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Home Gym Reviews - Everything You Need To Build & Burn

August 01, 2020

What Equipment Do I Need?

What equipment depends on a few variables.  How often are you currently working out?  If you are training on a regular basis that is awesome.  If you are just starting out or it has been a long time since you regularly worked out we need to talk.  

If you are just learning how to play the piano and know nothing about music - no sane music teacher is going to tell you to out and buy a $30,000 piano just to practice.  First, you would take some lessons and purchase an electric piano-like keyboard to practice.  

Over time it will be obvious if you should purchase that $30,000 piano.  As long as the talent and desire is present.  It would make sense to invest in a nice piano for home practice.  This is also true of working out.  If you have a regular workout regime -  sometimes making to the gym just won't work.  Having a back up makes sense.

However, if you are new to working out, don't have much experience, or it's been a while.  Test the waters first at your local gym.  Rates are very competitive and this also gives you an idea of equipment suits you.  You might even hire a personal trainer to show you the ropes to expedite your experience.  

 

Machines or Free Weights - Which Is Better? 

When thinking about a home gym, efficiency and space should be of concern.  Spoiler alert, I am very partial to the equipment I train my clients on and this transfers over to the equipment used at home.   Gyms are filled with rows and rows of equipment, most of which are not necessary but it gives the member a sense of value having all that equipment I guess.  

Whether your goal is to bulk up, get lean, or just maintain your fit lifestyle the vehicle (equipment) used can play a pivotal role. Squat racks, bench presses, and dumbbell racks take up a lot of room and they are heavy.  Once they are there - they stay put!  But remember we are talking about equipment that will be in your home - it's not like moving a couch out of the way.  

I suggest looking for equipment that has a small footprint and has multiple uses for creating innovative, safe, and targeted exercises.  This brings me to my first review.  

BowFlex Revolution

I have trained clients on earlier models at their home years ago.  These are well made but not easy to configure for those not used to modern workout equipment.  The movements are relatively smooth overall.  I did find the leg movements not so user friendly if you have mobility issues.  I was not able to use any of the leg attachments for a few of my clients.  Movements like shoulder press would be better performed using the BowFlex bench using free weights.  This is one of the exercises I would reserve for stronger and more conditioned clients.  These newer models have better variations that enable to user to really adjust the machine to fit their needs - this is a great improvement.  Overall the machine does take some "know-how" and can be discouraging for newbies.  

Pros:

  • The proven track record for durability and quality workmanship
  • Over 100 exercises right out of the box
  • Resistance for all levels of fitness 
  • Footprint is relatively small 9' 4" L x 3' 2" W x 6' 1" H 
  • Workspace 10' x 7' 
  • Full Body workouts can be easily executed

Cons:

  • The machine weighs 336 lbs.  
  • It does not come fully equipped for specialized movements (they are optional)
  • Figuring out all of the exercises takes time and cuts into the workout
  • Not all of the exercises work for people tall or very short
  • Some of the movements are not as smooth as they could be

 

TRX

TRX stands for Total Resistance eXercise and was created by a former Navy SEAL.  If you were not aware, Navy SEALs are the best-conditioned military ops on the planet.  The original motto for TRX was "ALL Core ALL The Time".    There is not a single exercise done on the TRX that does not put your CORE on fire.  There are millions, yes millions of workout sessions the TRX community has designed for any level of training.  When I got certified for TRX in San Francisco, we had to complete 3 one hour classes back to back.  It was the most challenging exercise I had ever done in years.  Using only my bodyweight!  It does take using the proper form to get the full benefit from - the good thing is that you can go onto their website to get the low down on the proper form.  You can also hire a personal trainer to show you the basics and from there can easily increase your workload simply by working forwards or backward.  No tension bars.  No weight stacks. Move from exercise to the next in seconds.

Pros:

  • Weighs 2.2 lbs.
  • Can be set up almost anywhere (inside or outside)
  • Footprint varies on your routine  5ft by 5ft would suffice
  • Countless exercises right out of the box at ANY level
  • You can never outgrow this system it will evolve with you
  • The TRX community is one of the strongest around the world
  • Results within weeks
  • Price point - nothing on the planet comes close

Cons:

  • To get the maximum benefit you need a ceiling or anchoring area least 7ft tall

Conclusion

Hey, I was transparent about this review in the beginning.  I remodeled my gym to have a wall of TRX only.  It was hugely successful and I could train anybody in almost any condition on TRX.  I have nothing against the standard gyms or a nice barbell set up in the home.  Functionality is my top priority will all of my clients and there is no better tool than the TRX system.  You can incorporate Yoga, Pilates, Strength Training, Endurance Training, Interval Training, etc. going from one exercise to the next in seconds without compromising your form.  My money is always going to be on the TRX.  It's under $200 and that just blows my mind.  It pays for itself as after your first workout.

 

 

 


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