Home Gym Upgrades
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Setting up a home gym is an ideal and convenient way to train. A home gym allows you to save time and money, both on those expensive monthly gym membership fees and on transportation. If you are starting from scratch or if you have a home gym that could use an upgrade or two, we have been testing some incredible pieces of equipment that will work in almost any home or garage gym setup. From fitness to recovery, these products will elevate your home gym and can help you achieve all of your health and fitness goals.
Home Gym Equipment
Rubber Flooring Inc. Eco-Lock Rubber Tiles
The most critical piece to any good home gym is the flooring. It’s important to choose a flooring that can protect both your body and the floor of your home from the demands of your workout routine. Home gym flooring options range from rubber, foam, turf, carpet or vinyl. The most popular, and in our opinion the best option is rubber in the form of tiles, as they are extremely durable, very protective, shock absorbing and super easy to install yourself (my kids had fun installing mine – pictured above). Rubber gym flooring is available in tiles, rolls and mats, with a wide range of thickness and variety of color and color fleck options. I choose to go with the 8mm Eco-Lock Rubber Tiles from Rubber Flooring Inc. The 8mm thickness hits that sweet spot between the 1/4″ that would work for light use and the extreme use 1/2″, that is found in most commercial gyms. Going from the Amazon foam gym tiles to the 8mm Eco-Lock Rubber Tiles is night and day. While the foam tiles from Amazon are extremely budget friendly, they really only lasted a couple of months before they started showing signs of wear and tear. Where the rubber tiles will provide protection and be looking good for years to come. Whether it’s eight rubber tiles to put under a treadmill or thirty rubber tiles to make a complete gym floor, the shock absorbing and noise reducing properties, protection, durability and clean look of high quality rubber tiles is worth while investment. Rubber Flooring Inc. does offer free samples so you can get a feel for the difference a high quality rubber floor will make in your home gym. MSRP $2.49 sq/ft www.rubberflooringinc.com
Proform Wall Ball
A wall ball is great for home gym users who don’t have a lot of space and is one of the easier ways to improve core strength and endurance. The wall ball can be used for anything from wall ball throws to squats, sit-ups and presses. Each move provides specific benefits; slams target your core, shoulders and arms, while squats are great a great full body exercise. The 14 LB Proform Wall Ball is ideal for these cross training routines as it is just the right weight to provide a very effective core workout. MSRP $50 www.proform.com
LifePro PowerFlow Plus Dumbbells
If you want to invest in a single piece of equipment that allows you to use several weight settings, adjustable dumbbells are one of the best options. They offer a convenient, versatile and cost effective approach to performing various weight lifting workouts while saving space in your home gym. The LifePro PowerFlow Plus Dumbbells are a great entry level choice as they provide an optimal variety of weight options, starting at 5 pounds and going up to 25 pounds. The PowerFlow Plus Dumbbells are ideal for everyone from beginners to intermediate fitness level individuals who want to begin with lower weights and slowly work up to higher loads. The built-in adjustment system in these dumbbells makes it easy to switch between weights, while the textures steel handle delivers a sure grip that is easy to control. MSRP $249.98 www.lifeprofitness.com
ProForm Carbon Strength Adjustable Bench
An adjustable weight bench is an invaluable addition when building a home gym. And the ProForm Carbon Strength Adjustable Bench allows you to focus on a wider variety of muscle groups because you can set the bench at different angles. Whether you are using dumbbells, a wall ball or a barbell, the Carbon Strength Adjustable Bench can help you achieve better and faster results, maximizing gains in different muscle groups. This bench can be adjusted to four different distinct positions: flat, military, incline, and decline. Use cases:
- Flat – Lie flat for bench presses, pullovers and extensions for the upper body. Also used for stabilization while doing squats and kickbacks for the lower body.
- Military – Shoulder presses, military presses and dumbbell curls – works the back, shoulders, arms and core.
- Incline – Incline presses, rows and flies – works the chest, shoulders and triceps.
- Decline – Press exercises while in the decline position isolates the lower chest muscles. Also great for abdominal work.
