It’s no secret that regular exercise is practically a must for anyone these days. Aside from staying in good physical shape, exercise helps us maintain good mental health (this is huge let me tell ya), control our weight, and offers a whole host of benefits over-top.
However, while some of us can definitely carve out the regular chunk of time to hit up the local gym and get our blood pumping – for some people that’s a bit more of a challenge.
Whether you’re bogged down by an insanely tight work schedule, are worried about the state of gyms in the current world, or are simply nowhere near a conveniently located fitness center – there are quite a few reasons which make folks shirk away from the idea of hitting the gym.
That’s why in the last few years, home gyms have been absolutely skyrocketing in popularity!
After all, having your own home gym setup can be quite surprising in all that it can offer to peeps who are into fitness and improving themselves both physically and mentally – from total privacy and freedom to perform exercises as you like, all the way over to unmatched convenience, cost-efficiency, wallet savings, and the fact that each piece of equipment is perfectly tailored around your fitness needs and preferences.
And if you’re someone like me, who cares about being as efficient as possible with each piece of equipment that you get, then making sure you gear up your home gym with a solid full-body workout machine is absolutely crucial.
I am a frugal gym goer so ensuring that I bought the best bang for buck machine was my ultimate goal.
But how do you navigate the rough and weathered sea of choices when it comes to picking out exercise equipment in that category? After all, there are thousands of total body workout machines you could consider…
Well, that’s why I’m here folks!
In today’s article, I will (yes, me personally) be walking you through some of the best value for money and most practical full body workout machines for home gym.
Let’s dive right in!
What Machines Provide A Full-Body Workout?
While the good old folding treadmill, exercise bike, and stair stepper are some of the most popular stations at just about any gym across the globe these days – these nifty machines all have one common flaw. They don’t help you target your upper body.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a refreshing cardio blast coupled with an efficient full-body workout – there’s a range of machines that suit your needs to the tee.
But, what is a full-body workout to begin with?
Essentially, this sort of workout makes use of your upper body, lower body, and core all in one go. And although there have been concerns about whether you should do full body workouts every other day, the benefits are pretty darn enticing!
Let’s start with the fact that you don’t have to commit as much time out of your already busy schedule to get the same gains and lose the same amount of weight as you would if you did not use a full body workout machine.
You also end up burning more calories, making this type of workout ideal for controlling your weight and shredding fat. And last but certainly not least, you’ll build more muscle while maximizing your body’s strength in the long run.
So, now that we’re all on the same page about what a full-body workout is and what benefits you can look forward to, I’ll be covering some of the most popular machines that provide an effective full-body workout as well as give you my personal top pick in each category for the frugal gym goer who wants to get the most bang for his/her buck.
Rowing machines, like the Concept 2 Model D rower, also occasionally referred to as “ergometers” are one of the most effective high tech cardio machines. However, aside from being one of the best options you’ve got to increase your cardiovascular fitness – they’re also fantastic for working out your entire body.
The seated push-pull motions make use of your upper and lower body in equal measure while your core is also constantly active. And if you want to fine-tune the workouts towards the direction of a particular muscle group, that’s easily done via adjusting the resistance or doing a different style of rows such as half-rows or meadows rows.
However, while these machines are incredibly effective – it’s important to keep proper form and not let fatigue knock you out of the game. This is due to the fact that the rower puts a a decent amount of stress on your lower back, and if you start rowing wantonly and not use the correct form, you might just do yourself in.
All in all, rowing machines are a fantastic fit for those of us looking to max out in all three essential areas – cardio, strength, and glorious muscles!
To be quite honest, this is by far my favorite piece of equipment for a total body workout. Lose weight and get ripped at the same time – quite hard to beat that.
Full-Body Home Gym Machines
If improved cardio isn’t on your list of “gains” to be made in 2021, but strength and greek-god muscle definition are – then you’re probably after a total gym setup more so than any other particular machine.
