I have put together a list for you of my favorite pieces of exercise equipment to begin setting up your own home gym. While I love a barbell, plates, kettlebells, and a squat rack, I know that not everyone can add that right away. I was not able to have those additional pieces until several years into my fitness journey, but I was able to get in great shape while having some of these items below!
A wide variety of dumbbells: If you can invest a bit, buying these new OR used will be a major staple in your gym. Preferably in increments of 5 lbs from 5 to 50 lbs or more, or of course, as much as you are able.
A large variety of resistance bands with handles and ankle straps (bonus if they are “stackable”). You may also consider bolted- into- the- wall anchors to place these bands on at 2-3 different heights. If dumbbells are not an option right now, you can use these for full body strength training at a much more affordable price.
Bench- a standard bench is great, especially one that will adjust to an incline for you.
Comfortable Yoga Mat: Your knees and back will thank you for floor work. And this will help surfaces to be less slippery.
Mini Bands/Glute Loops: Get the heavy-duty cotton ones in 3 or more strengths-- not the 100% rubber/latex kind. These will loop above or below the knees to kick up intensity on glute bridges, squats, hip thrusts-- and so much more.
Door Pull Up Bar: one that can be placed into a standard doorway in less than 3 seconds.
Monster bands (long continuous loops with NO handles): If you have a pull up bar and need assistance, these are helpful. They can also be used in the same fashion as many of the handled resistance bands, but many people do not like the way the grip feels for rows, presses, etc. Squats, lunges, and deadlift variations can also be done with these monster bands.
Suspension Trainer: Many people are familiar with these as the original TRX straps. The key here is to find one that will either go over a closed door OR one you can take outside and hook over a swing set, tree, etc. There are many brands out there. Find something that would be comfortable to grip OR to put feet/ankles in for lower body work.
Valslides or Similar Sliders: These are GREAT for many plank/pushup variations, lunges, etc. Towels on wood floors or paper plates on carpet work as well if you don’t have these. You can also buy basically the same thing in a furniture slider which will be less expensive.
Sturdy Step or Box for Step Ups, Hip Thrusts: (especially if the standard bench listed above is too high for step ups). Specifically, this type of step below is great for hip thrust variations too, where I recommend 14-16 inches for most people. You can also do hip thrusts from a flat bench like the one at the top of this article, but you may need to elevate the feet a bit so that it won't feel awkward.
Stability Ball: great for leg curls, ab work, etc. The larger the ball, the easier leg curls will be. If you are above 5 feet 6 inches, you may opt for 65 cm ball to start. Shorter recommend 55 cm.
Ab Wheel- also known as the wheel of pain, LOL.
Jump Rope-GREAT and super simple-but intense- cardio!
I hope this article will be very useful as you build or add to your home gym! Please share if you found it helpful!
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