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Home Gyms Review
Why Use a Home Gym?
We invested 80 hours evaluating home gyms to find a selection of the 10 that we thought would work best for fitness enthusiasts with different health goals, budgets and space considerations. We checked with manufacturers, carefully read their websites, examined consumer reviews and watched user videos. Our top pick is the compact but versatile Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE that lets you do more than 70 exercises. Rather than using a weight stack, this device employs a power rod and cable pulley system to provide resistance.
We also liked the Yukon Wolverine Multi-Station with its four different exercise stations and 27 exercises. Families will appreciate that multiple people can work out at the same time using this machine.
Another favorite of ours is the budget-friendly Powerline BSG10x that lets you do as many as 40 exercises and provides a number of different workout options without costing a fortune.
Home Gyms: How to Choose the Best One for You
When looking for the best home fitness workout machine, you want equipment that provides overall body workouts. It’s best to choose a machine that will let you perform an extensive variety of lower-body and upper-body exercises because this piece of equipment is an investment that will last for years, and your fitness goals undoubtedly will change over time.
When looking for the best home gym, you want to consider what types of exercises the machine allows you to perform. Most gyms give you exercises that provide an all-over body workout, but there undoubtedly are parts of your body you might want to strengthen more than others. For example, if you want to work on your back and shoulder muscles, a home gym with an integrated lat tower (for the latissimus dorsi muscle) will help you achieve that goal.
Additionally, consider the type of resistance technology you feel most comfortable with. Many home gyms use weights that are stacked, and these generally give you quite a good muscle-building workout. Other types of machines use alternative forms of resistance. Bowflex machines, for example, use power rods that bend and increase your resistance. Other home gym machines use your own body weight –you increase or decrease the resistance based on the positioning of the machine’s bench.
Furthermore, you want to think about your own body and strength before making such a significant investment. The best gyms allow you to add extra weight in the future, which is important if you want to get into more strenuous workouts in the future.
Although good quality home gyms are big, sturdy devices, they typically have weight requirements for the person using it, which might be a factor to consider in your home gym choice if you are extremely heavy. However, most machines can handle users who weigh up to 300 pounds.
You undoubtedly also want a machine that will fit nicely in your home, so consider the height and length of the machine. Many of these machines are tall and wide, not to mention heavy, so be sure to choose one that is right for your workout space. These home gyms will require extending arms and legs at various angles, which is a factor when considering space issues.
Home Gyms: Other Things to Look For
To get the best home workout system for you, you’ll want to see what comes with a particular model. Many machines may only come with the frame and the weight stack, while others come with additional items such as training DVDs, a double-sided row bar, ab harnesses to help you work your abdominal muscles and pulley stations. Make sure before buying one of these systems that you know exactly what you’re getting so you don’t have to make unexpected purchases after spending so much on a home gym.
The warranty that covers these machines is also worth considering. Look for companies that offer lifetime warranties on the systems if possible since you are making a significant investment. Also, if you have any problems or questions, you want to work with a company that makes it easy to reach representatives who are willing to answer your questions or concerns. Email, telephone and live chat support options are the most popular ways to contact representatives from these companies.
No matter what other kinds of exercise you get – cardio workouts from running or walking briskly, for example – you'll still need strength training exercises to build muscle, improve your metabolism and generally keep you toned. As you shop, be sure to pick the right gym that will help you feel better and reach your fitness goals.
Contributing Reviewer: Linda Thomson