These pre-built home gyms are essentially packages that contain several incredibly effective stations that are all built into one unit for convenience and to help you in saving valuable floor space.
Typically, you’ll be able to exercise any particular muscles like your entire upper body, legs, hips, core, back, and chest…all on one great machine. And depending on the setup, some of these machines may even offer some elementary form of cardio too such as a built-in rower of sorts.
In addition to this, it’s also handy that the world of total home gyms is laden with all sorts of different options when it comes to different types of resistance.
There are machines that use weight stacks, some that use cable system, others that use tension, and a whole heap that use your own body weight as a form of resistance when doing bodyweight exercises. It’s like getting all the benefits of a smith machine, a squat rack, a leg press, a power rack, and then some….all bundled into one machine.
All in all, a total home gym is the best bet for those of us looking to create an ideal strength-training environment at home. However, as noted earlier, this category typically doesn’t offer much in terms of cardio.
Ellipticals & Cross Trainers
Now, what if you don’t care so much about building strength or getting ripped? Rather you would prefer to tone up and just look good and fit in your clothes?
Well, that’s where an elliptical machine comes in, as long as you get a functional trainer you should be good to go.
These awesome machines give you a solid 80% full-body workout that is far better geared at improving your endurance, giving your heart a healthy dose of exercise, and burning some serious fat along the way.
The upright push-pull motion engages your upper and lower body in a low-impact manner to provide a very effective form of exercise, without any particularly dangerous drawbacks when compared to home gyms or rowers.
However, on the flip side, as mentioned earlier, the elliptical doesn’t provide the most effective upper-body workout and it definitely doesn’t engage your core the same as a rower would – so these machines aren’t the best fit for those of us looking to build their strength and get some gorgeous 10 pack abs or overall muscle definition. But when it comes to cardio and weight loss – they’re a must-have!
The Best Full-Body Cardio & Strength-Building Workout Machines
Now that we’ve gone over each particular category of full-body workout machines out there – let’s take a closer look at the best machines that you can find on the market in today’s day and age. And by best, I do not mean the ultimate in each category – I am not made of money. My research and notes below are geared towards the bang for buck options. These are the machines that are proven to be highly rated, reviewed, reliable and not cost a ton.
Starting with the best in all areas and my favorite machine for a total body workout, here’s my shortlist for the 3 best rowing machines that will give you one hell of a full-body workout.
I’ll give you the low-down on what each machine offers, the best features that you’ll get to enjoy, as well as whom each machine is best-suited for at the end of the day.
1. Best Overall Full-Body Workout Machine
- Rugged quality steel frame that comes backed by a 5-year manufacturer warranty for total longevity and reliability.
- Easy to set up and start rowing in under 30 minutes.
- Feature-rich console that features lots of workout programs, challenges, and loads of fitness data that you can export to track your progress and keep up with your fitness level.
- Good bunch of comfort features such as ergonomic handles, adjustable footrests, padded low-profile seats, and more.
- A hefty weight-limit of 500-lbs making this machine a fantastic universal fit for users of any weight – Rated #1 best heavy duty rower.
- Easy storage and space savings thanks to a foldable frame and a reliable smooth set of transport wheels.
The Concept2 Model D Rower Review
If you’ve even just dipped your toes into the world of rowing machines, you’re likely already well-familiar with this beast of a rower.
As the most popular rowing machine on the market, the Concept2 Model D has quite a bit to offer to any fitness enthusiast. From rugged durability and sturdy build quality to a smooth innovative resistance system, low space requirement, easy to fold compact design, and dynamic programming – this high tech machine is packed with an awesome host of features and it’s honestly almost undervalued given its affordable sticker price.
As one of the best rowers, and being the machine that I’ve personally picked out for my own home gym after exhaustive research, I have to give the Model D a solid two thumbs up.
This is my Personal Model D in My Garage when I first got it
You can check out the exact rower that I got by clicking here.
It has all the features that you could ever need or even want in a best-in-class rower, and it also manages to offer industry-leading performance in an at-home setting.
