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The Best Home Gyms 2018

Best Home Gyms

Do I really need a home gym?

Quite possibly. If you’re someone who wants to save time by working out at home rather than: going to the gym, getting changed, workout out there, showering, getting changed again, going home. Then buying the best home gym can revolutionize your workout routines.

Working out at home can save you a ton of time. 

That can also help you a ton because you’re way more likely to stick with your workout routine that way.

Having a home gym will also save you a lot of time because you never need to worry about waiting for someone to finish on a machine. This is especially true if you like to use machines or cables at the gym. There are always huge lineups for those at the gym. Imagine that you have your own personal machines and cables that you never have to wait for!

If you’re someone who wants to be able to do all kinds of different exercises by just buying one kind of machine, a home gym could be a good choice for you.

Getting a home gym can also save you a lot of money. 

This is something that you’ll buy and use for a lifetime. So you will basically save a lifetime’s worth of gym memberships.

Also, if you really enjoy using the machines at the gym, rather than the free-weights like dumbbells and barbells, a home gym would be a great option as a piece of equipment in your gym at home.

Or if you already have some equipment in your home gym but you want to add even more variety, adding a home gym to your home workout space can be a great option.

Our Top Home Gyms

Product

Bowflex
Blaze Home Gym

Info


Best Premium Power Rod Home Gym

  • Includes 210 pounds of resistance

  • Can upgrade resistance to 310 or 410 pounds

  • Can do over 60 exercises

  • Around 95 inches long, 38 inches wide, and 84 inches high

Rating


#1 Rated in Premium Power Rod Home Gyms


Product

Bowflex
PR1000 Home Gym

Info


Best Budget Power Rod Home Gym

  • Can do 30 different exercises
  • Up to 210 pounds of weight
  • Need to have a 100 x 78’ area to put it
  • Can be used by users up to 300 pounds

Rating


#1 Rated in Budget Power Rod Home Gyms


Info


Best Smith Machine Home Gym

  • Very sturdy steel frame
  • Can handle up to 600 pounds
  • Able to do around 100 exercises
  • About 95 inches tall, 86 inches long, and 79 inches wide

Rating


#1 Rated in Best Smith Machine Home Gyms


Info


Best Budget Weight Stack Home Gym

  • Includes a 150 pound weight stack
  • Made of durable steel
  • About 79 inches high, 68 inches long, and 36 inches wide
  • Includes chest press machine, lat bar, bicep curl pad

Rating


#1 Rated in Best Budget Weight Stack Home Gyms


Info


Best Premium Weight Stack Home Gym

  • Includes 210 pounds of weight
  • Made from durable steel
  • Has a pec deck, leg developer, pulleys, chest press
  • About 83 inches high, 72 inches long, and 48 inches wide

Rating


#1 Rated in Best Premium Weight Stack Home Gyms

Picking a Home Gym

There are a couple of things to consider when you’re looking at getting a home gym. The kinds of weight and amount of weight are some key factors. 

Also, one of the most important things to think about is how many different kinds of exercises can you do. This is something that will have a huge impact on your workouts and on you reaching your fitness goals.

Lastly, as with most home gym equipment, think about the size and durability of the home gym. These two factors can make a huge difference.

Kinds of Weights for Home Gyms

Kinds of Weights for Home Gyms

One thing to consider when you’re buying a home gym is what kind of weights you would like. There are a few options out there.

The traditional kind of weight is a stack of weights which sits at the bottom of the machine on a vertical stack. They are usually arranged in plates in increments of about 10 pounds. These are the kinds of weights that you see at most machines at the gym.

These are nice because it’s super easy to change weights when you need to. All you need to do is to take the pin out and slip it into another hole in the stack.

However, most home gyms will only have stacks that go up to around 200 pounds of weights. That is great for folks who need roughly that amount of weight, but if you’re going to get into some heavier weights then you’ll be pretty limited with that kind of weight.

Also, putting the stack together can be a bit more tricky. You need to make sure that it’s aligned perfectly when you’re putting it together, otherwise it’s not going to work properly or as long as it should.

