The 10 Best Pieces of Equipment to Start a (Small) Home Gym

March 28, 2020 - 8 minutes read

The must-have pieces of fitness equipment to buy when starting your own home gym.

When you just can’t make it to the gym, what better place to get moving than in the comfort of your very own living room? With so many easily-stored equipment options available for purchase online (and a perfectly good physique to use for bodyweight exercises), there’s really no reason why you can’t get in a good sweat at home.

Pick and choose from our curated list of at-home exercise equipment to build a home gym that fits your space and helps you stay consistent in progressing toward your fitness goals at home.

The best pieces of home gym equipment

1. Yoga mat
2. Resistance bands
3. Suspension system
4. Skipping rope
5. Adjustable dumbbells
6. Medicine balls
7. Bike trainer
8. Floor sliders
9. Yoga block
10. Foam roller

Let’s look deeper into ten popular pieces of fitness equipment to discover which ones might be the best fit for your at-home gym.

Related: How To Swap Household Items for Weights and Other Workout Gear

1. A basic yoga mat

Whether you plan on taking part in a regular hatha routine or are more inclined toward push-ups and deadlifts, adding a yoga mat to your home gym is an absolute must. A true staple in the equipment world, a good yoga mat provides a cushioned, non-slip surface and can be used for everything from planking to lunges to shavasana.

Our yoga mat pick:

Gaiam Essentials Premium Yoga Mat

2. A set of resistance bands

No room for weights? No problem. Resistance bands are a versatile piece of equipment that can be used in place of dumbbells or kettle bells without the need for all that floor space. Easily packed away, resistance bands are also great for travelling, meaning you never have to miss a workout, no matter where you are in the world.

As resistance bands come in a wide variety of weights and configurations, it’s often a good idea to purchase a few different options that will allow you to continue challenging yourself as you improve your movement patterns and build strength.

Our resistance band pick:

POWaiter Resistance Bands

Our loop band pick:

GoFit Resistance Loops

3. A suspension system

If you’re hoping to step up your bodyweight game, look no further than an adjustable suspension system. Needing nothing more than a sturdy door or an overhead beam as an anchor point, a suspension trainer is easy to set up at home and allows you to customize the level of difficulty for each exercise. Use this piece of equipment to progress your workouts in a totally unique way while recruiting far more stabilizing muscles than you would in a non-suspended regimen.

Our suspension system pick:

TRX All In One Suspension Training System

4. A skipping rope

There are lots of ways to get creative with cardio in a small space, one of which is by throwing it back to your playground days with a simple skipping rope. By varying speed, direction, footwork and rest intervals, you can adjust the difficulty of your bout of skipping and see major benefits in your coordination, muscular endurance and cardiovascular health.

Our skipping rope pick:

5Billion Fitness Skipping Rope with Groove Handle

5. Adjustable-weight dumbbells

Finding space for a full set of dumbbells in your house may prove to be a bit tricky, which is why an adjustable version is a handy option for a limited home gym. Adjust the weights to complete a variable dumbbell workout or remove the plates for use on their own during core, arm or back exercises.

Our adjustable dumbbell pick:

Adjustable Weights Dumbbell Set

6. A set of medicine balls

Great for their easy-to-grip surface and versatility to be used in all sorts of strength, balance and power work, a good set of medicine balls won’t take up much space and are simple to incorporate into your workout. Purchase one on it’s own or get the whole set for more options to progress your exercises.

Our medicine ball set pick:

CanDo Firm Medicine Ball, 5-piece set

7. A bike trainer

Looking for a way to incorporate longer bouts of cardio training into your at-home workouts? Simply set your bike up on a stationary bike trainer and you’ll be all set to pedal away to your heart’s content.

Our bike trainer pick:

Tacx Blue Twist Trainer

8. A couple of floor sliders

To hit a wide variety of stabilizing muscles, think about investing in a set of floor sliders. Great for use on carpet, sliders promote instability of the limb that’s resting on it to promote the use of stabilizers to keep good form.

Try using under foot during lunges, under the knees during kneeling abductions or under the hands during planks.

Our floor slider pick:

Synergee Core Sliders

9. A small yoga block

Another prop that’s not just for yogis, a yoga block is a great addition to help keep your body in proper alignment, increase core activation or challenge different muscles throughout typical exercises. Try placing the block between your thighs during glute bridges or leg lowers to feel more abdominal engagement or use it under one hand during push-ups to offset the load.

Our yoga block pick:

Gaiam Yoga Block

10. A medium-intensity foam roller

While it may not feel great the first few times you use this piece of equipment, engaging in a full-body foam rolling routine both before and after your workouts can prove to be extremely beneficial. By rolling over tight points to break up adhesions in your muscles, foam rolling can aid in better movement patterns during exercise and a better recovery following it.

Our foam roller pick:

Eva Soft Dot Foam Roller

Alternative equipment

Not quite ready to invest in your own home fitness gear yet? Try searching around your space for ways to turn ordinary household items into gym equipment. This could include using a sturdy chair as a step-up bench, a heavy cast-iron pan as a weight plate or even your kids as squirming balance gear – the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.