Allowing you to pursue your fitness goals without the need for a pricey gym membership or having to carve out a giant block of time out of your busy life to get the exercise you need.
However, the best part lies in the fact that the Model D offers all of this at an incredibly affordable price-point, which is very rare in the fitness industry these days.
2. Best Machine For Interactive Live Training Classes
- 26 levels of silent magnetic resistance with built-in dual resistance control that simulates air resistance and allows you to really gain total control over the intensity of your workout, without all the noise and ruined neighbor relationships.
- 30 built-in interactive workouts to help you improve cardiovascular system health, push for higher fitness levels, challenge yourself, and build strength.
- Elegant and functional 22″ interactive touch-screen console that comes with built-in iFit compatibility which gives you access to over 12,000 instructor-led interactive workouts while offering a wealth of fitness data and compatibility with most modern fitness trackers.
- Tons of comfort features like adjustable nylon footholds, ergonomic seating, built-in speakers, and oversized pivot pedals.
- A reliable 250-lb weight capacity that is well-suited for most people.
NordicTrack RW900 Rower Review
Where the Model D excels in its rugged durability, near-infinite resistance, and industry-leading performance, it definitely leaves room for improvement when it comes to 21st-century tech.
And that’s exactly where the NordicTrack RW900 picks up the slack!
In fact I just did a review comparison of the Nordictrack RW900 and RW500 and to see which offered the better bang for buck buy and even though this one is more expensive – this one still came out to be the better buy between the 2 models.
From the elegant design and reliable structure to the wealth of creature comforts, technological bells, and whistles, as well as the heap (over 12,000) interactive workout options programmed into the machine’s resistance system that you get with this unit – there’s quite a bit to rave about when it comes to this rower.
The RW900 is a solid competitor to the Concept 2D in most aspects. In fact we just recently did a comparison between the Concept 2 and the RW900 rower and found them both to be excellent rowing machines, ones that are at the top of their game.
But if you’re someone that puts far more weight towards interactive training options instead of industry-leading performance and reliability, then the RW900 is likely the best rower that you can possibly find right now or for the foreseeable future.
3. Cheapest Rowing Machine For Full Body Workouts
- Easy to use analog display that offers the most vital fitness data to keep you in-tune with your workout.
- Variable magnetic resistance system with 8 levels of resistance for you to choose from, allowing you to fine-tune your workout to your personal preferences.
- Easy assembly to get your new machine up and running in under 45 minutes.
- A reliable folding frame that allows for easy storage and effortless transportation thanks to the smooth transport wheels that Sunny Health includes with this unit.
Sunny Health Magnetic Rowing Machine Review
While most of us are more than happy to throw down an extra bit of money to get the best-in-class where possible – for some people, keeping things in-line with their budget is the way to go.
If you’re part of that crowd, allow me to introduce you to the Sunny Health SF-RW5515 magnetic rowing machine.
For right around a few hundred bucks you’ll get to enjoy a solid magnetic resistance system along with a great base-line package of features, and even an easy to store folding-frame design to boot.
Given the low-low sticker price on this machine compared against the wholesome range of features it offers – it’s definitely a fantastic fit for beginners or even the budget-constrained fitness-minded folks among us.
Best Full-Body Strength-Building Workout Home Gym Machines
Below I’ll be covering the 3 best home gyms available on the market. We’ll cover their best features, the ins and outs of most home gyms that you should keep in mind when looking over them, as well as how they stack up against one another.
1. Best Overall Total Gym
- Offers over 70 different exercises to give you one heck of a full-body workout using Bowflex’s innovative power-rod resistance system.
- Features three independent pulley system with smooth pulley wheels to help you target all core areas of your body without the need to change its heavy duty cables or weights throughout your exercise.
- Lessened joint-impact thanks to adjustable pulleys and cleverly ergonomic design.
- Upgradeable resistance setup with options to nearly double the already hefty default resistance of 210-lbs.
