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Home gym essentials
Home Gym Essentials

Home Gym Essentials Home Gym Essentials

There’s a reason half the gyms in America now stock some version of this suspension training system: It’s the ultimate body-weight workout. You’ll also save a ton of valuable floor space.

Easily the most enjoyable part of creating your own gym space! Have a think about what motivates you and fill your space with the paraphernalia that will help you visualise what you are trying to become. Tailor your environment to your personality so that as soon as you walk into the gym you’ll pique your subconscious mind to prime you for hard work and success.

HST training or German Volume Training are also great ways of delivering great muscle mass gains without having to use really heavy weights.

This adjustable bench has five configurations to hit your muscles across a spectrum of angles. The shin pads come in handy for ab work.

Avoid the mistake of adding a mirror to your home gym set-up and then only training chest, biceps and abs – ie the ‘mirror muscles. A schoolboy error!

Remember that real workouts that produce results are not contingent on a vast array of flashy exercises, but rather the classic core few that we know work and have stood the test of time.

Resistance bands are one of the most versatile pieces of fitness equipment you can buy. “You can target your entire body with resistance bands and mimic most machine-based strength moves,” Vesco says. You can buy a pack that includes bands with different levels of resistance, so you can use lighter ones or heavier ones depending on what you’re doing (for example, I use light or medium bands for arm exercises and medium or heavy bands for most lower-body exercises).

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Log miles even when weather (or the game) keeps you cooped up indoors. This sturdy, no-frills spin bike provides plenty of lower-body resistance, even for seasoned cyclists.

You will be able to find all sorts of sets and plates for sale on the internet, including second hand bargains

The pushup is still one of the best upper-body exercises you can do with no equipment. Make them even more effective with these incline grip stands: They’ll protect your wrists and help you better engage your chest, shoulders, arms, and core.

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With more than 50 different exercises on the menu, this is the ultimate small-footprint home strength system. Using rods instead of weights (which also makes it far easier to maneuver), the Bowflex can provide up to 210 pounds of resistance.

Remember you will now be training all alone, so there won’t be anyone to check your technique or warn you if you are putting yourself at risk. If you are unsure about any of the exercises in your regime, investing in just one session with a good trainer to show you how it’s done could pay dividends later if you consider the cost of picking up an injury.

Long moderate intensity cardio workouts aren’t necessary to change your body, and don’t necessarily have to be a part of your gym set-up.

There are a lot of times I just want to add a little bit of weight to my exercises—like putting a 3-pound dumbbell in between my knee when I’m doing donkey kicks. I also know that doing triceps exercises or some moves that focus on my chest (which is significantly weaker than other parts of my upper body) that I need to use really light weights. And if you’re focusing on building muscular endurance primarily with your lifting exercises, low-weight, high-rep exercises are key (more on that here).

We get it, jumpstarting your workout routine after a hiatus can be tough, but this workout is made to gradually increase in intensity to whip your body back into shape.

You will be able to find all sorts of sets and plates for sale on the internet – including second hand bargains. Bear in mind that you’ll need a true Olympic bar so that you can rely on its sturdiness and wont outgrow it. These are about 7ft wide, so you need a room big enough to accommodate one.

Start with the very basics and keep an eye out for the upgrades you need for your home gym

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Not sure how to use a kettlebell? Check out these beginner kettlebell moves, and try this 20-minute full-body workout next time you’re looking to challenge your strength.

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This ultra-wide wheel is more stable than traditional ab wheels, allowing you to perform ab rollouts with better form. It also features a carbon-steel spring for a more intense burn at the top of each rep.

​Again, know thyself. Some guys find motivation from mirrors; others don’t.

If you can stretch the extra few quid or chance upon an opportunity, I would get some professional bumper plates (standard size, rubber coated). They aren’t cheap but they add that ‘Olympic training room’ feel to any gym and are a lot easier on the floor if they need to be dropped.

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I’ve always been really jealous of people who have home gyms. Imagine how effortless it would be to fit in workouts if you could just stroll down to your basement and get to work. (Not to mention being able to set the thermostat to whatever you want, blast your playlist over the stereo system, and never have to worry about who can hear you grunt.) Alas, many of us—myself included—just don’t have the space (or money) to build our own fitness meccas at home. What I’ve learned recently, though, is that we can hack our ways to a sufficient at-home gym with what little space we’ve got.

