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Dec 03, 2023

Having your own home gym is ideal because it means you can strike excuses like "it's too far" or "it's raining" off your "reasons for not going" list.

You might think you don't have space in your apartment or house for a home gym, but with some imagination, it's easy to morph your living room into a functional workout area. If you're lucky enough to have a garage, then it can be easier to dedicate space to a home gym. While you will initially need to spend a bit on equipment, it will be cheaper in the long run than a gy membership. So we've called on author and podcaster Amy Lane and her husband, Edward Lane, an editor for Men's Health UK. Here are their tips on how to build your own home gym.


Clear away the coffee table. It's easier than you think to turn the room usually reserved for relaxation into a space equipped to ramp up your metabolism. The key is choosing free weights and accessories that are versatile. The more moves you can do with each piece of equipment, the less clutter to clear away.


This is essential no matter what type of flooring you have for several reasons. When lying with your back flat to the floor (essential in all core exercises) you want to feel comfortable throughout each set. Plus, carpet burns are painful.


One heavy-ish kettlebell is all you need to turn your living room into a weightlifting gym. It's the most versatile piece of equipment you can buy. Use this to squat, swing and row. Further down the line, you can work up to doing moves that use a lot of muscle groups and burn more calories in less time.


Forget about using this piece of equipment as part of your warm down; sit on it at the beginning of your session instead. Just five minutes of rolling before your first rep will help mentally prepare you for the workout ahead and forget the stress of the day.


It's not just for watching TV. Push back the cushions, and the edge is a great height for triceps dips. Try raising one leg for 10 dips, then switch to the other to add some instability that will fire up your abs. The sofa arms are also great for doing decline press-ups. By placing your feet on the arm and your hands on the ground, these reps are easier and can help you progress to full press-ups.


If you have wooden chairs, you can use them to step up on. Hold a dumbbell in either hand while you do this. No dumbbells? Use full water bottles instead. You can also use a chair to sit down and get back up from while holding a kettlebell as a progression toward a full squat.


Your garage can hold all the equipment you need. To set up, simply move all your clutter that you don't use — but don't want to throw away — to one wall, preferably on sturdy shelving. Next, hang bikes, ladders and big equipment from the rafters. This should give you a good amount of floor space to work with.


Install a wall mirror for checking your form. On the floor, lay either cheap office-style carpet tiles or foam squares that fit together like a jigsaw. You can work out on concrete, but it's not advisable. No one wants to sit on cold concrete for 30 minutes or more during a core session.


Before moving more, you want to learn how to move well, and big compound moves help build strength for this. Think squats and deadlifts.


This doesn't need to rival a modern art installation. The simple racks work just as well as their bigger cousins.


A step is the best prop you'll buy. Although simple in design, there are few bits of equipment that have been in use as long as these have. Why? Because you can complete a sweaty, low-impact lower-body workout using it.


These are a brilliant at-home, easier-to-store alternative to dumbbells or a cable machine. And they build muscle tone in just the same way. For example, pulling the 20-pound band with both hands equates to the same weight as a 20-pound dumbbell.


A workout on these can boost your heart rate and agility.

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