You all know that I do my workouts at home, or outside. I don’t belong to a gym, so I have made my home into a gym. While it is possible to get a great workout using body weight exercises, adding some equipment to your home gym can greatly increase the versatility of your workouts. You have probably noticed by now that I enjoy a LOT of variety in my workouts. 🙂
This is my “Must Have” list for having a home gym that will meet all of your needs. If you have something else you use to workout with at home feel free to leave a comment! If you don’t have these items don’t panic! You can still have plenty of great home workout options. These items will just add to those options.
1. Interval Timer: I do a lot of HIIT workouts. My Gymboss Interval Timer is useful for timing exercises at home, and keeping track of interval workouts when I am running outside. It can be distracting to keep looking at your watch during workouts. With my interval timer I don’t have to slow down. I just keep going until the timer beeps. Bonus: it can also be used as a stop watch.
2. Yoga Mat: I have a variety of yoga mats. They are perfect for any yoga, pilates, or floor work you are going to do. I am often asked if there is a difference in yoga mats (cheaper vs. more expensive). The best yoga mat I have ever used is a rubber yoga mat, which is of course more expensive. I loved the fact that my hands didn’t slip at all on this mat, even when I got sweaty. If you decide to get a rubber mat check to make sure you are getting one that is made from natural or recycled rubber. As far as thickness: thicker mats are more comfortable and provide some cushion and support for your joints and back. However, thicker mats are also more challenging to balance on.
3. Kettle Bell and/or Dumbbells: I love the versatility you have with kettle bells and dumbbells. You can incorporate them into a variety of workout moves to increase the resistance and challenge of the exercise. They come in a variety of weights and sizes so you can select the one that is right for your level of fitness.
4. Barbell/Free Weights: If you are looking to increase the amount of weight you use, owning a barbell and some free weights will be very beneficial. I have free weights that I can use individually (they have cut out areas for you to grip the weight), and I can put weights on my bar for a variety of exercises. My favorite weighted exercises are Squats, Romanian Deadlifts, Bulgarian Split Squats, and Good Mornings. I want to buy some heavier weights for my bar. Of course you can use weights for a huge variety of exercises. I like having options and the ability to switch up my routine.
5. Ultimate Body Press Dip Stand: This is the brand I use, but other brands would also be effective. I love this piece of equipment for it’s versatility. I most often use it to work my arms, abs and chest. It is important to maintain variety in your workouts, and there is a lot you can do with the dip station.
6. Pull Up Bar: I have a door frame pull up bar. Pull ups, chin ups, and hanging leg raises are a great addition to any workout. This piece of equipment will help strengthen your back, shoulders, and arms. Also, if you enjoy rock climbing or bouldering it can help you increase your strength and endurance. (If you’ve never tried rock climbing before, check to see if there are any climbing walls near you. It’s a great fun way to stay active and fit!)
7. Stability Ball: I love my stability ball. It allows you to perform a variety of challenging variations of body weight exercises. Decline push ups, stability mountain climbers, and moves to intensify ab and butt workouts are just a few. Plus, sitting on a stability ball while you work or watch TV can help strengthen your core, and facilitate good posture.
8. Jump Rope: A jump rope is an easy way to add cardio into your workout. You can add intervals, increase fat burning and cardiovascular endurance with this inexpensive piece of equipment. Not sure? Check out Health Benefits of Jump Roping
9. Bosu Ball: This is on my wish list. I love the Bosu Ball because it can increase the challenge of almost any workout move. You can add a balance challenge to lunges, squats, step ups, and core exercises to name a few.
10. Resistance Bands: These are a great tool to increase resistance during your workout, without requiring the use of additional weights. You can use them to increase the challenge of a variety of exercises. These bands come in varying resistance, so you can grade your workout for your own level of fitness.
11. Treadmill: I know, this is a top ten list. Consider this the bonus item. If you can afford it, and have room for it a treadmill is a great addition to your home gym. Preferably a model that has an incline feature. Treadmills can be great for running, walking, and interval workouts. Despite my best intentions in the winter months I often can’t force myself outside into the cold to run, so a treadmill is a great option. Also, if I want to be active, while keeping it low impact I will grab my kindle, and read while walking on the treadmill. You get better results when you focus on the workout instead of a book, movie or magazine, but if the alternative is laying on the couch and reading you are still benefiting by spending time on the treadmill.
I hope you found this list useful. If you don’t have these items don’t worry about it. You can still get a great workout at home with just your body weight! These tools are not necessary, but they can be beneficial in increasing the versatility and challenge of your workout.