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If you’re trying to get serious about fitness or are simply trying to shed some post-lockdown pandemic pounds, working out from the comfort of your own home can be a game-changer. You eliminate the excuse of being too tired to drive to the gym, and you can ditch the pricey gym membership.
With just a few pieces of equipment, you’ll be able to work out every major muscle group. And with your exercise equipment always nearby, the guilt of being too lazy to workout will be too much for you to bear.
You’ll need a little space to work with, but some of this equipment can be stored in a closet or folded up as needed. A complete home gym is within your reach, even if you never thought it would be. Here’s a list of essentials to get you started.
The Must-Haves for Overall Fitness
To be completely fit, you should be working with every major muscle group regularly. Not sure what the major muscle groups are or how to work them out? That’s okay — our list includes items to help you plan your fitness journey.
These posters are an invaluable and affordable way to help you find new exercises and figure out which muscle groups you’re working on. With exercises geared toward all your target zones — back, core, upper body, lower body, and total body — you won’t miss any component of a solid routine. You’ll get three posters — one focusing on dumbbell workouts, one on stretching moves, and one for bodyweight workouts. You can hang them on the back of a door or put them on your desktop when you’re ready to break a sweat.
- High-quality lamination
View QuickFit Three-Pack Laminated Workout Charts on Amazon
Strength training is an important but sometimes overlooked portion of a fitness plan. Cardio sometimes gets all the glory, but if you’re looking to lose weight and gain muscle, strength training is the way to go. This dumbbell set will cover everyone in your household. It has pairs of 5-pound weights for people who want to tone up, as well as 10-, 15-, 20-, and 25-pound weights for a bigger challenge. Plus, you’ll get a rack to keep them all on. That will help you avoid accidentally stubbing your toes on a dumbbell you left out on the floor. Trust me, it hurts.
- A-frame design
- Great efficiency
- Heavy-duty construction
View Epic Fitness 150-Pound Dumbbell Set on Amazon
Treadmills are a key component for many home gyms. That’s because walking is a gentle, highly beneficial cornerstone of many people’s fitness routines. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes, an outdoor space, or a treadmill, and you’re ready to go. A treadmill lets you get your exercise in with no worries about excessive sun exposure or poor weather conditions. The XTERRA TR 150 is a good machine for the price, with 12 preset programs, a top speed of 10 miles per hour, and three incline settings.
- Strong steel frame
- Clean LCD display
- Durable design
View XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill on Amazon
A weight bench is a common sight in professional and home gyms because it is a crucial and versatile piece of equipment. With seven different back positions and three seat positions, you’ll be able to do a variety of exercises with your dumbbells or by using body resistance. If your home gym is tight on space, you can fold it up when it isn’t in use.
- Quality materials
- Durable frame
- Great weight capacity
View Flybird Adjustable Weight Bench on Amazon
This may seem like a vanity purchase, but having a mirror in your home gym isn’t about watching yourself flex like a professional wrestler. Okay, well, maybe sometimes it is. But it also serves a key purpose. When you’re working out, you can check your form in the mirror, and that’s important for avoiding injuries. Plus, when you’re looking at yourself workout in the mirror, you start to think of yourself as an athlete, which can be highly motivating.
- Thick glass
- Rectangular design
View CrossROBBIN Wall-Mounted Mirrors on Amazon
Non-Essentials That Make Your Workouts More Fun
There are only so many times you can hop on your treadmill before you start to crave a little more excitement. Here’s the thing: Exercising doesn’t have to be boring. These items will put some spice into your workouts.
When you work from home and want to keep fit while logging your office hours, this bike is a wonderful addition to your home gym. While you won’t get the intensity of a spin class, you can work fairly hard at pedaling while you’re making bank. That multitasking will help you get fitter without adding more hours to your day, and while you’re concentrating on other tasks, you don’t even remember you’re pedaling.
A laptop fits well on this slanted desk, and you can adjust everything as needed to find the fit most comfortable for you. A cup holder sinks low enough into the desk to protect your electronics, and tension control lets you work harder whenever you want.
- Nice tension control
- Comfortable seat
- Adjustable desktop
View The Exerpeutic ExerWork 1000 Adjustable Desk Bike on Amazon
If you feel inspired to hit the heavy bag every time you watch Rocky or The Fight Club, you’re not alone. There’s something so satisfying about pounding away at a bag that can’t hit you back. But even if you’re having fun doing it, you’ll be surprised at the intensity of the workout you’ll get. This bag comes with everything you need to get started, including the gloves.
