The latest trend in fitness is having all of the essential equipment you need to get a great workout in the comfort of your own home. Not only does this make adherence to a fitness routine much more likely (after all, you don’t even have to go outside!) but it can actually save you money in the long term, as you ditch that expensive gym membership.
Don’t believe us? Just ask The Rock, also known as one of Hollywood’s most fanatical fitness buffs. In an Instagram post, he told his fans that he travels with over 40,000 lbs of fitness equipment: “I can maintain and build upon an insane work schedule, but only due to having my anchor ready to go every morning at 5 a.m.” Even assuming you don’t have the need or the means for 40,000 lbs of workout equipment, you can still take a lesson from The Rock’s devotion by starting your own home exercise equipment collection.
Here are the three main benefits of having workout equipment at home:
- Increased motivation. If there are dumbbells staring at you every day, they may just motivate you to pick them up. Then put them down. Then, hopefully, pick them up again.
- Convenience. Whether you’re a gym rat or a newbie, there are things you’ll need to do at home to get better or stronger or leaner. Accessory work is needed, recovery will mean more than taking a nap and consistency will mean that sometimes you’ll need to get a workout in on limited time.
- You’ll save money. If you don’t have $100 a month to sign up for an upscale gym or don’t want to burn $10 a month to share weight machines with a guy working out in distressed denim, in the long run, purchasing a few versatile fitness items is going to be a lot more cost-effective.
Cap Barbell Enamel Coated Cast Iron Kettlebell
Why We Love It: A kettlebell is easy, versatile and durable. It’s an ideal piece of equipment to incorporate into a breath-zapping interval workout or strength and stability exercises.
Let’s say you’re only going to purchase one piece of equipment. Start with a kettlebell. It is insanely versatile, allowing you to do essentially any exercise you could perform with dumbbells. The handle makes it perfect for swings, an excellent total-body, fat-burning exercise. There are tons of choices at various prices but there’s really no need to shell out big cash for a high-end kettlebell out the gate. What’s more important is choosing a moderate weight. You want something heavy enough to present a challenge on various movements but light enough to remain safe as you perfect your form.
$33.99 at Amazon.com
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
Why We Love It: Because it’s both practical and cost-effective. It’s an entire dumbbell rack built into one.
Having a pair of dumbbells is a critical step to starting weight training, perfect for varying planes of motion, compound movements, isolation lifts, and copious amounts of bicep curls in the mirrors. Dumbbells offer everything, especially these adjustable dumbbells from Bowflex. Bowflex gives you 15 sets of weights in one, allowing you to adjust in 2.5-pound increments. A turn here, a click there and you’ve got the appropriate load, no matter what movement you’re tackling.
$316.59 at Amazon.com
ProSource Multi-Grip Pull-Up Bar
Why We Love It: It’s versatile, portable and allows you to do one of the single best exercises you can do: pull-ups.
Having a doorway pull-up bar is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to hack your upper-body strength gains. Place the ProSource Multi-Grip in your doorway and you’re able to do pull-ups and chin-ups from a wide or narrow grip or turn your palms around to crush a few chin-ups. Or prop it on the floor to press out bodyweight dips or deficit push-ups. And here’s a quick cheat: whenever you walk through the doorway, bang out a few pull-ups. Doesn’t haven’t have to be a ton: even if it’s just two each time, they add up.
$14.85 at Amazon.com
Why We Love It: It’s lightweight, portable and affordable, and offers you a variety of exercise options.
Suspension trainers like TRX are extremely lightweight and portable, meaning you can easily stow it away when you’re finished your workout. You can also pack it up and take your workout on the go. The bundle comes with a ceiling or door anchor for at-home setup. But most importantly, for those of us desperately trying to carve out a six-pack, suspension trainers like TRX require that you almost always engage your core. Yes. All abs. All the time.
Another advantage is that the TRX Exercise Bundle comes with a strength training program and a flexibility/mobility routine, so you have your workout sessions already plotted out for you. The kit comes with six 15-30 minute workouts.
$149.95 at Amazon.com
Why We Love It: A good foam roller offers the benefits of a professional deep-tissue massage at a fraction of the cost.
