Home gyms are on the rise. According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, 15 percent of Americans planned to spend money on home gym equipment in 2012, which is up from eight percent in 2011. If you’re looking to invest in home exercise equipment specifically for weight loss, it’s important to know which machines will give you the most bang for your buck.
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Treadmills have traditionally been considered the best exercise equipment for weight loss. A 1996 study conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin found that the treadmill was more efficient for burning calories than indoor cycles, cross-country skiing machines, rowers and stair stepping machines when subjects exercised at the same rate of perceived exertion. The calorie expenditure differences were significant, with the treadmill burning more calories per hour than other modes of exercise. The study, however, did not study elliptical machines.
More recent research studies have found that elliptical machines offer similar benefits to treadmills. A 2010 study conducted at the University of Wisconsin concluded that “there are no differences in energy expenditure between treadmills and ellipticals” at the same rate of perceived exertion. If you’re looking to burn even more calories on the elliptical, try going backwards. Another study conducted at the University of Wisconsin and published in the journal "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" in 2008 found that moving your legs in a backwards motion on the elliptical burns more calories than moving your legs forward.
If you want effective weight loss tools, but don't want to break the budget, kettlebells may be the way to go. A 2010 study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise found that working out with these orb-shaped weights burned an average of 20.2 calories per minute, which is the equivalent of running at a pace of 6 mph. Not only are they affordable, you can use them anywhere you have some free space around your home.
Regardless of the home exercise equipment you choose, make sure you begin and end your workouts with a warm-up and cool down. Speak to your doctor before starting an exercise regimen, especially if you have pre-existing chronic conditions. If you have never used these types of exercise equipment before, speak to a trainer to learn the basic movements. Using exercise machines or lifting the kettlebells incorrectly can lead to injury.