If there's anything we learned this last year is that a home gym can be a worthwhile investment! Having pieces of equipment at home can help you stay on top of your workout routine during any circumstances. Pandemics aside, we've all had days when we want to work out, but we're too busy to shave 1-2 hours of time off your day. Or maybe you simply don't want to deal with the busy gym and fight people over weights and cardio machines! This is when having fitness equipment and accessories at home comes in handy, you can skip the gym and still get a decent workout in all in the comfort of your own home.
So, how does one start building the best home gym possible?
You have to take into consideration your training style, your goals, budget, and the amount of space you have available! But to help you get started on the right path, we've put together a list of 10 must-have home gym accessories and equipment that are inexpensive (for the most part), fit any training style, portable and can fit small spaces, and can be used to enhance your home workouts and gym workouts!
Set of resistance bands
Whether you prefer home or gym workouts - You need a set of resistance bands. Resistance bands are long or short bands made from rubber or fabric that provide external resistance that your muscles work against. They range from extra light resistance to extra heavy resistance, this added resistance makes them work similarly to free weights. When performing exercises with resistance bands you're pushing or pulling against the force of the band, but your muscles are engaged throughout the entire exercise because they have to fight the tension. So, if you don't have free weights then resistance
So these are definitely a must-have for home gyms and to take with you to the gym to use them as a warm-up tool or in addition to exercises to make them more difficult.
Beginners and advanced fitness lovers can use short resistance bands for lower body exercises like squats, lunges, hip thrust, and other glute activation exercises. Long resistance bands can be used for lower and upper body exercises like biceps curls, shoulder press, deadlifts, and more. Aside from being extremely versatile, they're cost-effective! They usually range from $10-50, depending on if you buy one or a set.
Go for fabric resistance bands! They're more comfortable to use and durable, so you get more bang for your buck. UPPPER fitness gear has cute short and long fabric resistance bands that come in various colors and designs, resistance levels, and they always have a buy 2, get 1 free promotion so you can bundle three short and/or long resistance bands!
This is a must-have piece of equipment, especially if you want to reduce muscle soreness! Any type of exercise, strength training or cardio, requires a warm-up and cool-down to help the body prep and recover for the intense training it's about to do. Aside from dynamic and static stretching, foam rolling is the best way to prep muscles for training and the best way to help them recover. Rolling your muscles before your workout will increase tissue elasticity, range of motion, and circulation. This will help you move better during your workout and minimize the risk of injury. After your workout, or even on your rest day, use foam rolling as a tool to enhance recovery. Focus on rolling the major muscle groups worked and any problematic areas. Doing this will help stimulate blood flow in those affected areas and increase oxygen to the sore muscle fibers to help reduce recovery time.
So if you're not foam rolling then it's time to start! Luckily, they're fairly inexpensive, they typically range from $10-40+. There are fancier ones that are more expensive, but all you need is a simple one that is cylinder shape and made of foam or flexible plastic. Before and after your workout use it to release any knots and tight muscles. Do this by laying on it in a variety of positions. The key is to allow your body weight to put pressure on the affected muscles. Common areas to roll are quads, glutes, hamstrings, hips, and back muscles.
If you're serious about working out and feel more comfortable doing so at home then definitely consider investing in some free weights! Now, this all depends on your fitness goals and what kind of training you do. If you prefer cardio and light weights then you might not benefit from getting a bunch of free weights. Maybe a set of dumbbells, but you'll probably benefit from other fitness accessories on this list. However, those who want to keep up with their strength training routine at home could definitely benefit from getting a set of dumbbells, kettlebells, or even a barbell and weight plate set (depending on your fitness level).
Bodyweight exercises have many benefits like being convenient (you can do them anywhere) and are effective at maintaining and building muscle, but eventually, your body will adapt to the movements and need more of a challenge to continue making progress. Aside from resistance bands, free weights are an excellent tool to challenge your muscles to promote muscle growth and strength. They also help improve bone density and tendon strength. The one downside is that they are more on the expensive side... But if you plan on getting rid of your gym membership and starting your own home gym then consider buying workout equipment like adjustable dumbbells, barbells, squat rack, etc. If you don't want to cash out on all this equipment at once and want to continue working out mainly at the gym, just start buying things slowly and only buying the things you know you need and will utilize.
