Though some people prefer to exercise in group classes or at a gym, the idea of having a home workout setup is pretty appealing. You can go from being in bed to doing your daily HIIT session in less than five minutes, which means you have zero reasons for not getting your sweat on. The only problem? It can seem like a huge investment to assemble a home gym, and people often struggle to figure out which equipment they need in order to get an effective workout. Here's the good news: It's up to you. There are a lot of affordable options out there that won't set you back major cash, and you can pick and choose what you want based on the types of workouts you like to do.
So if you want to build a home gym without dropping thousands of dollars on a fancy treadmill, what should you buy? Here's what trainers recommend to get started.
вЂњForgo any bulky weight machines; free weights are better because you have to engage more of your body to stabilize and balance when holding a weight versus a machine,вЂќ says Jonathan Tylicki, master trainer at AKT and program director of AKT On Demand. That's right, it's better to use regular old hand weights than it is to invest in a fancy machine. вЂњYour collection of dumbbells can be small,вЂќ he adds. вЂњA set ranging from three pounds to 10 pounds is sufficient for most women.вЂќSPRI Deluxe Rubber Dumbbells $23Shop
If you don't want to invest in a cardio machine, вЂњa jump rope is a small, affordable, and fantastic way to get a great cardio workout in anywhere,вЂќ says Dempsey Marks, fitness expert and creator of PreGame Fit. вЂњYou can also mix your jump rope work with things like push-ups, lunges, and more for combined strength and cardio supersets. These help you burn more calories while still building strength, giving you a killer workout in less time.вЂќLimm Jump Rope $10Shop
Only want to buy one thing to start off your home gym? This should be it, according to Meghan Kennihan, a personal trainer and running coach. вЂњIt is versatile, allowing you to do essentially any exercise you could perform with dumbbells. The handle makes it perfect for swings, which are one of the best total-body movements.вЂќ As for what size to get, she recommends a moderate weight-something heavy enough to be challenging, but light enough to perform many reps with good form.Gymenist Kettlebell With Neoprene Coating $26Shop
For minimum investment and maximum impact, go for a set of resistance bands. вЂњIt's like having a weight room in your home without all the bulkiness of weights and a fraction of the price,вЂќ explains Reggie Chambers, a personal trainer in New York City. вЂњPlus you can buy a whole pack that varies in width, thickness, and overall resistance. They're perfect for on-the-go fitness if you're traveling as well. You can do almost any type of strength-training exercise with them-squats, bicep curls, rows, and more.вЂќTone It Up Resistance Bands $18Shop
вЂњGet yourself a sturdy wood or metal set of plyo (plyometric) boxes,вЂќ recommends Victor Self, a Master Instructor at Flywheel. вЂњThey're great for dynamic leg work with a cardio twist!вЂќChamption Sports Plyometric Platform Box $110Shop
Don't want a huge stability ball taking up space in your gym area? вЂњA small soft-over or Pilates ball is great to haveВ because you can use it at varying levels of inflation,вЂќ Tylicki says. вЂњHalf-inflated, you can put it mid-back and work deep into your core, or you can put it at the low back to work your transverse abdominis. You can use it a quarter inflated and stand on to challenge your balance and stability.вЂќ And if you sit for long periods of time, he recommends sitting on it while you work to improve your posture.Stott Pilates Mini Stability Ball $13Shop
If you're into cardio, consider a rowing machine, which will get you more bang for your buck over the years than a treadmill or elliptical. вЂњIt is a fantastic often-overlooked addition to a home gym if you have the space and the funds,вЂќ Marks says. вЂњRowing strengthens your entire body and elevates your heart rate, so you burn a ton of calories. It's one of the only pieces of cardio equipment that provides a full-body workout.вЂќ Plus, rowing is a low impact form of exercise, which means you'll be able to do it for years and years to come.Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine With PM5 $945Shop
If you've got a doorway that's tucked our of the way, a pull-up bar makes an amazing addition to any home gym. вЂњIt's one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to gain upper-body strength,вЂќ Kennihan explains. вЂњYou can do pull-ups from a wide or narrow grip, or turn your palms around to crush a few chin-ups.вЂќ Can't do a pull-up yet? вЂњUse it for your abs by doing leg raises or knee-ups,вЂќ she recommends.Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar $24Shop
вЂњIt's always smart to have a yoga mat to protect your hands, knees, and back when you come down to the floor,вЂќ Tylicki points out. Plus, a mat can help prevent you from slipping if you're getting super sweaty.Adidas by Stella McCartney Blue Yoga Mat $60Shop
Looking for more fitness information? Head to our health verticle, THE/THIRTY.