If you want to get the most out of your workouts, an adjustable bench is a must and the ProForm Carbon Strength Adjustable Bench is a sturdy and solid choice. MSRP $249 www.proform.com
5.11 PT-R Weight Kit 100
The 5.11 Tactical 100 lb. PT-R Weight Kit is a two in one piece of training equipment. It includes a Physical Training Ready Bag that is capable of hauling 100 pounds and two PT-R 50 liners that can hold 50 pounds of sand each. This PT-R Weight Kit is great for training to move heavy objects over distance. The PT-R bag features eight reinforced non-slip handles that are ideally suited for a variety of workouts including squats, deadlifts and heavy bag carries. The two PT-R 50 bags are ideal for farmer’s carries, which help develop leg, core and grip strength. The 5.11 Tactical 100 lb. PT-R Weight Kit is a great alternative to aerobic conditioning and strength training to implement within a core workout program. These 5.11 Tactical bags are built to be dropped, tossed, drug and slung without the fear of them failing. They are extremely durable and will stand up to any beating workout after workout. Also available in a 50lb kit. MSRP $165 www.511tactical.com
Renpho Smart Treadmill
Cardiovascular fitness is one of the key pillars to a healthy lifestyle and one of the best ways to improve it is by walking or running. While we prefer to do those outdoors, there are times that it is not feasible and that is where the Renpho Smart Treadmill comes in. This Smart Treadmill delivers a comfortable and quality walking or running workout from the convenience of your home. It has a powerful 2.25 HP ultra-quiet motor, an anti-slip running belt, PVC cushions and rubber pads that offer up great shock absorption for an enjoyable workout. The treadmill has inclines up to 25° and a speed range of 0.6 to 11 miles per hour, ideal for almost everyone no matter your cardiovascular fitness level. And best of all RENPHO offers free comprehensive running courses that are autotuned to the treadmill from within the RENPHO Health app through a Bluetooth connection. The Renpho Smart Treadmill also allows freestyle workouts by adjusting the settings on the fly using the manual mode or the ability to set a target exercise whether it’s running a full distance, a time limit or meeting a calories burned goal. It is equipped with a LED Panel that displays your workout data such as distance, time and number of calories you burned. It also features a quick reading of your health data during your workout to ensure that you stay within the ideal heart rate zone. The Renpho Smart Treadmill is stacked with features that other treadmills twice it’s price have and all of it is based on a subscription free model. MSRP $999.99 www.renpho.com
NordicTrack RW900 Rower
If you are looking for that one piece of equipment that can almost do it all, it is a rower. A rower provides one of the more comprehensive, full-body workouts of any fitness machine, targeting just over 85% of the body’s muscles while also incorporating cardiovascular fitness. We have been testing out the NordicTrack RW900 Rower and it delivers a smooth, quiet and low impact workout. It features a 22” HD Touchscreen that tilts and pivots for optimal viewing angles, as well as off the rower iFIT trainer lead workouts, such as strength training, yoga and mindfulness programs. The resistance from the inertia enhanced flywheel and SMR technology is ideal for beginner rowers and some intermediate rowers. While the NordicTrack RW900 Rower does not require an iFIT subscription for use, as it comes preloaded with a handful of free workouts, it is highly recommended to get the best experience from this machine. With real time stats and automatic resistance adjustments for those on demand iFIT training sessions the NordicTrack RW900 Rower provides a fun, complete and effective workout. MSRP $1999 www.nordictrack.com
Tronsmart Bang SE Portable Party Speaker
What good is a home gym workout without some motivational music? With the portable Tronsmart Bang SE Portable Party Speaker you can get up to 24 hours of exercise encouragement one a single charge. With an easy to grab handle and an IPX6 waterproof rating, you can take your fitness routine indoors or out no matter the weather. Let the cool beat driven light show set the mood, or use Stereo Pairing to hook up another speaker for even bigger sound. With two full range drivers and SoundPulse audio, the Tronsmart Bang SE Portable Party Speaker delivers bold sound and a dazzling light show to help drive you through to the end of a hard workout. MSRP $79.99 www.amazon.com/tronsmart.
Renpho Extra Large Room Air Purifier
Working up a sweat in a home gym can sometimes bring unpleasant smells and one of the best ways to keep the room and the air fresh is with the Renpho Extra Large Room Air Purifier. With 4-stage filtration and a long life HEPA filter this purifier effectively captures 99.97% airborne pollutants and cleans air up to 4 times per hour within a 480 square foot radius. The real time air quality display shows the rooms air quality via LED colored lights on top of the unit. When placed in auto mode the Renpho Air Purifier switches off when air quality is very good or selects from four different speed settings to use based on current air quality conditions. With minimal power consumption and an almost silent operation the Renpho Extra Large Room Air Purifier is an ideal choice for any home gym. MSRP $139.99 www.renpho.com
Home Gym Recovery
When you put in hard work in the gym, recovery is a must and a healthy tool to add to your fitness routine. It is the key to building functional strength and breaking through fitness plateaus. The quality of recovery from intense training can have a direct impact on the body’s ability to perform at subsequent efforts. Inversely, inadequate recovery can have negative impacts, that are linked to overtraining, which will likely result in a decline in performance and can even lead to injury. The following tools are ones that we use to help our muscles recover faster, so that we can get back to our fitness regime sooner.
