The Essential Items You Need For a Home Gym

There’s no doubt about: having a dedicated gym at your apartment or home has a big positive effect on your physical and mental health. You can exercise at any time of the day, without needing to account for commute costs from and to the gym. You also don’t need to pack a bag or wait for equipment to free up — you’re the exclusive member who can use whatever he or she wants at their will.

Of course, building a home gym is easier said than done. You’ll need to buy several different items to set it up correctly. So, if you’re thinking of craving out an exercise dungeon in your home, below are our picks for the essentials that you’ll need:


Yoga or Exercise Mat

This is home gym 101: A yoga or exercise mat is essential for floor exercises. Whether you’re planning to perform knee push-ups or strengthen your core, a mat is going to come in handy. Consider getting a thicker mat for extra padding. Another convenient thing about having a mat is that you can pack it up and take it to a hotel or even a beach to take your exercise outdoors.

While mats come in several varieties and shapes, we recommend the following three:

Gurus Cork Yoga Mat with Natural Rubber Bottom

Backslash Fit Smart Yoga Mat

Gaiam Essentials Thick Yoga Mat Fitness & Exercise Mat

 

Product
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Where to Buy
Gurus Cork Yoga Mat with Natural Rubber Bottom
Backslash Fit Smart Yoga Mat
Gaiam Essentials Thick Yoga Mat Fitness & Exercise Mat

 

Medicine Ball

People looking to perform core strength movements and plyometric exercises should invest in a medicine ball. You can use it to improve your balance, perform ab exercises, and more. Aim for a softer variety so that you don’t end up injuring yourself during workouts that involve catching or throwing the medicine ball. We also recommend going for a lighter version of the ball as most medicine ball exercises prioritize power and speed.

According to our research, the following medicine balls are good options:

AmazonBasics Medicine Ball

REP FITNESS Soft Medicine Ball

GYMENIST Rubber Medicine Ball with Textured Grip

 

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
AmazonBasics Medicine Ball
REP FITNESS Soft Medicine Ball/Wall Ball for Strength and Conditioning Workouts
GYMENIST Rubber Medicine Ball with Textured Grip Available in 9 Sizes, 2-20 LB, Weighted Fitness Balls,Improves Balance and Flexibility - Great for Gym, Exercise, Workouts

 

Dumbbells

This is another critical purchase for a home gym set up. A pair of dumbbells offers loads of opportunities to perform in-home workouts: Use them to perform lunges, strengthen your biceps and triceps, or perform deadlifts. Not sure what weight is ideal? A smart idea is to get a 5 kg pair first. You can then slowly add to your home gym by making additional purchases. Don’t go heavy with dumbbell exercises if you’ve never lifted weights before. It takes time getting used to, and lifting more than you can handle is an easy way to injure yourself.

The following pair of dumbbells should allow you to perform a range of exercises:

Yes4All Hexagon Neoprene Coated Dumbbell (Pair)

BalanceFromGoFit All-Purpose Dumbbells

AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbell Pairs and Sets with Stands

 

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Yes4All Hexagon Neoprene Coated Dumbbell
BalanceFrom GoFit All-Purpose Dumbbells in Pair, or Set with Rack
Amazon Basics Neoprene Dumbbell Pairs and Sets with Stands

 

Plyometric Box

These boxes are used for exercises that help improve reflexes, power, and conditioning. You can use the box to perform jumps, which is a great way to improve joint efficiency and power. Box jumps demand a great level of cardiovascular strength. The increased demand, therefore, improves endurance and the body’s ability to process oxygen. Performing explosive exercises such as box jumps with plyometric boxes will also complement the strength you built by lifting dumbbells and doing core workouts.

Many plyometric boxes exist on the market, but we recommend the following options:

BalanceFrom 3 in 1Foam Plyometric Box Jumping Exercise

j/fit Plyometric Box for Training &CrossFit

Yes4All 3 in 1 Wood Plyo Box with 4 Different Sizes

 

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
BalanceFrom 3 in 1 20"x24"x30" Foam Plyometric Box Jumping Exercise
j/fit Plyometric Box for Training & CrossFit - Available in 6 Inch, 12 Inch, 18 Inch, 24 Inch, 30 Inch Box Set, and Adjustable
Yes4All 3 in 1 Wood Plyo Box with 4 Different Sizes

 

Bench

Many aspiring home gym owners neglect this important piece of equipment. However, getting your body in the right position for some workouts requires the support of a solid bench. Also, basic workouts like dumbbell rows (chest supported) and bench presses can only be performed with the help of a bench. In other words, having a bench lets you perform a wide range of movements that would otherwise be difficult to maneuver.

There are several options when it comes to purchasing an exercise bench. We, however, recommend getting one of these products because of their aesthetic appeal and functionality:

GYMENIST Exercise Bench Adjustable Foldable Compact Workout

ATIVAFIT Adjustable Weight Bench for Full Body Workout

FLYBIRD Adjustable Bench,Utility Weight Bench

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
GYMENIST Exercise Bench Adjustable Foldable Compact Workout Weight Bench Easy to Carry NO Assembly Needed
ATIVAFIT Adjustable Weight Bench for Full Body Workout Multi-Purpose Utility Weight Bench Foldable Flat Bench Press for Home Gym
FLYBIRD Adjustable Bench,Utility Weight Bench for Full Body Workout- Multi-Purpose Foldable Incline/Decline Bench


Resistance Bands

This equipment is a no-brainer. Usually, injuries can prevent you from effectively lifting dumbbells and performing other weight-training exercises. Of all the things that you can use to warm up before exercise and alleviate aches, resistance bands are the best. Plus, they can also help enhance your workouts by assisting with dips and pullups (for those who are not strong enough to perform unaided movements). You can purchase four to six bands on a good budget and they’ll last for several years. Don’t buy the cheapest band, though , because having one snap during the middle of a workout can be quite painful.

There are several resistance bands on the market, but we suggest getting one of the following:

TheFitLife Exercise Resistance Bands with Handles

Lifeline Jungle Gym Body Weight Suspension and Resistance Cables

Resistance Bands, 15 Pieces Exercise Elastic Bands Set

 

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
TheFitLife Exercise Resistance Bands with Handles - 5 Fitness Workout Bands Stackable up to 110 lbs, Training Tubes with Large Handles, Ankle Straps, Door Anchor Attachment, Carry Bag and Bonus eBook
Lifeline Jungle Gym Suspension Trainer System
Resistance Bands, 15 Pieces Exercise Elastic Bands Set, 20lbs To 40lbs Resistance Tubes Heavy Duty Protective Nylon Sleeves Anti-Snap Fitness SUPALAK

 

By investing in these six items and spending some time on YouTube, you’ll be well-equipped to design hundreds of calorie-burning exercises for yourself. If you can’t afford to purchase all of the things at once, get one or two items first, then add the others a couple of months later. It’s okay to slowly build your gym, one item at a time.

Home gyms, however, aren’t a good idea for everyone. Some individuals would get the entire thing set up, but never use it because they feel better going to the actual gym. But for people who’re self-motivated or under a time-crunch, realize this: even if the upfront investment is a little high, you’ll be working out on a regular basis as well as saving in terms of travel time and occupied equipment.