The Best Home Workout Equipment

Home gyms are the new boutique fitness studios. Of course, it’s one thing to want to create a home gym and something else entirely to actually make it happen. That’s where plenty of people get stuck. “It’s important to accept that you are building a home gym, not a commercial fitness center,” says Doug Sklar, a certified personal trainer and founder of PhilanthroFIT in New York City. Meaning, you don’t need to cram your space with everything you can think of. Instead, focus on the best home workout equipment, a.k.a. the stuff you need and will actually use on a consistent basis. Otherwise, you run the risk of some of your gear becoming expensive dust collectors.

To help you choose the best home gym equipment for your preferred type of workout, we spoke to several certified personal trainers, a celebrity fitness instructor, a pair of triathletes and other bonafide exercise experts. We also threw in a couple of our personal favorites.

Best Home Workout Equipment For Total Body Training

An All-In-One System That Offers Dozens Of Exercises

As long as you have a solid interior door, a hook screwed into a stud or a sturdy tree branch, you can execute dozens of different exercises, every one of them tailored to suit your abilities in terms of strength and mobility, using TRX straps.

Danielle Hirt, an NASM-certified personal trainer and RRCA-certified running coach with Formula Running Center says: “TRX straps offer a total body workout for any level. They’re a great foundational piece of equipment because all workouts can be modified. TRX straps are also great for recovery and mobility training, allowing you to use your own body weight to stretch your muscles more than you can on the floor alone.” Jess Glazer, former celebrity personal trainer and physical education instructor adds that she “is also a huge fan of the TRX home suspension system because it allows you to focus on all body parts and a variety of workouts from cardio and plyometrics to strength and stability.”

Best Home Workout Equipment For Beginners

A Gym-Like Option That Doesn’t Take Up Too Much Space

Ellipticals are a great introductory option for beginners and “good for those with knee, ankle or back issues that find running uncomfortable or painful,” Sklar says. When it comes to choosing the right one, Albert Matheny, R.D., C.S.C.S., co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab, says: Think about what you’ve liked using at the gym, as well as what features you actually used on it. Then try to get the same one, or something as close to it as possible.

The Nautilus E616 Elliptical Trainer uses a fitness club design, boasting 29 pre-programmed workout programs and 25 levels of resistance, but with a smaller footprint that doesn’t make it feel excessive in your home. While it doesn’t have its own smart screen, you can use Bluetooth to sync your workout data with popular fitness apps on your phone or tablet.

Best Home Workout Equipment For Running And Walking

A Smart Treadmill That Lets You Stream Live Workouts

If you have the space, a treadmill can be a great piece of cardio equipment to have at home. “Look for durability above all else,” Sklar advises. “Treadmills take a pounding, and they’re not cheap. Investing in something with strong reviews on longevity with minimal repair will give you a solid return on investment.” Another important thing to consider, if you like to go fast: Check the machine’s speed capacity. “Ability to incline and simulate hills is also a great perk, and fairly standard,” Sklar says.

This treadmill from NordicTrack is an excellent mid-level option. It has a sturdy frame, a cushioned belt and a 10-inch touchscreen. The incline ranges from a -3% decline to a 15% incline and it caps out at 12 mph. It also features iFit (for an additional monthly cost), which streams live trainer-led workouts.

Best Home Workout Equipment For Ballistic Training

Vinyl-Wrapped Kettlebells That Won’t Ruin Your Floors

Plenty of people love ballistic and strength training with kettlebells thanks to their versatility. While you can use them as free weights, kettlebells can also be easily swung or handled during jumping and explosive exercises. “If you do a lot of movements like planes and snatches, and train with kettlebells more often, you’ll want to look at buying three or four weights of standard,” says Matheny.

Another thing to consider: your floors. Kettlebells are often made of cast iron which, while incredibly durable, can damage floors if handled roughly. Kettlebells from Yes4All run from 5 to 50 pounds and feature vinyl coating to help protect your flooring.

