Posted Jul 24, 2017 by Gym Source in Home Fitness and tagged Cardio Equipment, gym design tips, home ellipticals, home fitness, home fitness equipment, Home Gym, home gym design, home gym equipment, Home treadmills, Low impact workout, strength training equipment.

Equipment Expert Advice

What is the essential fitness equipment every home gym should have? (Spoiler alert: Trick Question).
There is no one-size-fits-all fitness solution for every home gym.

But, we can help you determine the must-have fitness equipment for YOU and your goals.

To start, we polled Gym Source equipment experts to learn how to build the optimum home gym, and the equipment they consider essential for the most effective home workouts.

The number one tip, recommended by EVERY one of our equipment experts is: know your goals and what you want to achieve – before researching or selecting product.

“We ask all our clients the same question: what do you want to accomplish? Your goals should guide your equipment selection, not the other way around. The goals of someone rehabbing from a surgery, versus someone working to beat a personal record, could require very different machines to reach their individual goals.”

Next, determine how you plan to accomplish your goals, focusing on the activities you enjoy.

“The best, and most essential, piece of fitness equipment is the one that you will use the most. It is whatever you are motivated to use on a regular basis. Quality fitness equipment is an investment in your health – don’t waste your time and money purchasing something you won’t look forward to using. If you hate running, why get a treadmill? Your home gym space should be a motivating place in your home – not one you dread being in. Your training plan should be based around activities you enjoy.”

Now that you have a clear vision of your goals, preferences, and training plan – you can begin to narrow down the essential fitness equipment right for your home workouts.

But wait! Before committing to any fitness equipment, you have to test, touch, and try equipment before you choose it.

Why? Because every machine feels different to every person using it. The ONLY way to know what equipment feels right to you is by getting on the machine. If you don’t like a machine after testing it, you will never like it when you get home.

Luckily, Gym Source acts as your fitness partner here. We curate the best lineup of industry leading fitness equipment, available for you to work out on in our local fitness showrooms. It’s important to trust the brands commercial gyms use. Knock off brands sold online aren’t used by any real fitness spaces for a reason.

Now, we can get started on narrowing down the must-have equipment for you. According to our equipment experts:

Essential fitness equipment for cardio workouts:

If your workout goal is to maintain a healthy weight, lose weight, strengthen your lungs and heart, or improve your overall endurance, you want to explore effective cardio equipment options.

Innovative Fitness Equipment

“Fitness equipment engineered to respond to how your body moves, and built to keep your body in the correct position, will provide effective cardio workouts. One of the biggest mistakes people make is going with what they know and what they used in the past; fitness equipment has evolved and your workout will thank you for evolving with it.”

For example, the Cybex Arc Trainer is a cardio machine that doubles as strength training. It provides a great calorie burn, while targeting the back of the leg muscles that we use everyday.


“If you are new to working out, or just getting back into it after a long break, a treadmill is always a champion calorie burner and overall metabolic boost. A big benefit of adding a treadmill to your home gym is that the intensity can grow with you as your fitness progresses. Using the various inclines, and speeds, available on treadmills keep your body guessing, and help keep you engaged in your workouts. Plus, if you get a brand with modern cushioning, it minimizes the impact experienced from running and walking and maximizes the benefits.”

For example, the True Alpine runner has the ability to adjust the incline from -3% to 30%, providing a customizable and versatile workout.

Essential fitness equipment for strength training workouts:

A well designed strength training program can provide the following benefits: Increased strength of bones and muscles, reduced risk of injury, enhanced quality of life, reduced body fat, and more calories burned throughout the day, according to ACE Fitness. The following tools are excellent additions to any strength training plan to accomplish all of the above benefits.

Free Weights:

“Strength training is a pivotal part to any wellness program. No matter what your age, fitness level, or current level of strength, dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells come in a variety of sizes. Meaning, you can start at a weight that is challenging to you now and increase as your strength grows. Plus, free weights are very versatile and can be used during cardio exercises as well.”

An important thing to note, is that not all dumbbells are not created equal. Ask your local Gym Source equipment expert about which ones create less stress on your wrists and forearm, while focusing on the muscles you want.

Functional Trainers:

“Our everyday life consists of movements that are functional, and one of the best ways to train your body is to target the same type of exercises. Additionally, functional trainers are great because they allow you to do everything you would in a gym, but in one compact space.”

Functional trainers, like the Hoist Mi5 Functional Trainer, are super versatile and allow for total-body strength training workouts.

Essential fitness equipment for small spaces:

When available space is a concern, it is important to find equipment that is compact, effective, and provides a variety of workouts with one piece of equipment. The following home gym staples take up minimal space while engaging multiple body parts in one workout.

Motorless Fitness Equipment

“Self powered fitness equipment that requires zero electricity is a great workout option for anyone building a home gym in a smaller space. In addition to not having to account for electrical requirements, or the additional space motors require, manual equipment allows you to expand your gym space to include the outdoors.”

A great example is the Schwinn Airdyne® Pro bike. Its compact design provides a total body workout, without requiring electrical plugs or wires that take up additional space in your limited workout area.

