This post may contain affiliate links. Although I may earn small commissions when you click on that links – without adding any cost to your bought – my opinions remain my own; therefore, I will never recommend any product or service I would not use myself. Want to learn more about the topic? Don’t hesitate to read the full disclaimer here.
Editor’s note: The fitness equipment covered in this post is bodyweight orientated, meaning electronic equipment like treadmills or weight machines will not be covered. However, if you’re looking for reviews concerning treadmills or elliptical trainers, you can find them here and here.
Do you want to jump directly on our list? Just use the table of content below and see what is the best fitness equipment for home! : )
The art of true living in this world is more like a wrestler’s than a dancer’s practice.Marcus Aurelius
2021 has indeed been a challenging year for everyone, with a deep impact on everyone’s lives. One of the biggest challenges has been figuring out how to keep doing sport throughout this pandemic while keeping yourself safe.
With gyms and fitness boxes closing temporarily in multiple parts of the globe due to Covid-19, setting up a home gym has become a prevalent option for those who want to keep up with their training while keeping themselves safe.
This post will identify and cover what is the best fitness equipment for home and ultimately help you make the best choices concerning fitness equipment.
What Is Fitness Equipment For Home?
Before we dissect our list, let’s start with the basics and see what fitness equipment really is.
So, according to encyclopedia.com, “fitness equipment is a subset of the larger sporting goods sector. Fitness equipment includes items such as treadmills, free weights, weight machines, and elliptical trainers.”
Although it is fitness equipment, as said before, we will not be covering treadmills and weight machines for two reasons:
1st – I believe it is possible to assemble a home gym at an affordable price. Bodyweight workouts not only improve your stability, endurance, and range of motion, but if for any reason you decide to stop, you will not have half of the living room occupied by one or multiple machines that cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
2nd – Since I practice calisthenics, I have, or I already tried multiple times all the items within this list, so the reviews are based on personal experience and lots of research made before acquiring the equipment, which put me in a position to give you an honest and objective opinion.
It’s Suitable For Whom?
I assume that everyone is accountable for their own well-being. Therefore fitness equipment is suitable for most of you reading this post.
I know that there are exceptions, and unfortunately, we all have our limitations for different reasons.
Still, if you really want to exercise yourself from the comfort of your home, you will probably find something in the realm of fitness that will fit you (no pun intended).
Nevertheless, if you have some disability or health issue, please consult your physician and educate yourself before starting working out like some David Goggins.
Why You Should Invest In A Home Gym
The reasons to invest in a home gym are many being the most relevant the following:
- The world is going through uncharted moments, and we still don’t know when and how it will end. Assembling a home gym is an excellent way to provide you some certainty in your daily routine.
- There’s no membership cost associated with it. Once you make your investment, you will realize that you will save lots of money in the long run.
- Since you are investing in you, you can always provide you with high-quality fitness items that aren’t being used daily by hundreds of other people, assuring your workout quality throughout time.
- The time you will save in travels, changing, and sometimes meaningless chats in the long-term will result in hours, days, or even weeks that you can enjoy doing more productive activities.
- With a home gym, it will be way harder to make excuses to don’t exercise. No more, “I forgot the membership card at home,” “I feel a bit tired,” or “There are so many people around that hour.” As I said in a previous post, it will be easier for you to keep your inner bitch on a short leash, having a home gym.
- Last but not least, the enhancement in terms of privacy. Many of us (me included) already had that moment when you have the feeling people are looking and somewhat judging your workout, and sometimes that have adverse effects on us. With a home gym, undesired attention becomes passé composé allowing you to be focus on what’s really important.
What Is The Best Fitness Equipment For Home – Top 15
Now we arrived at our Top 15 list of the best fitness equipment for home. The list isn’t presented in a particular order, though I tried to do it so that it will make sense if you decide to make your buys following it.
I will not recommend you buy first a weight vest and after a pull-up bar. I mean, it makes zero sense to have a weight vest if you don’t have a pull-up bar in advance.
And now, without further ado, our Top 15 – What is the best fitness equipment for home.
Puzzle Exercise Mat
The first item on the list isn’t by close, the most important fitness equipment piece while assembling your home gym. In fact, attending the training you are aiming for and the type of floor you have at your place, you might don’t need it at all.
But in most cases, you will need some protection to the floor or with the equipment itself, and the best way to ensure that in the long term is to have a puzzle exercise mat.
It’s important to remember that you will need a cushioned base to add some comfort to your activity, reduce the former’s impact, and avoid injuries for some exercise or training.
