While we’re not really sure when people decided to sweat it out in the privacy of their homes, but we’re glad they did. However, the home gym went through many stages during its history and it has a bright future ahead of it. So, if you’re a proud home gym owner (or a future owner) you must know something about its past.
Hard life as a workout
Before the 19th century, normal people didn’t bother with exercise. Men used to work labor-intensive jobs while women handled households and raised children (while wearing corsets and huge dresses which was an exercise on its own). Even though ancient Greeks reportedly loved to shed some sweat, gyms, as we know today, didn’t appear until the mid-19th century. However, home workout equipment was very poor and even the wealthiest had access to only two types of gear. The chest expander consisted of four or five metal springs attached to two handles. It was a common exercise aid in late 19th and early 20th century, but you can still find them today.
The second piece of equipment was truly groundbreaking when it came to home gyms. It was named “portable gymnasium” and it consisted of various poles, springs, cords and weights designed for families who wanted to reap the benefits of exercise and fix spinal problems. Operating this machine was quite complicated and it used to come with a manual and encouragement to stick to exercising.
All fun and no work
Between the 1900s and 1950s, people still didn’t go crazy for real exercising at home. While there was some exercising taking place, it was very light resistance training and stretching. Home exercise videos like this one consisted of lifting light objects, swinging arms and stretching. Just like some gym machines that were designed to massage and stimulate problem areas, these exercise videos didn’t really do anything for melting fat.
Thanks to the television, more and more people started working out at home. TheJack LaLanne Show was a very popular home workout show that encouraged people to use chairs, tables and other everyday objects to exercise. But, that’s not something that marked the period—it was the invention of the stationary bike and the treadmill. However, these two inventions we can find in every home gym around the world didn’t stop dumb workout equipment from breaking the market. Who can forget the infamous vibrating belts that promised to jiggle the fat away?
Jazzercise of the 80s
This is the time of super-energetic exercise videos we know (and often laugh at). The invention of Jazzercise launched workout stars like Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons and Jake Steinfeld and they used to jump, jog and crunch inside everyone’s homes. And who could forget about the ThighMaster, one of the biggest fads of the 80s? The success of this machine lies in its marketing strategy. It shows women exercising in front of the TV while comfortably sitting on the couch. Who wouldn’t want that! However, ThighMaster doesn’t work, so it soon became a thing of history.
Modern home gyms we know and love
Today’s home gyms really get the job done as long as they really get used (if you use your treadmill as a clothes hanger, you won’t achieve great results). The market is filled with various machines that are designed to give you a full-body workout and allow for a great strength exercise. Many homes today, especially in the US and Australia have carefully designed home gyms that the whole family can use. For instance, an experienced Brisbane architect can offer you various completely personalized solutions for your home and come up with rooms which can easily be turned into home gyms. Every gym today is unique and made to fit its user’s needs and wishes, so professional help is often needed.
Gaming as exercise?
Many people realized that they hate boring machines and monotonous treadmill runs and prefer to spend their time playing video games. So, companies like Nintendo, Xbox and Playstation came up with gaming exercise equipment that made home workouts super fun and dynamic. With an on-screen personal trainer and a variety of fun exercises, these inventions offered a way for the entire family to get fit and have fun.
The future of the home gym
The future of the gym is looking very digital. Today, we have Fitbits, fitness tracking apps and even virtual training environments that aim to combine the technology and the Internet with home gym equipment to provide the user with hundreds of workout opportunities. For instance, today we already have internet-connected stationary bikes and treadmills. However, some predict that MIRROR offers the real future of home fitness. This responsive device streams on-demand videos, offers workout statistics and even creates an illusion of a group workout classes.
Now that you know how much home gyms progressed from their humble beginnings, hopefully, you got inspired to go through the same transformation and get the body you want. Hit your home gym and don’t stop until you’re satisfied!
Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to home improvement, DIY and interior design. In her free time she enjoys reading and preparing healthy meals for her family.