Bowflex Extreme Home Gym X2SE Review
If you’re looking for the best-of-the-best option that is affordable, versatile, feature-rich, and upgradeable – the Bowflex X2SE is bar far the best thing out there in today’s times.
I mean just take a look at the reviews – they speak for themselves.
The X2SE allows the user to perform over 70 different exercises and comes packed with 210-lbs of innovative Bowflex power-rod tension resistance, though you can upgrade it to 310 or even 410-lbs depending on your needs.
You’ll find an ab crunch, shoulder harness, and squat bar among the units built into this awesome machine. And if you’re someone like me who opts for getting a proper workout that targets all core areas of my body – this machine does exactly that in stellar fashion.
Where most all-in-one home gyms offer the basic bland range of exercises, the Bowflex X2SE picks up the slack to offer the best all-in-one fitness solution available on the market. And if your budget isn’t too tight – this has to be the best unit worth every penny of your money in today’s day and age.
2. Most Compact Home Gym
- Little to no assembly needed to get up and running, along with a very small floor-space footprint making this machine a fantastic fit for just about any home, and yes, it’s also easy on your home gym flooring.
- Perfectly suited home gym for beginners and experts alike thanks to the fact that it features over 80 different exercises.
- Comes with an instructional DVD that showcases a plethora of workouts you can do on the machine, along with a solid nutrition guide to get you fit and ripped.
Total Gym XLS Review
Getting the exercise you need to progress in your fitness goals from home is definitely a popular topic today. However, for most people, the idea is quickly crushed by the spacially-challenged nature of today’s modern dwellings.
So, if you’re worried that a Bowflex X2SE may not fit all that well in your flat, garage, or basement – I’ve got a fantastic option for you!
I mean again… just take a look at the reviews – they speak for themselves.
Reader, meet the Total Gym XLS. This is one of the most compact apartment suited home gyms out there. And while it definitely cuts down on space-wise needs for those with small space available, it definitely doesn’t fall short in the range of multiple exercises you can do to really power up your workouts, build strength and pursue your fitness goals like there’s no tomorrow.
While it’s nowhere near as cool as the Bowflex X2SE – the Total Gym XLS is one of the best all-in-one gyms out there. If you’re space-conscious and want to get started on an incredibly versatile machine while following a pre-designed guided program – the Total Gym XLS is likely the best option for you!
3. Cheapest Home Gym
- Sturdy compact frame that can support up to 250-lbs of weight, making it a great fit for most fitness folk.
- Comfortable and durable vinyl cushioning along with a stellar folding design that allows this machine to be stored and used in just about any modern dwelling.
- Versatile workout options with over 80 different exercises that you can play with to get a great full-body workout out of one machine.
- Incredibly easy to assemble, and super affordable to get started with.
Weider Ultimate Body Workouts Home Gym Review
If you’re looking to start putting on some mass and build up your strength on a tight budget – the Weider Ultimate Body Works is definitely an option to consider.
While it’s nowhere near as fancy as the X2SE and doesn’t feature the instructional follow-along program you’d see with the Total Gym XLS – the Weider still packs a whopping 80 exercises and near-limitless resistance into one hyper-portable and easy to use workout machine.
And here’s the best part – all of those features and more will only set you back around a couple hundred bucks or thereabouts. Pretty good deal, huh?
All in all, this inexpensive all-in-one home gym machine is a wonder for those looking to get started with strength training and at-home fitness on a tight budget.
However, while it definitely doesn’t fall behind in terms of versatility and home exercise options compared to some higher-end machines – this machine and its variable resistance system just aren’t the most durable, which is to be expected given its low price point.
Best Full-Body Cardio Workout Machines
As cool as strength training and full-body workouts are – some of us don’t need that kind of intensive compound exercises like bench press, or other weight machines or free weight exercises.
Maybe you’re trying to kick those couple of extra pounds, or maybe you just want to improve your endurance and get your blood pumping with some low-impact exercise.
