Did you know? it is a great time to shop for a strength system for your home! There are more options than ever before, and because competition is high, the prices are aggressive.
Home strength systems usually do not get the love and attention on fitness blogs as much as cardiovascular equipment, such as ellipticals and treadmills. Still, there’s also a lot of information on the internet to access, which can either streamline your shopping experience or make it even more confusing. We are here to help!
We are asked some common questions consistently about home strength equipment, as well as the benefits of strength training in our stores. We love talking about our equipment!
Here are the Top Five questions we're asked about home gyms, in no specific order.
1. What’s the difference between a functional gym and a fixed-press gym?
Functional Trainers: It is somewhat of an oversimplification, but if you think of resistance training as having three key elements – moving the weight, stabilization & form - a functional gym is going to be the least-assisted type of home gym. What this means, is that with a functional gym, you are going to have to be cognizant of using proper form, because these machines offer a 360- degrees range of motion. Also, because most functional gyms have two independent weight stacks and pulley systems, it is impossible to cheat. Also, some functional gyms like the Inspire Fitness FT2 offer a true 1:1 ratio. This means that if you set the selectorized weight stack at 50 pounds, you are really pushing/pulling 50 pounds.
Fixed-press gyms are more traditional systems that are on rails, so the weight is stabilized, and the machine is providing the form for you; you are just pushing and pulling the weight and you mostly do not have to concentrate on form. This is why fixed-press gyms are usually easier to cheat, and use your dominant side without realizing it. This isn’t the case for every exercise however, because most fixed-press gyms are going to have open pulleys for attachments so you can do specific exercises that require form, such as lat pulldowns, biceps curls, etc. Most fixed-press gyms are going to be a 2:1 ratio, so just be aware that the machine is pulley assisted. A lot of fixed-press gyms offer an expandable weight stack, such as the Bodycraft GL. We always recommend adding the additional weight.
2.What home gyms take up the least amount of space?
This question isn’t as easy to answer as you might think. The room in which you plan to install the gym must be considered. If space isn’t a concern, you could work with an expert fitness consultant to establish what piece is going to effectively and efficiently help you reach your goals. If space is a concern, we are still going to do that, however we will just do it in the scope of your limitations.
In terms of length and width, a functional gym might be the best option because of its corner-placement design. But what if you don’t have a free corner in your room? Or what if you have an atypically low ceiling?
This is where we will have a brief cost-benefit conversation with you, to try to choose a piece that will accommodate your needs. We also highly recommend using one of our fantastic manufacturer’s room design templates, where you can create a diagram by inputting the layout and dimensions of your room and then placing the equipment wherever you want. This way, you can have a visualization of the idea in your head. Our fitness consultants can do this for you as well.
3. What is better: gyms that use weight stacks, or gyms that use bands?
Whether this question is framed in the context of the quality of the equipment, or the overall benefits for the user, the answer is always the same: real weights are the way to go! First, there’s virtually no way a steel plate by itself can malfunction, as opposed to bands which can snap or break. Also, steel plates do not weaken over time, like bands end up doing with prolonged usage. Think about it: as you train and get stronger, you will want push more weight, not less.
4. How many exercises can I do with a home gym? (Or, what kinds of exercises can I do?)
This answer to this question varies, as all home gyms are going to be unique in one way or another. But in simple terms, functional gyms are going to provide exponentially more options than fixed-press gyms. Depending on how many attachments you have, a fixed press gym could offer you around 8-15 or so movements. Functional gyms could offer up to 200 different exercises. In addition, most fixed-press exercise are going to be primarily compound movements, while a functional trainer can offer more isolation exercises (although both systems can offer either/or in some instances, respectively.
5. How do I maintain or service my home gym?
Great question! If you are shopping in a specialty store like a G&G Fitness Equipment showroom, most of our home strength systems are going to require little-to-no preventative maintenance. Your fitness consultant will be able to tell you which models need any maintenance, but for the most part, keeping the equipment (especially the guide rods) clear of dirt and debris is about as exhaustive as it is going to get. It is possible that after a long period of owning the gym that some cables and bolts will need re-tightened and re-tensioned, and these things aren’t complicated. But if you don’t want to worry about it, you could purchase a preventative maintenance call ahead of time, which never expires, and an expert G&G Fitness Service Technician could service your equipment. You can also call our service department any time to schedule an appointment. We service all brands listed here.
Cheaper, “big box” store equipment will require significantly more maintenance, such as lubricating the guide rods and greasing linkages. Your overall cost of ownership will be significantly higher with department store items. The adage, “you get what you pay for” absolutely applies here.
Try our virtual Home Gym Selector
So, there you have it! That’s five of some of the most common questions we are asked about home strength equipment. Have another question we didn’t cover here? Use our store locator and find a G&G Fitness Equipment showroom near you, and you can call or email and speak with one of our experts, and he/she would be happy to assist! Or leave a comment below, and I will personally respond!
Thanks for reading.
For more tips on selecting and maintaining your fitness equipment, we recommend these articles: Building a Garage Gym, Tips for the Perfect Fitness Room, Do I Really Need to Clean Fitness Equipment, HIIT Training, Buyer's Guides, Workout Tips,
Bryan has been with G&G since 2008. Along with experience as a personal trainer, Bryan has a BS in Education and is licensed to teach. He is an adjunct instructor for Wright State University. He has also taught grades 7-12... more about Bryan