The Best Exercise Equipment for Home Workouts

The Best Exercise Equipment for Home Workouts

11 min read


05 Jun 2024

Grab your cheat sheet…

    1. Dumbbells
    2. Barbell
    3. Adjustable weight bench
    4. Resistance bands
    5. Yoga mat
    6. Skipping rope
    7. Foam rollers
    8. Pull-up bar
    9. Suspension trainers
    10. Kettlebells
    11. Cardio machines
    12. Supplements
    13. The benefits of home workouts
    14. Building your own home gym

There are plenty of reasons for not wanting to go to the gym for a workout.

Maybe your nearest one isn’t that easy for you to get to. Or you don’t have much free time to spare on traveling there and back.

Perhaps the monthly membership costs are an expense that you can’t afford right now.

Or you just might not like the idea of exercising around other people.

All of these are perfectly valid reasons. But it’s still important to crush regular exercise sessions to stay in great shape.

Thankfully, the gym isn’t the only place where you can get in an intense session of strength-training exercises. You can also get in a killer workout from the comfort of your very own home (although workouts should never really be comfortable).

Even with zero or minimal fitness equipment, you can still put together a great bodyweight workout that will torch body fat, enhance your strength, and help you develop lean muscle mass.

And when you start involving extra pieces of equipment and apparatus, your results can skyrocket even further.

It doesn’t matter if you have a shoestring budget, limited space, or tight time constraints, with the right kit—a home workout can be just as effective as one in the gym.

So, let’s look at some of the very best home gym equipment for stepping up your home workout game.

1. Dumbbells

woman with dumbbells

Ridiculously versatile. With just a pair of dumbbells you can create a really solid full-body workout routine, as well as perform plenty of isolation exercises to target specific muscle groups.

Set-weight dumbbells are fine (and can be bought relatively cheaply). But ideally, you want adjustable dumbbells or ones with removable weight plates.

These give you the freedom and flexibility to change up the amount you lift as you become stronger and progress with your workouts. 

It also means you’ll be able to switch the weights up for different exercises—so you’ll always be lifting the perfect amount.

2. Barbell

Another reason why dumbbells with removable weights are such a good option is that the plates will also transfer over to a barbell (assuming the bars are the same width).

Most movements that you can perform with dumbbells can also be performed with a barbell, and vice versa, but a barbell gives you the ability to lift higher amounts of weight and ensures alignment and balance throughout exercises.

A mixture of barbell and dumbbell exercises is the perfect blend for a complete workout routine that targets multiple groups across the course of a week. So we’d definitely recommend getting both if you have the option.

3. Adjustable weight bench

man lying on weight bench

To really get the most out of your free weights and make your workouts even more effective, get yourself an adjustable weight bench—if you have the room, of course. You can even pick up foldable benches to save space in your home workout space.

A flat bench is fine for some exercises, but being able to alter the angle of incline and decline can be a real game-changer for ensuring you hit all parts of your upper body muscles.

You can safely and easily add in chest press, biceps curls, flyes, rows, shoulder press, skull crushers, and a load more muscle-building exercises to your training sessions when you’ve got a bench at your disposal.

4. Resistance bands

If you’re looking for value for money as well as something that won’t take up space, then look no further than resistance bands.

Despite being so lightweight (and affordable), exercise bands can still provide a hell of a workout. 

There are various different types of exercise bands, too—like tube bands, power (or loop) bands, mini bands, and fabric bands. 

All of these are typically available in different resistance levels, so you can start off at a lower amount of tension and then upgrade as you get fitter and stronger.

Bands are a great way to tone up and strengthen your muscles with resistance exercises. They’re also a pretty epic tool to have in your arsenal for stretching and optimizing your recovery after a tough workout.

5. Yoga mat

woman using yoga mat

Despite the name, yoga mats aren’t just for yoga – although yoga is a great way to stretch and improve your flexibility, stability, and core strength.

It’s also a good idea to have a soft and spongy mat at hand for performing exercises like push-ups and crunches, as well as for HIIT (that’s high-intensity interval training) workouts.

Nobody wants to exercise on a hard and uncomfortable floor, and you’ll never have to again when you’ve got a mat ready to be unrolled at a moment’s notice.

6. Skipping rope

Another portable piece of budget-friendly equipment that’s suitable for all fitness levels.

If you tend to associate skipping with kids playing games during school recess, throw those thoughts out of the window because skipping can be brutal! Just look at boxers. 

A skipping rope is a key part of their kit bag, as it provides an easy way to get in some hardcore cardio to get them shredded and ready for their next fight.

Jump rope workouts can burn a ton of calories, improve your coordination, and increase cardiovascular endurance and all-around fitness.

10 or fifteen minutes of skipping drills in the yard after your exercise sessions will have you really working up a sweat. You’ll be ripped like Iron Mike or Muhammad Ali before you know it.

7. Foam rollers

woman using foam roller

A good workout isn’t just about the exercises you do, it’s also about how you recover and stretch out afterwards.

Foam rollers are just what you need after a training session to release tension and soreness, work out knots or tightness in your muscles, and get your body feeling loose and refreshed.

While foam rolling targets quite a large area at once, you can also get smaller pieces of equipment to really narrow down the area you want to focus on. 

Muscle roller sticks, massage balls, and even massage guns—these are all great alternatives that will also fit neatly into your bag when you travel and need to exercise on the go.

8 Pull-up bar

Pull-ups are a really effective way to enhance your upper-body strength and build muscle mass.

