Building an Epic Home Gym: Our Favorite Pieces of Equipment

Home workout equipment is one of the best investments you can make for yourself or any fellow fitness-lovers in your life.

Workout equipment is relatively inexpensive, and will last through years (if not decades) of tough workouts. If you prefer to work out at home rather than go to a gym (or at least want the option), it will help keep your workouts varied and always challenging.

Here are our top home workout equipment recommendations to help you start building a home gym:

Jump Rope

If you have just one piece of home workout equipment, hands down it should be a jump rope.

Jump ropes are fantastic pieces of home workout equipment for so many reasons:

  • They’re totally portable. You can bring them with you to work out at a park or even on vacation.
  • They’re a great substitute for regular, often boring cardio (think: treadmills).
  • They add variety and intensity to HIIT workouts.

We love these Rush Athletics speed jump ropes.

Pull Up Bar

If you’re building a home gym to be your main workout area, one of the best pieces of equipment you can get is a pull up bar.

Having consistent access to a pull up bar means you can train your muscles to do a variety of “pull” movements, as opposed to just “push” movements (for example, pull-ups versus pushups). Pull movements are harder to train with just bodyweight, so having this one piece of equipment goes a long way! Plus, and you can use it for core work with exercises like hanging knee raises, leg raises, l-sits, and more.

There are typically two options for a home pull up bar:

Doorway pull up bar

Ceiling pull up bar

Medicine Ball

Medicine balls are a great way to add even more variety to your workouts, and can be used for everything from core exercises like medicine ball twists and jackknives to full body exercises like slams and wall balls.

There are two types of medicine balls: regular and slam balls. If you have room for both, they provide slightly different benefits, but if you only want one you can pretty much use either one for most exercises.

Regular medicine ball

Slam ball

Kettlebell

Kettlebells offer a number of benefits, and are fantastic for exercises like swings, squats, windmills, Turkish get ups, and more.

You can usually get away with having just one kettlebell around, although if you really enjoy kettlebell training you may want to get a couple of different weights eventually.

Most women can start with a 10 to 15 pound kettlebell (or 25 or 35lb one if you’re more advanced). Men are usually OK to start with a 35 pound or heavier kettlebell, depending on your experience and current fitness level.

We love these Cap kettlebells (and as a bonus, if you’re an Amazon Prime member they’ll ship for free!).

Dip Bar

A home dip bar gives you the ability to work on exercises like triceps dips, bodyweight rows, l-sits, and more. It’s not a huge investment, and will last a long time (I’ve had mine for 10+ years).

These Ultimate Body Press dip bars are our favorite because they’re relatively sturdy and are easily collapsible if you want to store them in a closet.

Dumbbells

You can’t go wrong with a set (or a few sets) of dumbbells around. They can easily be tucked away in a closet or under the bed and can provide an added challenge to squats, overhead presses, lunges, and more. You can also use dumbbells in place of medicine balls in many medicine ball-based exercises.

We love these Cap dumbbells (which also ship free on Amazon).

Plyo Box

You can certainly do exercises like box jumps, step ups, and split squats on stairs or a sturdy chair or elevated surface. But if you’re building a home gym, a dedicated plyo box allows for even more exercise variety and greater workout variability.

There are a few different options of plyo boxes, including ones made out of wood and soft plyo boxes. If possible, try and get one that allows for different heights so you can increase the challenge when you want to.

Here are our favorites:

Wood plyo box

Soft plyo box

Workout Bands

We love workout bands for two reasons:

  • To make exercises easier (regression). You can use workout bands to make exercises like push ups, pull ups, dips, and handstand push ups easier to be able to work up to the full thing.
  • To make exercises more difficult (progression). You can also use workout bands to make exercises like push ups, pull ups, and dips more challenging.

Our very favorite workout bands are made by our friends at Rubberbanditz.

We also have a band-focused program Bodyweight Strength + Power if you’re interested in using bands to really take your fitness to the next level.

Sandbag

Although you can always get creative with home workouts and make your own sandbag by filling a backpack or a duffel bag with some heavy stuff, fitness lovers will appreciate having a sturdy workout sandbag for several reasons:

  • They allow you to easily adjust the weight to make exercises more or less challenging
  • The sturdy construction means you can slam them on the ground without worrying about breaking the seams
  • They add an extra challenge to exercises like squats, overhead presses, lunges, burpees, and more

Most women can start with a medium weight sandbag (25-75 pounds); men can start with a medium or a large one (80-120 pounds).

We love these Garage Fit sandbags.

Get Fit at Home

The best thing about building a home gym is that you don’t have to get everything at once. You can build up a home gym slowly and only get what you have space for, adding more equipment gradually over the years as your goals continue to evolve (this is what I did!).

Having the flexibility to work out at home and not always having to go to a gym means you’re more likely to stay consistent over the long run.

If you like to work out at home, but you know you do better with the accountability of a workout program, check out the 12 Minute Athlete Academy.

1 thought on “Building an Epic Home Gym: Our Favorite Pieces of Equipment”

  1. What a wonderful list of essential equipment for home workouts. I really like workouts, but unfortunately there is not always enough time for the gym. Therefore, the issue of arranging a home mini gym for me is now more than just relevant. Of the above, I have a jump rope and dumbbells. And also I have recently bought a fitness gums, or expanders, as they are also called. As for me, this is a great thing! You can even train at work during the lunch break, take them with you on vacation or on a picnic. I also really want to buy a Pull Up Bar, but so far this is only in the plans. Thanks to the author for the article, I’ll keep it in my bookmarks;)

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