Building a home gym on a budget? Wondering what the best home gym equipment is? Here are the top three items you actually need – great for small spaces!
Even though I’m personally a workout gear addict, it’s taken me a long time to build the small “home gym” gear selection that I do have.
That’s because not all of us have unlimited funds or space to build a state-of-the-art home gym.
Some of us want the best home gym equipment on the cheap!
And some of us just want some great ideas for small spaces!
I have read many articles about building a home gym over the years. But today I was scrolling through Pinterest and I saw a Pin that said, “Home Gym Essentials.” It was a nice pin, but it was shocking how many items the Pin claimed to be essential.
You Might Also Like: The Best Small Workout Bench For Home
Best Overall Exercise Equipment For Home Gyms
It’s not unreasonable to want plenty of options so workouts don’t get boring. If space and money allow, it’s great to build a home gym featuring a wide variety of modalities.
But the truth is that there are many unnecessary suggestions for building home gyms.
Some home gym equipment ideas are just TOO much for the average Joe. In my opinion, there are only really THREE things that you must have in the most basic of home gyms.
What equipment is best for a home gym? The Best Home Gym Setup
Essential versus extra. These words aren’t synonymous. Essential means that you need it. Extra means that they’d be nice to have. 😉
But really, to get a great workout, very little is needed.
Especially if you normally still hit the gym and only use your home gym when the kids are sick when time is constrained, etc.
One problem I see with these articles that talk about so many different home gym “essentials” is that newbies aren’t likely to use them.
Either they might not know how, or they might be following a fitness plan that requires just bodyweight exercise or common modalities like dumbbells.
Instead, newbies should start with the best home gym equipment they’d actually use.
Related Reading: Core Exercises For Beginners | 5 Essential Exercises
Ask yourself, “What workout equipment is most effective?” The answer is, “The stuff you ACTUALLY use!”
Problem number two is that you only tend to use what you love. To find out what you love, you have to have access to them.
That means you either need to buy them outright or try them at the gym first. You can go buy everything that an article tells you to without ever having used those items.
But you’re likely to find out that you don’t enjoy using some of those things. That’s when dust starts to collect on them. (For example, I get bored with workout DVDs, resistance bands, and yoga.)
P.S. Are you building a home gym after having a baby? Click to read all about c-section recovery.
So the point is that while it can be fun to build an extensive home gym, you only need a few things to get started.
What should every home gym have for overall exercise?
Let’s get you the best home gym equipment you actually need to start.
But first, let’s briefly talk about why you might want to invest in some home gym equipment to begin with.
If you’re not convinced after this, I’m not sure what to tell you!
The Smart Move: Investing in Home Gym Equipment
In recent years, the trend of setting up home gyms has gained significant momentum, and for good reason.
More individuals are recognizing the numerous advantages of having gym equipment within the comfort of their homes.
This shift in mindset is not merely about convenience; it’s a smart move that comes with a multitude of benefits.
Here are just a few reasons why you should consider building a home gym.
One of the primary reasons to invest in home gym equipment is the time saved. In today’s fast-paced world, finding time to commute to a gym can be challenging.
Having fitness equipment at home eliminates the need to travel, allowing for more efficient and flexible workout schedules.
Time that would have been spent on commuting can now be invested in actual exercise, contributing to better fitness results.
Consistency is Key:
Establishing a consistent workout routine is crucial for achieving fitness goals. With home gym equipment, individuals can eliminate excuses related to weather, traffic, or crowded gyms.
The convenience of having a gym at home promotes regular exercise habits, leading to better overall health and fitness outcomes.
Privacy and Comfort:
Not everyone feels comfortable working out in a public gym setting.
Home gym equipment provides the privacy and comfort that some individuals need to focus on their fitness goals without feeling self-conscious.
This can be particularly motivating for beginners or those with specific health concerns.
Cost-Effective in the Long Run:
While the initial investment in home gym equipment may seem significant, it can prove to be cost-effective in the long run.
Over time, gym memberships, transportation costs, and other related expenses can add up.
Having equipment at home eliminates these recurring costs, making it a financially savvy choice for fitness enthusiasts.
Home gym setups allow individuals to tailor their workouts to suit their preferences and specific fitness goals.
Whether it’s strength training, cardio, or flexibility exercises, having the right equipment at home provides the flexibility to create a personalized and effective workout routine.
Family and Community Bonding:
A home gym can be a shared space for family members or even neighbors, fostering a sense of community and shared fitness goals.
It becomes a hub for positive activities, encouraging a healthy lifestyle for everyone involved.
Adaptability to Busy Lifestyles:
Modern lifestyles often involve juggling work, family, and social commitments.
