The ultimate gear to build a cost-effective home gym
  • 27 Jun - 03 Jul, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly

The home can be a sanctuary, standing strong through life's struggles and challenges, so creating a space for your personal health and fitness within that place can be a valuable tool for the betterment of your life. That, and you'll probably wind up saving a ton of money on expensive membership dues and all of the fees that pop up when you belong to a fitness club. And why spend your valuable time schlepping your workout gear to and from the studio when you could just take a quick walk down your own hallway?

In a worst case scenario when you're stuck inside, you'll be able to rest easy knowing your workout routine won't go by the wayside. Whether you're a homebody or you don't have a choice about staying put, you'll appreciate your gear. Whether you have a full-on Iron Paradise packed with state of the art equipment or just a corner with a yoga mat in your one-bedroom apartment, keeping exercise gear around the house can help you stay consistent. This gear will help you turn your boring at-home bodyweight circuit into fully-fledged strength and conditioning plans, depending on your set-up.

Cancel your fancy gym membership and snag some of this stuff so you never have to leave your brand new home gym. Here are nine can't-miss affordable pieces to get you started on your home gym.

Exercise mat

At the base level (literally), an exercise or yoga mat makes floor exercises way more comfortable, whether you’re doing abs work on your back or push-ups on your knees. Look for a thicker mat for more cushioning, especially if you’re working out on a hard floor. Plus, using a mat is a great way to make sure you’ve got at least one rectangle of workout-designated space. You can also bring your mat to the backyard or beach to take your workout outdoors.

Resistance bands

Resistance bands are a great way to add an extra challenge to lower-body exercises, in particular. These small but mighty bands can take your glute workout to the next level, [so] try some glute bridges, side squats, or clamshells with a band around your ankles or under the knees. The tighter the band is, the more challenging it is to work with.


Kettlebells are a more versatile piece of equipment than you might think, and they’re great for working your muscles and getting your heart rate up. You can do traditional kettlebell exercises such as kettlebell swings or Turkish get-ups, and you can also add them to traditional strength training workouts to switch it up. For example, you can do a goblet squat with a kettlebell or do a walking lunge, passing the kettlebell underneath your front leg every time you step forward.

Set of medium-weight dumbbells

A set of dumbbells opens up a world of opportunity when it comes to at-home workouts: Use them to do isolated strength exercises like bicep curls, amp up the resistance by holding them during compound exercises like lunges, and more. Not sure what weight to get? We suggest going for a medium set first. While this means different weights for different people depending on your fitness level, eight to 10 pound dumbbells are good place to start.

Set of heavy dumbbells

We also recommend getting a heavier set of dumbbells to add extra challenge to workouts. You can use them in place of your medium-weight dumbbells when you’re doing exercises that work your bigger muscle groups (like squats or dumbbell deadlifts), since they can handle more load.

Jump rope

There are plenty of ways to squeeze in equipment-free cardio at home (burpees, anyone?). But a jump rope is a fun throwback way to get your heart rate up – and fast. Plus, jumping rope works your arms, shoulders, core, and legs.

Medicine ball

No home gym is complete without them. It’s a simple all-around fitness tool, and can be lifted, thrown, or slammed to beef up your strength and conditioning.

Gliding discs

Gliding discs, or gliders, are one of those training tools that are way more challenging than they look. You place them under your feet or hands during exercises like reverse lunges or plank-to-pikes. They’re so tough because you have to put pressure into the disc to keep it on the floor while you also move in a horizontal direction, and since they slide around, your muscles also have to work overtime to keep you stable (especially your core).

Pullup bar

Just like the power tower except with added stability on the front of your door frame. It's the essential at-home device for pullups, chinups, and a variety of other back and bicep exercises. No bells and whistles. Commit and drill it into your door for max stability.