How to Choose Outdoor Home Gym Equipment?
Having your own outdoor home gym can be an excellent way to stay fit and healthy. Exercising outdoors provides many benefits – fresh air, vitamin D from the sun, a change of scenery from your indoor gym, and more motivation to work out consistently.
When creating an outdoor home gym, the equipment you choose is key. With so many options on the market, it can be tricky to select the right items that suit your space, budget, and fitness goals. This guide will walk you through the key factors to consider when choosing outdoor home gym equipment, so you can create your ideal workout space at home.
Assess Your Fitness Goals and Needs
Before purchasing any equipment, think about what you want to accomplish with your outdoor gym.
- What are my fitness goals? Building strength? Losing weight? Overall health?
- How much space do I have for equipment?
- What exercises and activities do I enjoy and want to do outside?
- How much can I budget for equipment costs?
- Will I be the only one using the equipment or will others in my household use it too?
- Do I want equipment that is permanent or movable?
Once you identify your goals, space, budget, and other needs, you can start looking at equipment options that are the best fit. Being clear on these factors from the start will help you create a tailored outdoor gym.
Choose Essential Strength Training Equipment
Strength training is a key part of any fitness regimen, so be sure to include some essential strength equipment in your outdoor gym. Here are some top options:
Adjustable dumbbells are extremely versatile for strength training. Rather than buying multiple sets of fixed-weight dumbbells, adjustable dumbbells allow you to dial different weight levels on one compact, space-saving unit. Popular sets range from 5-50 lbs, 15-70 lbs or more. Look for a dial system that makes changing weights quick and easy.
Resistance bands come in a variety of resistance levels, from light to extra heavy. They provide an inexpensive way to strength train at home. Bands are lightweight and portable too. Use them for arm exercises like bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder raises, and more.
Kettlebell workouts burn fat and build functional strength. They are beginner-friendly but offer challenging options for more advanced lifters too. Select a few kettlebells in lighter weights like 10-25 lbs to start, then go up to 30-40+ lbs as you advance. Use them for swings, squats, presses, and more.
Install a pull-up bar to master this essential bodyweight movement. Pull-ups strengthen back, arm, and core muscles. Look for a bar you can mount to your eaves, sturdy tree branches, or a freestanding pull-up station.
Sandbags provide a versatile way to lift weights and get a total body workout. Start with a 70-150 lb bag then go heavier over time. Use them for carries, lunges, squats, presses, and more. The loose sand instability creates a dynamic challenge too.
Cardio Equipment for Heart Health
Any outdoor home gym should also include options for cardio exercise to keep your heart strong and improve endurance. Popular outdoor cardio outdoor home gym equipment includes:
A sturdy stationary bike lets you cycle outdoors in a small footprint. Upright, recumbent and dual-action bikes are all options. Add features like programmed workouts, resistance control, and heart rate monitoring to get the most from your outdoor cycling training.
Rowing machines create a smooth, low-impact cardio workout that strengthens your legs, back, arms, and core. Row outdoors on nice days or store it out of the elements when not in use. Track your 500m split times as you get fitter.
Ellipticals offer an alternative to running outside, especially for low-impact joint-friendly training. Look for a sturdy outdoor model with adjustable incline and resistance levels to progress your workouts. Many also have hand pulse sensors to monitor heart rate as you train.
A commercial-grade treadmill is a big investment but allows you to run outside in any weather. Look for a model with ample horsepower, impact absorption, and an incline range up to at least 10-15% grade. Consider a treadmill with a shock-absorbing slat belt for more cushioning too.
Best Free Weights for Versatility
Round out your strength training options with some versatile free weights. From bars to plates, add the following:
Olympic Barbell and Weight Plates
A quality Olympic barbell paired with standard weight plates provides almost endless strength training options. Use it for squats, deadlifts, bench presses, rows, and more. Go for a 45 lb steel barbell with revolving sleeves. Buy plates in standard sizes like (2.5 lb, 5 lb, 10 lb, 25 lb, 45 lb) for flexibility.
EZ Curl Bar
An EZ curl bar allows you to perform bicep curls and other exercises with a natural grip angle that reduces wrist strain. Choose a sturdy solid steel bar with quality rotating sleeves.
These weighted balls boost coordination, power, and functional strength. Use for throws, passes, rotational movements, and more. Choose several weights (4-25 lbs) for scalable, challenging workouts. Durable leather or composite balls will withstand outdoor use.
Round out your free weights collection with a full dumbbell set. Great for exercises like chest presses, shoulder raises, goblet squats, lunges, and much more. Opt for a space-saving spin-lock style.
Specialty Equipment for Fun and Function
Take your outdoor gym up a notch with some unique specialty equipment for fun, variety, and multi-dimensional training. Consider adding:
Thick battle ropes produce a killer cardio and full-body workout. The battling action builds explosive power too. Get ready to feel the burn! Choose 30-50 foot ropes made for outdoor use.
Lift and slam these weighted balls for an intense, full-body blast. Choose a 10-25 lb ball to match your strength and conditioning level. Use them for overhead throws, lunges, squats, and core moves.
Steel mace training builds rotational core and shoulder stability through dynamic swinging movements. Start with a 10-20 lb mace for beginners. Use it for core flows, figure 8s, 360s, and other patterns.
Farmers Walk Handles
Walk with heavy weights in each hand to tone your upper back, arms, shoulders, and core. Special farmer’s walk handles allow you to load removable weights securely. Build up your carrying strength over time.
Test your legs and get your heart pumping by jumping onto a sturdy box. Start lower (12-24”) then increase box height to increase intensity and explosiveness. Look for an outdoor-rated box.
