Making it to the gym can be tough. There always seems to be an excuse: time pressures, finances or self-insecurities.
The best compact home gym can alleviate these issues and promote a healthier and more active lifestyle. Besides we, at tryHomeFitness, are all about encouraging home fitness through exercise and eating well.
Stick around for the reviews of our recommended machines:
What Is a Home Gym?
A good compact home gym is almost everything you get from commercial training facilities but can have it in the comfort of your home.
We’re not saying you need to spend hundreds of thousands converting your, now grown-up, children’s bedroom into a five-star fully-equipped gym.
There’s a far simpler solution: a compact home gym, also known as a multi-gym.
These are single units, housing a vast variety of gym-style equipment designed in such a way that allows many different and varied workout routines. Naturally, the multi-gym varies in size and complexity depending on what features are included.
Typically these include:
One of the star tools to a healthier, fitter lifestyle using your compact home gym will be your own body resistance.
This refers to pushing and pulling against your body weight. For example, using the bench for incline push-ups and floor level bars to hook your feet under while performing crunches.
Regularly lifting weights or some other weighted resistance can produce visible results within as little as six weeks, according to studies. Bear in mind that not all home gyms include weight stacks. Remember we’re trying to go compact here.
This form of resistance using weight stacks can replace sets of dumbbells and barbells transferring resistance through pulleys and cables. By doing so changes the effort to weight ratio. For instance, you can bicep curl more weight with the help of the lever effect of pulleys than you can with just a dumbbell. Normally the ratio is around 2:1.
Cables and Pulleys
Experts define resistance training as using a weight to work out your muscles. This is one of the goals of cables and pulleys that you would find in the better-designed compact gym. Cables and pulleys are linked to weight stacks and resistance rods, creating exercises involving pushing and pulling motions.
The user can alter the angle and height of resistance, mimicking the actions you would use with free weights.
A nice feature of a good compact gym will be a bench, allowing you to perform bodyweight exercises, for seated curls for example, or be used for bench pressing and flyes.
Advantages of a Home Multi-Gym
With the best compact home gym, the majority of your so-called excuses for not exercising will disappear.
Here are the main advantages of the best compact home gym:
This could be ideal if you’re intimidated by working out around strangers, or you cannot be bothered to walk to the gym. It doesn’t matter what you wear or how you look.
Furthermore, there are no monthly membership fees to pay.
Smart Use of Space
Not only are you saving money, but you will also be using space in a smarter way.
The best compact home gym containing all the necessary fitness machine elements is far more efficient than multiple pieces of equipment. A lot of home gyms also fold up or compact down further, meaning you can assemble them fully when you need, and pack it away when you’re finished.
Gone are the days of traveling to the gym. The biggest effort will be to roll out of bed a little earlier to get in a great session before work. In my opinion, compact home gyms are perfect for those struggling to fit everything into the day.
Any Fitness Level
Although they may seem complex, rest assured that a home gym isn’t only for the elite. The normal people (me and you of this world) are just as able to use these exercise systems as the gym nerds.
The ability to change resistance and difficulty levels means as your fitness improves there continues to be scalability in the compact multi-gym.
Benefits of Home Gym Workouts
Exercise (along with diet) is a key piece of the jigsaw towards a healthy lifestyle. The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity and two strength-training sessions a week.
But what else?
If you’re recovering from an injury (such as torn or stretched ligament injuries in the knee) or are suffering from a form of physical disease (arthritis), a lower impact routine prevents undue stress from being placed on the joint.
A home gym provides resistance training through cables and weights but lower the weights and increase the repetitions and you have a great cardiovascular workout. Some cardio machines like treadmills have a higher impact on your joints.
Research from Bangor University explains that exercise reduces the symptoms of arthritis.
By pushing or pulling against a set weight, you break down your muscle tissues, allowing them to rebuild stronger and far more defined when done regularly.
High reps and light weights lead to muscle tone rather than significant size gain; so there is no fear of turning into the hulk!
The best compact home gym units are incredibly versatile, targeting all the key muscle groups.
Furthermore, by firing up the gluteus muscles and abdominals, you will speed up your metabolism and burn more calories. This is particularly great if you’re looking to drop a dress size or trim down a little.
Any form of exercise helps you to lose weight by raising the rate at which your body is burning calories. Weight loss happens when you are in a calorie deficit. Try taking minimal rest breaks between exercises on your best compact home gym to keep your heart rate high and begin to drop the pounds.
Strength and Cardio
Training using a home gym will improve your cardiovascular health by raising your heart rate. It can also increase bone density through strength training.
Leveling up from toning your muscles, using heavier weights with the best compact home gym allows you to intensify your workout. Serious resistance is the way to build up genuine mass when paired with the correct nutritional plan.
Recent studies show that progressive strength training can be a type of treatment for those suffering from sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss).
What to Look for in the Best Compact Home Gym
When buying the best compact home gym, there are several things to take into consideration.
The best home gym even the smaller ones can range from hundreds of dollars up to many thousands. Look for the features you wish it to include, and balance this against the cost over similar units. We’ve included a range in the reviews.
Depending on the amount of kit they include, home gyms vary in size, and you can select to suit your home space. Try taking the dimensions of your allocated area at home, probably add a bit of buffer space and then search for the best fit based on these measurements.
The components of these multi-functional gyms vary; select one suited towards your fitness goals.
If you aim to build muscle while losing weight, then you’ll want to make sure your new home gym includes a weight stack. Alternatively, if you want to address cardiovascular health as well as strength, look for some cardio machine elements.
Range of Exercise
On top of this, you will want to think about how functional you need your workout system to be. This is in terms of how many different exercises you want available.
If you’re starting out and would like a simple machine to work on two to three times a week, it’s probably not necessary to choose the most expensive and most complex model.
