Build A Complete Home Gym With These Pieces Of Exercise Equipment

Whether you are naturally active or live to sleep, working out is an essential part of maintaining your health. That’s why so many find it beneficial to have a home gym. Rather than paying a monthly fee and driving to a gym, you can achieve all of your fitness needs from the comfort of your own home. While some items are obvious workout staples, like dumbbells, others can be easy to forget about, such as foam rollers or suspension straps. Read on to discover the best exercise equipment to have at home.

Medicine Balls

A man holds a six pound medicine ball.
Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Medicine balls are a wonderful addition to a home gym because they are versatile and don’t take up too much space. They are weighted balls that are durable and easy to grip. Like dumbbells, medicine balls come in different weights, typically ranging from 2 to 15 pounds.

They are often used to enhance ab workouts, but they can also be beneficial in arm, shoulder, and leg workouts. Medicine balls can also come in handy during partner workouts since they give you something to hand off each rep.

Kettle Bells

A man holds a kettle bell over his head.
Caroline Seidel/picture alliance via Getty Images
Caroline Seidel/picture alliance via Getty Images

Kettlebells are a fundamental part of a home gym since they enable you to do a range of exercises that would be tricky to pull off with a dumbbell. That’s because kettlebells are shaped with a sturdy handle.

Their shape enables you to do moves like kettlebell swings without feeling like the weight is going to fly out of your hands and break something. They come in handy during both upper and lower body workouts and can be useful when targeting multiple muscle groups at once.

Stability Balls

A woman balances on a bosu ball.
Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Whether its a bosu ball or a standard exercise ball, having tools that challenge your balance is an important part of keeping fit. This kind of stability equipment adds a whole new layer to workouts that your body may have grown used to, like crunches or pushups.

Balance exercises have the unique advantage of firing up tiny muscles that can otherwise be neglected. Do exercises on your back on an exercise ball and ones standing up on a bosu ball and discover how much more of a challenge they become.

A Heavy Bag

A boxer punches a heavy bag.
Alexis Cuarezma/Getty Images
Alexis Cuarezma/Getty Images

While health and beauty are terrific reasons to stay fit, being able to defend yourself is a cherry on top. That’s why some prefer to incorporate some fighting techniques into their workout regimen.

A heavy bag is a great way to train in activities like boxing and mixed martial arts. The resistance will build up your muscles even more than shadowboxing does. Plus, beating up an inanimate object is a safe and healthy way to release tension.

A Foam Roller

A football player uses a foam roller on his calf.
Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Especially when you’re first getting back into shape, soreness can put a huge damper on your workout. One thing that can help is the use of a foam roller, which can help to loosen up lactic acid.

It seems counterintuitive to move around on sore muscles or to apply pressure to them, but doing so can help alleviate some of the pain. Gliding large muscle groups over a foam roller gives you a controlled way to relieve the pain so you can get back to moving normally in no time.

An Ab Wheel

A man uses an ab roller.
BodyBoss
BodyBoss

An ab wheel is a simple exercise tool that is far more difficult to use than it looks. While they look almost toylike, they are no joke when it comes to building core strength. All you have to do is grip the handles and glide back and forth on your knees.

Your abs are sure to ignite as you pull yourself up and release back down. Some ab rollers also have resistance straps to make the challenge all that much harder.

A Step Platform

A man lunges on a step platform.
Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images
Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images

Similar to a workout bench, an exercise step has a variety of uses. Steps are especially helpful with lower body workouts like squats and lunges since they create more room to descend.

They can also be used for jumps to build strength and increase the heart rate. Steps are adjustable so that beginners can start with a small step and work their way up (literally). You can also lay a yoga mat over a step and use it as a bench substitute.

Resistance Bands

A woman exercises with a resistance band.
Vladimir GerdoTASS via Getty Images
Vladimir GerdoTASS via Getty Images

Resistance bands are flexible, inexpensive, and take up very little space. They can be incorporated into just about any exercise to make it all the more challenging. The bands come in different levels of difficulty depending on how tense or loose they are.

You can keep them around the thighs during an entire lower body workout to intensify each exercise, or use them as an alternative to weights for upper body exercises. They are also a great tool for ab workouts.

A Yoga Mat

A woman does yoga inside a studio.
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Whether you do yoga or not, a yoga mat comes in handy when working out at home. For one, they create a barrier between you and the floor that can help protect against damage caused by other exercise equipment.

Additionally, they provide cushion and grip when doing stretches on hard floors. You can even pile two yoga mats on top of one another for extra comfort and support. Stretching aside, they are also helpful when doing floor exercises such as ab workouts.

Dumbbells

A woman curls a dumbbell.
Zoran Milich/Getty Images
Zoran Milich/Getty Images

Dumbbells are a basic part of many workout routines as they can be used for much more than just your standard bicep curl. The problem is that you often need more than just one set of dumbbells to accommodate strength building.

