The Argos guide to home gyms - 3 of 4

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3. Choosing a home gym that's right for you

Now you're armed with the right information, it's time to make a shortlist. Here are the questions you should ask yourself before you buy your home gym equipment.

What are my fitness goals?

Decide what you want from strength training. Do you want to change your body shape, get a stronger body, or build larger muscles? If you're looking for strength, make sure you've got a wide range of weights with your home gym - up to 80kg will be useful. If you're toning and shaping, a wide range of exercises is more important, so look for low pulleys, lat bars, and pec decks.

What kind of exercise routine do I want?

All home gyms offer you a set of basic exercises for all muscle groups: glutes, quads, hamstrings, hips, calves, back, abs, chest, arms, and shoulders. But most offer variations to tone and build individual muscles within each group from different angles and levels of resistance. (Some machines offer over 60 exercises!) Decide how much time you want to devote to training. An hour a day is enough time for a 'circuit' of 6 exercises for all-over fitness.

Will it fit my home?

Home gym equipment can take up a lot of space, roughly the same floor footprint as a double bed. Home gyms are also taller than other exercise equipment - so make sure your ceiling is high enough. Some models fold for storage, but most are designed to be left standing when fully assembled.

What are the costs?

While a top-of-the-range home gym can cost several thousand pounds, more basic models will get you just as fit and cost less - different features mean different moving parts, so the range of costs is very varied. If your budget is limited go for a basic model with press arms - all you need is a strong seat that lets you sit, stand, or lie - and weights to go with it. If you want to build up your legs as well, try to stretch to a leg extension, and a little more money will get you a lat bar and pec deck to give you a very broad range of exercises.

Won't I get huge muscles?

Not if you don't want to! Bulging biceps need regular high resistance (big weights) beyond that needed for everyday strength and fitness. On women (who have less of the testosterone hormone that builds muscle) weight training will build lean, better-defined limbs and torso rather than big muscles.

What else do I need?

Home gyms are designed to be all-in-one answers to strength training, and you're unlikely to need anything else. To keep up your aerobic fitness too, you may want to add some running or swimming into your routine - it'll help your strength training too.

How much pre-exercise preparation?

Home gym equipment usually requires you to switch things around (such as disconnecting the weight stack from the press arms and reconnecting it to the leg extension.) These switches aren't difficult, but they can interrupt your routine. The best home gyms let you do at least 10 different exercises without having to change anything. If you're planning lots of different exercises in your routine, decide how willing you are to reconfigure.

Single or double stack?

Some machines have two weight stacks, meaning more than one person can exercise at the same time - or alternatively, one person can do many exercises without having to reconfigure the home gym. If you like to exercise with a partner, double-stack machines can be an excellent choice. Remember double-stack home gyms take up more floorspace.

There’s a huge variety of home gym equipment on the market - but the one you choose needs to fit your lifestyle. Now you're equipped with information, head for home gym equipment at!

Using the Argos Comparison Table

Sometimes you want to see features side-by-side. It’s easy! When you view any range of home gyms – by price, brand, or other criteria – you’ll see a ‘Compare products/Go’ link on the right, with a tickbox for each piece of equipment.

page 3 of 4Tick the home gyms you’re interested in, and hit Go – you’ll be shown a handy table comparing all their main features, making
it easier to choose. Why not try it right now?

Argos guide to home gyms

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