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Setting up a home gym is simple.
Gyms are the go-to place to get in shape, but they're not always convenient if you're short on time or money. Committing to a monthly gym membership isn't the only option, however. If you have the space and inclination, you can create a home gym in your basement that has everything you need for a full body workout. Cardio, strength training and flexibility exercises are all possible with a few pieces of equipment, but there are a few things to keep in mind before setting up your new workout space.
Size is the usually the biggest factor when it comes to the space needs of your basement home gym. Depending on the equipment you plan on purchasing, you need to make sure that you have adequate space for your machines or other exercise tools, as well as space to perform your workout. For instance, many exercises require you to fully extend your arms, either to the ceiling or laterally, so you need the room to do this without running into an obstacle. Another space consideration is ventilation. Not only will a well-ventilated area keep you cool and comfortable, it will also keep your equipment in better shape.
Weights, either in the form of machines or free weights, are one of the most vital components for a home gym. Weights will add resistance to your strength training workouts, helping you work your major muscle groups to tone and/or bulk up. Whether you decide on machine or free weights depends on your budget, space and level of fitness. Machines are more expensive and take up more space, but they are generally easier to use, so they're ideal for beginners. Because weight machines also follow a set path of movement, you are more likely to maintain proper form, which can reduce your risk for injury. Free weights, on the other hand, are less expensive, more versatile and also work stabilizer muscles, giving you a more thorough workout.
Cardio, or aerobic, exercise makes up another vital component of a total fitness routine. Exercises like running, rowing and biking all count as cardio work, and all these are possible in your basement gym. Treadmills and elliptical machines are commonly used for home aerobic workouts, as are stationary bikes. If you don't have the space or budget for a machine, though, you can still get your cardio in by jumping rope or doing mountain climbers or jumping jacks. Any activity that increases your breathing and gets your heart rate up will fulfill your cardio requirement -- just make sure you have enough floor space.
There are a few other pieces of equipment you should consider adding to your home gym. Resistance bands can be used in a variety of strength training exercises, and they're inexpensive and easy to store. Stability balls can be used to build strength, but they also help with balance and increased range of motion, while kettlebells offer another weight option for total body strength training exercises. The final piece of equipment for your basement gym is a comfortable mat to exercise on, especially if you have bare concrete floors.