After a crazy year (or two) of lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and changes to our everyday lives, fitness has taken a jump in importance. Not only were we deprived of the normalcy of heading to the gym or studio for quite some time, but when parks and outdoor areas were closed as well, getting any type of exercise was a challenge!
However, as the world changes and we continue to create workarounds, we’ve discovered that getting a workout doesn’t have to be overcomplicated, stressful, or even in a traditional location. In fact, with the right equipment, smart design, and affordable items, you can build a basic fitness room in your home.
Here are some suggestions:
Prioritize the Calisthenics
If you’re serious about building a basic fitness room in your home, the first thing you need to do is select a room and completely clear the space. Then, you’ll need to think about the equipment you’ll need, based on what you’re into.
A good rule of thumb is to start with calisthenics equipment—items that only require your own body weight—because this equipment not only makes sense, but it doesn’t require you to purchase additional weights.
- Pull-Up Bar: You can buy a pull-up bar that simply attaches to the wall with nuts and bolts (or stationary). The nuts and bolts should be able to support your weight and prevent the bar from bending. Most pull-up bars can easily hold about 200-300 pounds. So, if you can easily add more weight to make the exercise more challenging.
- Dip Station: This is not only portable (i.e. you can move it around the room), but you can use this station for many different exercises. You can do leg lifts and ab crunches, tricep dips, lying pull-ups and curl-ups, or strength holds like the L-sit.
Bring In Resistance Items
Creating a basic fitness room in your home doesn’t require heavy weights or top-of-the-line equipment. With some resistance items (specialty purchases like bands or everyday, household items!) you can create multiple exercises with ease.
- Curls – Bicep curls with resistance bands are brilliant! Bands have a higher tension curve at the peak of a rep, so they challenge your body to produce more strength.
- Tricep Extensions – You can do these extensions with a door-stopper. Place it at the bottom of the door to do tricep extensions, presses and pushdowns.
- Overhead Pulls – Using a band, you can extend your arms forward and then pull one arm to the side, or you can tie the band to an overhead object, ledge, or bar, and stretch the band back to you.
- Walking Pulls – With another person (or tied to a wall/bar), step into the band so that it’s around your waist and walk/squat walk or run forward to create natural resistance for your legs and hips.
There are countless exercises that you can use bands for, from working your core and hips to your arms and legs. You can also boost your resistance training routine with household items, for example, using heavy pots for weights or pulling against the resistance from someone holding a belt around your waist.
Make Accessible Stations
Part of creating a functional workout room is to make ‘pockets’ for different aspects of your routine. For example, separate your cardio ‘station’ from your weight training. That way, you can transition easier from each part of your workout and feel as if you’re in a bigger (yet connected!) space.
This is also helpful if you’re planning on sharing the space with anyone. While one person is working on calisthenics, for example, another can be stretching or using weights.
As you’re in a naturally smaller space, you’ll also want to ensure that everything is accessible and user-friendly, too.
Incorporate Your Passions
The success of a home space is largely dependent upon how much it feels like ‘you.’ What this means is that in order to make a workout space feel usable, you have to inject your passions into it! For example, if you’re an avid runner, be sure to have your running equipment and/or treadmill front and center. If you’re all about your appearance and seeing the physical changes in your body, add a full-length mirror at the head of the room. If you get excited about apps and digital fitness opportunities, add a TV or syncing device to your room. Or, if you love listening to music, ensure that there’s a high-quality sound system.
Whatever makes the most sense for you and excites you will encourage you to actually use the space! The more it feels like ‘home,’ the more often you’ll frequent that space.
PS: Building this space is easier than you think!