Well, dear reader, in this case – cardio machines that offer a full-body workout are the way to go!
An extremely versatile piece of equipment is all it takes to give you the ability to pull off a wide range of exercises that you would do with several machines, and if you don’t have a lot of space, all you have to part with is a very small footprint.
Below I’ll be introducing you to my top 3 picks for the best bang for buck full-body cardio machines on the market in today’s day and age. I’ll be giving you a rundown on what they’ve got to offer, while also helping you figure out which one might be the best fit for your particular needs and fitness goals.
1. Editor’s Choice – Expensive But Worth It – I Own It
- 20 variable resistance levels that offer a serious challenge to beginners and professional athletes alike.
- Brightly lit dual-mode LCD console that comes packed with fitness data, workout plans, and even the Smart-tech Max Intelligence suite that helps you tailor the perfect workout for your personal needs and goals.
- 4 custom user profiles allowing you to further customize your fitness routine, or even share the machine with others without having to worry around re-configuring everything each time you use it.
- Compatibility with most modern fitness trackers, smart devices, and heart rate monitors.
- Tons of creature comforts like a media shelf, device inputs, and even a Samsung tablet (if you decide to purchase the Performance Pack upgrade).
- Allows you to get a serious low-impact workout in only a fraction of the time it would take on a traditional cardio machine.
Bowflex Max Trainer M8 Review
We all know full well that the elliptical and the stair stepper are some of the best cardio machines out there.
However, owning both is impractical, and in all honesty, while both machines certainly cover a good range of exercises – they definitely leave room for improvement.
That’s the logic upon which the Bowflex Max Trainer M8 was built and designed. This stellar unit incorporates the best things that both machines have got to offer and builds upon that foundation to create a truly amazing full-body cardio machine that is incredibly powerful and effective while also being quite compact at the same time.
If you’re looking for a machine that is feature-rich, offers a serious challenge no matter your level of fitness, and something that comes packed with all the modern bells and whistles and connectivity features you could dream up – the M8 is likely the exact machine you’re after.
If you’re after the best that the world of cardio machines has got to offer – the M8 is definitely the machine for you!
Not only does it feature one of the most innovative crossovers between two hyper-effective machines, but it incorporates the signature Bowflex ideology that turns it into a truly versatile and feature-rich unit that will get your blood pumping like nothing else.
2. Best Bang For Your Buck
- 25 resistance settings with 29 pre-programmed workouts that will help you lose weight, improve your endurance, and keep up with your fitness.
- 20 inch stride elliptical makes it perfect for tall and short users.
- Moving handlebars with smooth-stride technology incorporated for a seamless full-body workout that helps you increase the number of calories burned in workout and exercise more effectively.
- Easy to use LCD console that features a wealth of fitness data and connects with most modern fitness trackers, smart devices, and heart rate monitors.
- Native compatibility with RunSocial, offering would-be owners a heap of interactive workouts that are already programmed into the machine.
- Lots of creature comforts to enjoy such as a nicely-sized media tray, built-in speakers, charging ports, a water bottle holder, and more.
- Smooth power incline system that goes up to a 10-degree level, helping you dial up the intensity of your workout at the touch of a button.
Schwinn 470 Review
Since 2013, the Schwinn 470 has been known as one of the most reliable and best-performing ellipticals on the market for at-home and in-gym use alike.
It also made my number 1 pick as the best commercial elliptical machine for home use – no this is not a commercial elliptical but because of the quality and reliability of this model, it compares with the tougher ones out there and yet this is a home use elliptical.
It’s an impressive machine to say the least.
And while the Bowflex M8 certainly has a lot of innovative stuff to bring to the offering table – the Schwinn 470 features an unparalleled bang for your buck.
It features a rugged and reliable frame, a stellar resistance system that will run like new for years on end – and after the recent overhaul in 2017, the unit also offers a plethora of creature comforts geared at the modern fitness enthusiast. So, when you consider that this machine will set you back only around half the cost of the M8 while offering more than enough features to keep you on track with your fitness, what’s not to like?