If you’re someone who doesn’t have high enough ceilings—or maybe you just have grumpy downstairs neighbors—indoor jumping may not work for you. But if you can do it, it’s a really easy way to fit in a great workout. (Here’s a full 15-minute jump rope workout you can do anywhere.)

6×6 training is a brilliant program for fat loss, muscle gain or recomposition, depending on how you tweak your nutrition. It involves 6 sets of 6 reps using a reasonably light weight, with the main focus being density of reps rather than weight.

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Sitting on a spin bike while watching your favourite TV series, listening to a podcast or making a phone call can be an effective way to kill two birds with one stone.

 If you can’t enlist a neighbour or a friend to train with you, you may want to mitigate a little risk by developing a workout plan that will deliver results without putting you at risk of getting stuck under a bar.

Whether you’re using it for exercise or to smooth out sore muscles, this sturdy roller won’t collapse or lose its shape—no matter how much you abuse each other.

Building a home gym doesn’t have to be particularly expensive

Trainer Bianca Vesco, who created SELF’s 2018 New Year’s Challenge, tells me that she trains a lot of clients in their New York City apartments. “I have plenty of clients who don’t have access to gyms and prefer to train in their apartments and it’s no problem at all,” Vesco tells SELF. She has them do a lot of bodyweight exercises, but she also relies on some small, versatile equipment to get the job done. “It is so easy to build an at-home gym! As long as you have enough room to hold a plank, you have space,” she says. “I have a tiny apartment and I work out in it all the time! I may shove my couch into my tiny kitchen and put my coffee table on my bed. But I make it work.”

Despite losing out to the kettlebell in our list of essentials, there is still a compelling argument for the inclusion of the dumbbell in your new gym if you have the space.

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The rack is an important element of your gym set-up; it’ll be the biggest piece of equipment and also the most expensive. Again you’ll want a more commercial feel here, as you need it to be robust enough to survive all of those gruelling workouts.

None of these are essential, but if you have the space, money, and inclination, they will help you vary your workouts:

Protect your floors—not to mention your joints—with these non-toxic foam tiles. Whether you’re throwing around weights or a judo partner, they’ll provide a safe surface for your home workouts.

Now consider your home life. Do you have young children? If so, a home gym can be a great way to exercise without spending ages away from your family (and dumping childcare on your other half). But it can also prove divisive: to have an effective workout, you need to create a space and time period that’s free from disruption and distraction.

Before you do, though, a word of caution: plenty of good men have suffered the fate of being seduced into purchasing overly expensive and ultimately faddish fitness equipment for their spare room or garage. Just imagine how many ab cradles, ab belts, vibrating dumbbells and other relics of the fitness industry are stashed in attics across the land, never to see the light of day again.

Building a home gym doesn’t have to be particularly expensive. People waste a lot of money on unnecessary cardio equipment, multi gyms and overpriced specialist products that quite frankly aren’t particularly useful in a commercial gym, let alone a home training space.

Scott Laidler is a film industry personal trainer from London. Visit Scott at for online personal training and free fitness resources.

Turbocharge almost any exercise by incorporating this balance-challenging machine into your routine. You’ll better activate your core while firing up all those in-between stabilization muscles most workouts neglect.

Whether you’re using it for cardio or plyo workouts, or as a bench for dumbbell chest presses, these sturdy but lightweight platforms will allow you to crank up the intensity of your next training session.

I understand your concern – but I just don’t think that they are necessary. Firstly, we can get a thorough warm-up from dynamic stretching and bodyweight exercises, so we’re covered there. And as far as fitness and fat loss goes, none of my transformation coaching clients do any running. My solution to fitness concerns is simply to lift weights faster. There are plenty of muscle sparing training regimes that rely solely on density of repetitions and muscle sparing cardio in the form of bodyweight exercises.

Some people are suited to training alone and some people aren’t

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One thing resistance bands are particularly good for? Butt and hip exercises. Here’s a great resistance band butt workout you can try.

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I would opt for a pair of relatively heavy kettlebells (12-16kg) over a rack of dumbbells. Some won’t agree with this, but I find kettle bells to be a far more versatile piece of equipment. They can replicate most of the exercises you would perform with dumbbells and also bring an element of momentum and functional training to your workouts, providing 100s more variations without taking up much extra space in your gym.

