Home Gym Essentials – The Best Gear for Working Out at Home

What's on a personal trainer's list of home gym essentials? You may be surprised by how little equipment you need to make up your own home gym. making it easy for you to start working out at home.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the words ‘home gym,’ I have this vision of a huge room with custom flooring, mirrors, weight benches, a full set of dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells and let’s not forget the treadmill and spin bike. Obviously very few among us have such a luxury! But to get a great workout, you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a custom home gym.

I’ve trained many clients in their own home and I always tell them, so long as you have enough space to lay down a yoga mat, then anything you own on top of that is just a bonus. I thought today I’d give you a look into what makes up my home gym essentials, my luxury items and what’s on my wish list, just so you can see how a personal trainer makes working out in the living room work. (And don’t forget to check out this round-up of six awesome at-home workouts, the first in a new monthly series of workouts!)

Heads up, included in this post are Amazon affiliate links (if you buy something in this post on Amazon via my link, I get a small commission at no cost to you). Obviously, everything in this post is also owned by me and recommended by me! 

THE BASICS

This section is so short and sweet! It’s just one thing I suggest you have when starting an exercise program (and honestly, you could get away without it for a while, too). It’s a yoga mat.

Whether you have carpet or hardwood, you need a yoga mat so you don’t slip and so you contain your sweat in one easy-to-clean place. (Gross, but true.) It’s really the one basic you definitely should have to get started on a home workout area.

THE NICE-TO-HAVES

In a perfect world, you could work out with body weight only for good. In reality, though, unless you have an excellent knowledge of how to progress body weight workouts, sooner or later you will need to add some resistance to your exercises.

Enter resistance bands. (You can check out this post for a resistance band workout!) Resistance bands are great to add to your home gym equipment, because they take up little space, are easily stored and as a bonus, you can easily pack them when you’re going on vacation. They’re also super versatile – pretty much any exercise that requires a heavy weight and gravity can be improvised with resistance bands instead.

What's on a personal trainer's list of home gym essentials? You may be surprised by how little equipment you need to make up your own home gym. making it easy for you to start working out at home.

This Perfect Bands Kit comes with a door anchor, so you can more easily do rowing and pressing movements without having to use your foot to step on them.

You can also make your own resistance bands by purchasing separately a roll of resistance band and the handles – this way, if you want to also make a loop for exercises like monster walks, or for placing over your knees or help with form during squats, you will have that option as well. Try these bands, and these handles.

What's on a personal trainer's list of home gym essentials? You may be surprised by how little equipment you need to make up your own home gym. making it easy for you to start working out at home.
Dumbbells may not be strictly necessary when you have bands and body weight options, but if you have room to store a couple of sets, there are so many dumbbell workouts you can look up online and use at home. 

What's on a personal trainer's list of home gym essentials? You may be surprised by how little equipment you need to make up your own home gym. making it easy for you to start working out at home.

Ankle weights are compact to store and all your floor work exercises, like leg lifts and raises, become that much harder with these puppies on.

What's on a personal trainer's list of home gym essentials? You may be surprised by how little equipment you need to make up your own home gym. making it easy for you to start working out at home.

Recovery is as important as working out, so it’s a good idea to invest a little research and money into making sure you have some tools for self-myofascial release, so you know you’re giving your body a head start in the recovery and rebuilding phase. In the photo below, you can see a basic foam roller, a TriggerPoint GRID foam roller, the Moji Curve roller and the Moji foot massager, all of which I use regularly.

What's on a personal trainer's list of home gym essentials? You may be surprised by how little equipment you need to make up your own home gym. making it easy for you to start working out at home.

A jump rope might not work if you live in a small space, or an apartment building, but it’s great to have anyway. They’re small, light, travel easily and if it doesn’t work for your living room you can take them outside when it’s warm. Jumping rope is an amazing form of cardio, particularly if you’re doing some kind of HIIT circuit. 

What's on a personal trainer's list of home gym essentials? You may be surprised by how little equipment you need to make up your own home gym. making it easy for you to start working out at home.

THE SPLURGES

The BOSU Balance Trainer has been a wonderful addition to my workout gear at home. I received a BOSU ball when I took part in the Fit Approach campaign over the fall (here’s a BOSU abs workout I put together!) and not only is it fun, it’s also an excellent tool for a runner. Since we spend so much time on our feet, it’s important to work on balance and flexibility around the foot and ankle joints – balance work on the BOSU is perfect for that. They start at $109 and if you can afford one, I highly recommend them.

What's on a personal trainer's list of home gym essentials? You may be surprised by how little equipment you need to make up your own home gym. making it easy for you to start working out at home.

