5 Must-Have Pieces of Fitness Equipment to Create your Home Gym

must-have home gym equipment

Before I had my son, Lincoln – you could find me at my local gym 5-7 days a week, 1-2 hours a day. Fast forward to having an energetic (but lovable) 1-year-old, I haven’t been to a standard gym in forever (circa August 2016). My solution? An awesome home gym. I’ve created a pretty epic space in my basement with a squat rack, dumbbells, rubber flooring, treadmill, rowing machine, barbells, olympic sized weighted plates – even a hyperextension machine. While all of this equipment is AWESOME to have – I totally recognize it’s not doable for everyone. That’s why I’ve come up with my 5 must-have pieces of equipment to create your home gym.

The Equipment

All you need is 5 pieces of fitness equipment to create the home gym of your dreams. Literally with each piece, you can perform DOZENS of workouts that target fat loss, endurance, and muscle building. So, let’s get into the merch (purchasable links included)!

  1. Dumbbells – I recommend starting with 3 pairs of dumbbells. Depending on your fitness level you will want to purchase a light pair (like 5’s), medium pair (10’s – 15’s), and a heavy pair (20’s +). I personally have a full set of dumbbells from 5’s to 60’s.
  2. Kettlebell – The kettlebell is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment and it takes up barely any space (hello city people)! I personally gravitate toward Rogue’s kettlebells because they are high quality and I had used them at a crossfit class PL (pre-Lincoln). I have a variety of weights in my home gym but if you can only grab one I would recommend an 18 pound or a 26 pound kettlebell.
  3. Jump Rope – Don’t have space for a treadmill or a rowing machine? The old school jump rope is the perfect solution. Not only is the jump rope space efficient, I guarantee it’ll kick your butt while shaping your legs.
  4. Soft Medicine Ball – For similar reasons to the jump rope, a soft medicine ball is super helpful when it comes to cardio. What I really like about the ball is that it is weighted so you can challenge your cardiovascular PLUS musculoskeletal system.
  5. Workout Bench – Lastly – we have the good ‘ol workout bench. If you had to cut SOMETHING out of this list I would say the workout bench could be the first to go, but honestly they are really helpful to ensure proper form and to do a variety of upper and lower body workouts.

The Workouts

Speaking of workouts – you can hit literally EVERY body part with my recommended 5 pieces of fitness equipment. If you are stumped for workout ideas, I can create a custom program for you OR check out the links below to generate some workouts using minimal equipment.

  1. Lean legs workout
  2. Full Body Circuit Workout
  3. 24-Minute Full Body Workout – Substitute ball slams for battle ropes
  4. Cubs World Series Full Body Workout
  5. 3 Full Body Circuits 
  6. Jump Rope + Bodyweight Workout
  7. The Slam Ball Workout for Maximum Muscle Power
  8. 12-Week HIIT Trainer
  9. Dumbbell Ab Workout

If you can splurge…

Okay so if you have the space AND the resources – you might want to consider picking up these other pieces to round out your home gym.

  1. Rubber Flooring –  We had ours delivered by Home Depot. They are easy to assemble and really easy to clean. I think we got 4 boxes.
  2. Treadmill – We have this treadmill from NordicTrack. There’s some cool virtual running features (you need a subscription) and an easy user interface. It also has a strong belt for running and it’s long enough to really stretch your legs for a proper run. My husband and I assembled this together (took about an hour), but there is an option to have NordicTrack assemble for you.
  3. Rowing Machine – I LOVE the Concept2. This is a great piece of equipment if you’re not in love with treadmills yet you want an AWESOME cardio workout. Setup took about 10 minutes – really easy!
  4. Squat Rack – I did a TON of research for a squat rack and this one is efficient and cost effective. I’m so glad I did my research because I was about to purchase a $1000 squat rack and instead snagged this one for $225.
  5. Bumper Plates – I LOVE these Rogue Bumpers by Hi-Temp. The plates are perfect to bounce off your rubber flooring and aren’t too loud when you need to drop the bar.
  6. Dumbbell Rack – Totally not necessary but my hubby received our rack as a Christmas gift and it definitely helps to get the dumbbells off the floor.
  7. Barbells – Feel free to do your own research on barbells. A lot of what goes into purchasing a barbell is the feel of the bar. Choose either the 5′ or 6′ bar for versatility.
  8. Pull Up Bands – These are great if you have a squat rack you can loop these bands around to perfect your pull-ups. In fact, I went from not being able to do any pull-ups to 2-5 unassisted.
  9. Box – A box is perfect for step up exercises and box jumps (great cardio movement). Totally not necessary, but if you have the room get one! I use mine multiple times a week. This specific box comes unassembled and requires a power drill to put it together.
  10. Incline Bench – Lastly, if you’re looking for an alternative bench, I LOVE our incline bench. It’s very stable and durable and gives you more versatility with your workouts. This reclines to a flat position or inclines.

I hope these recommendations are helpful when you start to plan your home gym. If you need additional help planning your space, please shoot me an email and I would love to help you create the perfect gym for your needs.

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