A subscriber recently asked about how to set up a home gym and I created a short video to go over the bare bones budget-friendly version, the next level, and the nice-to-have. I want to elaborate on that here. My must-haves have an astrick beside them. All my suggestions include only small pieces of equipment, no major cardio machines. You can get cardio in without big machines.
Make no mistake though, I’m a fan of never letting go of your gym membership. Heavy weights (and potentially access to a pool) are a requirement for bone density and weight loss benefits that the convenient weights you can lift (if you’re honest) more than 15 times can’t get you.
That said, we also all need a convenient option when it’s just not practical to get to the gym or you use up all the time you have driving to and from or waiting for what you need.
A home gym is great too for getting schooled and comfortable so that when you travel there’s no reason you can’t walk into any hotel gym (or closet as it may be) and get a good workout in that keeps you on track. So while I’ll add a couple links to help you find equipment especially when it’s a favorite of mine, I am not affiliated with any of the companies here. I can say for some props there is a difference between what you might find at your big discount store and what a company who only makes fitness equipment makes. Bands and tubing or balls are perfect examples of items that are not all created equally.
These are the one thing I won’t workout without. There are bands and tubing and suspension tools but dumbbells are the back-to-basics simple way to get results. I recommend at least three pair: a light pair, medium pair, and a heavy pair. That’s something you can lift 20 times, 15, and 10 or fewer times.
An exercise ball expands your options for core work, leg exercises, and adding stabilization to exercises that you don’t have when you use the floor or a bench. Having a ball eliminates the need for a bench.
Exercise bands and tubing give you ways to do almost any exercise with resistance but it’s low on my list of must-haves. Tubing is a nice-to-have if you’ve got shoulder issues and need light resistance. I do like bands that fit around knees or ankles so you are able to do lateral work to strengthen glutes.
If you have a carpeted floor you may not need a mat but a slip-proof surface is a must. I like Manduka mats for yoga and floor work.
I use kettle bells for squats, single leg deadlifts, rows, swings, goblet squats and side carries. One or two heavy kettle bells can hep you reach fatigue with leg exercises at home.
Boxing is a fun and novel way to get in cardio intervals without impact. It’s a great shoulder and arm toning workout. Gloves come in 12 and 16 ounces. It takes literally no equipment to add this to a home gym.
You can buy a jumprope for $10 or you can pretend you’re using one. The heart rate is the same.
*Foam Roller or The Stick
This is a must-have for anyone who wants to optimize range of motion and mobility. It’s also a secret weapon in fighting cellulite.
I have one, I’ve bought dozens for programs I’ve managed. I haven’t used the one I have for 18 months. I have forgotten about it until writing this blog, honestly. It’s a nice extra. It’s not a mandatory and it has some risk if you have neck or shoulder issues and you’re new to exercise without someone to help cue good form.
Now, it’s your turn.
I’d love to hear your must-haves for home gym. Trampoline? Bosu? Hula Hoop. What props are you using regularly that you couldn’t do a workout without?