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The best workout equipment for building a home gym

The gym isn't for everybody. It's expensive, crowded, and sometimes smelly. Even worse, you have to travel to get there — making it ten times harder just to convince yourself to go.But, if you're lucky enough to have the space, you have another option that doesn't involve commuting vast distances only to exert yourself in front of strangers: Just bring the gym home to you. Yeah, it can cost you a pretty penny, but when you take into account how much gym membership fees add up over the years, buying your own workout equipment and decking out a home gym...

The gym isn’t for everybody. It’s expensive, crowded, and sometimes smelly. Even worse, you have to travel to get there — making it ten times harder just to convince yourself to go.

But, if you’re lucky enough to have the space, you have another option that doesn’t involve commuting vast distances only to exert yourself in front of strangers: Just bring the gym home to you.

Yeah, it can cost you a pretty penny, but when you take into account how much gym membership fees add up over the years, buying your own workout equipment and decking out a home gym pays for itself in the long run. (This is all assuming you’ll use it frequently — that part will depend completely on you. Sorry, you can’t quite buy motivation.) Plus, not having to travel back home after an intense workout is just a beautiful thing. You can literally plop down onto the couch after you’re done. Maybe take a shower first, though.

The tough part is making the choice. What fitness gear are you going to bring home first? A treadmill? An elliptical? A bench press? We don’t recommend buying all of them at once unless you have the cash to burn. You’ll have to be honest with yourself about which workouts you find yourself doing the most, and go from there. If you’re a runner, you want the treadmill. If you’re a cyclist, it’s Peloton for sure. Full-time yogi? You’re going to need a good mat for that.

What home gym equipment should you buy on Black Friday?

Major workout machines like smart home gyms, stationary bikes, and rowing machines are expected to be popular items this Black Friday, which should spark some pretty killer deals. Last year, we saw a $500 off Mirror deal, over $300 off Echelon smart cycles, and a Tempo studio free gift bundle. This year, we’ve spotted a sweet $750 off Mirror deal, plus up to $600 off select treadmills at both Best Buy and Amazon.

If you’re looking for a Peloton bike discount, you’re (surprisingly) in luck this year. Last year, the company opted not to do a Black Friday or Cyber Monday promotion in order to keep up with increased demand, and considering this year’s supply chain issues, we didn’t think we’d see we see a significant price drop on any Peloton bikes. This year, the cult-favorite cycling brand surprised us with major deals on the Peloton Bike, Peloton Bike Plus, and the Tread. Head to our best Black Friday fitness deals post for the full rundown of the Peloton sales.

If the Peloton brand isn’t the be-all-end-all of your home gym goals, we are expecting to see tons of deals on Peloton alternatives for Black Friday. Both Best Buy and Amazon have already offered deals on select Schwinn, Bowflex, and Echelon bikes. If this year is anything like last year, we also plan to spot a big Mirror discount, discounted NordicTrack bikes and treadmills, and more.

Are home gym machines worth it?

If you have the space and the cash, sure. But the only machine we say you need is some sort of cardio machine, like a treadmill or elliptical. Weight machines and other equipment of the like are mostly just for convenience, and while that’s great in its own right, you can still get the same results by using free weights with good form. Don’t go crowding up your home gym for no reason — make sure there’s actual material value in it for you.

Elliptical or treadmill?

Either one will be a good purchase, and you’ll be able to get in great cardio workouts by using them, but there are a few key differences between the two that you’ll want to know before making your final decision.

Ellipticals are going to be best for those who want to incorporate an upper-body workout into their cardio session, as well as keep their joints in great shape (ellipticals involve less impact compared to treadmills, where your feet slam on the belt continuously).

While treadmills are high-impact and are harder on your joints, they offer more control, opportunities to build leg strength, and it’s a faster way to burn calories. You can’t go wrong with either if you’re looking to improve your cardiac health — just buy the one that’s more in tune with your body and preferences.

How should you set up your equipment?

This, of course, will depend on what your dedicated home gym space looks like, but you’ll want to try not to just clump all of your equipment together in a corner. Working out is already tough enough, but working out while also feeling claustrophobic? Way worse. Section off areas with some space in between them for resting, stretching, and rehydrating — one area for cardio, one for weights, and another for miscellaneous equipment should do you fine. If you’ve got a lot of space, use it to its fullest — home gyms can have good feng shui, too.

Why is home gym equipment so expensive?

Your eyes might roll into the back of your head when you see some of these prices, but unfortunately, they are pretty standard for quality gym equipment. If you want something that will rival your local gym, you’re going to need to make it an investment. But don’t worry, as long as you use the equipment you buy consistently (and not just for gym selfies), they’ll eventually pay for themselves with all the money you’re saving by breaking up with your gym membership.

There are also low-budget options for workout equipment, but even those will cost you some serious cash, so we say go for quality first. Many brands offer payment plans for their equipment, too, so be sure to look into those if you’re not in the place to pay everything upfront.

So, what’s the best home gym equipment?

Now, what you’ve all been waiting for: We picked out the best of the best in-home gym equipment for every type of athlete — from weightlifters to former crew team members and just about everyone in between. So if you’re tired of sweating it out at your local gym, just stay home instead.

Below are our top picks for the best home gym equipment for 2021.

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