The Best Exercise Equipment for Your Home Gym: The Ultimate Guide

Dumbbell Bicep Curls

Technology is changing our world and these changes also affect the way we are exercising. There are new fitness trends every week and especially couch potatoes can benefit from modern exercise equipment! While just a few years ago, going to the gym while accepting an expensive membership was the only real way to exercise, you can now work on your fitness within the comfort of your own home.

In today’s article I would like to introduce you to the best exercise equipment for your home gym. No matter if you’d like to do cardio workouts, build muscle or improve your general well-being, you will find the best exercise machines and workout equipment in this article. Have fun! 😉

The Best Exercise Machines for Weight Loss at Home

The Treadmill

Warming Up On Treadmill

The treadmill is one of the most popular exercise machines! The treadmill has been a household name for decades, so I probably won’t have to say a lot. Especially if you’re a running enthusiast, this is the perfect solution for exercising at home.

Although running on the treadmill is not the same as running outside (check out this blog post for more information), it does help to avoid the typical disturbing factors such as wind, bad weather, uneven streets or traffic. So, the treadmill offers a very good solution for all those who do not want to give up running even during bad weather.

By the way, setting the incline on the treadmill to 1-2% makes it feel more natural and closer to the feeling of running outside.

On the other hand, the treadmill is not considered to be the most joint-friendly exercise machine. We must remember that with every step we take, certain impact forces act on our body. When we go for a run, each heel strike produces a force that equals 3-4 times our own body weight.  Especially for overweight people, this might be a problem.

Advantages

  • very simple to use (perfectly suited for beginners)
  • enables a running workout without disturbing factors (wind, weather, unevenness, traffic)

Disadvantages

  • not the best choice for overweight people (high impact forces)
  • there are exercise machines that are easier on the joints

This is the Perfect Exercise Machine for…

  • Beginners and advanced
  • Running enthusiasts

What You Should Consider Before Buying

Running on Treadmill

The Running Surface

For safety purposes, the running surface should be at least 50 inches long and 20 inches wide!

The Motor

To enable high speed levels and to counteract rapid wear and tear of the treadmill, the motor should have a minimum continuous output of 2 HP!

The Damping

A good treadmill is as easy on the joints as possible and comes with a multi-layer running surface for better cushioning, as well as with a multi-zone shock-absorbing cushioning system, which distributes the load better.

The Best Models

The Stationary Bike

Just as the treadmill is the perfect choice for all running enthusiasts, the stationary bike is the perfect indoor solution for cyclists. So, if you’re into cycling, you should consider buying a stationary bike for your home gym.

One of the greatest advantages is that exercising on a stationary bike is a low-impact workout that puts much less stress on our joints than running on the treadmill. Especially overweight people can profit from this fact.

Additionally, exercising on a stationary bike is said to be very beginner-friendly and controllable, even though also advanced athletes can benefit from the indoor cycling machine.

Even though you will normally burn less fat when cycling on a stationary bike compared to outdoor cycling, it still helps you to lose weight quickly within the comfort of your own home.

On the other hand, cycling enthusiasts are often missing the refreshing experience of an outdoor bike trip and perceive the stationary bike to be monotonous. However, I think that during bad weather most of us would still prefer to exercise in the home gym rather than outside but this is up to you of course 😉

Advantages

  • Beginner-friendly and easily controllable
  • Low-Impact and easy on the joints

Disadvantages

  • No refreshing nature experience
  • Can become monotonous

This is the Perfect Exercise Machine for…

  • Beginners and advanced
  • Overweight people
  • Cycling enthusiasts

What You Should Consider Before Buying

Exercise on Stationary Bike

The Flywheel Weight

The flywheel weight stores the swing energy we generate and returns it to us at the points where we would have to apply more force. In this way, the loads are distributed evenly over the entire movement and the whole movement will just feel smoother.

In order for the cycling movement to be very smooth and even, the flywheel weight should be at least 20 lbs.

The Best Models

An Underrated Alternative: The Vibration Plate

Training with a Vibration Plate

Let’s move on to one of the most underrated home gym exercise equipment, the vibration plate. Unfortunately, many people are still very critical and doubt the potential of the whole body vibration workout, but there is an enormous potential to it.

Since vibration plates are often advertised as magic potions for weight loss, there is still a certain skepticism. Let me tell you first of all, that there simply is no magic potion, no magic machine that will let you wake up with your dream body after just using it once.

Considering the vibration plate, I have to say that I was very skeptical in the beginning as well, but the more I dealt with this topic, the more I understood that it is actually a very effective exercise machine.

In short: The vibrations of a vibration plate will cause your body to lose balance over and over again and the body will then start to restore and maintain this balance by automatically contracting our muscles (a more detailed explanation and a lot of further information can be found in this report).