A TRX is like resistance bands on steroids. Not only can you do all the exercises bands offer, you can use the ‘handles’ as ‘stirrups’ instead and work your lower body as well. We’re talking about lunges, pikes, steps and squats with resistance via the TRX bands. Plus, it’s super fun! We have exposed beams in our place, which makes it easy to set up a TRX, but you’re also provided a door anchor with this starter TRX kit, so you can use it just as effectively without an obvious place to anchor.

What's on a personal trainer's list of home gym essentials? You may be surprised by how little equipment you need to make up your own home gym. making it easy for you to start working out at home.

And that’s my collection of home gym essentials! I don’t use all of them (or sometimes even any of them) for every workout, but they all get taken out sooner or later when I’m switching up my workouts. If you exercise at home regularly, it’s worth it to invest in some extra equipment to add variety and resistance to your workouts.

What do you swear by for at-home workouts?

What would be your splurge item for a home gym?

Comments

  1. It sounds silly but cheap and everywhere??
    2 old dish towels to use to sliiiide and work the core!!
    Carla recently posted…Are we only as sick as our secrets?My Profile

    • Yes!! I was so excited that our new place has hardwood (our old apartment was carpeted) so I could use this trick again! I used to work in a fancy gym and my clients would think it was hilarious when I’d grab handtowels and take them to a mat to do sliding lunges and things. Then they’d start doing the moves and they didn’t think it was so funny anymore.
      Carly Pizzani recently posted…Home Gym Essentials – The Best Gear for Working Out at HomeMy Profile

  2. Great equipment for at home gym. My favorite piece of equipment I have is my treadmill. I am lucky that I have enough space to have me. Although I still have not gotten a BOSU ball. That is on my list.
    lacey@fairytalesandfitness.com recently posted…How Running Enhances LivesMy Profile

  3. Nice šŸ™‚ At least now I know I am not the only crazy one with an ottoman full of working out stuff šŸ˜›
    Ellen @ Tale of Two Runs recently posted…Favourite track workouts!My Profile

  4. We are currently designing a home gym in our new house so this post was perfect timing!!!!
    Jesica @rUnladylike recently posted…Moving On UpMy Profile

  5. I’ve got a fairly decent collection of home gym items. My only issue is the motivation and time to use them. Excuses, excuses, excuses.
    Char recently posted…The PB That Wasn’tMy Profile

  6. Great list! I love resistance bands and dumbbells. I also find a playground ball to be really helpful for targeting inner thighs and using as support for my back during core exercises, especially while pregnant.

  7. Hi Carly, Like you I’m an expat Aussie living in Thailand. My go to home gym is my yoga mat and free weight dumbbells. I also find there are a lot of good videos on yoga and pilates found on youtube. Thanks for sharing!
    Kylie recently posted…Top 5 Best Treadmills Under $1,000My Profile

  8. I think it’s interesting that you recommended having a yoga mat no matter what exercises you’re doing. However, your explanation makes sense. Usually, regardless of if you’re doing cardio or weight training, you’ll want to stretch before and after your workout. Having a solid, slip-resistant place to do so can be nice. Thanks for the tips!

    • I couldn’t agree more. But I thought that you could slip anyway – also with a yoga mat. But yeah – for scretching. Why not? I tried and I didn’t like it. I don’t know, it just didn’t feel right for me. But anyone should try it. Maybe it would hep you to exercise šŸ™‚

  9. Hi, My yoga mat and some form of resistance band is all I need. Thanks for sharing!
    Kylie recently posted…Walk On The Wild Side ā€“ Meditating In NatureMy Profile

  10. This is such a perfect timing! I’m working out at home now as I do not have the time to go to the gym. Thanks a lot for sharing this!

  11. Hello Carly,
    It’s really good to know how we could set up a home amazing gym with very affordable investment. I also blog on fitness and equipment. Owning such can really be very expensive and the reason why so many shy away from developing their own gym.
    Thanks for the insight. Looking forward to link to this write up on one of my next blog post.

  12. I love working out with dumbbells. It’s much more fun. But I agree – you always need to think about your safety.. šŸ™‚

  13. jump rope is really useful for daily workout.

  14. Hi Carly,

    From one Aussie to another, I love your blog. An excellent list of basic equipment and simple ideas for anyone wanting to keep fit and healthy. I am not in your target group, as being a young father is a lovely but distant memory, but I can see how your followers must appreciate what you are doing. I am focussing on your grandmother/father, and those ready and able to create a home gym and make sure that they remain fit, healthy and mentally engaged for many years to come.

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  1. […] the next, if you have a dumbbell, use it. If not, you can always use an exercise band. (Check out this post for more ideas on building your own home gym with limited equipment). Get into a side plank […]