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How to outfit your home gym starting at $50

January 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Step inside a gym, and you'll see all kinds of things to make your workout great because if a tool is ineffective, it's not going to last long. But there's a lot of crazy stuff in the sporting good aisle, so you have to shop smart. Here's how to make a home gym for the pauper and the prince.

"Some of the simplest and most easy things to use are under $50," said Brad Bose, owner of Anatomi gym in Santa Monica.

Bose said he has tested it all, but he says Swiss balls, soft balls, bands and ropes - all $20 - are perfectly capable of giving you a great workout.

Swiss balls ($15 - $20) challenge core muscles, smaller weighted soft balls ($10 apiece) offer a creative way to strength train and elevate heart rate, as does exercise tubing that comes in various strengths and handle options.

Another favorite in the cheap-and-cheerful category is gliding discs, which can help you stretch, tone or get your cardio in for $23 a pair, complete with an instructional DVD.

And don't forget your dumbbells, which Bose says are the "tried and true." They run about $1 a pound, so a set of 10-pound dumbbells will run about $20.

Jump ropes, which run $10 to $20, add a perfect cardio asset. Bose says make a circuit out these small fit toys to get your cardio in as well.

"Do 20, 25 reps at a time, go through five or six exercises, very little rest, and it actually becomes very cardiovascular," Bose said.

If you've got a couple hundred to spend, consider a BOSU which stands for Both Sides Up. At about $100, it can help you do cardio, strength and flexibility, along with challenging stability when flipped over on its unstable surface.

A TRX (Total Resistant Exercise) costs twice that, but this portable gym, which hangs on a door, offers several hundred exercises, yet is easily packed in a brief or suitcase.

If you're looking for something fancy yet effective, check out Cardio Gym, which cleverly hides in a cabinet, so it works well in small spaces, from offices to apartments.

"It functions both a recumbent cycle and a full weighted set of stacks so that you can do any weighted exercises you need," Bose said.

The bike spins around so you can do front side and back side. You can also do weights or bike only depending on needs.

The base model is $2,000, but Bose says it's an efficient use of time and money if you've got the extra.

"Twenty minutes on there is like an hour and a half in a gym if you really push it hard," he said.

For information on where to find fitness tools, check out these websites: www.performbetter.com, www.power-systems.com, www.spri.com.

For things like stability balls, cast iron weights, small weight fitness balls, and BOSU's, price check on Amazon, Google, Target and Walmart.