For many people, gym workouts aren’t an option. Maybe fitness centers aren’t your thing or you’re not interested in paying for a monthly membership. Some people just prefer to exercise in the comfort of their own homes, and in times of chaos, it’s a rather appealing option…
Well, you’re definitely not alone and these are all valid reasons for setting up your living space to keep in shape. Now, you definitely don’t need much to improve your fitness. However, options are always nice to have and the convenience is why we’d recommend at least have a few items for optimal home workout sessions.
But we know that everyone’s goals, budget, and personal situation are different. So while one person may need a full gym set up, someone else may only need a few dumbbells and a pull-up bar. Well, we put together a list of beneficial items for all types.
Check out our list of 12 very useful training tools for home workouts…
Flat/adjustable bench – Fitness Reality 1000 Super Max Adjustable/Foldable Weight Bench
The Fitness Reality 1000 is a top-notch, adjustable workout bench with an 800lb weight capacity and it’s suitable for heights up to 6’4″. It’s also foldable for easy storage.
If you’re serious about fitness then you need a bench whether a basic lightweight option or an adjustable one. This simple piece of equipment gives you so many exercise options.
It provides you with a stable, elevated surface that you can use to workout from many different angles (e.g. incline/decline push-ups, incline press/ curls, etc). Not to mention, it allows for a larger range of motion and stretch during many exercises (e.g. chest press, flys, dips, tricep extensions, core work, etc).
And… you can use it for step-up/plyometric training instead of using a box for athletic workouts.
Another appealing benefit is that you’re up off the ground and lying on a cushioned platform. So, it’s definitely a must-have addition to any home setup.
Pull-up bar – XMark multi-grip wall mounted pull up bar
The XMark commercial-grade multi-grip pull-up bar is awesome because it’s super high-quality and durable for any workout. The various grip angles give you more pull-up options and the bar knurling provides a very functional grip.
Pull-ups/chin-ups are superior upper-body bodyweight exercises for back and bicep training. In fact, you should be doing them whether you workout at home or at a gym. And there are many ways to increase the difficulty of this exercise (e.g. wearing a backpack, holding a dumbbell between your feet).
But what many people don’t realize is that you can use it as an alternative to a cable machine. That’s right, you can simply attach a few cheap resistance bands to the bar and you have a very versatile setup.
So whether you want to do lat pulldowns, standing rows, or tricep pushdowns, this set up allows you to do so easily. A pull-up bar is definitely one of the best investments you can make.
Power tower – CITYBIRDS power tower
The CITYBIRDS tower is superb-quality made from 14-gauge steel and it has a 400lb capacity. It has a pull-up and dip bar with sufficient cushioning and an inclined armrest that’s also slanted inward to prevent elbow slipping.
A power tower is a workout station that usually has a pull-up bar, dip bars, and depending on the design, it may have other features as well. It also has a cushioned backrest for leg lifts/raises to hit your core. And you’ve probably seen one in your gym as it’s a popular and versatile training tool.
Most options are also affordable which is a big plus and it offers more options than most doorway pull-up bars.
Treadmill – XTERRA Fitness TR150
The XTERRA Fitness TR150 is a great basic treadmill at a low cost. It’s equipped with a 5-inch LCD screen for performance and calorie tracking. Not to mention there are 12 preset programs you can follow and the machine speed is 0. 5 -10 MPH. The TR150 also has incline settings, has a cushioned deck for shock absorption and it folds for easy storage.
If you have the space, a treadmill is one of the best cardio machines available. Sure it’s a weight-bearing and potentially high-impact activity, and we don’t recommend everyone use it for running or even jogging. But many people forget that you can walk on it too.
Walking is highly recommended to keep healthy and burn calories if your goal is weight/fat loss. Plus, it’s much better for the joints during prolonged exercise.
But if you like jogging and running, a treadmill is useful when the weather does not permit outdoor training.
Free weights – Cap Barbell coated hex dumbbells
Dumbbells are the ultimate versatile training tool as they don’t restrict your range of motion and they don’t take up much space either. CAP Barbell is a top manufacturer of weights and they offer many different sizes/weights so that you can choose based on your experience level.
Free weights are a training tool we recommended everyone invest in if you’re working out at home. Adjustable dumbbells and barbells are awesome options for limited space. Otherwise, a standard barbell and multiple sets of dumbbells are ideal when you have more room to work with.
But the benefits of using free weights are that they maximize stabilizer muscle recruitment and are your best option for functional training. Now, if you can afford machines and fancy equipment then, by all means, go ahead. Machines are awesome too.
But free weights will always be the superior option between the two when it comes to transferring over into real-life applications (e.g. athletic activities, balance training, etc). You’re not locked in so your limbs can move naturally and the options are limitless. This can also mean the difference between joint pain and no joint pain for some people.
Not to mention, a few pairs of dumbbells and a barbell will be cheaper than buying several different machines. But we understand, however, that everyone has a different preference.
The system comes with straps, handles, anchors, a workout guide, and a premium app. The system is also tested for up to 350 pounds of resistance. So, you can attach it to trees, poles, or anything else that won’t budge!
TRX stands for total resistance exercises and it’s actually a suspension trainer that allows you to use your body weight to provide resistance. You can train every muscle group and it’s super convenient because the system can attach almost anywhere.
It’s used in gyms, homes, studios and anywhere you could imagine. And whether you want to do pull-ups, rows, chest training, core work, lunges or anything else, the TRX is a great tool.