Use plyo boxes for plyometric jump training that develops speed and power. Low-medium-high box heights let you scale jumps from box to box. Start low until you build explosiveness in your legs.
Must-Have Auxiliary Equipment
Support and enhance your workouts with these additional items:
Create a foundation for your space. Rubber gym floor tiles are excellent for absorbing the impact of free weights. Turf roll-out also works for basic cushioning.
For more athletic training, sports court tiles form an ultra-durable, weather-resistant floor great for agility drills, box jumps, HIIT, and more. Easy to install too.
Get an adjustable bench for exercises like bench press, incline press, rows, and more. Models with a vertical back pad also allow decline sit-ups. Look for commercial quality and durable weatherproof upholstery.
In addition to your pull-up bar, add a chin-up station to work your biceps. Choose a wall-mounted or freestanding bar around 6.5-7 feet high to accommodate different heights.
Resistance Band Anchor Station
Make the most of your resistance bands with an anchoring unit. Attach bands for pull exercises like rows as well as lower body moves like monster walks. Mount to wall or floor.
A dip station lets you perform triceps dips and leg raises. Go for a freestanding sturdy model or build one attached to your pull-up bar. This boosts upper body pushing strength.
Ab Wheel Roller
An ab wheel is a simple, affordable way to sculpt your core. Use it for rollouts and other challenging ab exercises. Choose a model with a thick wheel and padded handles for comfort.
A sturdy, weatherproof yoga mat provides cushioning for bodyweight exercises, stretching, cooldowns, and more. Look for a slip-resistant all-weather mat at least 5 mm thick.
Jump ropes build cardio fitness anywhere with minimal space. Adjustable or custom-sized ropes ensure the right fit. Use for high-intensity interval jump training or simple warm-ups.
Once you master regular jumping, upgrade to a speed rope for faster, double unders and tricks. Ball-bearing ropes with lightweight handles turn smoothly for speed.
Track your workout times, intervals, rest periods, and more with a durable waterproof stopwatch. Look for lap counting and split features.
Chalk and Chalk Bucket
Weightlifting chalk improves grip strength when lifting heavy weights like deadlifts, pull-ups, and rows. Buy blocks for on-the-go use or loose chalk for a bucket.
Protect your equipment investments with weatherproof storage. Enclosed sheds or deck boxes keep your items safe from sun, rain, and moisture.
Add a shatterproof acrylic mirror to check your form on lifts. Look for corrosion-resistant backing for outdoor installation.
Outdoor Bluetooth speakers let you train to motivate music outside. Look for a weatherproof model with long battery life and deep bass.
Stay hydrated with an outdoor water cooler dispensing chilled water. Or add a beverage cooler for an electrolyte drink on hot days.
Care and Maintenance Best Practices
Investing in commercial-grade, weatherproof equipment ensures your outdoor gym lasts for years. Protect it even more with proper care:
- Wipe down equipment after each use to prevent dirt buildup, mold, and rust.
- Lubricate moving parts on cardio machines monthly. Tighten any loose nuts/bolts.
- When not in use, cover equipment with weather-resistant tarps or storage bags.
- For extra protection, enclose/seal metal components in corrosion-resistant wax 1-2x per year.
- Check flooring for trip hazards or tears. Repair tiles as needed to prevent injury.
- Replace worn ropes, handle grips, upholstery, or padding as needed for safety and hygiene.
Following smart maintenance and equipment care will maximize lifespan and performance.
5 Key Takeaways for Choosing Your Equipment
Summing up, keep these top 5 tips in mind when selecting outdoor home gym equipment:
- Identify your fitness goals, space, and budget. This keeps your purchases aligned with your needs. Create the ideal gym for YOU.
- Include versatile strength gear like dumbbells, resistance bands, and pull-up bars for total body gains.
- Add cardio machines like bikes, ellipticals, and rowers for heart health. Treadmill if budget allows.
- Incorporate some fun specialty equipment like battle ropes, slam balls, and steel mace for multi-dimensional training.
- Include protective flooring, storage, water, and other auxiliary items to get the most from your gear.
Following these steps will help you create your dream outdoor home gym for training year-round!
Creating your own outdoor home gym provides incredible opportunities to get fit while enjoying the fresh air. By carefully choosing outdoor home gym equipment that aligns with your fitness goals, space, and budget, you can build your ideal outdoor training oasis. Focus on versatile strength gear, must-have cardio machines, and fun specialty items to keep your workouts dynamic. Include proper maintenance and care to ensure your equipment withstands the elements. Soon you’ll be enjoying convenient workouts anytime with an outdoor gym designed just for you. Now it’s time to get started creating your own outdoor fitness paradise!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is outdoor gym equipment weatherproof?
A: Look for commercial-grade equipment specifically designed for outdoor use. Weatherproof materials include powder-coated steel, aluminum, UV-resistant plastics, and waterproof upholstery.
Q: How much space do I need for outdoor gym equipment?
A: Most essential equipment like dumbbells, bands, and pull-up bars take up minimal space. For cardio machines, check dimensions but plan for 15-25+ sq ft each.
Q: Should I get a gym floor under my equipment?
A: Yes, proper flooring provides cushioning for joints and safer footing. Rubber mats, turf, and sport court tiles are great options depending on your needs.
Q: What kind of maintenance does outdoor gym equipment need?
A: Wipe equipment down after each use. Lubricate moving parts monthly. Check for loose bolts/connections. Cover when not in use. Re-coat metal in protective wax 1-2x per year.
Q: Is outdoor gym equipment expensive?
A: Prices range widely. Strength gear is affordable (dumbbells, bands, etc). Cardio machines have higher upfront costs but last for years. Shop sales and buy quality.