbells.
Below, I will give you the items I used to build my home gym along with the prices I paid in December of 2017.
I am not an affiliate for any of these items, but since I have used them myself I can say that they have worked well for me. Feel free to find another brand as long as it has the same quality as the one I suggest.
WODFitters Resistance Bands
If you are a beginner you can do quite well with the two lower bands (red and black). This gives you the same capability as also having the purple band as you could use the red and black together to get the same resistance level as the purple band.
Being a more advanced lifter, I personally use the purple band for most of my more strenuous exercises, and I have the green band for leg exercises which require even more weight when I don’t have a heavy dumbbell available.
You buy these individually, so choose the ones you want to start with and you can add later if you find you need more resistance for an exercise.
Here are the prices in December 2017 on Amazon, and the link to them:
#1 Red Band- 10 to 35 Pounds (1/2 ” *4.5mm) -$10.99
#2 Black Band – 30 to 60 Pounds (3/4 ” *4.5mm) – $19.99
#3 Purple Band- 40 to 80 Pounds (1.25 ” *4.5mm) – $24.99
#4 Green Band – 50 to 125 Pounds (1.75 ” *4.5mm) – $29.99
#5 Blue Band – 65 to 175 Pounds (2.5″ *4.5mm) – $39.99
Red, Black, Purple, and Green bought as a set – $79.99
All five bought as a set – $109.99
Here’s a video by Scooby Werkstaat about how well you can exercise with just resistance bands:
FREETOO Resistance Band Door Anchor
This door anchor feeds through the hinge side of a door from the hinge side of the door, or even the top of the door.
As you pull on the band it serves to close the door tighter, making it very stable and causing no damage to the door.
Feed the band through the loop, and then pass the other end through the loop created when you fed the band through and tighten by pulling on the band.
This can be adjusted to any height from the top of the door to the bottom to allow flexibility in different exercises and how muscles are targeted.
Here is the price in December 2017 on Amazon, and the link to it:
One Heavier and One Lighter Dumbbell
This is a bit tougher as there is a wide variety of dumbbell styles as well as weights.
In general you will want to have a heavier dumbbell which can be used for leg exercises, and I would go for a weight you can hold at your side and still maintain a neutral stance.
The second dumbbell will be one which is a weight you can lift with a moderate amount of effort, typically about 60% of the heavier weight you choose.
However, these are just guidelines, and your choice of these will be very individual to you and what you like or can physically handle.
Different brands will have different grips which may or may not feel good to you.
My suggestion is to go to a retail outlet such as Dick’s Sporting Goods which has a selection and try different brands and weights out to see what feels good to you.
Here are links and prices for a possible choice for a beginner female:
There are a number of lighter dumbbells made from neoprene which can be purchased at your local big box retailer such as WalMart or Target if you find you want a little lighter dumbbell for curls or tricep exercises.
These would range from $3 to $16 each depending on the weight and brand / store.
Basic Home Gym Total Cost
These items give you all you need to do a very good program (such as my ProCoach Advanced Nutrition and Exercise Coaching) at home without the additional cost, time and logistics of a gym membership.
The items shown above would come to roughly $105 dollars, not including any extra charges such as sales tax or shipping if applicable. Of course, for men that price will be higher because of the heavier dumbbells they need costing more. Going to the four band set and the 52.5 pound adjustable dumbbells I describe in my advanced section posted as Part Two of this series would likely be the most cost effective and bring this total to $190.
However, if you are willing to invest a little time trying to find these used you can find the dumbbells at a fraction of the cost. People who are selling them used tend to just want rid of them, and are selling at a low price point.
Honestly, for nearly every dumbbell exercise there is a band version which can be done instead. Although, I will say that the band does limit some range of motion on certain exercises.
In the end, dumbbells are all about weight in a package which is easy to handle – there are household items such as water which can be a good substitute.
This sounds funny, but water is quite dense – 1 ounce weighs 0.065 pounds. A 16 ounce bottle of water weighs 1 pound.
When I was recently on vacation the only weight I had to help with my squats was a partial case of bottled water. Only about 20 pounds when I normally do 55 but it added some intensity over just bodyweight squats.