And because this system is so popular, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) sponsored a study that looked at the acute and chronic health benefits of the TRX. So they worked with a team of researchers from the Recreation, Exercise, and Sport Science Department at Western State Colorado University, led by Lance C. Dalleck, Ph.D. (1)
16 healthy men and women between the ages of 21-71 volunteered for the study. By the end, it was concluded that the TRX system is a good alternative to conventional exercise modalities. It also meets guidelines for cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular fitness, and it has positive effects on cardiovascular disease risk factors according to the review.
And it also has a very positive impact on balance and flexibility. Not to mention, it’s an excellent fat-burning tool. TRX is an awesome platform and it’s hard to beat for at home or anywhere training.
Resistance bands/tubes – Bodylastics 31 Piece Mega Set
The Bodylastics mega set is among the best resistance tubing available. The color-coded resistance tubes are a patented anti-snap design made from heavy-duty natural latex. The set comes with 31 pieces in total including upgraded durable handles, a door anchor, wrist/ankle straps, and a bag. Plus, you get access to online workouts.
You can use the tubes separately or stack them for up to 404lbs of resistance.
Resistance bands or tubing is a very valuable tool. They’re super lightweight and the resistance level options are literally limitless (if you don’t mind spending a little extra). Plus, you can wrap them around things to add much more variety to your training.
For example, wrap it around the bottom of a dresser, table, or couch and you can do bent-over rows. Hang in on a tree branch or pull-up bar and you can do face pulls, tricep extensions and much more.
Oh, and bands can be stores away in the smallest of spaces not to mention they’re totally portable.
Exercise Ball – URBNFit Exercise Ball
The URBNFit exercise ball is the ultimate option for improving fitness, balance, stability, yoga, and having more exercise options overall. It’s professional-grade, supports up to 600lbs and is non-slip. It also comes with a quick pump.
Exercise balls are a great way to develop stability and balance while offering a platform off the ground to do weight training and more. You can deflate and inflate the ball for easy transport and overall, it’s one of the best fitness inventions ever.
Low-impact cardio machine – Concept 2 Model D Rowing Machine w/ PM5
The Concept 2 Model D is used by gyms and pro athletes all over. It’s operated by flywheel air resistance so you determine the difficulty. It’s equipped with a self-calibrating performance monitor for exercise tracking and it rolls on wheels. The weight capacity is listed at 500 pounds.
Ellipticals, stationary bikes, steppers, climbers, rowing machines and pretty much any low-impact cardio platform are also very useful. One is not better than the other and it really comes down to personal preference.
Some machines have LCD screens with interactive apps and others are more basic. Resistance type is also something that varies with machines too. Certain options are operated via belt drive flywheel air resistance, and others function by magnetic resistance.
Some cardio equipment is also quieter than others and you may also want a fan or tablet holder. Well, there are many great options out there but you should choose based on budget, features, and goals.
A backpack? Yes, a backpack will allow you to add more resistance to your push-ups and pull-ups. Simply load it up with books, cans, dumbbells or anything else you can find to increase the difficulty of your workouts. Bodyweight exercises become too easy at some point and you need more overload for growth and strength.
You can use any decent quality backpack or use the one you already have.
Dipping/pull-up belt – Harbinger polypropylene dip belt w/ steel chain
The Harbinger dip belt is made from durable and heavy-duty material to ensure additional weight is supported during exercise. The belt is a contoured design for optimal comfort, plus its adjustable, and the 30-inch steel chain w/ a strong carabiner system will support a few hundred pounds. The belt weighs just 2 pounds.
A dipping belt is an essential training aid because you can add weight (plates or dumbbells) to your dips and even pull-ups which often require additional pounds. Most options won’t break the bank either but we chose a top-rated option that should stand up to most situations.
Exercise mat – BalanceFrom GoYoga all-purpose exercise mat
The BalanceFrom GoYoga exercise mat is a great option for when you need some cushion support during your yoga or exercise sessions. It’s 71″ long, 24″ wide, and 1/2″ thick made from high-density foam for optimal comfort. Both sides of the mat are slip-resistance and you get to choose from several colors. It also comes with a strap for easy carrying.
An exercise or yoga mat is good to have for obvious reasons. It makes doing exercises on the floor more comfortable. Plus, you can take it outdoors and be protected from the elements if you so choose to. There are plenty of great options though but we recommend one with great cushioning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get a good workout at home?
Absolutely! But remember, a good workout is all relative to your goal/s.
Home workouts can be just as effective as training at a gym. But this is something that’s definitely not the same for everyone. For example, many people don’t have sufficient equipment at home to effectively train in their discipline.
So if you’re a powerlifter then bodyweight training and using dumbbells and bands won’t allow you to reach your full potential. However, if you’re goal is to simply build a decent amount of muscle and strength, then you can do that with minimal equipment and your own bodyweight with a little creativity.
Are home workouts as effective as going to the gym?
It depends on your goals but everyone can get in shape by working out at home. However, sometimes equipment is needed and other times it’s not.
Can you build a lot of muscle working out at home?
Yes, anyone can build muscle working out at home. However, you may need some training equipment to build maximum size and strength.
Otherwise, you’ll have to get very creative.
What do I need for an effective home workout?
You honestly don’t need anything to have an effective home workout. You can get in shape using your own bodyweight and a little creativity.
However, it’s always nice to have options and there are many effective tools to help you make awesome gains and progressive which include…
- Pull-up bar
- Power tower
- Free weights
- Resistance tubing/bands
- Exercise ball
- Low-impact cardio machine
- Backpack (to load with weight)
- Exercise mat
The list could go on… but few people would argue with these great options for home workouts. There’s something for everyone at a reasonable price too which was a big factor we considered. So, choose the tool/s which best suits your goals, preferences, and budget.