Best Home Workout Equipment For Low Impact Exercise

An Upscale Rowing Machine That Targets Different Muscle Groups

Like working out on an elliptical, rowing is a low-impact exercise that targets several different muscle groups. Thanks to its aluminum and steel frame, the Hydrow Rower is an upscale choice that’s as beautiful as it is functional. It utilizes electromagnetic resistance, rather than an exposed flywheel, and is designed to feel like you’re rowing on the water, rather than in your home gym. The smart rower allows you to stream live and on-demand workouts on the generously sized 22-inch screen and compete with other rowers for a top spot on the leaderboard, but these capabilities do require a $38 monthly membership.

Best Home Gym Equipment For Bringing Out The Kid In You

A Mini Trampoline That Gets Things Moving

Rebounding, or jumping on a trampoline designed exclusively for exercise, not only burns calories, it may also provide a better workout than running, in terms of muscular involvement and oxygen consumption and impact on your joints. Plus, it’s fun.

Bellicon is the Cadillac of rebounders, offering well-built German-engineered units that stand up to continuous use and don’t wobble or shake as you jump. You can customize your rebounder’s resistance by choosing between four levels of bungee strength, from medium to ultra-strong. When you’re not using it, the legs fold up for easy storage.

Best Home Gym Equipment For Strength Training

One Piece Of Equipment That Takes The Place Of Five

Glazer calls adjustable dumbbells “great at home equipment because they don’t take up a lot of space and can be used for almost any type of strength workout.” Flybird’s adjustable dumbbell effectively eliminates the need for five sets of dumbbells, saving you space and actually saving money overall. You can adjust each weight to as little as 5 pounds or as much as 25 pounds, with myriad incremental options between the minimum and maximum. If you need more weight, there’s also a 55-pound option.

Best Home Gym Equipment For Balance Training

Simple Equipment That Helps With Core, Strength And Balance Training

You can use gliding discs on carpeted or hard surfaces to help with core training, strength training and/or balance training, which enhances core and muscle strength in and of itself. Hirt advises gliding disc users to “activate your core by incorporating these lightweight discs into your routine. By adding a balance challenge you can increase the intensity of your workout without adding impact.” Inexpensive and compact, gliding discs are worth consideration even for occasional use, and you can tuck them away pretty much anywhere.

Best Home Gym Equipment For Yoga, Calisthenics And Aerobics

A Yoga Mat That Stands Up To Sweat

With nothing more than your body and a yoga mat, you can execute hundreds of exercises, from planks and to lunges and crunches to yoga poses, safely and comfortably. Glazer encourages exercise using your own body as the gear, saying: “I personally believe that you can have incredibly effective workouts at home with your own body weight. Being a competitive gymnast my entire life, I know the importance, power and function our bodies have on their own.”

This yoga mat from lululemon has a moisture-absorbing top layer, a rubber base that prevents slipping and an antimicrobial additive that protects it from mold and mildew. Note: It’s made with latex, so people with natural rubber or latex allergies should avoid use.

Best Home Gym Equipment For Lower Body Training

Resistance Bands That Let You Control The Intensity

Resistance bands let you challenge yourself as much (or as little) as you want. For an easier workout, go with less resistance. For a harder workout, switch to a heavier-duty band. To take it up even more, double the bands.

“Resistance bands, sometimes referred to as ‘booty bands,’ are great for targeting the muscles in the glutes and hips that are underdeveloped from sitting at a desk all day,” says Hirt, adding that “they can also be used to strengthen the upper body when anchored to another point of contact such as a door or under your foot.”

Best Home Workout Equipment For Core Training

An Underrated Piece Of Equipment That Enhances Your Routine

“One piece of equipment that I like that not a lot of people use are sandbags,” says R.J. Cincottageneral manager at Orange Theory Fitness and a 15-year veteran of the professional training and fitness world. “They can be filled with multiple bags of sand so you customize your weight, and they can be used to accentuate so many moves. You can do squats, you can do lots of core work, you can even lay on a bench and do a bench press with a sandbag.”

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