A heavy-duty home gym is essential for those who are planning to use their home gym multiple times a week. Taking into account the structure of the gym, such as construction material, is important.
Reviews of the Best Compact Home Gyms
Let me start my reviews of the best compact home gyms with the optimum product on the market, the Bowflex Blaze.
Bowflex Blaze Home Gym – Trusted Brand – Top Choice
Our number one best compact home gym pick for beginners right through to avid exercisers is the Bowflex system. The range of exercises with this machine is immense, creating full-body, challenging workouts in your own home.
In fact, marketing for this model says that over 60 different workouts can be applied but we discovered more like 100 with a little creativity.
Bowflex doesn’t use weights in the Blaze home gym but has patented their own power rod technology to provide all the resistance for workouts. This is an elegant solution which means the machine is more efficient and lighter.
Dimensions: Footprint, L95 inches; W38 inches; height: H86 inches
Weight: 98 pounds.
- Over 60 possible exercises.
- Includes seven professionally built workout regimes, may suit beginners.
- 210 pounds resistance; possible to upgrade to 310 pounds or 410 pounds.
- Lats bar and squats bar included: ideal for those looking to build muscle.
- Triple function and large handgrip.
- Collapsible bench and wheels could be ideal for those with little space.
- Resistance training for the whole body.
- Rowing function which may appeal to people wanting hard cardio.
- Power rod resistance makes it lightweight.
- Not for serious bodybuilding dudes.
- May take 2 to assemble.
BodyCraft XPress Pro 200lb Single Stack Gym – Pricey Option
If you’re looking to splash the cash on a multi-functional full home gym, then this machine could be ideal for you. Packing, quite literally, a whole gym into one machine that will comfortably fit inside your home. I’d suggest this may also appeal to those people who want the look of a “real” gym machine.
Dimensions: 82.9 inches by 56.5 inches by 82 inches.
Weight: 575 pounds.
- Includes DVD on assembling the product, good for those who are unconfident at self-assembly.
- Allows for high-quality gym-style workouts.
- Exercise your whole body in one workout with a large range of equipment functions.
- Bench presses, shoulder presses, lat pulls and leg press stations included.
- Pulley stations for controlled movements in the correct body position.
- Lifetime warranty included.
- Adjustable seat and back.
- Weighs over 500 pounds, maybe unsuitable for older people or those with little strength.
- High-cost compared to many other home gyms.
Total Gym XLS – Most Compact Option
Our previous two options are relatively large when compared to the most compact option of the Total Gym XLS. This may be ideal if you’re looking to fit your multi-gym into a small space at home or would like a collapsible unit.
The design has been around for a long with Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley heading up the marketing. It’s a simple but effective design based on pulleys, cables, a sliding bench and the exerciser’s body weight. But as many users have attested, it works. The Total Gym XLS is a solidly made and seriously compact home gym machine.
This also costs, on average, less than an annual gym membership.
Dimensions: 90 inches by 19 inches by 43 inches.
Weight: 83 pounds.
- Total fitness program and workout videos.
- Over 80 exercises possible.
- Delivered fully assembled.
- Pulley systems for abdominals and arms.
- Easy to use.
- Six levels of resistance training.
- Padded glide-board included for rowing.
- Folds and unfolds; making storage easy.
- Dan Isaacson nutritional plan included.
- Lightweight so can easily be relocated when not in use.
- 400 pounds weight capacity which may appeal to the larger user.
- Fewer exercise options than other models.
- No weight stack.
Body-Solid Strength Tech EXM2500S Home Gym – Most Durable Option
A durable home gym is ideal for those living in a busy household, or maybe you are seriously addicted to training and want to push yourself to the limit every day.
Sound relatable? If so, our most hard-wearing option is the Body-Solid Strength Tech.
Dimensions: 83 inches by 51 inches by 83 inches.
Weight: 446 pounds.
- Constructed from heavy-duty steel, perfect for those with children that may play on the unit or extreme users.
- Electrostatically applied finish, protecting against chipping.
- Pec station, arm press and leg developer included.
- High, mid and low range pulleys for total body resistance.
- 210-pound steel weight stack.
- Biomechanically designed pulley stations, for controlled exercises targeting the whole body in correct positions.
- Thick pads to support the lumbar spine when performing shoulder presses, possibly excellent for those with back issues.
- Lifetime warranty for peace of mind.
- Over 400 pounds, hard to move for older people or those with low strength.
Marcy 150lb Stack Home Gym – Value Option
We get it, these systems can be a pretty significant spend, however, we have a superb option if you’re looking for the best value deal. Everything you need in a home gym, with the right price tag.
However, while budget-friendly, it’s still a comprehensive machine that will stand up to some hard and punishing training sessions.
Dimensions: 68 inches by 36 inches by 79 inches.
Weight: 150 pounds.
- High durability steel construction.
- Multifunctional arm press; allowing chest press and butterfly press.
- Double pulley station for full-body exercises, such as squats and arm rows.
- Flip-up footplate to aid arm workouts.
- Lat bar and ankle strap accessories included to work the glutes with the pulley station.
- Easy to assemble instructions.
- Light on the wallet for those on a limited budget.
- Lightweight for a large machine.
- No lifetime guarantee.
- Non-adjustable seat so it may not be the perfect height if you are very tall or short.
Best Compact Home Gym Conclusion
For fulfilling every category you would typically desire in a home gym, we have to put the Bowflex Blaze Home Gym to the top.
The exercises with this machine are unlimited, and the quality is great. Up to 210 pounds of resistance allows you to build muscle through strength training.
And we love the option to upgrade the resistance to 310 pounds or 410 pounds if your strength is increasing. Your cardiovascular health is taken care of with the rowing function.
Happy home fitness!