Home Gym Essentials
Not sure how to get started creating your own home gym? No problem. This list of home workout equipment is all you need to build an effective exercise space that’s uniquely tailored to your own needs. You’ll be able to build your dream home gym with some of these pieces of essential home gym equipment.
Knowing what equipment you need to work out at home can be daunting – is a set of 10 different dumbbells and a selection pack of resistance bands really necessary? According to personal trainers the principles behind training at home are no different to training anywhere else.
Building the home gym of your dreams is perfectly achievable with proper planning, and even home gym assembly doesn’t have to be daunting if you’ve got the right equipment.
As long as you don’t have a tiny apartment where there really isn’t enough space, there’s room for gym equipment in most houses. If you’re forced to work with relatively little square footage, you’ll just need to get even more creative.
The benefits of owning a home gym are endless. Think of it as building a space where you’ll undergo immense personal growth. You’ll cut down on wasted time, too, since you’ll no longer need to head to the gym and back. Although the upfront cost is greater, you’ll save money in the long run by canceling your monthly gym membership.
Let’s look at how you can get a functional home gym tailored to your needs.
Fitness trainers suggest that any wellness program should be balanced to cover all aspects of fitness, which incorporates muscular strength, mobility, work capacity, body composition and emotional wellbeing. If there is one to prioritize, it’s muscular strength, as that’s the building block for everything else. It allows us to be resilient enough to do the HIIT class, creates the stability for yoga, Pilates or a dance workout, and makes you feel empowered and fulfilled.
Consistency is key, but so is variety. Being able to choose from as wide a library of movements as possible is important. A few pieces of equipment can go a long way. Working out at home is becoming the new norm. Here are some of our hottest picks for what you need to be successful!
Home Gym Options
An essential for bodyweight work, which is important for your exercise routine. If your floor is hard and uncomfortable, you’re less likely to want to do those floor and kneeling exercises.
Long loop resistance band
This allows you to perform a wide variety of exercises. Most significantly making the ‘pulling’ exercises available to you. You can attach one end of a long loop band to a fixed object and this will open up a wide variety of rows, pulls and chops that allow you to work all of those important upper back and core muscles that you can’t see in the mirror. Buying two lighter resistance bands that you can double up in order to make them stronger, or to use them for bigger exercises like squats.
Sometimes, basic really is best. These physical therapist-approved bands come in a variety of colors of varying resistance levels, so you can use them for both upper and lower body workouts. They’re also super durable, making them a great investment.
The ab wheel is effective in strengthening your core not only because it targets your abs but also because it works the muscles of your lower back. You need strong back muscles to counteract the natural arching of your back that occurs as you roll forward on the wheel. Aim to train your abs with the abs two to four times a week as part of a total-body strength training routine.
You might remember the medicine ball from gym class. Used well, it can be a potent addition to any home gym at an extremely reasonably price-point. You won’t need much room to stash a medicine ball, so these work well in apartment gyms.
You can train almost any body part with this versatile equipment, so decide whether this makes a good fit with your training routine. If you’re looking to train your whole body, medicine balls are well worth adding to your home gym.
A medicine ball is a cheap, versatile piece of kit that you can use simply as a weight to increase load on your squats, lunges and presses. It also allows you to add weighted throws into your workout. Throwing builds core strength, increases power and can be used as a great cardio workout, but you do need to be able to throw it against solid floors, outside or against a brick wall.
If I could have only one piece of equipment at home it would be this. Kettlebells can build strength simply through using them to add external load to your squats and lunges, but also for cardio, when used for the kettlebell swing, and for training mobility and core control with kettlebell get-ups. Most trainers suggest buying two kettlebells of different weights. A light weight such as a 6kg or 8kg bell for the get-ups or other core exercises, and a heavier weight such as a 12kg or 14kg for swings, squats and lunges. Good quality kettlebells can be expensive, but you do get what you pay for.
Kettlebells allow you to inject a little more versatility into your workout than regular dumbbells permit. They come in a broad range of configurations and work very well in limited spaces. You can perform a range of movements without needing too much room.
As the most commonly-owned home gym equipment, dumbbells are small but deceptively powerful and versatile. You can buy a whole set if that’s in your budget, but if not, just start with one or two. You can always expand your collection later.
Think about your fitness goals and make sure you buy dumbbells with appropriate weight. Too little weight won’t do much good, but starting off with too much weight could lead to injury.
Not only is a classic skipping rope cheap, it’s an effective cardio training tool. Although the skill and timing can initially be tricky, once you have found your rhythm, you can use a jump rope for interval training, as well as longer, steady-state exercise.
They actually have cordless jump ropes now! You don’t have to worry about making loud sounds from the jump rope slamming on the floor. Also, no need to worry about tripping over the rope.
Exercise balls are good for exercise, yoga, pilates, and stretching at home, in the gym, or the office! They’re also great to relief back pain, during pregnancy, and for improving your posture and core strength. You can use it to strengthen and stretch your body, improving core stability and balance. It’s incredibly versatile, it doesn’t take up much space, and it’s a very small investment for all the benefits it provides.
Trideer Exercise Ball – If you’re looking for something that can support all your weight and then some, this exercise ball is capable of resisting up to 2,200 pounds. It’s 2000 micrometers thick and can be easily inflated using the foot pump that’s included. Plus, it comes in multiple sizes so you can pick the perfect one for your workouts.
One of the most popular and neglected workout machines, the mini stepper, is an easy way to tone your lower body from the comfort of your own home.