So, if you want to do a basic minimum cost starter package, a red and black band plus the door anchor plus a $3.28 twelve pack of bottled water (same weight as a 12 pound dumbbell) would only cost a little under $45 and allow you to do every exercise contained in my ProCoach Advanced Nutrition and Exercise Coaching).
Compare this to a typical gym membership which may require a one year contract at $30 (or more) per month, and it’s a pretty good value.
You can find some of Scooby’s free workout plans, along with another free program from Dr. Mercola, linked in my Exercise Philosophy page.
Finally, I have a prior post titled Bodyweight fitness – quick and easy featuring a bodyweight only program which Mark Sisson, former elite athlete, author, leader in the Paleo movement and creator of marksdailyapple.com has written. This ebook titled Primal Blueprint Fitness is currently available in early 2018 as a free gift when you sign up for his free newsletter.
In my early years I followed this program for several months prior to joining a gym. The only items this required was a chair or two and something to do a pull-up from. If you have nothing around the house you can use for a pull up, your entire investment would be the $18 doorway pull-up bar I discuss in Part Two of this series.
Stepping it up if you are more advanced
If you need to add some more equipment I would suggest a doorway pull-up bar, a set of adjustable dumbbells, an exercise bench, a weight rack, and a rack to hold the dumbbells. These can go a long way to giving you everything you need. I will discuss these options and their cost in Part Two of this series.
Of course, if you get to the point of being a serious bodybuilder who needs even more challenge to the muscles you may ultimately need a lot more weights and a barbell, rack, etc. You reach a point where the gym membership is the better way to go due to the sheer variety of equipment available to you.
The point of all this is that you do not need to let the cost of a lot of equipment or a gym membership hold you back from becoming a very fit person. Once you have some basic equipment outlined above, all you need to have is some commitment to spend a half hour of time every day and the knowledge of how to effectively use that time and equipment.
Need help building the skills and habits to do a home exercise plan?
If you need help building the skills and habits needed to implement an exercise plan personalized to your fitness level and available time and equipment, along with nutritional habits to achieve permanent healthy life change, why not consider my ProCoach Advanced Nutrition and Exercise Coaching Program?
Watch these short videos and read more about it at the link above, it really is an amazing tool to change your life for the better permanently.
Frankly, I want you to see this in action for yourself before you commit financially.
That’s why I have decided to let you have FULL ACCESS to the program and coaching for the first four weeks at no cost!
That’s right, zero, nothing, nada. No tricks and no hidden charges.
All I ask is that you take it seriously and actually do what the program asks you to do every day for four weeks.
I don’t need or want your credit card at this point – all it takes from you is an email address and a willingness to take a life change seriously enough to act today.
After the intake questionairre you get a 15 page quick start guide emailed to you with all the basics of creating your new healthier meals and exercise program schedule. This is yours to keep and use forever regardless of what you do after the initial 30 day trial period.
Seriously, you have a ton to gain and absolutely nothing to lose by starting out and trying the program – if it is not for you a quick email to me turns it off and that is the end of it.
I’ll be honest, I have been advised against doing this by many of my peers – and indeed I may very well be investing a lot of time in something which never pays me a dime if you decide the program is not for you after the four weeks.
But, I will have the satisfaction of knowing I helped someone.
The seeds I plant will always be there and even if they don’t grow today they may someday.
Ater all, helping people with a healthy lifestyle has been the mission of this website from Day One.
I believe in what this program can do.
I have seen for myself how it has changed the mindset of folks who I never would have believed would have given up their “junk food ways”.
Don’t hit the “Pause Button” on checking this out, you may find you are REALLY glad you did this.
We both know if you don’t do it now, you likely won’t do it.
NOW is the time and THIS is your opportunity to make change happen once and for all!
Visit my ProCoach Advanced Nutrition and Exercise Coaching Program page or Contact Me to get started.
Thanks for being here, and enjoy building your own home gym, with or without my added resources. With the bands, your bodyweight and one of the free links I provided, you can absolutely make progress. Even if you try a bodyweight only version of a program, it’s a start and a win-win for both of us. (I love to help people change their lives and health – it’s why I started this website!)
Committed to Your Health,