Also, the weight stacks usually run on metal poles which can be a bit finicky. You need to be absolutely sure that you don’t ding or knick them in any way, or else you’ll risk the weights not moving smoothly as they are supposed to.

Another kind of weight that is popular are the power rods used by companies like Bowflex. These offer something a little bit different than the weight stack.

They are generally pretty easy to put together and don’t require as much precision when assembling the machine.

Also, you can usually add some rods if you want, in order to increase their weight. Some Bowflex machines can add weight up to 410 pounds which is more than enough for most serious lifters.

The movement that you do with the Bowflex machines and the power rods is a bit different than most machines at the gym. It’s less controlled than a machine at the gym, but it’s more controlled than using a barbell or dumbbell. That can be a great advantage for the machine since you’re working your muscles in a way they aren’t used to.

With machines which use things like power rods, it’s going to take a little bit of getting used to when you’re changing the weights. It’s not quite as simple as slipping a pin in and out like you would on a stack of weights. However, once you get the hang out of it, it shouldn’t be a problem at all.

The other kind of weight which you might find is Olympic barbell plates. You would be using those if you go for some kind of smith machine home gym.

For these home gyms, you generally need to buy your own weights. That can be an advantage and a disadvantage.

It’s nice to be able to pick your own barbell plates because you can get the exact quality which you want. Also, you can buy as much or as little as you need.

However, buying your own barbell plates can be a hassle for some people, partly because you’ll need to a little research about which barbell plates are best.

One of the great things about using this kind of weight is that you’re generally able to pack on a lot more weight onto the machine. These machines can often handle up to 600 pounds. That’s a ton of weight, and great for most any lifter. However, always make sure that you research the max weight capacity of the home gym you’re looking at.

Max Weight of Home Gym

Max Weight

Similar to the kinds of weights, you’re always going to want to check out how much weight the home gym can take. Also, you should have a clear idea of your fitness goals.

If your goals are based on cutting and maintaining your current fitness level, then go with a weight amount that reflects that.

However, if you’re at all unsure of whether or not you’re going to want to increase the weights you life in the future, it’s better to get a home gym which has adjustable weights. You wouldn't want to be stuck with a machine which has too little weight for you.

These home gyms are not generally that easy to move, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting one that you can use for a while.

As was mentioned previously, smith machine home gyms generally are able to handle a bit more weight. Machines like Bowflex can also handle quite a bit of weight, while home gyms with a stack of weight are generally designed for a lower amount of weight. 

Number of Exercises on Home Gym

Number of Exercises

One of the most important things that you want to consider when you’re buying a home gym is how many exercises can you do on it. Does the home gym enable you to do all of your favourite exercises? Are you able to do a good range of exercises?

It’s important that you can do your favorite exercises on your home gym, because that’s going to increase your motivation exponentially. Everybody has exercises that they’re good at and love to do. If you can do them at home, you’ll be way more likely to stick with your routine.

Also, being able to do a range of exercises is key to your fitness development. Your body can plateau if you stick with the same exact exercises for too long. If you switch it up now and then, your body is fitness levels are going to develop a lot faster.

So make sure that you check out which kinds of exercises you can do on the home gym that you’re looking at buying. Take a look at the kinds of equipment it includes.

Some home gyms include pec decks or chest presses so that you can do those chest exercises just like the machines at the gym.

A lot of home gyms include some kind of lat bar so that you can do some lat pulldowns. That’s another exercise that’s hugely popular at the gym. It’s also a great way to work your way up to doing some pull ups.

Many home gyms have some kind of leg developer near the bottom of the gym. This is a great piece of equipment that you can use to do some leg extensions.

Oftentimes the leg developer can also be used as a bicep curl machine. Sometimes there’s a bicep curl cushion that you can use, and sometimes you can adjust or even detach it. Being able to detach it can be a plus so that you can do some other kinds of bicep curls.

Quite a few home gyms also have some kind of pulleys. Ideally they would have high, mid, and low pulleys so that you can do all the different exercises that those pulleys offer.

Some machines have two pulleys up top, just like the cable machine at the gym. This is an awesome feature to have. Everyone knows how crazy popular the cable machine is at the gym, so having one in your home gym is going to save a ton of time.

