There’s no better resolution than the resolve to exercise more and enjoy better health. Imagine being able to do that from home! These affordable exercise essentials are just what your home gym needs.
If you are looking to increase your balance, strength or cardio considering adding a few small pieces of exercise equipment to a home gym that can be any open space in your home; even the hallway! Outfitting any space with the exercise essentials you need to get in shape might seem overwhelming but these nine pieces of exercise equipment are small and pack a fitness punch. Best of all, they are incredibly affordable.
Kettlebells are quickly becoming one of the hottest pieces of home gym exercise essentials and for good reason: kettlebells deliver both a great cardio and strength workout. Research recently published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research suggested that a workout of high intensity kettlebell snatches could be used to maintain or improve cardio conditioning. Available in a wide variety of weights, look for vinyl coated kettlebells made in a single cast and ensure the handle is smooth.
Traditional push ups, planks and lunges benefit from the addition of gliding discs. By placing your hands or feet on these smooth-sided plastic discs that glide easily on the floor, engage your core and improve your stability during your workout. A gliding disc exercise routine is naturally low-impact, yet still challenging enough to help build muscle strength.
Even if your school yard days are long behind you, skipping is a skill that sticks with you for life. Research has shown that only 10 minutes of skipping delivers the same heart pumping cardio benefits of running! Low cost, portable and most importantly fun piece of exercise equipment, skipping engages multiple muscle groups and can help improve your balance. Bonus: it’s a great way to get active with your children or grandchildren, modeling the benefits of an active lifestyle. Up for a challenge? Use a weighted rope and download an app like Jump Rope Workouts.
Free weights can be as simple as a set of small weight dumbbells or be as complex as a bar and plate system. If you are a beginner and have the challenge of a small space and a small budget, consider investing in a set of vinyl coated 5- and 8-pound dumbbells. The benefits of lifting weights go beyond building muscular strength: emerging research suggests there are cognitive benefits to pumping iron for women 65+.
If if the only yoga pose you know is Savasanah, it’s worth investing in a yoga mat. Ideal for warm up and cool down stretches, it also makes core work and body weight exercises more comfortable. Use your kettlebells and free weights on your mat to protect the flooring in your home gym.
A stability or exercise ball is another affordable piece of home exercise equipment that offers a full body workout. Use it for sit ups, leg presses, squats and back extensions. Combine your stability ball with your free weights for an unbeatable upper body workout! Stability balls are sold in a variety of sizes, be sure to buy the one that is matched to your height.
Tight leg muscles are no match for a foam roller! These compact, dense pieces of foam help you self-massage trigger points, increasing range of motion, flexibility and muscle efficiency. Available smooth or with ridges (that dig into muscles a little deeper), you can also use a foam roller as part of your exercise routine warm up.
Much like the TRX, these strong and stretchy bands rely on your body weight to provide a total body workout. Resistance bands come in a variety of styles (tubes, bands with handles, loop bands and therapy bands) and resistance levels. Affordable and portable, resistance bands can easily be packed into your luggage so you can exercise while travelling, or even tucked into your bag to fit in a short workout at the office. A word of caution: hang on tight to the ends of the bands while you’re working out as they can snap back and may injure you.
You have to respect a piece of fitness equipment that even the ancient Greeks used! Medicine balls are available in a variety of weights, and can be used either solo or with a partner. Exercises to try on your own can include squats, lunges, overhead presses and push ups. Pair up and toss a medicine ball back and forth or try a few sets of up and unders for explosive muscle building.
All In One Over $99
If you are looking for an all-in-one, more expensive piece of equipment you will actually use, consider a TRX.
TRX suspension trainer
With its roots in the US Navy SEAL program, a TRX suspension trainer delivers a full body workout with more than 300 possible workout ideas. Using only gravity, your body weight and the ultra lightweight straps, the TRX develops your core strength, balance, stability and strength all at the same time. Starting at $200 for a home system, a TRX is the most expensive piece of home fitness equipment on our list, but you may find it’s the only one you need.
When starting out, choose one of two pieces of home exercise equipment, slowly building your collection. Before you know it, you’ll be fitter, stronger and may not even need that gym membership any more.