Build a Home Gym for Under $150
Use low-cost and household items you already own to get a full-body workout.
Building a Home Gym for Under $150
If the Ancient Greeks managed six-pack abs without the wonders of modern machinery, then so can you. Using low-cost equipment together with common household items you already own, you can build a whole body workout program that’s full of variety. Items featured here are cost effective, but you can find them for even cheaper as used or discounted items on Google Shopping or eBay.
Two Kettles—$15 each
No need for padded pink hand weights or a full set of gym standard dumbbells. All you need is a container of some kind, some water, and a little creativity. Fill two tea kettles or buckets of water (you may have to pad the handles to make it more comfortable) and use them as hand weights for these classic exercises: the forward lunge and the squat.
Click “next” to learn how to use kettles in your workout.
Exercise Using Kettles: Forward Lunge
Stand upright with your weights dangling by your sides. Take a large stride forward with your right foot and slowly lower your left knee to the ground. Then push yourself back up to the standing position. Repeat this a second time with the left leg stepping forward.
Start with two sets of 8 to 12 repetitions using no weight (i.e., no water in the kettles) in order to perfect the movement. Then add weight (water) to increase the resistance incrementally.
Exercise Using Kettles: Squat
Stand upright with your weights dangling by your sides. Then, gently lower your buttocks toward the ground until your thighs are parallel to the ground as if you are seated. Slowly lift yourself back up to the starting position.
As with the lunges, start with two sets of 8 to 12 repetitions using no weight and gradually increase the resistance incrementally.
Exercise Mat: $18 to $28
You could buy a new exercise mat for a relatively low price ($18 to $28), but a camping mat or even a nicely kept patch of lawn would also suffice for the next few exercises. It can also come in handy for a relaxing post-workout stretch.
Click “next” to learn about exercises using a mat.
Exercise Using the Mat: Plank
The plank is a classic exercise to increase the stability of your core, or the group of muscles that support the spine. Start by lying on your stomach and lift your back up, supporting yourself on your elbows with your forearms pointing forward. Then, get up on your toes and support your body weight, keeping your legs and back straight. Hold this position for as long as possible. Practicing this consistently at least three times per week will increase the time you can hold the pose.
Resistance Bands: $40
Resistance bands are inexpensive items that consist of a strong elastic band sometimes with handles on either end. These can be used to get a killer upper body workout and replace expensive gym equipment that work the same muscles. They come in different colors for different resistances. A set of four new Ayilo Resistance Bands costs $39.99.
Click “next” to learn about exercises using resistance bands.
Exercises Using Resistance Bands
Shoulder Press: Put one foot slightly in front of the other, bending the knees slightly. Place the middle of the resistance band underneath your leading foot and grab a handle with each hand. Pull up on the bands with your palms facing forwards and lift them above your head.
Bicep Curl: Start with your hands by your side and pull up on the handles in front of you, bending your arm at the elbow.
A chair is probably not a prop you associate with exercise, but if you click through to the next two slides, you'll learn about some active ways to use this symbol of the sedentary lifestyle.
Exercise Using a Chair: Dip
In the previous section, you learned how to work your biceps; now it’s time to learn how to work the opposing muscle set: your triceps. Sit on a chair and gently slide your buttocks off the edge of the chair. Hold the edge of the chair with the palms of your hands, fingers pointing forward, while pushing your legs out in front of you. Lower yourself down from the front of the chair and lift yourself up.
Exercise Using a Chair: Abdominals
Lie down on your back and hoist your calves up on a chair or bench. Touch your hands lightly to your temples (don’t be tempted to pull on your head or neck). Lift your back and head off the ground by crunching up your stomach muscles. Repeat until you start to feel your abdominal muscles burn. Rest a minute and repeat about 20 to 30 repetitions.
Jump Rope: $15 to $20
Jumping rope is great aerobic exercise and offers the convenience of a workout indoors or in confined spaces. Basic exercise jump ropes are inexpensive ($10 to $20), but braided polyester rope is even cheaper—and you might already have it on hand. Just tape the ends up with duct tape and you’ve got a homemade jump rope. Start with five to 10 minutes of jumping between other exercises. As you get the hang of it, change it up by jumping with only one foot.
How to Use Your New Home Gym
All exercises using this equipment follow the same principles as any strength-training program. Be sure your movements are slow and controlled to minimize the risk of injury. Start by doing the program three or four times a week to allow a day of recovery between each session. Increase the resistance, volume, or length of time you exercise progressively. Stick with it and soon you’ll see and feel the difference without the strain on your back pocket.
Now that you have an affordable home gym and have learned how to use it properly, find out more simple ways to stay in shape.