There are various types you can choose from, too. There are ones that hang over your door frame, ones that twist into the doorframe, and ones that you can drill into your wall to become a more permanent fixture.

A handy trick to increase your pull-up or chin-up abilities is to do a quick set every time you walk past or under your bar. It’s a toll that’s well worth paying.

9. Suspension trainers

Man using suspension trainer

Another way to take your body weight exercises up a level or two is with  suspension training apparatus.

Prices can vary depending on what you want, and there are multiple options for how they work. Some need to be installed via a ceiling attachment, some can be anchored over a door, and others can be looped around a pull-up bar that you’ve already set up.

Whichever you go for, they tend to take up very little space, can be easily packed away afterwards, and will provide intense full-body workouts that hit all the major muscle groups through exercises like push-ups, squats, and rows.

10. Kettlebells

Just like dumbbells, the trusty kettlebell can be incorporated into a huge range of strength-building exercises. You can build an amazing routine that hits your whole body using just this one piece of home exercise equipment.

While you can get adjustable kettlebells, it’s much more common to buy single kettlebells at a set weight. They tend to range from around 5lbs (roughly 2kg) all the way up to 100lbs (roughly 45kg) and, sometimes, beyond. The only issue here is that you’ll need to keep springing for a new one each time you feel like you need a heavier weight or a bigger challenge.

If you’re unfamiliar with kettlebell exercises, brush up on how to do them correctly and with proper form to avoid injury or mishaps.

11. Cardio machines

cardio gym equipment

Most of the equipment we’ve covered so far has focused on strength and conditioning—but no home gym is truly complete without a cardio machine.

These do tend to be some of the more expensive and bulky apparatus, but they’re well worth the investment if you can afford one and have the extra space.

Whether it be a treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical, stepper, or rowing machine, having a way to get some cardiovascular exercise in at home will really round out your overall fitness routine. 

You can even jump on the cardio equipment in front of the TV to watch your favorite shows as you exercise. The time will just fly by! (Probably.)

12. Supplements

OK, so these aren’t strictly classed as a piece of equipment, but high-quality supplements can make a huge difference.

The right supplements can take average results and turn them into incredible gains. For example…

  • Whey protein powder supports muscle growth, boosts your metabolism, provides extra energy, curbs hunger, and will keep you fully fuelled throughout the day.
  • Mass gainers help you pack on more lean muscle mass, keep you energized, provide plenty of nourishment, and aid muscle recovery after a workout.
  • Creatine enhances gym performance by intensifying lifts, maximizing strength and energy levels, and giving you the drive, power, and stamina to exercise for longer. It also keeps your muscles hydrated and improves post-workout recovery.
  • Pre-workout powders can get you ready to smash your training session with a massive boost of energy (and without crashing afterwards), provide extra focus, and give you the pump you need to feel on top of your game as you lift.

It doesn’t matter if you prefer to hit an actual gym or just train from home. Either way, supplements are a key component of a successful workout routine. 

If you want the best results, you need to give your body the best possible fuel to perform at its peak.

The benefits of home workouts

man with kettlebell weight at home

A well-stocked gym will obviously have everything you need to build muscle, trim down, and become generally much fitter and healthier. But there are plenty of benefits to skipping the gym membership fees and strength training at home instead, like…

  • It’s flexible and time-saving: With a home gym, you can eliminate travel time to and from the gym and the need to wait for equipment. You can also easily fit workouts into your own schedule without being limited by gym hours or class times.

  • Extra privacy and freedom: Working out at home means you won't have to worry about feeling self-conscious or judged by others (not that this really goes on inside gyms, as most people are just there to work hard and focus on their own sessions). But being able to exercise in the privacy of your own space and wearing whatever you're comfortable in is a massive plus.

  • It’s cost-effective: Creating your home gym may require an initial investment, but it can save you a ton of money in the long run. Gym memberships can be pretty costly, but with home workouts, you avoid these recurring expenses. Once you’ve bought the home gym equipment, it’s yours for keeps.

  • You can really personalize the experience: At home, you have complete control over your workout environment. You can choose your preferred music, set personal fitness goals, and design a workout routine tailored to your specific needs and preferences – without colliding with anybody else’s.

  • There are reduced distractions: As much as we love the gym, it can often be crowded and noisy, making it challenging to focus on your workouts. By exercising at home, you eliminate these distractions, allowing you to fully concentrate on your own fitness routine and get the job done.

Building your own home gym

Putting together a workout space at home doesn’t have to be costly or difficult. Even just a few small pieces of budget home gym equipment can elevate your exercise routines and keep you pushing your limits.

Most of the apparatus mentioned above won’t take up too much real estate in your house, and they can often be picked up fairly cheaply as well—especially if you aren’t concerned about buying things brand new.

There are always people looking to sell or giveaway workout equipment that they no longer use. But their loss is your gain! 

Check out second-hand sites online or groups local to your area that sell, share, or give away unwanted items—it’s a smart way to kickstart your home gym without huge expenses.

Along with the best home exercise equipment above, there are also some amazing squat racks, multi-gyms, and full home gyms available. These are usually bigger and more expensive pieces of exercise kit—but if you’ve got the space and the cash for them—they’re well worth the investment.

Once you’ve set up your home workout space how you like it, you can start smashing your exercise sessions, making gains, and seeing amazing results.

In the meantime, check out our free guide to creating a workout plan and sticking to it.

Now stay home and get sweating.