What you should know about buying second-hand fitness equipment

Top tips from Gumtree on buying used gym equipment

12 September 2019 - 09:18
There is plenty of excellent second-hand fitness equipment available for sale on Gumtree.
There is plenty of excellent second-hand fitness equipment available for sale on Gumtree.
Image: Supplied/Gumtree

With today’s hectic schedules, most of us are looking for convenient ways to fit exercise into our day. Bringing the gym to your home might be a viable option, but how will you know what fitness equipment you’ll need? And where should you buy it?

“There are plenty of excellent second-hand fitness equipment options available for sale online, including treadmills, ellipticals, free weights and stationary bikes,” says Estelle Nagel, marketing manager for Gumtree SA. 

“There are great heart-rate monitors, step counters and wearable tech products, such as Fitbits, available second-hand, and even new sport shoes that were unwanted gifts or hardly used. Do a lot of research on these items and check for wear and tear. Chances are you can still find a good-quality bargain.” 

Opt for quality

Nagel advises home-gym fanatics to start small and be prepared to invest in items that are in good condition. “You can pick up an old treadmill for a song on an online classifieds site, but remember that they are more prone to breakage and in need of regular maintenance than items such as ellipticals or stationary bikes and stepping machines. Always check whether the item has recently been serviced or whether parts have had to be repeatedly replaced.”

It’s always a good idea to shop for used fitness equipment that you’ve used at a gym, store or friend’s home. That way you will know whether you’ll like and continue to use the product in the future. If you don’t like cycling, a stationary bike might not be the thing for you. “Stick with your fitness personality,” says Nagel. 

Make sure it’s safe

Unwanted gym equipment can often be relegated to a dusty corner of the garage or garden shed, which means you have to carefully check all second-hand purchases for danger signs. “Frayed wires or emergency shut-off switches that no longer work or seem damaged are signs that you shouldn’t purchase the machine,” says Nagel. 

“Iron dumbbells should not be rusty and bikes should pedal smoothly and stop easily. Ask whether you can try out the equipment before purchase. It doesn’t have to be a full body workout, just a brief pedal should suffice.” 

Items that are more suited to a home workout than others, include

  • Kettlebells: Kettlebells can be used for whole-body fitness, engaging multiple muscle groups at once. Start with a realistic weight and work your way up.
  • Rowing machines: If you want one piece of equipment that can be used for a whole-body workout, this is the machine to get. Be sure to use the proper technique to avoid straining your back.
  • Stationary bikes: Stationary bikes are the best items to buy if you are just starting to exercise. They can also be picked up fairly cheaply (from R250 upwards on Gumtree). 
  • Stepping machines: These machines are small and low-impact. Resistance bands or weights can be added to work out your arms and legs simultaneously. 
  • Elliptical trainers: Not only is this a great workout to have in front of the TV (in case you were wondering if such a thing exists), it also works out most of your muscles and is extremely comfortable for people of all ages and fitness levels to use. 
  • Treadmills: Treadmills have to be built to last because running creates a great deal of force. When buying a second-hand treadmill, look for a wide belt, safety shut-off and incline settings. Quality models can cost at least R10,000 second-hand, so be sure to check the warranty and whether there are maintenance professionals in your area. 

If you can’t find the right gym equipment in your price range, you could still bargain hunt other ways to get fitter online.

“There are even travelling trainers, who are willing to do sessions at your home, who can teach you to do the basics or to use your equipment properly. You don’t have to invest in machinery to get fit.” 

This article was paid for by Gumtree