Size of Home Gym

 Size of Machine

When you’re thinking about what kind of home gym to get, you should definitely think about size. How big is your space? How much of your workout space do you want to dedicate to the home gym? Do you need to make room for other kinds of equipment too?

As a rule, most home gyms should be able to fit in rooms that have 8-foot ceilings. However, you’ll always want to double-check the height requirements. Also, keep in mind which kind of exercises you’ll be doing when standing up. WIll you have room to do them?

The length and width of home gyms can vary a lot. Always make sure you know exactly how long and wide it is. Then get some measuring tape and check out how much room you have.

Also, you might need to take into consideration some extra space. If you’re using a smith machine home gym, then you’ll want to make sure you have enough room around the home gym to stack the barbell plates onto the machine.

If you’re home gym has space for seated rows, you’ll want to make sure that you have plenty of room to sit down and do those.

Keep in mind that for a lot of these home gyms, once they’re put together you’re not going to want them to move very much. The place that you assemble them is likely to be the place that they stay.

Quick Review of the 5 Best Home Gyms

Best Premium Power Rod Home Gym

Bowflex Blaze Home Gym

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Size
  • Weight

This is a great home gym put out by Bowflex. As with most Bowflex equipment, the quality is very good.

One of the nice things about this home gym is that if 210 pounds of resistance isn’t enough for you, you can upgrade to 310 or 410 pounds. This is great if you’re lifting serious weights. It also means that you can keep this machine for a long time because it should be enough weight for you for a few years.

Something that is important to note is that if you are going to upgrade the weight by buying more power rods, it’s probably best to buy them through Bowflex. Some people aren’t crazy about the quality of the power rods sold by other companies. So to make sure that the quality is there, it’s your best bet to stick with Bowflex power rods.

In terms of setup, this home gym is fairly straightforward. Bowflex does a good job labelling all of the parts that you need, and giving clear enough instructions.

You’ll want to have an extra person with you though, when assembling this home gym. Two people would be ideal. If you have two people putting it together, it should just take you a couple of hours to assemble.

As for the features, something that’s good about the Blaze is that you can fold up with bench when you’re not using it. This helps to save a bit of space in your home gym. Also, as with most of these kinds of Bowflex products, they have wheels on it so you can fold it up and move it around to wherever you need.

The gym itself is pretty sturdy overall. Bowflex is generally known for good quality products which are built to last. You shouldn’t experience any swinging or swaying with this home gym.

Also, the equipment itself, such as the rods, are generally pretty sturdy. At first it might take a little bit of getting used to to get a smooth movement, but it won’t take you long to adjust to it.

SImilarly, adjusting the weights or pulleys to different weights that you need might take some getting used to at first. But you should probably be able to do it smoothly within no time.

A cool feature about this product is that the seat can slide so that you can do some rowing on it if you want to do a bit of cardio. This is also great for leg workouts. This is one of the best benefits of this home gym. It’s hard to get this kind of workout based on cables from other kinds of home gym equipment.

Obviously one of the best features of the Blaze are that you can do tons of exercises on it. Pretty much any kind of exercise you can think of, you’ll be able to do it on this gym. If you need some ideas or guidance on what kind of exercises you should do, they give you some material to give you some ideas.

The cables and pulleys can be moved around so if you need to move them around to do some different workouts, that won’t be a problem. That’s something that is so important for our workouts. Doing a variety of workouts and changing it up will help you break through workout plateaus.

In terms of size, you should be able to fit it no problem even if your room has eight-foot ceilings because it’s about 84 inches high. You’ll want to have a decent amount of space to store it since it’s about 95 inches long and 38 inches long. However, since you don’t need to load plates onto it (like you do with other kinds of home gyms) you might not need as much room around the machine.

The Blaze should be able to fit most people of different heights. Because there are so many things that you can adjust on the machine, adjusting it for your height shouldn’t be a problem.

As with most Bowflex products, the packaging for the home gym is great. You shouldn’t need to worry about the the equipment being damaged during transport.

