Creating a home gym doesn’t have to be expensive! If you’re unable to afford a gym membership or costly equipment, a modest home gym is still a great way to get a killer workout.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: You don’t need a treadmill, elliptical, weight lifting machine or the latest fad system to lose weight or get in shape. I’ve successfully lost the baby weight (twice!) using nothing more than a few dumbells, a yoga mat and the great outdoors. Sometimes the simplest equipment is the best!
Whether you work out in your garage, basement, living room or bedroom, these affordable home gym essentials are sure to help you reach your fitness goals.
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20 home gym essentials for $20 or less
1. Dumbells (2-10lbs)
Dumbells are an absolute must-have home gym item. There is so much more you can do with free weights than machines. In my experience, dumbbells can give you a superior workout compared to any fancy, over-priced equipment.
2. Kettlebells (3-10lbs)
It took me a while to try kettlebells. They made me think of sweaty, veiny bodybuilders with sharp Swedish accents grunting, “Lift zee veights!” (I know, I’m weird). But I’m so glad I eventually tried it – kettlebells are just plain fun!
Another must-have home gym essential. Stability balls can do so.many.things. Not only can just sitting and bouncing on them strengthen your core (and have you tried them for soothing your baby to sleep?? PURE MAGIC!), but stability balls also double as a bench for upper body work. Winning!!
4. Yoga mat
No home gym would be complete without a mat! Even if you don’t do yoga, mats are essential for any type of floor work.
5. Aerobic step
I love aerobic steps! Besides the obvious step-ups, you can also do one-legged lunges, tricep dips, and plyometric jumps.
6. Mini trampoline
Also called “rebounding,” using a mini-trampoline is so good for your lymphatic system, not to mention a fun way to get aerobic and core exercise (plus it’s easier on the knees!).
Resistance bands are a good alternative to dumbells or to enhance body weight exercises. They’re also perfect for travel.
Medicine balls are great for core work and to add more weight to calisthenics.
9. Jump rope
The good ol’ jump rope, classic and effective.
10. Foam roller
Foam rollers are excellent for warming and massaging tight muscles.
11. Pull up bar
My husband and teenage son love their door-way chin up bar for upper body workouts. I, on the other hand, can do all of two pull-ups before my arms turn to jello and I collapse on the floor (#notpretty)
12. Full-length mirror
Ok, if you’re like me, looking at yourself in the mirror while you exercise is totally awkward (did I seriously just make that face??), BUT checking your form is important. Sooo…it qualifies as essential home gym equipment.
(I wasn’t able to find this online, however, I’ve seen full-length wall mirrors for $15-20 at WalMart and Target.)
Honestly, I’ve never used a heart rate monitor with any regularity. My thinking goes, “is my heart racing? am I sweating like a pig? ok, I’m good…” But I know people who love them and use them to stay in their target heart rate zone.
14. Gliding discs
Gliding discs are great for core work. My husband is a pro with these, I, however, have yet to master them.
15. Abs roller
Another core buster. I find the abs roller a little easier to use, but still a challenging core workout.
16. Workout videos
Exercise videos can make working out so much easier! I don’t know about you, but I don’t always have time to put together or memorize new workout routines. You can even find many on YouTube for FREE! (See the links throughout this post!)
I also highly recommend the free 30-day fitness challenge from The Betty Rocker. “Betty” will send you a free 15-minute workout in your inbox every day for 30 days. Check it out!
17. Weighted plates
Weighted plates are basically what you would put on the end of a barbell, but they can also be used in place of free weights for calisthenic moves and core exercises.
18. Yoga blocks
Yoga blocks assist us yogis in getting into and remaining comfortably in various poses. They’re great as a headrest (to keep the spine in alignment) in certain positions or for giving beginners more support.
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19. Punching bag
The perfect way to get out all of your frustration from the day (without abusing your poor husband ?). It also makes an excellent upper body and core work out.
Everlast Punching Bag from WalMart.com
20. Push up stands
Push-ups are one of the most effective exercise moves you can do. Protect your wrists and better engage your upper body with push up stands.
Do you need ALL of this equipment? Absolutely not! (Although that would certainly keep things fresh…) Pick 5 of your favorite things to set up an affordable home gym for just $100! My must-haves are the dumbells, yoga mat, stability ball, aerobic step, and mini-trampoline.
What are your must-have home gym items?
Hi! I’m Liane, a self-proclaimed ‘scrunchy mom’ (as in semi-crunchy). I have a passion for all things natural, healthy and holistic. My aim is to inspire you on your healthy living journey by sharing simple, everyday habits that can transform your well-being and life.