Foam rollers are about myofascial release, releasing the tension from the giant knots forming in various parts of your body as you work out. Foam rolling helps relieve muscle fatigue, increases flexibility and mobility, and assists with soreness and muscle tightness. Foam rolling before a workout can even increase explosiveness, strength, and agility, according to a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training.
A basic, high-density foam roller such as this one from LuxFit, which comes in 12-inch, 18-inch and 36-inch varieties, will do the trick. In case you’re wondering how to use it, we’ve got in-depth coverage on the topic for you.
$8.68 at Amazon.com
Why We Love It: Inexpensive and small, medicine balls are still capable of kicking your butt with a grueling workout.
Of any product you can have at home, the right medicine ball might be the most fun. Medicine balls are versatile and portable and perfect for building explosive power. There are many different kinds of medicine balls – soft ones, hard rubber ones, medicine balls with handles or extra grips – and most come in varying weights. Instead of buying multiple balls, we suggest choosing a weight that is moveable but still challenging when you increase your rep scheme. A 12-pound ball is a great place to start.
$23.76 for a 12-pound ball at Amazon.com
Why We Love It: The smallest, most affordable way to bump your heart-rate up.
Whether we like it or not, cardio is necessary. And if you want to get lean, toned muscle, you’re going to have to get your heart rate pumping, so a jump rope should be in your arsenal. Jumping rope builds agility and coordination while increasing your stamina as well. Your best bet is to find a versatile rope that you can use for various workouts in varying atmospheres. The Survival and Cross rope aren’t just built for fast double-under; it’s fast enough that you can work them in if you have the skill. It’s durable enough for long cardio sessions, indoor or outdoor, and it’s adjustable, making it suitable for users of all heights.
$10 at Amazon.com
Why We Love It: Cheap, portable and effective, bands are great for both strength training and injury rehabilitation.
The biggest benefit of using resistance bands is convenience – because resistance training is strength training. Bands are also easy to store and travel with and capable of a lot more variation than barbells or dumbbells. Bands also provide resistance in any plane of motion, making for a lot more possibilities for strength building.
These WODFitters Resistance Bands are made of thick, durable latex rubber and easily color-coded by level of resistance, ranging from 10-35 pounds (red) to 65-175 pounds of resistance (blue). A good place to start is the purple band, which offers 40-80 pounds of resistance. These are good enough for assisted pull-ups, stretching and plyometrics workouts, as well as strength-based workout for the days you want to give heavy lifting a break.
$24.99 for a purple band at Amazon.com
Why We Love It: Truthfully, we hate it, but there’s no denying that this little gadget offers an incredible ab workout.
If you want a strong core, you’re going to need more than sit-ups and crunches. An ab wheel works by requiring your core muscles to work as a group, while also hitting your upper back and shoulders. Stay away from the silly crunch machines: an ab wheel is more effective. Just be ultra-conscious about maintaining proper form to avoid putting excess strain on your lower back. Thankfully, you don’t need to break the bank on an ab wheel either. A simple, standard double wheel with handles will do the trick.
$11.83 at Amazon.com
Schwinn Airdyne Bike
Why We Love It: There’s no better machine for getting in an incredible cardio workout at home.
Before you look at the price tag and freak out, consider this: your gym membership is probably costing you between $600 and $1,200 a year. If you spend any amount of time trying to burn calories and/or improve your cardiovascular performance, you’ve probably come across an Airdyne bike before. Trust us when we say that there is no single piece of cardio equipment that is as versatile, effective and durable as the Schwinn Airdyne Bike. Your wallet will take a hit, but you’ll be able to use this thing for decades of grueling workouts.
$999 at Amazon.com
Rogue RML-390C Power Rack
Why We Love It: A rack is the centerpiece of every gym, and Rogue makes the best.
One of the best-selling and most beloved racks in the industry, Rogue’s RML-390C strikes a great balance between stability, functionality, and form, offering you most of the features of larger racks with a smaller footprint and lower price tag. It isn’t cheap, but it’s also built to last, and you’ll be putting in hours and hours of the heavy lifting in this baby for years to come.
$915 at RogueFitness.com