Pros

Cons

  • check

    Tons of different exercises possible

  • check

    Sturdy machine

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    Reliable, quality product from Bowflex

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    Lots of ways that you can adjust the machine for different exercises / heights

  • Only goes up to 410 pounds
  • The kinds of movements you do on it can take a bit of adjusting
  • Switching up the weights takes a bit of adjusting at first

Best Budget Power Rod Home Gym

Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Size
  • Weight

This is another model available from Bowflex which is a great option for your home gym. It’s got a few less features than the Blaze but is a good, basic machine.

A lot of the main features are similar to the Blaze, such as you can do some rowing on it because the seat is able to slide. This is a great option to get some cardio done. Rowing is one of the best options you have for cardio.

Also, just like the Blaze, the PR1000 can be folded up. This is an awesome feature that will save you a ton of space, which is one of the most important things for many people when they’re building their home gym.

One of the main differences between the PR1000 and the Blaze is that the PR1000 only goes up to 210 pounds of resistance. There’s no option to upgrade to 410 pounds like you have with the Blaze.

However, that’s probably fine for a lot of people who are not looking to push past that amount of weight. If you’re doing cutting or looking to maintain your level of fitness, 210 pounds should be fine for you.

Also, another big difference is there are around 30 different exercises that you can do with the PR1000 compared with around 60 for the Blaze. One of the reasons for this is that the Blaze has those extra spots on the bottom where you can lift from.

One of the nice features of the PR1000 is that you can use a few different hand grip positions for lat pulldowns. That’s because the grips can be rotated in a few different ways. It’s an improvement over just having a lat bar to do lat pulldowns with.

As for putting it together, this home gym shouldn’t be too tricky to put together. It definitely helps if you have another person available to put it together, but the two of you shouldn’t have to spend too much more than a couple hours to put it together.

Things are labelled pretty well so when you’re putting it together just make sure that you’re well-organized and know the pieces you need for each step.

The PR1000 is packaged very well when it’s being shipped, as with most Bowflex products, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it getting dinged up during the travel time.

As with the Bowflex Blaze, it might take you a few workouts to get totally used to the way that you need to move when doing exercises on the machine. It’s obviously different than using dumbbells or barbells, but it’s also a little bit different than the typical cable machines at the gym.

However, it shouldn’t take you too much time to get the hang of movements with the machine. An added benefit of these machines is that you get to work a lot of those smaller stabilizer muscles which you might not necessarily use when using machines at the gym.

Thankfully the PR1000 also comes with some workout ideas for you. So if you’re not quite sure how to get started with the machine, you can definitely try out those exercises.

Pros

Cons

  • check

    Great quality and sturdiness

  • check

    Offers a range of movement not available with other machines

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    Saves a ton of space

  • Only goes up to 210 pounds
  • Fewer exercises available compared with the Bowflex Blaze
  • Takes a little bit of getting used to

Best Smith Machine Home Gym

Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine Total Body Training Home Gym System with Linear Bearing MD-9010G

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Size
  • Weight

Another option for your home gym is to get a smith machine. A smith machine is a machine which is a barbell hooked that is hooked up to some steel rails. You can only move the bar up or down. This smith machine from Marcy also includes a few other options, making it a great choice.

Obviously the machine includes the smith machine so you can do lots of barbell exercises on that. It’s a bit easier to do barbell exercises because it doesn’t take as many stabilizer muscles to keep the bar up and straight.

It’s also easier to get the weight off of the rack and put it back on. You just need to turn the bar slightly with your wrists and the pegs will slip into the holes. This is a great way to squeeze a few more reps out of your workouts.

This machine also has a bunch of other great features that mean you can do a lot of exercises on it. One of the nice things is that the smith bar is hooked up to some cables at the top of the machine. This way you basically have the same cables just like at the gym. You know, the ones which always have a line up for them at the gym. Having a set of those in your home gym is awesome. There are a ton of exercises that you can do on those for any muscle group. Everybody loves to do tricep pushdowns, which these cables are perfect for.

Another cool feature is at the front of the machine there’s a leg developer which you can also use for rows or curls. You can pile weights on it and then do all kinds of leg exercises or bicep curls on it. Also, the range of movement that you get on this section for bicep curls is very good. You’re able to get a nice burn throughout the whole range of the exercise.