Between a big mat and a small set of mats, I would prefer a big one. It’s true the small ones allow you more significant freedom in terms of display and works well as a base for a power tower. Still, if you’re thinking of executing some jumping jacks or similar exercises on it, they will probably disassemble throughout the training.
Once again, it all depends on what you aim for, but if you’re considering acquiring a puzzle foam mat for your home gym, consider your needs, which will help identify the type that will fit you better.
You might be thinking that if you have a foam mat, you don’t need a yoga mat, but you probably do need one.
Unlike many foam mats, a yoga mat always provides a solid grip, meaning you will not slide throughout your exercise. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said by many foam mats, mostly small and/or lower quality ones.
Another good reason to have a yoga mat (even if your space is equipped with a foam mat) is how practical and easy it is to clean, fold, and arrange it.
Again, it depends on your needs, but if you are really up to the idea of setting a home gym, you will realize sooner or later how important a yoga mat can be.
Now that we will not damage all places and add some comfort to our home sessions let’s see the essential items to keep setting up our home gym.
Usually, I’d suggest you a power tower as your top priority due to the wide range of exercises you can perform on it. Since we have an entire post dedicated to power towers (you can check here), I’d like to propose some less expensive yet efficient alternatives.
A pull-up bar should be on top of your home gym’s list. Not only by his incredible small footprint but by how much weight handle (up to 300lbs) and the varied range of exercises you can perform by adjusting the bar’s height.
A pull-up bar will allow you to work out all your upper body, with a vast number of variations and angles that will enable you to focus your workout on a specific group of muscles if desired. Some pull-up bars even allow you to do situps and push-ups.
Since you have two main systems for setting up a pull-up bar at home, be sure you know what type of exercises you’ll be doing and if the door’s frame where you’ll be setting the pull-up bar can handle your weight and the explosiveness throughout your workout.
Last but not least, pull-up bars are most of the time affordable to most wallets, which makes it one if not the most popular to-go piece of equipment to have around at home.
You are thinking of upgrading your workout to another level, looking to add more difficulty to your training by emphasizing stability and coordination in your workout routines. I present to you the gymnastic rings.
Note that you might never need them as you feel happy and content with the results you obtain with a pull-up bar, but if you’re looking for more adversity/gains, the gymnastic rings could be seen as a natural step.
Easy to assemble, you can attach it to most doors or anchor it to a rafter, tree, etc. Super small footprint and amazingly easy to carry on, gymnastic rings are quite popular among calisthenics practitioners, with many considering it the most valuable piece of equipment to acquire.
You can do pretty much everything you can do with a pull-up bar, but it’s more difficult, especially doing more advanced variations of the exercises. The prices vary as the material, I have mine in wood, but it’s up to you and what makes you more comfortable.
Once again, I remind you that gymnastic rings aren’t unreplaceable as a fitness item, and unless you really committed to your training, odds are you will not make the most of it, so think well before opting to buy a pair of gymnastic rings.
Suspension Training System
Like the former one, more than a must-have, the next item on the list is an alternative to both of them, and there’s a reason for that.
Although the similarities between the exercises you can do with a pull-up bar, gymnastic rings, and suspension training system, you can feel more prone to a particular one, and the results you will arguably obtain may vary as well. This time bring you the suspension training system.
This piece of equipment is often called “TRX” because TRX is the market’s leader in manufacturing the suspension training system, and maybe because it’s easier to say TRX over suspension training system, and perhaps because it is the more expensive as well.
At its core, the TRX will allow you to work out most of the body, though it’s more orientated towards core strength, core stability, and resistance. Like the rings, the exercises executed with a TRX are more demanding than using a pull-up bar, but the results will, in most cases, improve too.
Easy to carry and attach or anchor, small footprint, and many exercises that can be done with it, the suspension training system is a good option for the two former items as one of your core pieces of fitness equipment.
As I mentioned previously, TRX is the market’s leader though the most expensive ones as well. If you’re really interested in investing in a suspension training system more affordable or with different features and/or designs, you shouldn’t have a problem finding it.
Rather you’re a seasoned athlete or a beginner, kettlebells are a must that should be displayed in every home gym.
Excellent to improve your flexibility, strength, boost your cardiovascular system, and mobility, kettlebells are used by many athletes, from weightlifters to crossfit practitioners.
Kettlebells exercises will work mostly shoulders, lower back, legs, and grips, though exercises like the swing work the entire body. The swing exercise is so effective as popular since, in the kettlebells, the center of mass is extended beyond the hand, which benefits the body’s swing.
Unlike dumbbells where the reps are relatively short, kettlebells training (usually) involves more reps, therefore more similar to high-intensity interval training(HIIT), the reason why your cardio improves.
