With the average monthly gym membership costing around $65, or $780 over the period of a year, it’s no wonder more and more Aussies are taking their health into their own hands with a home gym setup.
But how to create an effective workout space without breaking the bank?
Investing in fancy equipment like treadmills, bikes, cross trainers or even a functional training space can be worth it for those hard-core fitness addicts, but for the rest of us mere mortals, we need a different approach.
The key to any great home gym is being smart with your purchasing decisions, just like these one-piece wonders that are fantastic tools to aid your fitness journey without costing you a fortune.
Not just for the playground, skipping ropes pack a serious fitness punch. Test your cardiovascular health and your coordination with a skipping session that includes a combination of single leg and double-unders. This exercise actually burns more calories than running does (and is more fun!).
Skipping ropes are also extremely portable, so you can take them outside or pack them for a weekend away to keep up your workout routine. Also look out for those with weighted-handles as they provide fantastic muscle-building benefits to your upper body.
These are particularly great for ab exercises like Russian twists, and compound exercises such as squat and press or woodchop. While medicine balls tend to be lighter in weight than kettlebells or dumbbells, they still tone muscle and aid in building strength through your core as well as your upper and lower body.
Bring in some crossfit inspired exercises like wall balls to burn more calories and incorporate more muscles groups into your workouts. Again, watch the weight – beginners only need a 2-3kg medicine ball!
A kettlebell is possibly the most versatile piece of basic gym equipment out there. Full body workouts of all levels are possible with this nifty item – from arm strengthening exercises to ab workouts, to working your hand-eye coordination.
Just be sure to pick a suitable weight – they usually start at around 8kg for beginners, with 16-24kg for more advanced users.
This basic piece of equipment is fantastic for simple compound exercises that burn a great deal of calories and shape muscle. Holding dumbbells while doing lunges, squats or step-ups build strength and endurance in your legs, while bicep curls and shoulder presses create shapely shoulders and arms.
As with the kettlebell and medicine ball, choose your dumbbell weight wisely – ideally, a lighter set for upper body exercises (2-4kg for beginners, 5-8kg for more advanced), and a heavier set (between 5-15kg) to train your lower body.
TRX suspension training
For those looking to seriously up their fitness game while still only using minimal equipment, look no further than TRX suspension ropes.
Designed specifically to increase the effectiveness of bodyweight exercises, TRX can help you carve some impressive muscle tone and build serious strength within a few weeks.
You do need to be prepared to suspend these ropes from the roof somehow –using a strong support beam in the house or garage is best.
If you are on a very tight budget indeed, search sites like Gumtree or eBay for second hand gym equipment – most of this has been barely used and is a fraction of the price of the brand new stuff. And finally, if you're new to exercise, or are recovering from an injury, we recommend seeing a doctor before you start.
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Take it outside
Not a fan of using equipment, or exercising inside? No worries – there are plenty of options outside the home for you:
A park bench
Park benches are the perfect height for exercises like elevated push-ups, step-ups, tricep dips or leg raises. Choose four key exercises and complete three rounds of 10 repetitions for a quick and easy workout.
A set of stairs
City slickers that may not live close to a park or sports field will definitely have access to a few sets of stairs. Fantastic for building explosive power in your legs, complete a few runs up the stairs combined with various jumping and stepping stair exercises (there are some great demonstrations of such exercises on YouTube).
A sports field
Your local sporting field is great for sprint intervals, speed and agility drills. Use the markings already on the ground to measure out your distances, and throw in some squats, push ups or sit ups for good measure. Some even have small stadiums, so utilise the stairs in your workouts.