One other cool thing is the foot plate which you can use to do seated rows. There’s a cable which you can hook up a bar to right by the foot plate. Seated rows are one of everyone’s favorite back exercises.

It’s also great that there is a pec deck included. This is one of the features that lots of home gyms have, but machines like the Bowflex won’t have.

You’ve also got a lot of options for chest exercises because with the bench you can do incline, decline, or flat bench press. It’s a pretty sturdy, high-quality bench that is included, which is a huge plus.

So one thing you absolutely have to understand about this machine: if it’s not clear from the pictures, this machine does not come with any weights. No weights. It’s up to you to buy the weights that you need for this machine.

In terms of weights, you’ll need to buy barbell plates. Also, make sure that they are the ones with 2-inch holes on them. Barbell plates with 1-inch holes are not going to fit on the machine. The machine does have bars to store the plates on, which is nice.

Something else you should keep in mind is that this is a bit more of a complex machine. You got pulleys, bearing, and a smith machine to hook up.

So you’re going to want to have another person on hand to help you assemble this home gym. Also, make sure that you are very organized as you’re assembling it. You can label all of the parts you get to help you stay organized.

Make sure that you follow all of the steps exactly as they are set out for you. And don’t tighten things with the bearings and pulleys until you’re sure that they are working properly and everything is where it needs to be.

As with any kind of machine that relies on bearings and pulleys, you’re bound to see a bit of wear and tear on those pieces eventually. That’s just the nature of the physics of any kind of machine like this, and it’s something to keep in mind.

Pros

Cons

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    Tons of kinds of exercises possible - smith machine, cables, leg developer, pec deck, seated row foot plate
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    Can handle up to 600 pounds
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    Lots of attachments included like lat bar; lots available too, like the bicep pad
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    Smith machine makes it easy to handle a lot of weight
    • Doesn’t include any weights
    • Somewhat complex to assemble
    • Machine relies on bearings, which could have some wear and tear

    Best Budget Weight Stack Home Gym

    Marcy 150-lb. Multifunctional Home Gym Station 

    • Price
    • Quality
    • Size
    • Weight

    This model from Marcy is a pretty standard home gym, and is probably what most people think of when they think of a home gym. 

    You could call this a great entry model for folks who are getting into workout out and looking for a home gym which covers the main machines which they like to use at the gym.

    This machine includes all of the weight you need, up to 150 pounds. The weight on this machine comes in the form of stacked weights which sit at the back of the machine. So if you know that you’re only going to need around 150 pounds of resistance, this machine will be perfect for you.

    It’s also a machine that is pretty compact. As you can see by the dimensions (79 x 68 x 36), it’s going to take up a lot less space than some of the other home gyms talked about here.

    You should be able to squeeze it against one of the walls of your home gym. Since you won’t be doing any exercises behind the back of the machine, don’t worry about putting that section close to the wall.

    One of the best things about having this kind of weight is that it’s super easy to change. All you need to do when you’re changing weights is just put the pin in a new location in the stack. Anyone who has spent time lugging around barbell plates between sets will definitely appreciate this feature.

    This machine includes a chest press machine, as most of these kinds of home gyms do. This is a great feature because it’s a good machine to work on as you’re building up your chest muscles. Anyone who isn’t crazy about bench presses, or unable to bench press because of injury, will appreciate having this feature.

    Another nice thing that this machine comes with is a lat bar. Everybody loves doing lat pulldowns. It’s one of the machines that always have a lineup at the gym. So having one in your home gym will be a great benefit for you.

    The machine also has a bicep curl pad included so that’s great for doing some preacher curls. The leg extension attachment is also around there so you can do a few different leg exercises on that.

    Something to keep in mind about the lat bar is that it’s the same bar you’re going to be using for bicep curls. So if you want to rotate between those two exercises, you’re going to need to switch the bar back and forth. That’s not really a huge deal since you just need to clip and unclip the carabiner, but it’s something to keep in mind.