Rather if your goal is to improve your strength, endurance, or lose weight, kettlebells are worthy of your investment, both financially and physically.
You have different sizes, weights, and you can buy kettlebells individually or in packs. See what your needs are, the different weights needed to perform your routines, and I think you will not have a problem choosing the kettlebell(s) that fits you.
Parallettes display different sizes and can be used to perform different types of exercises, attending their size, small, medium, and high.
If small and medium parallettes allow you to do planches, L-sits, V-sits, push-ups, and general handstand maneuvers, high parallettes will enable you to execute dips and sit-ups additionally. Now my two cents on the different sizes.
I have a pair of small push-up stands (basically small parallettes), and I found it useful as I used them to perform declined push-ups. Still, to handstand maneuvers in general, I put my hand directly on the floor since that will work grip’s flexibility and strength. Besides, I find it very uncomfortable and, at times, unsafe to do a handstand using small parallettes.
About high parallettes, my opinion changes, especially if you don’t have a power tower or a pull-up bar, high parallettes could be your must-have item on your home gym since it allows you to do a wide range of exercises like dips, push-ups, sit-ups and the list goes on.
So my honest opinion is, except few specific exercises, I don’t find a great use for small parallettes; medium parallettes can provide you a bigger range of exercises while allowing you to do, in many cases, the same exercises that you will perform with small ones; the high parallettes as said previously can be somewhat important as a piece of fitness equipment to have around, especially if you don’t have the above-mentioned pull-up bar, power tower, gymnastic rings, etc.
As usual, it all resumes to your needs, but if you think of acquiring a pair of parallettes, it can be done at a reasonable price. Although the brand and material used (steel, wood, or PVC) will have its influence.
Jumping rope remains not only one of the most efficient and popular ways of exercise available but still arguably the best cardiovascular exercise you can get.
It’s excellent to burn calories and improve your cardiovascular system, as mentioned before. With a shallow risk of injuries, jumping rope is a perfect fit for you and the entire family.
Super easy to accommodate and carry, a jump rope can be used both indoor and outdoor.
The prices change attending the products’ quality and brands, but they are usually reasonable, so if you are looking to lose weight or get in shape, the jump rope will be a great asset to your home gym.
Unlike the name suggest, an abdominal roller (or simply ab roller) works not only your abs but your core, triceps, lats, and lower back, offering you more holistic results than traditional flexion exercises.
If you have some physical issues like lower back pain or joint problems, it might be very demanding since you’re working multiple group muscles.
If you don’t have any limitations, I would advise you to get an ab roller right away, I am using one for quite some time, and I’m quite please with the results.
The price may vary from brand to brand, but overall it’s quite affordable to get an ab roller, pay attention to the materials that compose it, and if the handlers are padded to add some comfort to your workout.
You don’t necessarily have to buy a plyo box since you can find at home or at the park other items to use instead, like a bench, stool, couch, bed, etc. However, a proper plyo box will optimize your training since it’s made for that effect.
Plyo boxes allow you to execute many different exercises like decline push-ups, reverse hyper, single-leg squat, Bulgarian split lunge, box jumps, and the list goes on and on.
Plyometric exercises will work mostly in your lower body, though some exercises work your full body. Plyometric training does wonders for your strength, endurance, power, and speed due to its intense nature.
The down of plyometric training is the risk of injury, with joint problems and tendonitis being the most common ones. Hence, if you have some of the former issues or are somehow prone to injuries, you should consider other training forms.
Exercise balls, also known as a Swiss ball, pezzi ball, birth ball, fitness ball, Swedish ball, and you have at least more 1246 different ways to call it by the time I’m writing this post.
Exercise balls (let’s stick to this name) are an awesome upgrade to your training sessions since it increases the gain of strength over time while performing a specific exercise.
The reason for that is that training on an unstable surface instead of a stable one will demand more muscle engagement from your body, especially lower back and core muscles.
Exercise balls can be used to do stretch exercises, yoga exercises, and many people claim it can improve your posture at work when you use an exercise ball instead of a chair.
Concerning the later one, though it makes sense in the paper, the theory was tested, and against what was expected, the results were a big NO. You can check the study here.
Although all the benefits are linked to the practice of sport, that often comes with a price, tension, soreness, or even knots in the muscles. To fight those less pleasant outcomes, nothing better than a foam roller.
Don’t get me wrong. I prefer to go 2x up 5x times per week to a massagist, but unfortunately, I do not have the time… or the money, and maybe you don’t have it either, and it’s there that enters the foam roller.
Besides releasing the tension on the muscles and relieving muscle soreness, a foam roller helps prevent injuries, increases blood flow, improves flexibility, range motion, and reduces cellulite.
