7 Essential Items For Building Your Home Gym

Space can be a factor when assembling a home gym. These seven items can help you maximize your workout without taking up a ton of territory.  Regardless of the size of your area, these pieces of fitness equipment can magnify the amount of options you have when planning your at home workouts.

Adjustable Weights

Spacing saving adjustable weights are one of my favorite items for a home gym.  They are sold in a range of sizes and styles so pick which one is best for you.  The wonderful thing about adjustable weights is that you have five different size dumbbells at your disposal for all of your exercises.  It allows lighter weights when you work on upper body and heavier weights for those tough leg workouts.  The pins or dials adjust easily so it takes seconds to switch your weights from one size to the next.  When you are all done, they sit in the base and can be placed anywhere you like for storage purposes.

Resistance bands come in a variety of styles. Some include a clip to attach to a doorway or handle.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are a great addition to any workout routine at home.  Bands come in a variety of tension levels from, light to medium and heavy (3-35 lbs of resistance).  They also come in a range of styles, such as the minibands, therabands, superbands, or you can find them with handles. All styles can be adapted to use with both upper body, lower body and core. My favorite are sets that include several band types.

Resistance bands are fairly inexpensive, but sturdy. They should last a few years before needing replacement. They can be used for strength training, Pilates or stretching.  Bands will give you the capability to reach muscle groups you may not be able to with traditional dumbbells.   Bands also travel well! They are light and easy to pack in a suitcase for those times where you want to take them with you on a trip.

Foam Roller

Both smooth or rigid foam rollers can help loosen tight muscles before a workout.

A foam roller is fairly inexpensive.  They come in different styles – smooth or textured.  The purpose of a foam roller is to use it for self-myofascial release.  Use the roller and your own body weight to roll through any knots or sore areas from your previous workouts. 

The use of myofascial release is encouraged by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) prior to your workout.  It treats skeletal muscle immobility and pain by relaxing muscles that may be contracted.  It also can aide in improving blood circulation while stimulating the stretch reflex in the muscles while you roll.

Save your floors and add some cushion to your workouts by using a yoga mat.

Yoga Mat

A yoga mat can be used for more than yoga.  Whether you are doing your workout on a hard floor or carpeted area, a yoga mat can come in handy.  For one, a yoga mat can soften the surface you are working on, putting less pressure on your joints.  In addition it also provides a wipeable surface – think dripping sweat.  Do you really want sweat on your floor?  Yoga mats can also provide friction and stability for certain exercises.  Planks, for instance, can be more stable on a yoga mat than a slippery floor.  The rubbery feel of the mat helps provide a solid grip for your hands and feet so that you can hold your body properly.

Woman on swiss ball doing abs exercise
Increase body stability by doing exercises with a Swiss ball, aka a fitness or stability ball.

Fitness Ball

Fitness Balls are available in a variety of sizes.  Find one that works well with your height.  Also known as exercise balls, this piece of equipment can be a useful workout tool for a variety of reasons.  Use fitness balls to assist with balance exercises or to help modify existing exercises that may be too difficult.  Fitness balls can create a controlled unstable environment.  With a little practice it can help to strengthen some weaker muscle areas and aide in tightening your core.  It can be used at any level from beginner to advanced.  Beginners should practice simple core and leg exercises until you have enough confidence to move on.

Yoga block

A yoga block is another essential tool, especially for beginners.  It can add length to your body in order to modify exercises or use it to help you stretch.  For example, if you are having difficulty with a traditional lunge, place the yoga block under the knee you bend as a supportive stop point instead of reaching for the floor. A yoga block is a great tool during a core workout. Use it as a touch point during russian twists if you don’t have a small fitness ball or medicine ball to work with.  You can also use a yoga block in advanced workouts for exercises such as uneven pushups.  Just because it’s called a yoga block doesn’t mean it’s just for yoga!

Use a yoga block to modify exercises! Not flexible enough to stretch deeply into a move? Use the block to shorten your distance until you become flexible enough to do it.

Microfiber towel

Everybody needs a towel!  Quick drying, sweat wicking towels are great addition to any home gym.  Grab them quickly to wipe your face, hands or even your equipment.  They are small and easy to wash and reuse.  By purchasing a small pack of gym towels you’ll always have one in rotation ready to go as you complete your workouts throughout the week.

What are some of  your favorite at home gym essentials? 

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