It’s Opening Day: Here’s my home gym starting nine

Major League Baseball teams will hold their Opening Day this week. It’s a day that’s as special as they come for millions of Americans, right behind Christmas, Easter or family birthdays for many.
Opening Day signals the start of spring, rekindled memories, a fresh start and renewed optimism.
When it comes to your own fitness, spring can also be a great time for a fresh start. Why not consider starting your own home gym, or adding on to the equipment you have?
In honor of Opening Day, here’s my “starting nine” must-have home gym performers:
1. Treadmill – The undisputed kings of the gym, Treadmills accounted for 56 percent of all fitness sales in 2009, according to statistics from the National Sporting Goods Association. They can benefit people of all ages, so program it to walk, jog, sprint or interval train and get fit.
2. Vibration Training Plates – The fastest growing segment of the fitness industry since elliptical machines started hitting it big about a decade ago, there’s virtually no limit to the different ways or kinds of people vibration machines can help get fit. No machine works muscles more efficiently or safer than a vibration machine, and they’ve helped everyone from pro athletes to senior rehab and wheelchair patients. If you don’t know about these machines, make it a point to check one out today.
3. Exercise bike – Warm up, cool down or make it the focal point of your workout. Exercise bikes can take you where you want to go, whether you choose a recumbent bike or upright bike.
4. Functional trainer/home gym – Get a workout machine to help you strengthen and tone your muscles into better shape.
5. Free weights – There’s nothing quite like getting a good free weight workout. Lift the dumbbells and barbells and pump yourself up.
6. Elliptical machine – Ellipticals are a distant second at 8.4 percent in big-item fitness equipment sales behind the treadmill, but this machine is gaining. Ellipticals, which posted a 27 percent growth in sales in 2007, are a great way to cross train and easy on the joints and ligaments. The senior crowd’s knees’ love them.
7. Rowing machine – A hidden gem in the weight room, which is often overlooked because it sits low to the floor. However, just like a good baseball team needs a slick fielding little infielder, rowing machines are an unsung hero in countless people’s workouts.
8. Kettle Bells – Toughen up like a third baseman who gets in front of line shot after line shot and see if you have the stomach to perform an incredibly tough, but beneficial Kettle Bell workout.
9. Exercise mats – The catcher is the field general, the only player who sees every player in front of him. Good exercise mats are well worth the investment, serving as the catcher for all that will take place in your home gym.
The introductions are over and you’ve met my starting nine.
Now jot down your fitness lineup and get your home gym team in place. Play Ball! 2012 is going to be a great season.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at