If you combine this with common bodyweight exercises (push-ups, squats, etc.), you will train more effectively because almost all of your muscles are used at the same time. And by the way, using more muscles also means that you will burn more fat as well! 😉

Advantages

  • Up to 80% of the muscles can be exercised simultaneously
  • Burns fat fast
  • Takes up very little space
  • Comparatively affordable

Disadvantages

  • None

This is the Perfect Exercise Equipment for…

  • People who perceive the treadmill & stationary bike as too monotonous
  • People who want to work out as effectively as possible in short time
  • People with lack of space

What You Should Consider When Buying

The Maximum Weight

Many vibration plates can only be used up to a bodyweight of 200 or 220 lbs. If you are heavier, you should look for more stable models.

The Frequencies

The frequency determines how many vibrations are sent out by the motor per second. At higher frequencies, our body has to handle with more vibrations in shorter periods of time. This means that it has less time to relax and is constantly working to keep up our balance. This is very strenuous and yet the best way to build muscle with a vibration plate. Here you will find the different training effects that you can elicit at different frequencies:

Training Effects at Different Frequencies

  • Low Frequency (1-12 Hz): Muscle relaxation, regeneration/cool down, proprioception, mobilization
  • Medium Frequency (12-20 Hz): Improvement of muscle function and coordination
  • High Frequency (20-35 Hz): Increases muscle performance, restores or strengthens muscle power

The Best Models

The Best Exercise Machines for Building Muscle at Home

The Rowing Machine

Woman on Rowing Machine

Let’s start with another very underrated exercise machine for the home gym: The rowing machine. I decided to include it in this section on building muscle at home but this does not really do justice to the rowing machine, because it is a true all-rounder. You can burn fast and build muscle effectively at the same time.

We can train up to 80% of our muscles with the rowing machine. A value that few exercise machines can match. Here you will find a list of the mainly targeted muscles:

  • Large Back Muscle (Latissimus)
  • Back Extensor
  • Trapezius Muscle/Neck
  • Rear Delts
  • Front Thighs
  • Hamstrings
  • Glute Muscles
  • Calves
  • Ab Muscles
  • Biceps
  • Forearm Muscles

As you can see, the rowing machine, in contrast to the treadmill and the stationary bike, provides a full-body workout. In addition, the rowing machine, which has gained popularity mainly due to the TV series “House of Cards”, is considered very easy on the joints and healthy.

If you get bored with the monotonous running on the treadmill or cycling on a stationary bike, you should definitely try out rowing, which is a little more complex and offers more variety.

Advantages

  • Full-Body Workout
  • Burns a lot of fat
  • Low-Impact, easy on the joints
  • Building muscle is also possible

Disadvantages

  • Best rowing machines are comparatively expensive
  • Proper rowing form requires some practice at first

This is the Perfect Exercise Machine for…

  • People who long for a little variety
  • People who want to train the whole body
  • People who want to burn fat and build muscle at the same time

What You Should Consider Before Buying

Rowing Machine in the Gym

The Type of Resistance

Water resistance

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
✅ Similar to Real Rowing⛔ Exact Adjustment of Resistance is Not Possible in Advance
✅ Very Durable and Easy to Maintain⛔Comparatively High Costs
✅ Resistance Adapts Automatically (Depending on the Power of Your Strokes)
✅ Awesome Design

Air Resistance

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
✅ Feels Very Natural⛔ Comparatively High Noise Level
✅ High-Quality & Very Durable⛔ Low Maximum Resistance
✅ Airflow During the Workout

Magnetic Brakes

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
✅ Very Quiet⛔Personal Training Style Not Really Possible
✅ Low Maintenance⛔Resistance Does Not Adapt to Your Own Rowing Power
✅ Comparatively Cheap
✅ Higher Maximum Resistance Possible

The Best Models

The Multi-Station Home Gym Machine

Bodybuilder Exercise Machine

This multipurpose exercise machine is usually found in the gym, but there are also very suitable machines for your home gym. Thanks to the work of brilliant engineers, you can now use multi-station gym machines in your home gym, even when you can only provide limited space.

What makes these machines stand out is that they combine many exercises and muscle groups in the most space-saving way possible. Basically, the home gym machine makes it possible to train all of your muscles in the comfort of your own home.

Advantages

  • Almost unlimited exercise possibilities
  • Perfect for building muscle at home
  • Mostly a very good price-performance ratio

Disadvantages

  • Other machines are more space-saving

This is the Perfect Exercise Machine for…

  • People who want to build muscle at home
  • People who want to be able to train all muscle groups

What You Should Consider Before Buying

  • High-Quality workmanship and materials (especially steel wire ropes are important)
  • Longevity

The Best Models

The Best Exercise Machine for Back Pain at Home

The Elliptical

The elliptical is a perfect exercise machine for a cardio or endurance workout at home. Basically, the elliptical is used for walking or running at a leisurely pace, making it very similar to a treadmill.

