A few years ago I was fortunate enough to have a spare bedroom and built up a pretty decent home gym. I'll list the equipment I had below (it wasn't too shabby as far as home gym goes. First, I want to make my top recommendations for essential at-home gym equipment that is worth investing in.
Here is the Full List for your convenience. Full descriptions follow
- Dumbbells (hand weights)
- Bow Flex Select Tech 550 Adjustable Weights
- Resistance Band Set
- Foam Flooring
- TRX Resistance Training Strap
- Dip Station
- Kettlebells by Onnit or KB Kings
- Row Machine
- Exercise Bike
- Yoga Mat
- Swiss Ball
- Resistance Bands
- Yoga Ball (Swiss Ball)
- Beachbody On-Demand Fitness Workouts
- Squat Rack
- Glute Bands
- Step Bench
- Adjustable Bench
1. A Set of Dumbbells
Everyone has their own starting point when it comes to fitness and resistance training but the very first thing I would invest in is a set of basic dumbbells (DBs). There are lots of options here but I would look for ones with a rubber coating or rubber hex shaped heads. This set of amazon basics with weights ranging from 3-8 pounds are ok but most of you will need more weight (I hope).
Instead I highly recommend investing in a set of DBs that will last you the duration of your fitness journey - ones that have rubber hex. Weights will vary depending on your individual starting point of your fitness journey but I recommend the following paired sets to start out:
5 - 8 - 10 - 12 - 15 - 20 - 25 lbs. is ideal in my opinion.
I have found that if you are a lady having the 8 lb and the 12 lb dumbbells are handy.
Dumbbells cost about $1 to $1.25/lb so you're looking at roughly a $240 investment. Keep an eye out for sets at Costco, Amazon or at your local second hand store for better deals.
5 - 10 - 15 - 20 - 25 lbs. is a little more cost effective, about $190. A rack for storage is handy too but not necessary up front.
A GREAT option that I highly recommend is the BowFlex SelectTech 552 adjustable DBs. 552 means that they are adjustable in weights from 5 lbs to 52 lbs. in 2.5 lb incriminates. A perfect option for anyone looking to save space and money. I personally have the 1090s, adjustable from 10 lbs to 90 lbs. in 5 lb increments. They are awesome!
While we're on the topic of recommendations, here are a couple things I DON'T recommend. Don't get adjustable dumbbells like these chrome ones. They are not convenient to adjust the weights. It takes forever to spin the collars on and off each side of each dumbbell. A huge pain in the ass.
I also recommend avoiding the solid iron DB's. They are often very cost effective, however, after time the paint will flake off and it's rather annoying especially when a paint chip gets in your eye. Rubber is the way to go. I learned this the hard way. I have a couple pairs where the DBs came loose from the handles too. Once the paint chips off they have a tendency to rust. They are harder on your flooring too vs. the rubber ones.
2. Yoga Mat or Foam Flooring
Everyone needs a nice soft floor especially if you are working out on a hard wood flooring. Get a moderate to high quality mat. You will end up replacing a cheap mat sooner than you think. Cheaper mats will tend to flake or stick to your floor, even your feet. I don't suggest purchasing the most expensive mat but definitely spend the extra bucks for a good mat that won't be a nuisance for you shortly after your purchase.
A basic puzzle mat flooring is a great way to designate a workout area with a bench, makes a great spot to set DBs and other equipment. Easy to assemble in a custom shaped and are cost effective at about $20-$25 for 24 sq ft area. Amazon and Costco are my go-to sites to pick these up.
3. Dip/Pull Up Stand
No workout is complete with the ability to do quality pull ups and dips.
TRX stands for Total Body Resistance Exercise. One of my favorite pieces of workout equipment. These suspension training straps are a daily use with clients in the gym and super easy to use utilize in a home gym setting. Workout movements use your body weight and gravity as resistance to build strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, core and joint stability. So whether you want to build strength, lose fat, improve endurance or flexibility, the TRX Suspension Trainer can be used to achieve any fitness goal. By simply leveraging your body weight to perform hundred of exercises, you get a full body workout, while simultaneously working your core. And because you’re working with one training tool, and can adjust your weight on the fly by stepping towards or away from the anchor point. You can minimize training time by switching from one exercise to the next in just seconds. The only 2 downfalls to owning a TRX is you need to have a sturdy door or place to hang it from. The other 'con' to utilizing the a suspension training strap is that strength gains may be limited. However, owning a TRX in conjunction with a decent set of dumbbells will provide you with endless workout possibilities!
Take advantage of mind blowing benefits from a small set of kettlebells. KBs are one of the best ways to work your posterior chain - low back, glutes, and hamstrings. The benefits are endless! There are tons of KBs on the market but my favorite are the ones from KB Kings.
6. Peloton Bike
My wife has owned one of these bikes for about 6 years now and the user experience is pretty damn amazing! There are other good exercise bikes such as an Airdyne and upright style spin bikes. It all depends on what you want to use them for. I recommend avoiding the "recumbent" style bikes if possible.
Yup, just a good old treadmill for indoor running or walking. Take advantage of walking on an incline which is why I recommend finding one that does incline up to 15% and if you can find one that inclines higher... even better. I prefer Nordictrack or Peloton but there are lots of good brands out there.
8. Rowing Machine or SkiErg