HealthyBeat articles include advertisements and affiliate links. We may earn a commission when you purchase through links on our site. Learn more Updated December 24, 2020You don’t have to purchase a gym membership or even leave your house to get into shape. With a home gym setup, you can develop an entire exercise program within the comfort of your home. We cover five top home gyms and detail their advantages and disadvantages.Best Home Gym EquipmentBest Home Gym Overall: BowflexBest Complete Home Gym: Total Gym XLSBest Smith Machine Home Gym: Marcy Smith MachineBest Portable Home Gym: TRX Home GymBest Strength Training Home Gym: NordicTrack Fusion CSTBest Home Gym EquipmentHome Gym EquipmentHighlightsPriceBowflex Revolution Home GymMore than 100 potential exercises.$2,899Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home GymMore than 70 potential exercises with optional attachments.$1,499Bowflex BlazeFoldable design with more than 60 potential exercises.N/ABowflex PR3000More than 50 strength exercises, with an instructional placard and a quick-change cable system.$1,099Total Gym XLSMore 80 exercises at six levels of resistance, with helpful accessories such as an exercise wall chart and nutrition plan.$999.50Marcy Smith MachineWeight bench, pec deck station, Olympic Smith bar, and numerous other stations.$999.99TRX Home GymPortable home gym with a mesh gym, perfect for on-the-go workouts.$199.95NordicTrack Fusion CSTModern resistance trainer with a 1-year membership to iFit.$2,299Best Home Gym Overall: BowflexWhen it comes to Bowflex’s machines, we couldn’t pick a favorite, so we’re focusing on all four.The Bowflex Revolution Home Gym is the most expensive model, costing $2,899. We argue that the machine is well worth its price since it boasts more than 100 potential exercises.The Bowflex Revolution has:An incline bench pressA leg developerA preacher curl attachmentA five-way hand-grip and ankle cuffsAerobic rowing capabilitiesA workout DVDThe Revolution fits best in an area that’s 10 feet by 7 feet. The warranty covers parts for 10 years and labor for 90 days.The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym is the middle-of-the-road option when it comes to cost, priced at $1,499. It offers 70 potential exercises and includes:A vertical bench pressA leg developerAn optional preacher curl attachmentAn optional gym style ab attachmentA five-way hand-grip and ankle cuffsNo-change cable pulley systemThe Xtreme 2 SE fits nicely in an area at least 8 feet by 6 feet 5 inches. The machine has a 7-year warranty and the power rods have a lifetime warranty.The Revolution and Xtreme 2 SE home gyms include add-on in-home assembly for $299.The Bowflex Blaze has a foldable design that offers more than 60 exercises and is the only Bowflex machine with a horizontal bench press. It’s Power Rod Resistance is 210 pounds, with the potential to upgrade it to 410 pounds. The machine also comes with an instructional placard, a squat bar, and an aerobic rowing station.The Bowflex Blaze isn’t available through the company’s website, but it is sold through Bowflex’s retail partners.The Bowflex PR3000 home gym is the company’s budget option, priced at $1,099. The PR3000 has a vertical bench press, instructional placard, and a quick-change cable system, so you don’t have to change cables between sets. The home gym offers more than 50 strength exercises.Best Complete Home Gym: Total Gym XLSYou can do more than 80 exercises at six levels of resistance with the Total Home Gym XLS. The home gym includes free access to Total Gym TV, allowing you to stream workout videos wherever and whenever.Every Total Gym XLS comes with a range of accessories:Leg pull and ankle cuffsA ribbed squat standWing attachmentA training deck for a personal training systemAn exercise wall chart, with 35 exercisesA nutrition program and meal planThe Total Gym XLS is $999.50 and arrives completely assembled. It comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and a 6-month warranty for all parts.Best Smith Machine Home Gym: Marcy Smith MachineThe Marcy Smith Machine is designed to provide everything you need for a full home workout. The unit includes:Olympic Smith BarFree weight squat rack, so you complete squats safely without a spotterPec deck stationLow pulley with footrestCable crossoversA weight bench with a Dual Function leg developer and preacher curl pad, so you build your biceps and quadricepsWe must note that the Marcy Smith Machine does not include weight plates, though it has a storage area for them. Accessories the machine does come with include a lat bar, shiver bar, v-bar, ankle strap, triceps rope, and pulley cable handles.A Marcy Smith Machine is $999.99, with a 2-year warranty after you register your product online.Best Portable Home