Beast Sports Nutrition
When it comes to muscle recovery, protein is king. And while we try to get all of our protein through minimally processed whole foods, it can be hard to do and that is when we reach for a whey protein. But choosing between the bevy of protein powder options on the market can seriously get in the way of your training time, so opting for Beast Sports Nutrition Protein is a good way to simplify one of the most complicated aspects of recovery. Inside a serving of Beast Protein, you’ll find 25g of of both fast and slow digesting proteins that allows for a more steady and smooth release of amino acids into the body over a longer duration, perfect for replenishing your body after a tough workout. All of which work to speed up recovery time and help with muscle repair after you put yourself through a brutal workout. And best of all, it comes in three delicious flavors that mix easily with water or milk. MSRP $44.99
Known to initiate protein synthesis and delay fatigue during workout efforts, branched-chain amino acids are an essential supplement for the dedicated fitness enthusiast. Pick up the Beast BCAA Hydration to gain the benefits of these essential building blocks of protein, so you can reap the benefits of your hard training routine. Beast also includes the very beneficial hydration component with the addition of coconut water, magnesium citrate, potassium citrate and pink Himalayan salt all of which work together to keep you properly hydrated. Each serving contains 5 grams of branched chain amino acids in a 2:1:1 ratio (2.5g leucine, 1.25g isoleucine, 1.25g valine). BCAAs can be taken anytime throughout the day, but we like to drink it during training to stay hydrated and following up with some Beast Protein after the workout to help repair muscle tissue. MSRP $29.99
Beast Mode X
Not in the mood to work out in the morning? Stop making excuses and mix up some Beast Mode X to give your gym time a much needed boost. This drink mix features a timed blend release of caffeine to bring the intensity, Nitrosigine to delay fatigue, betaine and taurine for performance and recovery to help you shift into gear to handle some of your toughest, most intense workouts. Beast Sports Nutrition has captured the essence of an energy focused pre-workout, without the crash, anxiety or tingles you find in some other pre-workout formulas. MSRP $39.99 www.beastsports.com
Chirp Wheel+ 4-Pack
After a tough workout, a Chirp Wheel is just what our muscles need. Part of the reason for post exercise soreness is that the connective tissue running throughout your body can become knotted up. And foam rolling essentially grinds those knots smooth. As painful as it sounds, it works. Regular foam rolling with Chirp Wheels reduces soreness and speeds up recovery from even the most strenuous workouts. With four sizes to choose from in the Chirp Wheel+ 4-Pack we can give our tired muscles the tailored attention they need for a speedy recovery. MSRP $129.99 www.amazon.com/chirpwheel.
Symbodi Ultimate Recovery Bundle
With strenuous fitness routines, your body endures more wear and tear than you know. And after all that exercise, you may reach for the foam roller to find myofascial relief, but sometimes that roller just can’t get the job done. And when that day comes, break out one of tools in the Symbodi Ultimate Recovery Bundle to keep you loose and limber by targeting individual muscle groups with trigger point therapy. They are both wall and surface mountable to allow you to target those achy and sore muscles from just about anywhere at any angle. The Symbodi Ultimate Recovery Bundle serves as an ingenious tools for relieving tension and soothing painful muscles after a tough workout. MSRP $120 www.symbodi.com
LifePro RejuvaWrap Infrared Sauna Blanket
If you are reading this post you have probably listened to a few health podcasts or read about the benefits of hot and cold therapy for health. But did you know that heat therapy can also reduce recovery time and boost your overall fitness? An easy and convenient way to get that heat therapy without investing in a full sized sauna is with the LifePro RejuvaWrap Infrared Sauna Blanket. Whether you want to stimulate blood flow, relieve stress, alleviate joint and muscle pain or use it for weight loss, this infrared blanket can be used just about anywhere you have the space to lie down flat. The far infrared light used in the LifePro RejuvaWrap penetrates deep into the muscles to help the healing and recovery process. Heat therapy can be easily incorporated into your daily fitness routine using the LifePro RejuvaWrap Infrared Sauna Blanket. Roll it out in your home gym, bedroom, living or anywhere you’ve got a power source and you’re instantly able to reap the rewards of infrared heat therapy. MSRP $599.99 www.lifeprofitness.com
LifePro BioHeal Red Light Therapy Panel
When we go hard working out, we need a recovery routine that can keep up. And LifePro does just that with their travel ready BioHeal Red Light Therapy Panel, a recovery tool that uses red light therapy to improve blood flow to sore muscles, relieve pain and even help rejuvenate skin. The BioHeal is a LED light therapy device that delivers the same benefits of a professional red light therapy lamp in your own home gym or anywhere you want to take it. With four available light therapy modes, you can tailor fit the treatment you want to target a specific area of your body. Its invisible near-infrared light penetrates deep into your tissues to help heal and regenerate muscles, assisting in the recovery process. With an adjustable bracket and multiple hanging options the LifePro BioHeal Red Light Therapy Panel can be directly targeted at those areas that need relief and repair. MSRP $399.99 www.lifeprofitness.com