Home Gym Essentials (When You're Ready to Invest in Equipment)
If you're looking to finally working out but for whatever reason, you need to work out from home, you've come to the right place! Whether you can't prioritize a gym membership right now, don't feel comfortable at the gym, or can't find time to get there and make it worth it, you can still get killer workouts from home. Of course, there are so many workouts you can do with zero equipment and only bodyweight or household items, but if you are looking to invest in some equipment, I'll share with you what I recommend.
I've worked out at gyms for years and have worked out at home for almost 2 years due to the pandemic, but I'm honestly obsessed with my home gym situation and workouts. Here are the items I recommend from absolute basics to progressively a bit more extra but totally worth the investment.
Let me tell you right off the bat, I almost forgot about this one and then automatically bumped it first. Whether you have hardwood floors, carpet, or need to work out outside on the grass or concrete, a yoga mat gives you a designated place to work out in comfort. Depending on your workout type and yourself you can buy a standard or a much thicker mat too. I find the thicker mats to be so comfortable and easier on the joints but require so much more balance when it comes to holding any kind of pose or getting into positions (aka lunges).
If you're working out in any way, you need to have a foam roller. There are so many different lengths of them and some are designed to have various patterns and pressure points but honestly, as long as you have one out of foam, you're already doing amazing. Spend just 5 minutes before a workout if you know you're already sore or 5 minutes after if the workout kicked your butt and you'll thank me later.
Dumbbells are the most basic items you can buy that can also make a tremendous difference in your workouts. Start light and over time you can go heavier. If they are pricey, simply buy just one and do one side at a time. I'll always prefer dumbbells over kettlebells if you only invest in one because I prefer hand positions on kettlebells but either is totally fine and kettlebells are great for heavier weights and certain exercises.
I've said it (at least) once and I'll say it again. I love jumping rope and I'll recommend it to everyone. I've written an entire post about the benefits and a few sample workouts you can do. You really don't need any fancy jump rope either, I would just recommend it is adjustable so that it can be fit to your height but most are!
Glute bands are such an easy tool that can elevate any workout. If you think bodyweight exercises are feeling easy and you're tired of just piling on more reps, try adding a glute band. Works so well for glute bridges, lunges, squats, and is even adaptable for arm workouts or to improve pushup techniques! The rubber ones are cheap but I'll always prefer the fabric ones as they won't snap, are more durable, and they tend to not roll down. I also recommend packs with 2-3 sizes so that you can move up or down in bands depending on the exercise.
In the same idea as the glute bands, resistance bands are amazing to help elevate any workout you're doing. The great thing too is that these can actually replace dumbbells if you don't want to spend money on physical weights of different amounts. Simply add, remove, or interchange the bands as needed to make the resistance how you need to feel a burn. A set like this is also amazing because the different handles allow you to do variations of exercise from simply being able to grab onto them, hooking them onto places in your home, or putting it over the door (but make sure you test out the safety of your door and the direction it opens before you do this!).
This one is definitely more of an investment but I've loved it and have used it every week since I bought it 6 months ago. Essentially, if you can't afford or don't have the space for a squat rack (rightfully so!) then this is such a great alternative. You can load up the resistance in the same format as the ones above, and if you find it too easy, you can even buy more bands to add to the collection. The one thing I missed like crazy going from the gym to at home was loading up a bar for my squats, split squats, and lunges, and now I finally can again.
That's everything I recommend and everything that has gotten me through years of working out at home, but especially the last year and a half. If anything starts getting easy, just add more reps or add more resistance/weight. You really don't need a gym to get workouts that burn, you don't even need all of this equipment, but sometimes adding equipment diversifies your workouts to keep it fun for every new workout plan you come up with.