Gym: TRX Home GymWe love the TRX Home Gym because it’s inexpensive and easy to take with you. As the company says on the product’s webpage, “Work out anytime, anywhere.”The TRX Home Gym includes:A suspension trainerA door anchorA suspension anchorA mesh carry bagThe barrel lock adjusters help you quickly transition between workouts, while the padded straps and soft yet sturdy foam handles keep you feeling comfortable. Plus, you can exercise with your hands and feet with the adjustable foot cradles.A TRX Home Gym costs $199.95 and includes a free one-year subscription to TRX’s personalized fitness app.Best Strength Training Home Gym: NordicTrack Fusion CSTThe NordicTrack Fusion CST combines the classic resistance training cables with the latest in digital technology. The Fusion offers 20 digital power resistance training levels, providing the tools you need to bulk up muscles.The NordicTrack Fusion CST is $2,299 and includes a one-year family membership to iFit. iFit offers streamed videos from personal trainers, walking you through strength-building exercises without leaving the house. Check out the beginner classes, boot camps, and 2-in-1 workouts.What is a Home Gym?People who are just starting to work out more may think that a home gym is a workout area set up in your home. Sometimes, that is precisely what the term means.However, “home gym” often refers to a large piece of equipment that you can use to work out in various ways. This type of equipment may also be called a multi-gym, and it’s a great way to make the most of limited space.Why choose a home gym over other exercise equipment, such as a treadmill, elliptical, or air bike? Because many home gyms offer dozens of different workout routines, you can burn more calories and improve more muscles than you would on something like a treadmill, which has a more narrow focus.What to Look For in a Home GymThere are a few different components that make up the average home gym:Sturdy frameAdjustable benchResistance bands, usually as part of a pulley systemPullup barDumbbellsBarbell and addable weights, typically iron platesPower rack or squat standHowever, you should consider more than just the parts when deciding on a home gym. Don’t forget to compare prices, sizes, assembly time, the number of potential workouts, and warranties.Affordable PriceHome gyms span a wide price range, from a couple of hundred dollars to a few thousand. The price you pay depends on whether you’re choosing an upscale model with numerous features or a basic one that lacks bells and whistles.Many people buy a home gym to save money on a gym membership. Consider how many months of a local gym membership your equipment is equivalent to, and ask yourself if that’s a fair price to pay.Living Space LimitationsBefore you purchase a home gym, take out a measuring tape, and estimate how much space it will take up in your home. Some machines fold up, perfect for a small space. Others may take up almost an entire room.Also, consider how structurally sound your floor is, particularly if you’re not on the first floor. Is the foundation sturdy enough to withstand the weight of the gym and your workouts? For example, if you repeatedly clank heavy-duty weights against the floor, you may cause serious damage.AssemblyHow long it takes to set up a home gym may not be the most pressing question, but it’s still worth considering. Is it the work of a few minutes, or will you have to dedicate an entire day off to put your home gym together? Plus, some home gyms are bulky and require multiple people to set up.If you don’t see an estimated assembly time listed, reach out and ask the company. The company may also offer an in-home assembly for an additional fee.Potential WorkoutsCompanies often list the number of potential workouts or the muscle groups you can exercise under a home gym machine’s specs. An ideal machine should provide different stations for aerobic exercises, resistance training, and flexibility improvement.We should note that a machine with more potential workouts isn’t always better than a basic model. If you’re just starting your fitness journey, you might want one with fewer features for a more streamlined experience. Consider your fitness goals and let them guide you to a fitting machine.WarrantiesWarranties for a home gym span a wide range of coverage periods. Some warranties last only a couple of years, while others extend to 10 years or even a lifetime. It’s common for the frame to be covered much longer than any parts. Companies may charge you for labor to fix your machine, even if the pieces themselves are covered.Our advice? We recommend warranties that last at least 5 to 6 years. Often, that’s how long you need to use a home gym to spend less money than you would have on a regular gym membership.Going