Some people think that because of the space issue they can bypass buying a rack. Not so. Without one, heavier leg, chest and shoulder workouts become almost impossible. There is also the safety element to consider as again, most of the time you will be training alone so will want the reassurance of being able to rack the bar easily.

Adding a punch bag to your home gym is going to allow you to enjoy great stress-busting, high intensity workouts. Be sure to put the bag up with enough room in every direction so that you can really work it.

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A very important aspect of gym planning is the flooring, which must protect your property and help make your gym equipment last longer. Proper gym flooring will also help reduce the sound level coming out of the gym.

Over the past year, I’ve slowly started stocking up on a select few items to curate my own “gym.” For what it’s worth, my gym is the yoga mat-sized space in between my sofa and my bar cart. I keep all my equipment in a couple baskets stashed away on a shelf in my closet, and when I want to exercise, I pull out what I need and roll out my mat. After, I put it all away and out of sight. The thing is, I can get a really good workout in with my little box of tricks. Sure, a treadmill and full set of weights would be pretty sweet. But I can do at-home workouts like resistance band butt workouts, warm-ups and cool-downs for my runs, abs workouts, and a variety of strength-training exercises all in the comfort of my own home with very minimal equipment and space.

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Those points considered, if you still think it’s a good idea, lets get to work…

Try: FlexActive Resistance Loop Bands Set of 5, $12,

TRX training takes up pretty much zero space in your gym, which is essential at this point in proceedings. Just fit it up to your rack and you are good to go.

Maybe you prefer dumbbells over a kettlebell, or maybe like to use both but for different exercises. Either way, having some sort of heavy weight in your arsenal will let you work on building strength. Plus, most people can use heavier weight for lower-body work (thanks, glutes!) than upper-body work, so it’s good to have both a lightweight and heavyweight option on hand.

Whether you use it for CrossFit, MMA training, or just to stay in shape, this adjustable speed rope will challenge athletes of all shapes and sizes.

To make the most of your barbell sets, you’ll need a bench. I’d opt for a second hand commercial bench over a new one designed for home use, as they tend to take a battering and the lower quality ones come apart at the bolts and rip pretty easily. Always go for a bench that has incline and decline functionality: you may not use these often, but if you decide to go for a split bodybuilding style training phase it’ll come in handy.

Wedge this bar into the top of your doorframe, and you’re ready for pullups, chinups, and a variety of other back and bicep exercises. Lay it on the floor for tricep dips and easy-on-your-wrists pushups.

The truth is that some people are suited to training alone and some people aren’t.

I’m going to show you a better way to construct your home workout space. But first you need to ask yourself the following, crucial question: Is this going to be good for you?

Featuring 20 custom-designed workouts, this gym-quality treadmill is your ticket to a trimmer, healthier physique. Build a session into your morning routine.

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Jumping rope is hands down one of the best ways to get a cardiovascular workout. It increases your heart rate quickly, and also works your arms, shoulders, legs, and core. And a rope packs up super small, which makes it great for those with limited storage space or anyone who travels a lot.

If you answered yes to any one of the above questions, it may be the time to consider creating your very own personal gym at home.

I know what I just said about cardio, but I am a fan of low intensity heart rate training. My preference would always be getting outside and walking, but sometimes it’s important to stay in with the kids.

Aim for commercial grade foam flooring (you’ll find it in interlocking squares). This will last you years and is very affordable.

If space is an issue you always have the slightly more expensive option of a set of adjustable dumbbells, which will take up next to no space and still typically reach weights of about 25kg.

P.S. Adjustable dumbbells are pretty genius—Vesco says some of her clients have them, and it’s a great way to save space and get a wider range of weight options. Here’s a compact set to try: ProForm 25-lb. Adjustable Dumbbell Set, $80,

The TRX and competitors like the Jungle Gym XT will allow you to heavily tax your core and work through functional ranges of movement you wouldn’t have available to you with free weights alone.

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You don’t need to join an expensive gym to keep your fitness resolutions in the New Year. If you have a few square feet to play with, you don’t even need to leave your home.

This is the most important piece of equipment you’ll need for your home gym and will be the foundation of pretty much all of your workouts.