That’s why we recommend getting adjustable dumbbells. They have a mechanism that enables users to adjust the weight of one pair of dumbbells, saving money and space. This way you can increase the weight as you build muscle without having to go out and buy a whole new set of dumbbells.

A Barbell

A weightlifter prepares to lift a barbell.
Mike Powell/Getty Images
Mike Powell/Getty Images

When it comes to heavy lifting, barbells are sometimes the way to go. While dumbbells keep the arms separate, barbells distribute the weight across both arms for increased stability. You can also set a barbell along your shoulders for added weight when doing lower body exercises, like squats and deadlifts.

Barbells also come in different varieties to better adhere to certain exercises. For instance, a Hex Bar was created to put less strain on the back and offer more control. Additionally, an EZ Curl Bar has a design that better supports the wrists.

Weight Plates

A man loads a barbell with weight plates.
Sergei MalgavkoTASS via Getty Images
Sergei MalgavkoTASS via Getty Images

Barbells typically weigh anywhere from 10 to 70 pounds. Especially in homes where multiple people will be using the workout equipment, it may be necessary to get some weight plates to customize your barbell.

The round weights have a hole in the middle so that they can easily slide onto either end of the barbell. They typically range from 5 to 45 pounds and can be used on their own as free weights, too.

An Adjustable Bench

A man presses a barbell while laying back on a fitness bench.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Whether you’re using a barbell, dumbbells, or no weights at all, an adjustable bench is a fundamental part of a home gym. These benches will come in handy when working out just about any muscle group thanks to their versatility.

From chest presses to ab crunches to squats, it’s surprising how many exercises can be modified with an adjustable bench. Lay it flat or at an angle to try a variety of workouts for the entire body.

Power Ropes

An athlete exercises with power ropes on a grass field.
Mark Evans/Getty Images
Mark Evans/Getty Images

Power ropes are a great way to build muscle and get your heart rate up at the same time. The thick strands of heavy material may look easy to operate at first, but give it a few minutes and you’ll find yourself breaking a sweat.

The one downside of these ropes is that they do require a fair bit of space and something to anchor onto. If none of the rooms in the house are large enough, try using them in a garage with the door open.

An Elliptical Machine

A woman exercises on an elliptical outside.
Anke Thomass/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Anke Thomass/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Some cardio machines, like treadmills and stationary bikes, can seem like a waste of money. Particularly when it comes to a home gym, you may as well go for a jog outside or ride a bike in the sunshine rather than doing it indoors.

One cardio machine that may be worth the cost is an elliptical. That’s because it utilizes a gliding motion that is easy on joints and less vigorous than some other forms of cardio.

A Pullup Bar

pullup-bar
Pullups Masters
Pullups Masters

Pullups are one of the more simple yet challenging workouts around. Even those who work out daily can find it a struggle to manage one pullup. It makes sense considering that the move involves pulling your entire body weight.

That’s why it may be worth it to install a pullup bar somewhere in your home gym. To ensure they don’t take up too much space, consider buying one that fits snuggly into a door frame for convenience.

A Lateral Pulldown Machine

A woman uses a lateral pulldown machine.
Peter Bischoff/Getty Images
Peter Bischoff/Getty Images

If you’re going to splurge on a cable machine, it’s worth considering one that includes a lateral pulldown. This exercise uses similar muscles as a pullup, but is more controlled since you aren’t using your own body weight.

Typically, cable machines have numerous settings so that you can exercise the upper and lower body. Keep a lookout for one that has a sliding mechanism that enables you to access the handles from the top or the bottom.

A Suspension System

GettyImages-161065183
Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

If gym rings seem a little intimidating, a suspension system may be more your style. This one features a large, metal frame and straps with padded handles. The straps are adjustable and typically can hang down to the floor.

Many of the exercises done with gym rings can be done using a suspension system. You can also place your feet in the straps and set your hands on the floor for a twist on plank pose or mountain climbers.

Body Weights

A man straps on an ankle weight.
Ianbite
Ianbite

Similar to stabilizing equipment, body weights can be added to just about any workout for a strength-building boost. The weights come in a variety of forms, most commonly as ankle or wrist straps or as a chest vest.

The ankle weights can be a great addition to leg lifts, while the wrist weights are perfect for holding your arms out and doing pulses. The chest vest is a surefire way to burn extra calories throughout your entire workout.

Gym Rings

A gymnast holds himself up with gym rings.
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Gym rings aren’t only for gymnasts. These rings can be a great way to build upper body strength, especially in the arms and abdomen. It takes a combination of balance and muscle to use them. We would recommend wearing a pair of workout gloves to help with the grip.

For those who are looking for a workout challenge, these rings can be a great way to test your strength. If a pullup on a regular bar wasn’t difficult enough, try doing one while clinging to two rings.