- Natural fibers
- Customizable height
- Quality hand wraps
View Everlast 70-Pound MMA Heavy Bag Kit on Amazon
Turning on your beast mode is as much mental as it is physical. Sometimes, you need extra motivation to put the bag of chips down and start your workout. Once you get moving you’ll usually keep going until you’re done. Signs and decals for your gym are more than just decoration — they truly can motivate you to do better.
- Easy to apply
- Premium vinyl
- Long-lasting adhesive
View My Vinyl Story’s Be Savage Not Average Decal on Amazon
If you’re new to rowing and aren’t sure how much you’ll enjoy it, you’ll be surprised when it becomes one of your favorite workouts. As you get stronger and better at rowing, you can turn up the adjustable resistance and improve your workouts.
- Magnetic resistance
- Non-slip pedals
- Long side rail
View Sunny Health and Fitness Store’s Rowing Machine on Amazon
Access your inner child with a mini trampoline for your home gym. If you’re to the point where your regular workouts are feeling stale and boring, a mini trampoline can help shake things up. You’ll be having fun as you get a great workout. This one can hold up to 450 pounds safely, so even if you have a long way to go to your goal weight, it will support you.
- Good weight capacity
- Strong bounceback
- Safe for use
View Darchen Store Mini Trampoline on Amazon
Don’t Sweat Over Finding the Right Equipment
When picking out equipment for your home gym, there’s a lot to consider. You need to make a list of what you’re trying to accomplish and figure out what will get you there. But you also have to think about all the small details that might trip you up. These questions will help you narrow down your list of potential equipment.
What Are Your Goals?
Some people want to get fitter so they can lose weight, while others want to build enough muscle to put Chris Hemsworth to shame. Figuring out your goals should be your first step while dreaming up your home gym. Do you want to pursue complete fitness and lose weight? Then you should get a variety of equipment that will build muscle and allow you to do cardio.
If your goals are more specific, your needs might be different. If you’re trying to train to run a marathon, a good treadmill is a must. You might also want an exercise bike for cross-training and some dumbbells to build muscle in spots that your running routine will overlook.
How Much Space Do You Have to Work With?
Some people will have a full room or basement to designate for their home gym, while some people will only have a corner of a room. If you have ample room, you can create the kind of home gym that will make most of us drool. If you only have a small area to work with, you’ll need to get creative. Look for equipment that can fold up, like the weight bench on our list, or be stored in a closet, like a dumbbell rack we mentioned.
What’s Your Budget?
Money can be an issue when you’re building a home gym. But keep in mind, you’re investing in your health. Money spent now on workout equipment could save you money down the road by preventing serious health conditions like diabetes. You won’t need to spring for a gym membership or commute to a gym, which will also save you money.
If you’re working with a tight budget, look at your top goals and spend accordingly. If you’re interested in that marathon we mentioned, you’re going to spend a lot of time on your treadmill. So, you may want to spend the bulk of your budget on a nice treadmill and skip the weight bench for now until you have more money to add it in later. If your goal is overall general fitness and you don’t have a favorite form of exercise, you may want to start with a variety of more inexpensive, introductory-level machines.
Will the Machines Require Subscriptions?
Subscriptions are a hidden cost for some exercise equipment. Some treadmills, for example, give you the option of paying a monthly or yearly fee to unlock access to a variety of training programs or videos. Not every buyer understands those videos and programs aren’t free, and it can lead to a serious case of buyer’s remorse. Be sure to carefully read over the details for any equipment you’re considering so you aren’t shocked by hidden fees.
Will the Equipment Fit Into Your Home?
You’ll want to be sure your equipment fits through the door to any room you’re going to use it in. But more than that, make sure the height of the equipment isn’t taller than your ceiling, or that you’ll have the headspace to do the required moves. For instance, if you buy dumbbells to use in the basement, make sure you’ll be able to lift them overhead without banging your hands against the ceiling. And if you buy a heavy bag to mount in your garage, you’ll need a secure rafter to hang it from.
Now Get Started
Once your planning is done, you’ll be able to set up the home gym of your dreams. There’s no reason you can’t have the fitness level you’ve always wanted. All you need is the equipment and the motivation.