    This home gym is also a somewhat complex machine in that you have pulleys and a weight stack to put together. You’re for sure going to want to have another person help you while assembling this home gym.

    Also, you definitely want to follow all of the steps exactly as you’re putting it together. And as with most kinds of home gym like this one, make sure that you don’t tighten things until you’re absolutely sure they are where they need to be.

    Pros

    Cons

  • check
     Very easy to change weights
  • check
     Can do a bunch of different exercises
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    Very sturdy, high-quality construction and materials
    •  Max weight of 150 pounds
    •  Is somewhat complicated to put together
    •  Fewer exercises possible compared with other home gyms

    Best Premium Weight Stack Home Gym

    Body-Solid StrengthTech EXM2500S Home Gym

    • Price
    • Quality
    • Size
    • Weight

    This is also a home gym which uses a stack of weights at the back of the machine, but it’s geared to a more advanced user compared with the Marcy model. 

    It can handle a bit more weight compared with the Marcy model since it has 210 pounds in the weight stack. As with any home gym which has a weight stack, one of the huge benefits is that you can easily change weights between sets. This is great if you’re doing supersets or dropsets when you want to change the weights quickly between sets.

    It also has a good range of exercises that you can do on it. It basically has two sides; one has a pec deck while the other has a chest press and lat pulldown bar. There are also pulleys on either side.

    This machine covers some of the most popular exercises that people do on machines on the gym. There’s always a lineup for the pec desk or for the lat pulldown machine at the gym. So having both of those machines (and more) in your home gym is a great feeling. You’re saving a ton of time.

    You also have pulleys at three different heights - high, mid, and low. So you can do cable exercises similar to those that you might do on the cable machine at the gym.

    The only difference is that there’s only one of those pulleys for each height. So if you’re doing chest exercises on the high pulley, for example, you’re only going to be able to do one arm at a time. However, if you’re doing back exercises like seated rows then having just one pulley is no problem.

    There’s also a leg developer on the side with the lat bar. It’s great to have a convenient spot to do some leg extensions. Those are some of the most popular leg machines at the gym.

    Overall the quality of this machine is great. The steel that is used on the white parts of the machine is really high-quality and sturdy. Also, the cushions used on the seats are very comfortable.

    One thing to be aware of is this is a pretty complex machine to put together. You have a weight stack which needs to be lined up fairly precisely. Also, you have a system of pulleys to set up.

    So you definitely want to make sure that you have someone else helping you to put this home gym together. Also, make sure that you have blocked off a good amount of time to put it together.

    You don’t want to rush because you need to organize your pieces as you’re unpacking them. There are a couple different sizes of screws which you need so you want to make sure that you’re using the right ones at each stage.

    This home gym is a sturdy, solid beast so make sure that when you’re putting it together, you have it where it’s going to be. This isn’t something that you’re going to want to move around much once it’s put together.

    Pros

    Cons

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     Very sturdy, solid design
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     Lots of exercises possible
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     Very easy to change weight amounts because of the weight stack
    •   Max  weight of 210 pounds
    •   Pretty complicated to put together
    •   Difficult to move once it's put together

    Conclusion

    So there’s a few things for you to keep in mind when you’re looking for a home gym, and a few options that you can consider.

    Make sure that you really think over each of those factors before you start to do your research. You need to have a clear idea of your fitness goals before you make this kind of major purchase. If you find that you don’t really have clear fitness goals or that they are often changing, then that will also affect your purchase decision.

    The 5 home gyms that were covered here are some of the best options when it comes to the different categories of home gyms. Once you know which kind of home gym is best for you, then you’ll be able to delve deeper into researching which exact model is best for you.

    No matter which home gym you choose, make sure that you use it often and use it hard. Get a good routine going. If you're lifting some heavy weights, you might want to grab a good pair of workout gloves.

    Having a home gym can save you a ton of time and money as you look to reaching your fitness goals, so enjoy it!

    You’ll never have to worry about waiting for someone else to finish on a machine. You never need to worry about having to “work in” with someone on the cables. And you won’t need to worry about paying for a gym membership every month.

    It’s definitely a great idea to think about getting a home gym.

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