If the Bowflex M8 (or its price) seems a little bit overkill – then the Schwinn 470 would be the next best option to look at. It offers a rich feature-set that is far more than enough for you to achieve your fitness goals, no matter what they are.
And it does so at a fraction of the M8’s price without sacrificing much of the reliability, build quality, or performance.
3. Budget-Friendly Cross Trainer Option
- Rugged and durable steel frame supporting the recumbent structure, which makes this elliptical fairly reliable compared to most low-end models.
- Friction-free resistance that is smooth and seamless, helping you reduce the noise you make as you exercise while also adding to the machine’s longevity.
- Incredibly easy assembly that should take up less than 1 hour from start to workout.
- Recumbent bike style seating allows for tall users and short users and reduces the impact of your workouts and helps do away with physical stress and fatigue, allowing you to get more out of the exercise you do.
- Dual-power motion setup that allows you to target individual muscle groups as well as get a full-body workout, giving you total control over your fitness needs.
- Comes with a comprehensive 1-year warranty, unlike most low-end ellipticals.
The Teeter Freestep Recumbent Cross Trainer Review
Maybe your fitness budget is a little tight, or maybe you’re just not a fan of standing up – whatever the reason, the Teeter Freestep is definitely an interesting and rather unique cardio machine to check out.
In fact if you just look at the reviews for this machine you will see just how incredibly loved and highly rated this machine really is.
I recently did a full review on the Teeter Freestep and found it to be one of the most intense yet comfortable workouts that I had ever had the pleasure to engage in. This is one incredible machine. Rather than try and tell you how good it is, just take a look at the reviews here and see for yourself.
Let’s start with the fact that this is a recumbent elliptical. For those of you less well-versed in fitness equipment nomenclature – that means it’s a seated elliptical. And while the concept may seem a little odd, Teeter actually did a great job of creating a unique and effective elliptical that focuses down on the zero-impact principle without sacrificing the effectiveness of the exercise you’re getting.
This is thanks to the fact that the Freestep features dual power motion that relies on the push-pull effect of using your upper and lower body simultaneously in an ergonomic setting. This allows you to get a stellar full-body workout, and even isolate individual upper and lower-body muscle groups as you exercise, creating for a versatile and affordable approach to tackling your cardiovascular health.
If your budget is set in stone, and it’s rather tight – this is one of the best “affordable” ellipticals that you can pick up in today’s day and age.
However, while it’s definitely an interesting concept, and offers a plethora of features to keep most fitness folk busy – it does lack in the bells and whistles department, which is to be expected with the low-low sticker price it boasts.
Namely, one thing to watch out for is the fact that it doesn’t feature any sort of console. And with that, any fitness tracking, data, and programs essentially go out the window.
Which Full Body Workout Machine Should You Buy?
So, now that we’ve covered the different types of full-body workout machines for home gyms, and having learned their ins and outs, while also having looked over the best machines available in today’s times for each category – it’s time to answer the all-important question.
Which full-body workout machine should you buy for yourself?
Unfortunately, just as with most things in life – there’s really no linear answer. After all, it all essentially revolves around your personal preferences, fitness needs, and goals.
Before you go out and buy any sort of gym equipment, full-body workout machines included, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I actually want to achieve?
- What are my physical limitations?
- What sort of fitness do I actually enjoy?
- Will anyone else be using the machine?
- What sort of floor-space do I actually have available?
Let’s quickly break these down in a little more detail!
What Do I Actually Want To Achieve?
When you’re investing in your fitness, it’s crucial to first have a clear idea of what your fitness goals are. As in, what do you plan to achieve by purchasing this equipment and how exactly is the machine you’re eyeing going to help you get there?
The answers that stem from this question will do a whole lot in guiding you towards the right full-body workout machine for you and your situation.