While you work your lower legs, it is also possible to pump your arms with free weights, work at your desk, or watch TV. Mini steppers are great for multitasking but are they effective at keeping you fit?
A stepper exercise machine will tone all of your lower body muscles, from your butt down to your feet.
In between it will strengthen and tone your thigh muscles (quads & hamstrings), as well as the muscles in your calves.
The stepper machine is better at providing a low-impact cardio workout for people who don’t want to stress their joints, like those dealing with arthritis.
Their workouts can be longer on a stepper & pain-free too, because there’s no foot impact like there is when running or briskly walking on a treadmill.
Living in a small home or apartment with limited storage options can make working out difficult and owning a treadmill or elliptical impossible. Luckily, mini steppers are compact enough to fit in small spaces for your convenience.
Can be used sitting or standing
Sitting at a desk all day is incredibly damaging for the body. Mini steppers can be used when sitting or standing to keep you in top condition no matter what your needs are.
Improved Cardiovascular Fitness
Depending on the speed and effort put into your stepper workout, you can use a mini stepper to add some cardio into your routine and improve your cardiovascular health.
Increased Bone Mass
Working out with a mini stepper over time can increase an average user’s bone mass and strength as well as their overall health. This is just one of many mini stepper benefits.
Offering a full cardio workout and strengthening your muscles, this stepper exercise machine can help you get a shapely and toned body as well as full body workout. Work out anywhere at any time! This stepper with removable resistance bands is easily assembled, simply unbox and attach the included resistance bands to begin your fitness journey! Convenient easy-assembly means you can save time, money and energy on putting together your stepper!
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique. It can help relieve muscle tightness, soreness, and inflammation, and increase your joint range of motion.
Foam rolling can be an effective tool to add to your warm-up or cool-down, before and after exercise. And the benefits of foam rolling may vary from person to person.
By applying pressure to specific points on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice.
Quite simply the best at-home alternative to dumbbells which, in their traditional form, take up a lot of room. A power block is a clever bit of kit that’s an adjustable dumbbell. You can move the selector pin which attaches more or less of the block to the handle. They are a little more cumbersome than individual dumbbells, but much more cost effective and space-saving. Adjustable dumbbells allow you to add chest presses, shoulder raises and more directly targeted arm work to your routine.
Step or bench
A step or bench will open up a variety of single leg exercises such as step ups and split squats, as well as giving you the ability to perform single or double legged hip thrusts for your glutes.
Barbell and weight plates
Although these are expensive, they make the range of exercises available to you almost limitless. Used creatively, a barbell can serve all of your needs for resistance training and is the most effective way of building and maintaining lean muscle. Barbell and weight plates allow you to add a wide variety of squats, presses, rows and lunges to your routine, as well as being very specific about the resistance for every exercise.
Investing in a barbell and plates will take your weight training to the next level. When someone mentions a barbell, your mind probably goes right to bench presses, deadlifts, and squats.
While these moves are true classics, there’s so much more you can do with a barbell and plates. You can isolate and exercise almost any body part with this simple but highly effective equipment.
Barbells come in a range of configurations:
- Standard Barbell: This all-purpose bar is ideal for recreational use in a home gym.
- Weightlifting Bar: If you’re lifting heavier weights, step things up to a proper lifting bar.
- Power Bar: For heavy lifts and power lifting, you’ll want a dedicated bar.
What makes the best barbell for you depends entirely on your fitness target and the style of lifting you prefer.
Squat Rack and Stand
A decent squat rack or squat stand is a crucial focal point of any home gym. This simple but devastatingly efficient piece of equipment allows you to perform a far broader range of exercises than just squats, so don’t be put off by the name.
Squat racks and squat stands serve slightly different workout purposes and differ in price.
A rack normally comes with plate holders. You’ll often get a pull-up bar as well, which is another wonderful addition to your home gym. Racks are incredibly rugged and sturdy, but on the flipside, they’re pricey and eat up a lot of real estate in the gym.
If you just haven’t got the space or the budget for a squat rack, consider a squat stand.
Requiring slightly less assembly, squat stands are cheaper than their rack counterparts, too. A stand’s functionality is much more limited, but you’ll also need far less space to accommodate it. This is a smart solution in compact gyms.
Space and budget dictate which type of squat rig will make the best fit for you, so choose accordingly.
We mentioned that some squat racks come equipped with pull-up bars. If you opt for a stand instead, or you don’t have a dedicated bar, you should remedy that. Many pull-ups bars simply fit within your door frame, so you’ve got the motivation in place to do a few reps every time you walk underneath it.
Whatever variant of pull-up you attempt, you’ll get plenty of use out of this home gym staple. Tracking progress through reps is straightforward, and these bars are relatively cheap as well. Just ensure that you install it properly, because it will need to take your full body weight.
TRX or suspension trainer
It might be a bit more expensive, the TRX is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment out there. Suspension trainers allow you to use your body weight through a huge variety of angles. A TRX will allow you to perform a full body resistance workout in a limited space, and it will fit in a drawer when you’re done. You’ll find them hanging in most modern gyms.
Make Your Dream Home Gym A Reality
All you need to make the dream of a home gym a reality is time, proper planning, and a reasonable budget. There’s no need to go all-out with home gym assembly right away. Start with a few central pieces of equipment and build out slowly over time. You’ll find it’s well worth the effort.
Now, more than ever, people are looking for ways to work out at home. But in order to turn part of your house into the ultimate personal gym, you’ll want to purchase the best workout tools that both help you meet your goals and align with your interests.