It is also important to note; There can be a big durability fall-off with lighter or folding cardio equipment. Don’t be fooled by poorly made equipment that is made to attract you by folding up under the bed by a brand not used by healthy clubs and commercial fitness facilities.

Multi-tasking fitness equipment

“Any equipment that can pull double duty is a great choice because you can work a variety of muscle groups with one piece of equipment (which saves you space and money).”

The Power Plate is a great example of a type of tool that can maximize your results. It is a vibrating platform that amplifies your workouts, by enhancing any movement, simple or complex, typically performed on the ground. In addition, you can combine strength, cardio and flexibility work on the Power Plate.

Compact Strength Equipment

“If you have limited space, finding a machine designed with an upright nature is a great choice. You want to look for something that you can workout using all the traditional cable movements(like an abdominal crunch, tricep pushdowns, shoulder press and outer thigh exercises) but in a much smaller space.”

For example, the TuffStuff Six-Pak Trainer only requires about 3 feet of space. It’s easy to use, switch out exercises, and no need to do any awkward lifting to get it out of the way. Plus, you can remain seated and work your entire body. It is also great for assisted stretching.

Essential fitness equipment for multiple users:

If more than one person is using the same home gym, you’ll need to consider everyone’s unique set of goals, limitations, preferences and requirements. Additionally, it’s important you select equipment based on the more “substantial” scenarios. For example, you should consider who the biggest, tallest, or heaviest user is and select the best fitness equipment factoring in that user. This will ensure that everyone else, with less specifications in certain areas, will be accommodated.

Technologically Advanced Fitness Equipment

“If entertainment, progress tracking, or pre-programmed workout programs are important to you, exploring fitness equipment options that allow for multiple user profiles and preferences to tailor workouts to individual goals is a great option.”

For example, the True PS800 treadmill allows up to six users to create custom profiles, and the app tracking technology monitors workout data and results.

Adjustable Fitness Equipment

“Equipment that is designed to automatically adjust stride length to replicate natural walking, jogging, or running movement is a great option for home gyms when people of different heights, weights, and endurance levels will all be working out on the same machine. Also, you can consider any equipment that is engineered for adjustable softness and firmness of the machine’s deck. This allows users to make necessary adjustments based on their preferences or current training program.”

For example, the Octane Q47XI elliptical comes equipped with proprietary SmartStride technology that automatically adjusts the stride length.

Smart Dumbbells

“Dumbbells provide a very versatile workout and can be used by anyone, at any fitness level. So anytime you make a piece of fitness equipment more adaptable it has its advantages.”

For example, adjustable dumbbells like the PowerBlocks provide a range of weight in a single dumbbell set. Because you use a selector pin to choose the amount of weight you want to lift, one piece of equipment allows for anyone to get a total body workout.

Durable Equipment

“If multiple people will be using the equipment, it’s important to choose equipment made with more durable components and a heavier frame. Multiple users create more wear and tear on equipment and stronger equipment can handle the higher volume of use.”

For example, the Precor TRM 445 treadmill is designed to take the abuse of multiple people rigorously using the machine, and still provide a smooth and consistent run.

Essential fitness equipment for Low Impact Workouts:

If you have an injury, rehabbing from an injury, or are new to working out, low impact workouts might be a great solution to workout safely. Low-impact workouts are great because they put the least amount of stress on your body, still incorporate multiple muscle groups, and improve your range of motion. Below are some specific examples of fitness equipment designed to provide high-quality, low-impact workouts.

Octane Zero Runner

“If you love running, but hate the impact, then the Octane Zero Runner is your best solution. It is designed to replicate your natural running motion, but with zero impact.”

The Zero Runner provides the feel of a run, but with suspended pedals. Meaning, you can get the same experience as running, but in a low impact workout. Additionally, the suspended pedals design, instead of a rotating belt typically found on treadmills, allow for movement flexibility – while reducing the pressure on your knees and joints.

Indoor Rowing Machines:

Indoor Rowers are a great low-impact workout solution because they provide a total body workout that tones your arms, legs, core, and helps support your back. They also provide a high- calorie burning workout. There is a reason why rowers have long been a staple of home gyms.”

Recumbent or Upright Bikes:

Indoor cycles are great low-impact option because they don’t require your body (legs and knees in particular) to fall with impact against a surface. They put the least amount of stress on your body, while still providing an effective cardio workout. I typically recommend bikes for anyone needing minimal stress on their body, but who still wants to improve their range of motion.”


Use this guide to help you determine what type of equipment you should explore. But, don’t stop there.

There is still a lot to consider before deciding on the right machine for your unique goals and home gym.

Get personalized help by connecting with a Gym Source equipment expert to find the right equipment solution for you. We will work with you to strategize your best home gym. Find your local Gym Source fitness equipment store here.

Or, view our Fitness Equipment Buyer’s Guide. It is crafted to help you know what you should consider when shopping for specific fitness equipment. If you need more help, view our equipment experts’ top questions to ask before purchasing fitness equipment.

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