There’s hundreds of tempting items available that come under the heading of home fitness equipment. Which ones are useful and worth having?

Do not make the mistake of buying anything just because it’s “new!” and then regretting it within a few days. Generally anything new is just a fad that will soon be jeered at by any self-respecting gym-rat. This applies especially to anything claiming to work your abs…

TV advertisements will always seek to make the results you want seem easy but here’s the most powerful tip of all – if they claim “easy” then it doesn’t work. Period. Truly good exercise equipment is good because it exercises you, not because it allows you to look like and pretend you’re exercising when you’re not!

Do you really need it? While there are hundreds of exercises you cannot do with a basic home weight set it’s true to say there are few parts of your body that you cannot exercise with such basic equipment. There’s little point buying “chest expanders” for example if you already have a bench and a couple of light dumbbells (just lie face down on the bench and lift ’em to the sides).

Some things that cannot be done with weights, unless using a full machine setup, would including balance and core stuff with exercise balls, pull up bars and… and.. erm..

OK, moving on!

TIP: Have you used it before in a gym? Ever even seen it in a gym? If not, buy carefully.

Another factor to consider is practicality. Do you really have enough room for it? That big yawning gap in your spare room may look huge and in the big showroom that multi-purpose machine may be one of the smaller ones but get out your trusty tape measure first.

If you’re thinking of pulling it out into the living room before folding up or dragging away, check  just how practical that is. Does it have wheels to move or fold easily with just you doing it? If it needs two people to put it away then I guarantee it will either never be put away or never be brought out.

If you haven’t even considered where you’re going to put it, do so before even thinking about a purchase.

Quality Counts

Your health is more important than money. Poorly made machines can seriously hurt you if they break and can also cause harm through such things as bad design that makes you move in ways that are not natural, in turn stressing joints and causing long-term aches and pains that are nothing to do with exercise per se but due to faulty equipment.

Good quality exercise equipment generally costs around twice the price of the cheap alternatives but is typically smoother, quieter, vastly longer lasting and a real investment in your health and physique. Where possible buy the same brands you see in your local gym, and ideally the same models too. No they won’t be cheap but there’s a reason gyms don’t buy the cheap stuff and those reasons apply every bit as much to you as they do the gym!

Don’t be fooled with the thought that you will be forced to use something because you spent so much on it. That’s right up there with buying fancy clothes that are a bit too small to force yourself to slim down and fit them. It just doesn’t work and makes you feel miserable. Instead buy something of high quality because it’s a good practical solution that you will be using on a regular basis. Then the money is well-spent and the quality will pay for itself.

2nd Hand?

You can certainly find some real bargains when it comes to home gym equipment as so many people buy with good intentions and then discover it’s their sheer stubborn laziness making them fat, not the lack of equipment! As such you can find good quality gear at half or less than the price of new.

The downside is that you are not likely to find exactly what you’re looking for and can easily be tempted into some weird setup that you would never have chosen in the shop but hey, it was cheap, right?

Follow this simple rule – if it were in a showroom with other choices, would I buy this? If not then it doesn’t matter how cheap it is. Keep looking.