Whether you have been following me for awhile now or new to my Instagram, one thing I absolutely cannot live without is my home gym. In fact, when we were searching for our new home, one of my biggest non-negotiable was ample space for me (and my hubby) to work out. Luckily, we found the perfect home in the perfect location with the perfect amount of space for me to have exactly the type of gym I need.
While I do really enjoying getting out to my local fitness center, as a busy mom expecting my second child in just a few short weeks, time constraints are definitely a concern. Also, with these cold and wet New Jersey winters - who really wants to leave the house if you don’t have to?
So, what do I think makes for a quality home gym set-up? Here’s a list of my must haves for any budget!
In my opinion, dumbbells are really at the heart of any workout - whether it be at home or in the gym. As great as body-weight only exercises are, they do eventually lead to plateaus and and boredom. Adjustable dumbbells are a great way to counteract the workout fatigue, as they can be adjusted to go heavier or light depending on your need. They also come in a variety of materials and price points. If you are on a budget, THESE adjustable basic dumbbells from Amazon consist of handles and weight plates that allow for full control of how much weight you are using.
If you have more room in your budget and want a fuller range of weights in a convenient and easy-to-store package, I highly suggest a set of adjustable dumbbells that allows you to interchange the amount of weight from within the base. I personally have THESE from CAP and I love them! They are great for both my husband and I to use as they adjust easily from 5lbs to 50lbs in a matter of seconds. At $199 per dumbbell, they are a bit pricier, but overall can save you A LOT of money and space compared to having traditional sets dumbbells in each of those weight increments.
2. Barbell with Weight Plates
Another versatile piece of equipment is the standard barbell. Similar to the dumbbells, the barbell can be adjusted to various weights and offers a lot of different workout options. My personal pick is the GOLD’S GYM BARBELL and WEIGHTS SET available on Amazon. It’s a pricier set, but comes with a decent amount of weight plates for anyone to have a varied and challenging workout.
3. Cardio Equipment
Cardio machines are a great addition to any home gym and come in a variety of shapes and sizes! Your best bet is to go with something versatile and space saving that doesn’t bore you to death. With so many options on the market (not to mention price points), it can be tough to know where to begin to get the most bang for your buck. I purchased my PRO-FORM Treadmill about a year ago and it has seen use almost every single day since. Walking, running, HIIT - the possibilities are truly endless. Some days, it is nice to just go downstairs to the gym and work and walk at the same time. While I plan to add an elliptical eventually, I am very happy with my treadmill. It’s actually the first piece of real home gym equipment we purchased and built the rest of our gym around it. Treadmills can run the gamut price-wise, but can be purchased new or used relatively inexpensively. Here’s a good option for home use that can still fit in a modest budget.
4. Resistance Bands
You might be surprised to see these on the list, BUT I can’t tell you how frequently I use them both at home and in the gym. Pack able and light weight, they definitely add a little extra oomph to any workout! Bonus: SUPER easy to find and SUPER inexpensive!
These non-slip multi-resistance bands are a great buy at a great price.
5. Suspension Training System
Now you might be a little confused by the name, but these bad boys (more commonly known by major brand name TRX) are some of the easiest and most versatile pieces of fitness equipment on the market - not to mention how easily they are stored and transported. Fitting easily over a door or a pull up bar, these suspension straps offer a complete full body workout from arms to legs to abs. Do not sleep on the TRX!
If you have the space and the cash, you can’t go wrong with these items, as well:
6. Squat Rack
We have two in our home gym and this really allows both my husband and myself the freedom and ability to workout together without getting in each other’s way. The cage runs from about $250 to well over $1000 depending on what your need, and the individual towers can be purchased for relatively inexpensively (starting at just over $100) - just make sure you get a solid, balanced set - especially if you have children around. Our cage is by Fitness Reality and includes the optional lat pull down (see below). The individual towers can be purchased here.
7. Lat Pulldown/Cable Pulley Machines
Our cable system is integrated into the squat cage. Make sure when purchasing either, you are buying a compatible set. The last thing you want to do is he mid-assembly and realize that the parts are not compatible. Trust me on this. Rigging equipment is far more costly and dangerous than just purchasing the proper sets and accessories.
8. Adjustable Weight Bench
Weight benches make another great addition to your home gym. To get the most bang for your buck, look for one that has included or optional accessories like leg developers or preacher curl attachments.
What’s a home gym without mirrors? While your first thought might be selfie opportunities (true!), mirrors are essential for checking form. They are a bit of investment because large sheet mirrors can run into the hundreds of dollars per piece. We decided to go for tiled mirrors in our home gym. Having small chosen definitely increases the odds of a mirror breaking and it is a lot cheaper and easier to fix one tile than an entire wall sheet.
Last, but not least, kettlebells are a great compliment to your home gym set-up and fairly easy to acquire in a variety of weights.
All of these items are great to have, but at the end of the day, all you really need is your body and a willingness to put in the work. You can use your smart device to find a free on demand workout and get right to it - no equipment necessary.
Hi! I'm Nugget. I am wife to my awesome husband, Fran, and mama to our toddler son, Remington. We also have another baby on the way (due very soon!) and our pup, Fiona. I am body positive fitness instructor, teacher, and health/wellness advocate. I believe in the potential of EVERY body to be happy and healthy.