For example, if you answered “I want to lose weight” – but packing on some muscle and improving your strength wasn’t anywhere on the horizon, then you should probably opt for a cardio machine such as an elliptical.
However, on the other hand, if you wanted to do that and gain some muscle mass too, then the rower is by far your best bet.
What Are My Physical Limitations
Now that we’ve got your fitness goals all ironed-out, you should have a decent idea of what category (or categories) of full-body workout machines are a good fit.
At this point, you should think about whether or not you can eliminate any of them based on physical limitations. Do you have any health conditions that may impede you from using the machine effectively? What about restrictions like joint pain?
Injuries and physical limitations of any sort don’t necessarily rule out being able to find a good workout machine for yourself. But rather, it helps you find the one that would be the best fit. Because after all, the fitness results are what you’re actually investing all that money into.
You just have to do your research and know what to look for. For example, those that have joint typically do not want to exercise on an normal exercise bike, but rather all you have to do is look and you will find that there are some great exercise bikes that are not only easy on your joints but are even good options for knee rehabilitation.
Same goes for treadmills, most treadmill decks are too rough for people with bad knees but that does not mean you can’t exercise on a treadmill. You just need to get a treadmill with a cushioned deck for people with bad knees. Most modern treadmills come with incline settings you would want to not use that feature when you are starting out
What Sort Of Fitness or Exercise Do I Actually Enjoy?
In a similar manner to putting some thought behind your physical limitations, it’s just as important to figure out whether or not you’ll be enjoying the type of exercise that each given machine offers.
At the end of the day, if it’s something you already enjoy doing, you’ll achieve far better results than if you continuously have to force yourself to do something that doesn’t spark a flame in your heart whatsoever.
No one says that every aspect of getting and staying fit has to be grueling, tough, and plain-out torture after all.
Will Anyone Else Be Using The Machine?
Folks listen up! If you’re throwing down a bunch of money and buying a sparkling new exercise machine, it’s probably a good idea to run the whole initiative by your significant other.
Maybe you’re not married but you’ve got kids, parents, family members, friends, or whomever else that would potentially want to use the machine – it may be a good idea to consider them as part of that buying equation and find something that would be useable for everyone involved.
This is also the reason why many high-end manufacturers like Schwinn, NordicTrack, and Bowflex have started implementing “custom user profiles” into their popular models some years back.
What Sort Of Floor-Space Do I Actually Have Available?
At this point, you should have narrowed down your shortlist to one or two particular workout machines. And this is where we get the tie-breaker that helps people go with one or the other in most cases – the amount of space that either machine takes up.
It’s no secret that many people in today’s day and age live in incredibly spacially-challenged environments. After all not everyone has a 500 square foot room they could turn into a home gym. And if you live in a one-bedroom apartment somewhere in the heart of the city, you’d be lucky to carve out 10-20 square feet.
This is why being aware of how much space you’ve got to work with is crucial!
While many models are coming out with foldable or stow-away options these days, it’s important to pay attention to how much space any given machine you’re eyeing actually takes up. Because no matter how great it is on paper, if it won’t fit, it won’t be used. And in turn, you won’t be getting those fitness results that spurred the investment on in the first place.
If you need a piece of home gym equipment for a small space or for your limited workout area then you need to keep that in mind when you are buying one of these machines. Take note of the dimensions and make sure it will fit in your workout room and even better, make sure it folds up.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the most important questions to help you figure out what equipment is actually a good fit for your needs, let’s get back to the topic at hand.
I’ve tried to structure this article and present everything in a way that would help you get the low-down on what suits your personal needs and wants best.
However, to really drive the point home – let me give you my personal recommendation for each category of full-body workout machines that we’ve gone over.
Best Workout Machine For Building Muscle
If for you the goal behind buying a full-body workout machine is to build up some solid muscle mass, add some size to your arms and legs, or even improve your strength – then you should definitely be looking for an all-in-one versatile multi gym with attachments for arm exercises and leg exercises too.
