While you DON'T need to spend a lot of money or take up too much space with weight lifting equipment for your home gym, there are a few basics that you NEED to work out properly to get results.
Most everyone lives someplace where they can go outside to get some cardiovascular exercise. In the worst-case scenario, you could always follow an aerobic tape at home, use a jump rope, climb up and down stairs, or walk around a mall or around an apartment or condo complex. So, I'll start with advising you on weight lifting equipment you will want to purchase if you're serious about getting results form your exercise.
1. A good place to exercise can simply be a spot on the floor, and a home gym is born from a humble set of dumbbells. But not just ANY dumbbells: you need dumbbells that will accommodate a strenuous workout, and also ones that will grow with you as your strength and fitness improves. Adjustable dumbbells fit the bill here. There are a number of kits that go up to 40 lb. (2 20-lb dumbbells) but most people outgrow such a set rather quickly, especially men. I recommend that you purchase two dumbbell handles (5 lb. each) and a set of plates: 4 10-lb. plates, 4 5-lb. plates, and 4 2.5-lb. plates. This "set" goes up to 80 lb. and costs $50-$70 depending on where you buy the weights and the quality of them. One insider tip is to look for chrome handles, not plastic ones. Chrome is more durable, and the fasteners on the ends spin on and off much quicker, which will save you many hours of frustration of lots of workouts. You can look for these items at any large retail store such as Target or Wal-Mart, a sporting goods store such as Olympia Sports (great prices, typically), or even secondhand sporting goods stores. Yard sales also have weight sets quite often.
Adjustable free weights can also be found online. Here is a pair for a man or an already-fit woman:
Here is a pair for a beginning exerciser (you WILL outgrow it if you work out hard!):
The number of exercises you can do are vastly increased when you own an adjustable bench:
2. A Fitness Ball can add variety to your home weight lifting workouts. While certainly not required, a fitness ball adds little cost to the home gym yet increase the number of exercises you can perform at least four-fold. An inflatable fitness ball costs about $10-$20, again from Wal-Mart or another fine retailer.
3. If you're an advanced exerciser or simply get bored easily, you might want to invest in a chin-up bar where you can work lots of back and abs.
For other options to flesh out your home gym, check out this page on
more advanced weight lifting equipment.
Good luck with your workouts, and be sure to
contact me if you have any trouble with your exercise and weight lifting equipment, or if you need any advice on building your home gym.