Fitness Equipment for Exercising at Home
Are you a fitness fanatic wondering how you’re going to exercise if you can’t make it to your favorite workout facility? Don’t worry, this blog identifies some of the most effective fitness equipment for exercising at home. As someone who has spent more than 2 decades working in the fitness industry, including with health clubs, certification organizations and equipment companies, I know the type of exercise equipment that can help you maintain your fitness when working out at home even when space (or budget) is limited. (note – originally written in 2020, updated in 2021)
Set a Budget
Here are equipment options for three different budget ranges: Affordable, Intermediate and If Your Last Name Happens to be Bezos (i.e. budget is not an issue).
NOTE – when it comes to equipment, it’s not the time to pinch pennies. If you are going to use it regularly you want to spend the money to buy the good stuff. It’s better to pay up front for high-quality equipment because stuff that isn’t made that well won’t last long and you’ll end up replacing it anyways. Investing in high quality equipment will provide a better exercise-at-home experience, plus you will be motivated to use it more often because you want to get a return on that investment.
Where to Buy Exercise Equipment
Sporting goods and big box retail stores sell exercise equipment but those are consumer-quality products so they’re not desiged or built for long-term durability. The highest quality equipment comes from professional distributors like Perform Better or Power Systems – both sell directly to health clubs, studios, colleges and pro teams. DO NOT buy from amazon – most of that stuff is cheap quality – spend the extra to buy from the same place health clubs buy, you’ll get better quality that lasts longer. The links below are to Perform Better, I do not have any affiliate sales through them (I probably should); I’m linking to their products because they’re the best in the biz and produce killer education events for fitness professionals – listen to this episode of All About Fitness recorded LIVE at their Functional Training Summit in August, 2019.
You never know what life is going to throw at you and it always helps to have options;
Below are options for three budget ranges: affordable, intermediate and Jeff Bezos.
Affordable – For a Budget of $75 or below
First, this is about the amount that you would spend for 3-5 months at an affordable health club, investing in the equipment below will give you plenty of options:
Stretch mat or yoga mat
Light resistance and heavier resistance
1 set of dumbbells
Medium weight that will cause fatigue by 12-15 reps (o understand why, read THIS BLOG ABOUT MUSCLE FIBERS)
Here is the link to my dumbbell strength training 8-week workout program, it will show you what to do and not only provides strength exercises but metabolic conditioning programs to optimize your calorie burning! – Only $12
Intermediate – $300-350
All of the above AND
2 arm resistance band – this can easily be attached to a door
2nd set of dumbbells or a heavy kettlebell – for swings and lower body exercises
Stability ball – a ton of great options for exercises
TRX Suspension Trainer – get the gym quality one for an almost limitless variety of exercises; the video below shows the workout that inventor Randy Hetrick put me through back in 2013 (yes, that long ago)
Foam roller – to help improve muscle flexibility, promote recovery and REDUCE STRESS, Rollga is my current favorite (no affiliation except they gave me some free stuff, so I’m giving them some love here)
Smarter Workouts: The Science of Exercise Made Simple, my book published by Human Kinetics, will teach you how to use the above equipment (except for the TRX, for that, go directly to trxtraining.com
Jeff Bezos – the $ky i$ the limit (no budget)
All of the above AND
You’ll want 1 lighter for upper body and 1 heavy for lower body
3 sets of dumbbells
Think baby bear (light), momma bear (medium weight) and poppa bear (heavy weight); I’m not a fan of adjustable dumbbells, they’re a little clunky, but invest in some good, fixed weight dumbbells and you’ll get years of use out of them!
2 medicine balls – live ball (that bounces) and a dead ball (that doesn’t)
NOTE: Buy refurbished commercial (health club) grade equipment, NOT stuff from a retail store. The stuff made for sporting goods stores does not last; commercial equipment is made to be used 18 hours/day, 7 days/week, 52 weeks a year. Most clubs will buy or lease equipment for 3-5 years a time then sell it to re-manufacturers who fix it and resell it – this is where you want to spend the money. BTW you do NOT need to buy a Peloton bike to take the classes! You can use any stationary bike and an iPad. My recommendation would be a rowing machine or assault-bike – these are perfect for HIIT workouts so that you only have to exercise for 8-12 minutes at a time to get great results!
To hear how commercial products are made (and tested) Listen to this All About Fitness episode with Jeff Dilts – the VP of Product Development and Innovation for Core Health & Fitness (they make StairMaster and Nautilus equipment for health clubs)
Foam roller and/or a rolling stick
To target specific areas of muscle tightness; right now the GRID STK by Trigger Point is my fave; no relationship with the company, they gave me a free one for a product review and I really like it.
Having the right exercise equipment at home so you can workout no matter your schedule can keep you healthy, reduce stress and anxiety as well as reduce the effects of the aging process so no matter your schedule or busy your life becomes, DO NOT STOP WORKING OUT!
Got exercise equipment? Learn how to design your own workout programs:
This e-book explains how to design workouts for 6 stages of intensity and provides you with options that will keep you sweating all year round.
This online course will teach you the science covered in Functional Core Training (included in the course); it explains the why and how for designing effective workout programs that WORK! Fitness professionals, personal trainers and group fitness instructors – this course is approved for continuing education credits, CECs, by ACE – 0.4, NASM – 0.5 and AFAA – 5
This video below shows the equipment I have and use in my apartment
Here is a great workout using only dumbbells…