Given that you stuck around with me this far into the article, you’ve already been introduced to the Bowflex X2SE, the Total Gym XLS, and the Weider home gym. And while they’re all fantastic in their own way – among these options, I strongly recommend that you opt for the Bowflex Xtreme 2 (X2SE).
This machine features over 70 exercises built on Bowflex’s innovative power-rod resistance system, which is equally as powerful and versatile as it is convenient. Additionally, the whole setup can be customized and tweaked to suit your particular fitness needs. From adjustable pulley system to a whole array of options for you to play with – you get to work out exactly the way you’d like to with this unit.
And the best bit lies in the fact that the resistance is upgradeable to 310 and 410-lbs. So it’s not wrong to say that this is a machine that progresses alongside you as you level up and knock out your fitness goals over time.
But on the other hand, if you’re looking to save a pretty penny or simply just need something capable with a smaller floor-space footprint to accommodate your fitness needs in a smaller dwelling, the Total Gym XLS is going to be your best bet.
First and foremost, it clocks in at nearly half the price of the Bowflex Xtreme 2. However, despite shaving off the price, this machine doesn’t skimp out on the feature offerings, capabilities, convenience, or quality in any significant way.
You’ll get to enjoy 80 different exercises, a super space-conscious setup, great build quality, and even a follow-along fitness program that comes complete with an entire nutrition guide to boot.
And while it’s nowhere near as aesthetically cool looking as the X2SE, as scaleable, or as innovative, it’s certainly functional enough to suit the needs of most fitness enthusiasts and beginners alike. And as such it’s definitely the second-best option when it comes to buying a home gym setup.
Best Machine For Toning Up, Building Strength & Burning Fat
While building muscle and getting swole is definitely all the rage these days, some folks want a far more equilateral approach to their fitness regimen.
If you’re looking to get some amazing definition, build strength and burn fat like there’s no tomorrow all in one go, then the rowing machine is your best bet!
Earlier, we covered three amazing rowers that cater to basically any sort of fitness needs and budget alike. However, among them all, the Concept2 Model D is the clear-cut winner by a massive landslide.
Aside from being a long-established industry staple, the rowers that Concept2 puts out are simply a cut above the rest. It’s packed with every possible technological feature, creature comfort, and performance capability that you’d ever need from your rower.
Additionally, the near-infinite resistance achieved via the clever use of an air resistance setup is basically unmatched in the industry. And when you pair that with a super-reasonable price point, there’s practically no reason to go with anything else, even if you’ve got to take a little longer to put the money aside.
However, maybe you’re just looking for the best beginner option, and aren’t keen on going all out to invest in the best machine on the market just yet. Well, in this case, the Sunny Health SF-RW5515 is definitely a decent pick.
But bear in mind that while the SF-RW5515 is certainly the best option in the “budget” category, it’s a far stretch from competing with any high-end rowers and the difference is practically insurmountable. Though, it’ll definitely make do to get you started with a future upgrade in mind along the way.
Best Machine For Burning Fat & Losing Weight Quickly
If having a toned muscular body or building up your strength isn’t a major priority for you and pales in comparison to trimming off those extra pounds and getting your cardio back on track – then the elliptical is your best friend at this point.
Now, among the three ellipticals that we’ve covered earlier in the article, I personally recommend the M8. It’s one of the best things since sliced bread when it comes to the cardio machine lineup available.
From its innovative crossover combination of the elliptical and stair stepper to Bowflex’s stellar feature-kit that they’ve packed into this beast of a machine – there’s plenty to rave about. And at the end of the day, the efficiency of your workouts on this machine is next to none!
However, if you’re not quite too comfortable with the sticker price and want to get the best bang for your buck in the sub-thousand-dollar range, the Schwinn 470 would be my personal pick.
I’ve owned both of these machines and while my personal favor definitely leans towards the M8, especially since it’s far better suited for my fitness needs, I’d recommend both of them in a heartbeat over anything else on the market.
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Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward.
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