to a Gym vs. Working Out At HomeHome gyms offer benefits you won’t experience at a regular gym. However, home gyms also have unique drawbacks.Advantages of Home GymsOne of the biggest advantages of a home gym is exercising whenever you want to, at the time best for you. Some gyms are open 24 hours and 7 days a week, but this schedule is not universal. Whether you’re a morning person who likes to start exercising the second you’re out of bed, or a shift worker who’s awake at odd hours, a home gym helps you make exercise a part of your daily life.Having a home gym is also a time-saver. Instead of commuting to a gym, you just walk over to your workout area.While a home gym is a big purchase, it’s also a one-time investment. A gym membership is a monthly or yearly expense adding up over time (depending on your plan).For example, let’s say you’re debating between a $20 monthly membership or a $1,500 home gym. If you use the home gym for more than six years, then you will eventually save money that would have gone toward gym fees.There’s also the simple fact that once you buy the equipment, it’s yours entirely. You don’t have to wait for someone else to finish using it unless you’re sharing with a family member or roommate. No more wondering how many strangers touched a piece of equipment before you used it.Finally, home gyms offer solitude and privacy. While many people enjoy the feeling of working out in a group, others prefer to exercise alone. They may feel better about their performance if they’re not comparing themselves to people around them or simply being solitary.Disadvantages of Home GymsIt takes discipline to develop and follow any new exercise routine, but some people struggle more with working out at home and find it easier to exercise at a gym.One big disadvantage is that your home gym might be too close to home. Go to a gym, and it’s usually easy for your mind to focus on working out. When you start your workout routine at home, your mind might fly to the dishes you need to wash or groceries you need to buy. You might feel tempted to cut your routine short and catch up on a TV show or chores.Your exercise routines may start to feel too familiar after weeks or months of working out. Most of us won’t be able to set up a home gym that matches the variety that a gym offers. Some people are okay with switching between a few different workout routines, but others may get bored and wish they could mix it up more.Home gyms take up valuable living space. If you don’t have much room, you might find yourself constantly squeezing around your exercise equipment. Plus, a home gym often requires regular maintenance and cleaning.A home gym can also get lonely unless you regularly work out with a friend. A gym is great if you want the encouragement and camaraderie that comes from group workouts. A 2017 study found that exercising in a group reduced more stress than exercising alone did.Gyms not only offer a sense of community but classes as well, where you workout in a group with a teacher or receive one-on-one instruction. You have to learn on your own at home.Setting up a Budget Home GymNot everyone has the money to drop on an expensive multi-gym, but that doesn’t mean you’re barred from working out at home. With careful shopping, research, and creativity, you can put together a decent home workout routine.A great workout routine has three parts:Aerobic exercises to get your heart pumping and work out your large musclesStretching exercises to increase flexibility and range of motionStrength training for stronger muscles and bonesYou also need to warm up your muscles before exercising and slowly unwind after your routine is finished. For a warm-up or cooldown exercise, spend 5 to 10 minutes on a low-level aerobic activity like walking or simple stretches.Are you transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle to a more physically active one? Consult your doctor before starting an exercise program.Inexpensive EquipmentFirst, consider an exercise mat for warm-up stretches and floor exercises, such as crunches, planks, and pilates. Strictly speaking, a mat isn’t necessary, but it does keep you more comfortable as you work out.If you don’t have an exercise mat, you can improvise with a towel, bath mat, or blanket. You can also go outside and work out on a grassy surface.Purchase two sets of dumbbells for strength training, one lighter than the other. Weightlifting builds muscles that help you burn calories more effectively. To find the best dumbbells for you, consider the brand’s reputation, user reviews, cost, and the dumbbell’s shape and grip.A jump rope is another low-cost way to get into shape. A 10 to 20 minute-long jump rope workout:Challenges your core muscles, along with your arms, legs, and back