Do you sometimes skip working out because you dread the whole hassle of having to get to the gym?

Look: you can be honest with me. I understand. Between all the packing and the time taken to commute amidst the heavy traffic (depending on what time you work out), you can be exhausted even before you step into a commercial gym.

Ah, if only you could work out in the comforts of your home while lounging in your PJs. But see, you can! And forget everything you've heard about home gyms being expensive to start. All you need are three equipment that can easily take you through arms day to legs day.

By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll be beating yourself up for not having made the switch earlier.

#1 – Adjustable dumbbells

If you had to choose between getting yourself a barbell or dumbbells, you should always opt for dumbbells. They're infinitely more versatile, and you could (almost) do all the exercises you meant to do with the barbell, anyway. Think about the bench press – you could use dumbbells too, right? You could even perform dumbbell deadlifts if you placed them on a slightly elevated platform!

Not convinced? Not to worry, here are three more benefits that might change your mind:

Dumbbell exercises create both inter- and intramuscular coordination

·         Intermuscular coordination – The ability of several different muscles to work together to produce and stabilize joint motion.

·         Intramuscular coordination – The amount of muscle motor units and their attached muscle fibers that are activated within a specific muscle.

When both inter- and intramuscular coordination are created through the use of dumbbells, you'll experience much higher levels of muscle activation. And you know what happens when you get more muscle activation: yes, increased muscle growth!

Mean muscle activity of the whole movement of the arm

Dumbbells allow you to focus on one arm or leg at a time

There’s no doubt about it: try as we might, we all suffer from muscular imbalances. And this is especially so if you are used to training with barbells or on machines that don’t allow unilateral movement. There will, undoubtedly, be a side of your body that is stronger and will take over the load.

And this is where dumbbells come in to save the day. Over-compensation from the dominant side of your body is impossible when you train with dumbbells. Also, dumbbells allow you to train the side of your body that’s not injured!

Dumbbell variations can lead to an increased range of motion

If you’ve read our article on how you can build muscle faster in the gym, you’d know that one of the effective ways to achieve progressive overload is in increasing your range of motion.

Think about it: there’s only so much range of motion you can achieve with the barbell – it’ll hit you on your thighs when you lower it. But with the dumbbell exercise variations, you’re free to extend the range, which provides you with a new dimension of overload.

And as for why 'adjustable' dumbbells? Well, unless you live in a castle, you probably wouldn’t have enough space to accommodate individual dumbbells of varying weights!

#2 – Rowing machine

If you're anything like me, you hate doing cardio on the treadmill or the elliptical. It takes an awful long time, and it's incredibly dull. So – why put up with the aimless trudging when you're at home? Why not get yourself a rowing machine that will take care of your cardio, and sculpt your back, hamstrings, and glutes at the same time?

You can say goodbye to brain-numbing, unnecessarily long cardio sessions as well. If you give your all on the rowing machine, you can torch more calories within 20 minutes than you would have on the 'traditional' cardio machines.

But – unless you’re an elite rower, you wouldn’t be working on the machine for 20 straight minutes. What you should do, instead, is to follow an interval-style work out method.

Rowing machine workout routine (20 minutes)

Here's a sample routine you can try out for a taste of just how intense the rowing machine workout can be:

·         Warm-up: 6 minutes (Easy rowing)

·         Workout: 8 sets of 40 seconds max effort, alternating with 20 seconds of easy rowing

·         Cool-down: 6 minutes (Easy rowing)

And besides, rowing machines are (relatively) more compact, so you never have to worry about moving your favorite couch out of the living room to accommodate your fitness goals.

#3 – Multigym machine

What is a multigym machine, exactly? Well, it's a combination of a variety of different pieces of training equipment merged to create a functional training facility that can cater to a variety of different training disciplines.

While the specifications of multigym machines available in the market can vary widely, most of them are equipped with pulleys, chin-ups, and weight-stacks that allow you to perform many exercises. And this provides you with an advantage that dumbbells or the rowing machine can’t – muscular overload in the horizontal plane.

So – what type of multigym should I buy?

Are you convinced that you need a multigym machine? Now, before you get overwhelmed with the selection available, here's a rough guide to selecting a multigym suited to your personal fitness goals.

·         If you’re into more functional movements – Go for a CrossFit style training rig.

·         If you’re more into pure mass and muscle growth – Choose designs that feature cable machines and lifting benches.

Ready to build your home gym?

Are you now raring to build your home gym? Excellent! Here's an additional tip for you: you can purchase used exercise equipment to get started if you're on a tight budget. Exercise equipment is (typically) durable – you're bound to find gems that others are willing to let go at an affordable price!

Now, as someone ready to build yourself a home gym, you must be pretty crazy about lifting. So, here's something we think you'd appreciate: a smart, AI-powered workout tracker that keeps you accountable – even if you're working out in the comforts of your home! Stop missing workouts and sabotaging your own fitness goals; download GymStreak today!

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References

Saeterbakken, A. H., van den Tillaar, R., & Fimland, M. S. (2011). A comparison of muscle activity and 1-RM strength of three chest-press exercises with different stability requirements. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29(5), 533–538. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2010.543916