Author: B. Massey
Home gyms, or multi-gyms, can be wonderful exercise equipment to own, providing the opportunity to enjoy a complete, strength-building workout in the privacy of your home. No standing in line at the health club, no membership dues, no smelly locker room!
The downside is that shopping for one of these machines can be as grueling as the exercises you could perform on them. How many exercises should each machine offer? Should you buy the extra attachments or weight plates? What should you look for in a warranty?
Buying a piece of fitness equipment as large as a multi-station gym is a major investment, and the time you spend researching will be well spent. Here are five tips that will help you save money and get the best equipment for your needs.
1) Consider your available space.
A home gym is likely to require as much square footage as a wall-unit entertainment center. Take measurements of the height, length, and width of the area in which you're planning to place the equipment, and keep those numbers handy while you shop.
Plan on having enough space to maneuver around the machine, too. There's nothing more annoying than bumping into walls and furniture while you're trying to work out -- or realizing that your designated area is too small for you to get in much of a workout at all!
If you can dedicate an entire room, side of your garage, or corner of your basement to your gym, that would work best.
2) Number of exercises.
Most home gyms offer the capability to perform dozens of exercises. Having variety will keep your workouts interesting.
At the minimum, the equipment should include a chest/shoulder press, high pulley, low pulley, leg extension, and leg curl/exercise attachments.
Don't be seduced into purchasing extra attachments at this stage. Get the machine home first, use it regularly for a few months, and only buy the add-ons if they seem necessary at that time.
The majority of home gyms offer fixed weight stacks, plate-loaded systems, or rods. Each type of resistance feels slightly different. This is when you'll benefit the most from visiting a sporting goods store and trying out various machines yourself.
No matter the resistance method, a basic unit should include at least 200 pounds of resistance. Although it's good to have the option to upgrade to additional weight in the future, unless you're training for a bodybuilding or power lifting tournament, it's unlikely that you'll ever need more than 200 pounds. If you will, you're probably lifting that amount already and don't need my advice!
The frame should be sturdy, and shouldn't wobble. Look for equipment constructed of tubular or rectangular steel, as these tend to be the most durable.
A good warranty provides 10 years of coverage for the frame, 1 year for moving parts, and 90 days for upholstery. I'm not a big believer in paying for extended warranties, but in the current economic climate, you should be able to score an extended warranty for free from the salesperson, just by asking for it.
Bonus tip. Once you've purchased your home gym, it's time to put into practice my most important tip of all: use it!
B. Massey runs http://www.exercise-equipment-advisor.com/, an exercise equipment reviews web site. If you're looking for more great information about home gyms, visit his site today.