In contrast to the treadmill, where our body is constantly dealing with impact forces and where the joints are put under a lot of stress, our feet are in constant contact with the pedals. This is a real blessing to our joints and our back, so that the elliptical is considered to be the best solution for all of you suffering from back pain or those of you who want to protect their joints.

Advantages

  • Very easy on the joints and back
  • Burns many calories
  • The upper body is exercised as well

Disadvantages

  • The movement takes some time getting used to in the beginning

This is the Perfect Exercise Machine for…

  • Basically everyone!
  • People with joint problems
  • Overweight people

What You Should Consider Before Buying

Exercise with Elliptical Machine

The Flywheel Weight

I’d recommend choosing a flywheel weight of at least 30 lbs. If you are a little heavier, you should choose a model with a flywheel weight of over 40 lbs.

Stride Length and Pedal Distance

It is said that the movement is most joint-gentle and natural with a long stride length and a short horizontal pedal distance. The stride length should be at least 18 inches or 20 inches for tall people. The distance between the left and right pedal should not exceed 8 inches.

The Best Models

The Best Exercise Recovery Tools for Home

The Foam Roller

Foam Roller Back Pain

This one is not an exercise machine, but I don’t want to end this report without saying a word about the foam roller. Most gyms provide foam rollers even though they are used by very few people. However, they bring along many advantages.

Especially those of you who spend a lot of their time sitting in their jobs have an increased risk of back tension and back pain. This has to do with our fascia which serves as a densely woven cover to all of our muscles, bones, joints and other structures.

If you would like to know more about how back pain originates and how foam rollers can help to relieve back pain, check out this blog post. For now, it’s just important to know that a foam roller is the perfect exercise recovery tool and can help you to recover faster and to relieve back tension and other sources of pain.

Advantages

  • Perfect for warming up and cooling down
  • Releases tension and helps to relieve back pain
  • Can prevent injuries
  • Numerous health benefits (e.g. helps to fight cellulite)
  • very affordable

Disadvantages

  • None

This is the Perfect Exercise Equipment for…

  • Anyone!

What You Should Consider Before Buying

The Hardness

Foam rollers with a medium level of hardness are best suited for the majority of people. Soft rollers are recommended for beginners with enhanced sensitivity to pain, while the harder foam rollers are more suitable for advanced athletes looking for a more intense massage that elicits myofascial release.

The Best Models

Exercise Equipment that Everyone Should Use: Heart-Rate Monitors

Checking Heart Rate with Fitness Tracker

No matter which muscle you want to exercise in your home gym, there is one muscle that always plays the most important role, and that is your heart. In fact, I’m talking about your heart rate, which is really crucial not only for your health but also for your training effect.

What we have to understand is that exercising in different heart rate zones has very different effects on our body. I have compiled a small overview of the respective training effects for you here. This one is based upon your maximum heart rate (HRmax).


Recovery Zone (50-65% HRmax)

Slowly getting used to exercise (beginners), stabilizes the cardiovascular system

Weight Control Zone (60-70% HRmax)

Improves general endurance, increases aerobic metabolism, reduces blood pressure, boosts fat metabolism, accelerates recovery

Aerobic Zone (70-80% HRmax)

Increases endurance, improves cardiovascular system/general physical condition, increases maximal oxygen uptake (V02 max)

Anaerobic Zone (80-90% HRmax)

Increases maximum performance capacity, e.g. preparation for a marathon (increases the anaerobic threshold), hypertrophy (growth) of the heart muscle


In a way, the heart rate serves as an inner compass, which, if we follow it, always takes us to the right destination and helps us to reach the workout goals we desire. Although we can guess and estimate our own heart rate, it is much more recommendable to use a heart-rate monitor, such as a sports watch or a chest strap.

Personally, I haven’t used a heart-rate monitor for a long time, because I thought it was unnecessary. Now however, I can say that using a sports watch as a heart-rate monitor has taken my workouts to a higher level and I can now work much more effectively on my goals. I just don’t want to miss this little exercise tool for home anymore, and I can only recommend it to you.

Advantages

  • Makes the workout more effective
  • Promotes cardiovascular health
  • Mostly very affordable
  • Sports watches can be used for a number of other purposes as well

Disadvantages

  • None

This is the Perfect Exercise Equipment for…

  • Anyone!

What You Should Consider Before Buying

The Type of Heart-Rate Measurement

  • Chest strap: Very accurate heart-rate measurement
  • Wrist-based: More suitable for daily use, more comfortable

Final Thoughts on the Best Exercise Equipment for Home

Exercise machines have long been almost exclusively present in gyms but now they seem to be used more and more and people’s homes as well. This is not only extremely useful, but also saves us time and money.

I hope that this article will help you to find the right exercise equipment for your home gym as well. If you still have further questions, suggestions or would like to share your own experiences, feel free to write me an e-mail.

Otherwise, enjoy your new exercise machine for your home gym! 😉

Benny Laker

I am the owner of High Tech Fitness. I love testing any kind of exercise equipment and enjoy sharing my insights with you.

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