musclesIncreases your flexibility and strengthGets your heart pumpingAn exercise ball often costs under $20, and you can structure a few different workout routines around one. Use it for strengthening exercises, stretches, and core workouts.Stationary bikes are relatively inexpensive, often costing only a few hundred dollars. However, you don’t even have to spend that much if you own an outdoor bike. Instead, buy a bike trainer stand, which often costs under $100. The stand keeps the bike in place while you pedal.People who can afford to spend a few hundred dollars on equipment might want to consider a rowing machine. Rowing machines do more than work out your upper body. They’re aerobic machines where you push your legs while you pull your arms, giving you a full-body workout.However, a rowing machine isn’t for everyone, such as people with back issues or beginners. Using a rowing machine requires coordination and strong core muscles. If you’re beginning your journey toward getting in shape, you might want to work your way up to a rowing machine.Frequently Asked QuestionsCan you get fit without going to the gym?Yes, you can get in shape without a gym membership. However, building a home workout routine requires self-discipline and independent research. Some people prefer the know-how and outside motivation that comes from having fitness experts nearby.Still, you no longer have to pay for classes if you want to learn new stretches and exercise routines. A quick web search will pull up numerous how-to fitness guides, with step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and even helpful video—no need to invest in a personal trainer.If you want the sense of community that comes with a gym membership, consider jogging with a friend or signing up for volunteer efforts that involve physical activity. Cleaning up a park or road can help you work up a sweat and burn calories.Can you lose weight by walking every day?Yes, you can manage your weight better if you choose to walk a significant amount every day. A 1987 study observed women who worked their way up to walking an hour every day over six months. These women lost 10 percent of their weight without following a restricted diet.Similarly, a 2014 study observed obese women who walked 50 to 70 minutes for three days of the week. The study concluded that walking is a good way to prevent belly fat.You can burn more calories if you swing your arms while walking.Why do bodybuilders use machines?Bodybuilders use machines to target specific muscles they want to grow. Other bodybuilders prefer free weights. The equipment you use matters less than you might think. Your muscles bulk up through classic resistance exercises, thanks to triggered hormones.Why would I set up a home gym instead of getting a membership nearby?A common reason people set up a home gym is to save money. While purchasing a gym membership instead of exercise equipment costs less in the short term, buying your equipment costs less in the long run. You can look up the prices for a local gym membership and the cost of a home gym, and figure out how many months or years at the gym would be equivalent to a piece of equipment.Other individuals might set up a home gym for the convenience of working out whenever they want. If you work odd hours or lead a hectic lifestyle, it can be tough to get into a gym. Privacy is another concern; some people prefer to work out without anyone watching them.Lastly, some people might set up a home gym to motivate themselves. You may find it easier to work out if your equipment is right at hand. Of course, this isn’t universal, as other people might find they’re too distracted at home to focus on exercising.Is it possible to get a better (or equivalent) workout at home?Yes, it is possible to work out just as well at home as you would at the gym. An effective fitness routine has a warm-up, cardiovascular or aerobic exercises, resistance training to build strength, flexibility exercises, and a cooldown.Of course, you don’t necessarily need to choose between the two. Some people find it best if they work out at home and a gym. Working out at home helps you adopt regular fitness as part of your lifestyle, while gyms are good places to learn more and interact with others.ConclusionWith planning and the right equipment, you can work out just as well at home as you would at the local gym. Though home gym equipment can be quite expensive, over time the machines pay for themselves as you save money that would otherwise go toward a gym membership.Remember that a good exercise program increases your flexibility, builds muscles, and gets the heart pumping. A varied routine will get you in better shape than repeating a few exercises over and over.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.