For those who want to get a good cardio workout at home, but don't have the budget for an exercise bike, elliptical, or treadmill then invest in a jump rope! Jump roping isn't only for the kids anymore. This piece of fitness equipment is great at getting your heart rate up and boosting your cardiovascular fitness. You can incorporate it into HIIT workouts, use it as a tool to warm up, use it in between sets while lifting weights, etc. Plus it's easy to store in your home gym, travel bag, and gym bag!
This is an underrated piece of equipment, but it will change your workout routine! Medicine balls intensify basic exercises like Russian twists, sit-ups, triceps extension, etc. They can be used in so many different ways to create full-body workouts, develop core strength, and full-body strength without requiring any fancy equipment or free weights!
Choose a medicine ball with a bit of cushioning for comfort and pick a weight that's heavy enough to slow the motion of exercises, but not too heavy that your control or range of motion takes a hit.
Plyometric boxes are not only for plyometrics training! Even if jump training is not your thing you can still benefit from having a plyometric box a part of your home gym equipment.
These types of boxes can be used for jumping exercises to increase speed and power. But they can also be used for other strength training exercises like elevated push-ups, tricep dips, step-ups, squats, and more. There are various kinds of plyometric boxes, just find one that is sturdy enough to support the exercises you'll be doing.
Sliding discs are a great home gym accessory because they are small, portable, and can be used to enhance a variety of bodyweight exercises that help increase strength. You can make certain exercises like lunges, mountain climbers, push-ups, more difficult.
They are small, flat round discs that go between your hands or feet and the floor. So instead of lifting your arms or legs during exercises, you support your full weight by sliding your hands and feet across the floor.
Incorporating a stability ball into your routine is going to take your core workouts to the next level! They are inexpensive, can be stored easily in your house, can be used for stretching and flexibility exercises, and can be used in addition to core exercises to challenge your core muscles and to help you develop better core strength. You can even use them to do hamstring curls, hip thrusts, push-ups, and so much more!
Having one of these at home is perfect for when you want to switch things up or enhance your workout. Before buying any ole' ball you find on Amazon, look at reviews to make sure it's good quality and consider your height and the size of the ball to make sure you get the right size for you.
A TRX suspension training system
A pull-up bar is great, and definitely a home gym essential... If you know how to do pull-ups! No hate on pull-up bars, they're highly effective and make a great piece of home gym equipment, but if you don't know how to do a pull-up or want something more versatile then look into the TRX All-In-One Suspension Training System! This piece of equipment can do so much... You can train to do pull-ups by performing rows using only your bodyweight – might not seem tough, but trust us, it is!
This is a home gym essential for strength trainers because of its functionality and size. It doesn't take up much space, and you can use it for so many exercises! It can be used for upper body workouts like rows and push-ups, and lower body exercises like pistol squats, hamstring curls, and more. There are so many ways to use this exercise, so if you have a door that can support weight invest in this piece of equipment for all your full-body home workout needs!
Yoga mats aren't only just for yoga! You can use them for any activity that requires you to get down on the floor - Hip thrusts, ab exercises, stretching exercises, Pilates. Whether you're practicing yoga, or not, a yoga mat will come in handy. It can also be used to protect the floor against weights you might have at home, but for the really heavy equipment get an extra thick exercise mat. You can also take them to the gym with you! For sanitary reasons, bringing your own mat with you to the gym is better!
Whether you set aside space in your living room or are building an entire gym in your garage, creating a home gym with the fitness equipment essentials listed above can boost your workouts to help you achieve effective results. You don't need all the expensive exercise equipment in your home, all you need is a few home gym essentials that fit with your style of training, and you'll have what you need to work up a sweat without leaving the comfort of your home. Or add them into your gym bag before hitting the gym to intensify your workouts 😉