A home gym allows individuals to integrate exercise seamlessly into their routines without compromising other aspects of their lives. It’s a practical solution for those with demanding schedules.
In conclusion, the decision to invest in home gym equipment is a smart move that goes beyond mere convenience.
It addresses the challenges of time constraints, promotes consistency, provides privacy, and proves cost-effective in the long term.
With the rise of innovative and compact fitness equipment, creating a personalized home gym has never been easier.
But truthfully, you don’t need anything fancy to get started building a home gym.
No matter which route you take, building a simple home gym is a strategic investment in health and well-being that aligns with the demands of contemporary living.
Trust me on that!
Here are the essentials you actually need.
Home Gym Essentials #1: Yoga Mat
Whether or not yoga is a part of your workout routine, a good yoga mat is in my top three for best home gym equipment no matter what. If you have hard floors, a nice, thick mat will save you time and time again.
Plus, if you have kids or pets, a yoga mat will save you from crumbs and hair.
If you have carpet, a yoga mat will help you stay grounded and keep you from slipping during many exercises. Use it for any type of workout.
Take it outside when the weather is nice, roll it up and store it conveniently, etc. It’s just so versatile.
I have a really nice, kind of spendy yoga mat because I think that paying for a durable and thick yoga mat is worthwhile. This is the exact yoga mat I have and it’s beautiful.
PSST! All you need for my home workout program, Restore The Core, is your body and a mat!
Home Gym Essentials #2: Dumbbells
Bodyweight exercises are great for beginners. But it only takes a few weeks of consistent work before you gain enough strength to need a little extra challenge in your workouts.
Adding dumbbells in is a great way to do that. I personally have three sets of dumbbells because I feel like I need different weights for different muscle groups (my arms are wimpy compared to my legs of course) but you don’t have to.
One set of dumbbells that will give you a moderate increase in difficulty during workouts can go a LONG way.
I don’t suggest getting tiny weights (like 2-3 lbs each) unless you are in recovery from an accident or elderly, because you’ll just outgrow them so fast.
You want to find some weights that don’t feel challenging to use until the last 1-3 repetitions you’re doing per set.
So let’s say that you’re doing bicep curls.
With your new set of weights, you shouldn’t feel like the curls are difficult until you get up to 8-10 reps. The “struggle” or burn shouldn’t be really prominent until you reach this point in your set.
So if you have some 5lb dumbbells and you do 10 reps without any difficulty, it’s time to try 7 or 8lb dumbbells. I hope that makes sense!
I have a set of 5lb dumbells, a pair of 10lb dumbbells, and some 15 pounders. When I’m at the gym, however, I prefer 7 or 8 and 12-pound dumbbells.
That’s just what seems to be “right” for me during various upper-body workouts. Legs are a whole different story.
No matter what you choose, adding any extra weight is going to intensify your burn and that’s what we’re after. 🙂
Tip: There are a lot of really cute colors available when it comes to dumbbells. However, if you are an extra sweaty person like me, I recommend staying away from the neoprene or rubber-dipped sets.
They get sticky and are porous so they can harbor a lot of germs. To get the best home gym equipment, always think about comfort & personal preferences! These are my favorites.
Related Reading: How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals After Having a Baby
Home Gym Essentials #3: Foam Roller
Have you ever gone so hard during a workout that you were sore for four or five days after?
Just a few years ago, I was a regular exerciser but still a complete noob when it comes to recovery.
I didn’t know how to stretch, and I definitely didn’t know anything about foam rolling.
Related Reading: Foam Rolling 101: Tips & Techniques
But foam rolling not only feels good, it can help you recover from tough workouts faster.
That means you can get back to work sooner! Foam rolling supports the circulatory system and helps to loosen tight, overactive muscles.
It feels like a massage. I love foam rolling so much that I use mine almost every single day. This is the foam roller I have. Bonus: Foam rolling can help keep cellulite at bay!
Best Home Exercise Equipment For Weight Loss
A calorie deficit is ALWAYS important for weight loss. If that is your overall goal, you may want to invest in some cardio pieces. The best home gym equipment pieces for cardio would be:
- Elliptical machine (read this to learn about the best elliptical for home gyms)
- Stationary bike
Best Home Gym Equipment Extras
Not necessary, but totally fun to have. 🙂
Exercise Ball (Personal trainer recommended)
Pull-Up Bar (For Your Door Frame)
Resistance Bands (Best value in my opinion!)
Free Weights (Any dumbbells especially.)
Kettlebell (Great for strength training!)
Flat Bench – Here are the best workout benches for home.
What do you consider the best home gym equipment? Have any other home gym ideas on a budget? Let me know by using the comment section below!