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How to Create a Home Gym for Less

Apr 5, 2021

A man and woman working out in a gym

Is going to the gym a thing of the past? Quite possibly – but not because people have simply stopped working out. Out of necessity, working out at home has not only become the norm this past year, but people are enjoying it so much that they’re starting to invest money and space into creating a dedicated home gym.

Let’s run down the list of benefits: A home gym is more convenient. It’s intimidation- and pressure-free. It’s tailored to your workout preferences. And in today’s pandemic landscape, it’s just safer.

Of course, creating a home gym doesn't happen overnight. It takes time to assess and shop for the equipment you might want. You’ll also need to make sure that the space you want to convert into your fitness area will be able to fit everything on your wish list. We have some pretty strong solutions to help you get there affordably.

Strengthen Your Shopping Power with Acima

One thing you’ll find out quickly: It’s not exactly cheap to stock up on all the home gym equipment basics as well as the latest trends. But don’t let that deter you! We think that creating a home gym is a great idea, and with our lease-purchase agreements* you can shop at name-brand home fitness retailers all without credit and take home the pieces to fill your space, no matter what your financial situation may look like.

Home Gym Equipment: Contenders to Consider

Regardless of your favorite way to exercise, equipment that is versatile and multifunctional will help you maximize your workouts while you save on space, time and money. And though there will always be new fitness trends to try, these seven staples should be on the top of your list to consider as you get your home gym up and running.

 1.     Squat Rack

 For weightlifting lovers, a squat rack is usually the centerpiece of many home or garage gyms. Depending on what kind you get, it can be used lots of ways including as a mechanical spotter for free-weight barbell exercises, as a pull-up or chin-up station, or as something to wrap resistance bands around.

 As with all exercise equipment, safety comes first — so don’t sacrifice stability and quality to save a few bucks. Be sure to choose a squat rack with strong steel build quality that you can secure to the floor.

 2.     Sets of Weight Plates, Dumbbells or Kettlebells

Having a set of weight plates that you can change out on your barbell is key for giving yourself choices based on the exercise and your fitness level. If you can, you’ll want to make sure you get plates that are even heavier to have on hand as you progress in strength.

If you don’t have a barbell, invest in dumbbells or kettlebells (both of which tend to provide more versatility) as well as a rack on which to store them to keep your home gym organized.

3.     Adjustable Bench

Some may think it’s just something you sit or lie down on for a few weighted exercises, but the use you can get out of a workout bench goes way beyond that. There are a multitude of bodyweight exercises you can perform with the bench, including tricep dips, hop-overs, core stability moves, step-ups and decline pushups — just to name a few.

To up your game even more, invest in an incline bench that allows you to adjust both the height and the incline, as well as discover even more new moves. Again, solidity and stability are key in whatever bench you choose.

4.     Stationary Bike

For those cardio days where you want to go for a bike ride but also want to stay indoors, the stationary bike is the answer. The range of styles (and costs) run from the basic models to ones with next-level features like video screens and wireless activity trackers. Those with lower back or mobility issues can reap major calorie-burning benefits on a recumbent bike with a reclining seat.

As with any bike, you’ll want to test them out when shopping (if possible) to make sure the comfort level, seat, handlebar style, resistance levels, etc. meet your needs.

5. Treadmill

Walking, jogging, running or climbing — you name it, a treadmill can help you do it, especially when you can’t (or don’t want to) get outdoors. It’s great for interval training, simulating hills, helping you to monitor workout length, distance, incline and intensity. Some even feature a heart-rate monitor so you can make sure you’re consistently “in the zone.”

There are so many treadmills available, so it pays to do your research based on cost, how often you’ll use it, the program options you prefer, cushioning, stability, and the size you need to fit inside the space you have at home. If space is an issue, consider getting a treadmill you can fold and roll out of the way.

6. Rowing Machine

Rowing machine exercises performed at the right intensity level tend to provide more of a full-body cardio workout vs. running or biking. It’s great for those upper body days, since a rower simulates the action of training on an actual watercraft. But because the correct rowing technique depends on the power that comes when you push back with your legs, you’d get more core and lower body gains as well. It’s a great option if you’re looking to shake up your routine.

7. A Smart or Streaming TV

While this may not technically be gym “equipment,” consider this: Workout programs via streaming on-demand services or YouTube have exploded in the last year as more and more people began working out at home. A smart TV or one with streaming capabilities is a must if you enjoy having access to literally thousands of exercise choices.

Even if you don’t use a streaming program, a TV is still an important addition. Workouts are simply better with some entertainment to distract you or help the time pass, whether that's listening to music or catching up on your favorite show.

Help Your Home Gym Take Shape Affordably

Your home gym is just that — yours! This list is here to help you lay the foundation; our advice is to start here and add what you need as you go. What you shop for and when to complete your home gym is completely up to you, your interests, fitness goals, priorities and preferences.

That said, you shouldn’t feel strong-armed into paying loads of cash or getting into credit trouble trying to make it happen. Spend more time working out and less time working out the numbers. Let our lease-to-own* alternative to financing get you the things you want, at the affordable monthly or bi-monthly lease renewal payments you deserve.