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Proper gym flooring protects your property and helps make your gym equipment last longer

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Whether you’re working with an expansive basement or a converted closet, with the fitness equipment on this list you can get in great shape on your own turf.

Follow the author of this article Scott Laidler Follow the topics within this article Exercise Fitness Body Home Workout

A cross between resistance bands and dumbbells, Power Reels provide constant resistance, forcing your muscles to spend more time under tension—a central tenant of muscle building.

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A foam roller is a great recovery and mobility tool—and while the standard size is kind of large and unwieldy, mini versions do exist! Vesco says that she also uses her roller for actual workouts: “It is very difficult to balance on, so you can sometimes pretend it’s a Bosu,” she says. A Bosu is a balance-training tool—it looks like the top half of a yoga ball on top of a hard, flat platform, and it’s used to create an unstable surface during exercises so that you can engage and challenge your core. One way to use foam rollers to challenge your balance is to put your hands on them while doing push-ups (here’s a visual)—though you’d need two of these little guys to get it done.

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Once you have your gym, it’s time to get working. But before you do, it’s worth considering the following:

Made from durable, high-strength latex, you won’t find a more reliable product for your band-based exercises.

If outdoor cardio isn’t your thing, this heavy punching bag is a great alternative for incinerating fat while building explosive power and speed. With the included gloves and wraps, you’ll be ready to rumble right away.

You may also want to seek out a rack that can easily take attachments. For example, pull up bars are a great addition.

A rack of dumbbells is very easily recognisable and the lower weights make a low barrier to entry, so if you are trying to get your partner or young family interested in exercising with you, this may be the way to do it.

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Have you grown sick of the hustle, bustle, and sweat-stained walls of the typical commercial gym? Do you find the travel time associated with getting to and from your local workout centre affects the amount of sessions you can get in each week? Are you simply fed up of paying through the nose for facilities that you have to share with others?

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This classic medicine ball features a durable, textured rubber shell for improved grip. It also has modest bounce for ball workouts that require it.

“I can’t live without a heavy kettlebell,” Vesco says. “For things like swings and thrusters that you want a significantly heavier weight for, its easier to just have one! There’s lots of possibility with a heavy bell.” A heavy weight is also great for squats, overhead presses, and deadlifts.

Warm up your body before a workout with this whole-body rowing machine. Or max out the resistance to bulk up your back, shoulders, and arms.

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‘Wait,’ I hear you thinking. ‘Where does the treadmill go? And what about the cross trainer?’

I ran my list of essentials by Vesco to get her approval and some additional suggestions. Below are the most basic, useful fitness tools that can fit into a tiny apartment—so that you can get in all your workouts without having to leave your home.

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Keep in mind that your home gym will evolve over time. Start with the very basics and keep an eye out for the upgrades you need. When the time and price is right you can make those additions.

Here is a list of the basic exercises you’ll have available to you with a barbell set:

Having a home gym can be great for convenience, but it isn’t for everyone. Some people draw genuine motivation from the group environment of the social gym. They enjoy the expert classes and find respite from working out in gym chat. If that sounds like you, no matter how convenient training at home may sound, it’s probably not for you.

This set of dumbbells provides all the weight you need in a smart, ultra-compact form that won’t occupy half your house. Each of these weights can be adjusted between five and 52.5 pounds.

Try: CAP Barbell Rubber-Coated Hex Dumbbells Set of 2, $11-$40,

Especially if you have hard floors, a yoga mat is key for at-home exercises. Vesco tells me that sometimes she just leaves her rug out and lies on that instead since it’s so comfortable—but if you’re a very sweaty human like I am, you might feel uncomfortable on a plush surface. A basic yoga mat that rolls back up for storage works for any workouts where you’re lying down. Try finding one that matches your decor if you’d rather leave it out (or get a little lazy and just leave it rolled out for a few days, like I often do).

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There is no reason you can’t create a fully functional home gym that will stand the test of time for between £1,000 and £2,000 There are plenty of places to buy used fitness equipment, such as classified ads and auction sites like eBay, where you’ll often be able to pick up equipment for less than half what you would pay for it new.

If you’re not willing to give up your evening tube time, this machine will allow you to stay fit even as you power through your Netflix queue.

Remember: you probably wont have a spotter when working at home.

Anyway, if you really have to run, go outside and hit the pavements!

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