You have three types of foam roller:
- Light texture – offers you a soft and relaxing massage, ideal to increase the blood flow.
- Smooth Rollers – offers you an equal relaxing massage but with increased pressure on the muscles.
- Wavy Texture – If you have really stiff muscles, soreness, or want to use a foam roller to improve your kyphosis or related problems, a wavy texture foam roller will do the job.
The price isn’t an obstacle to obtaining a foam roller, so if you look to the long-term, it makes total sense to acquire a foam roller.
Lacrosse Ball & Peanut Roller
Although the foam roller is a very complete and versatile piece of equipment, there are some spots on the body that aren’t accessible to it. To help you with that, you have a lacrosse ball and a peanut roller.
A lacrosse ball or peanut roller is handy on the upper back, around your shoulder blades and neck, upper legs (most notably in the hip flexors), but in the end, you can use them literally everywhere with the required precautions.
If the lacrosse ball can be replaced by a golf or tennis ball, it’s more difficult to manufacture the peanut roller at home, so you will have to buy one to enjoy its benefits.
Nevertheless, the price is low compared to other items on our list but equally valuable, so if you’re assembling a home gym, you should consider the lacrosse ball/peanut roller.
Resistance bands are a unique piece of equipment for the simple fact that you can use them to add or reduce resistance to your exercises.
One of the advantages of resistance bands over dumbbells or kettlebells is the control you have throughout your exercise.
When used to add resistance in exercises like a push-up, for example, that extra resistance is translated into bigger muscle growth and improved mobility and flexibility.
When a resistance band is used in exercises like a chin-up, that will ease the exercise itself, allowing you to execute in safety an exercise that will not be possible in normal circumstances, or more difficult at the very least.
You have different sizes and levels of resistance, so pay attention to those details before buying your resistance bands.
This might look like an obvious one but in reality, the use of gloves while training is often overlooked.
Indeed, some types of workouts will not require gloves at all, but if somehow you use a pull-up bar, kettlebells, gymnastic rings, or something similar, you will want to buy a good pair of gloves.
Since you don’t have your sweaty hand in direct contact with the equipment, that will give you more grip throughout your workout, which results in more security.
And the most obvious plus of a pair of gloves, your hands will not look like Deadpool’s face, and that’s massive.
Weight Vest/ Weight Belt
And we arrive at our last item on the list, the Weight Vest or Weight Belt, which is an option for someone who achieved a certain training level doing a specific exercise and their variations and wants to add some extra difficulty to his exercise by adding some weight while doing it.
For that, you can acquire a weight vest or a weight belt. They are both similar in terms of results, so the most important when the moment of choosing arrives is which one of the two you will adapt better.
Some people prefer the weight vest by the fact the weights are close to the body. Thus, you feel less the swing while performing; others prefer the weight belt because they found it easier to support the lower body’s weight.
In the end, it all resumes to your personal preferences and needs. And speaking of needs, buy a weight vest or weight belt only if you really need it. If you’re starting fitness or calisthenics, the use premature of a weight vest or belt can result in serious injuries.
My Two Cents
When I took the step to assemble a home gym, I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea. I like to chat a bit while doing my workout, I like to learn with others’ knowledge, and since I was doing free weight, it was a resourceful way to have some help while performing some heavier workouts.
But taking into account all the advantages of assembling a home gym, and since I had decided to dedicate myself 100% to calisthenics, it was with some naturality that I chose to set up a home gym.
It took me hours (and probably will take you too) to see which items and which brands I would choose, and I made some mistakes, mainly by going for less expensive and recommendable brand equipment that afterward didn’t bring the desired quality to my workouts.
With that said, you don’t need to bankrupt yourself to have a high-quality gym at home, but you should always consider investing in items and brands that assure the quality of your workout.
It can be a bit overwhelming (especially if you’re a newbie) assembling a home gym and deciding which program to follow. Still, once you start to take action and see results, I guarantee you that the feeling of empowerment you will feel is more than worthy!
And there you have it, our Top 15 list of what is the best fitness equipment for home, and we hope you enjoyed it, and it will help you on your path to greatness!
If you enjoy this type of content, don’t forget to check our previous post, “What Is The Best Power Tower For Home”, and see our Top 7 best power towers for home.
And you? In your opinion, what is the best fitness equipment for home? Do you think I missed something? Am I overlooking a particular item? Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, and I’ll be happy to reply to you.
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If you like my content, please consider following me everywhere (but not on the street, that’s weird:)) and I’ll catch you in our next post!
Until there, stay strong, and keep on moving! Amor Fati! : )
Founder of Against the Ropes