Work Out at Home with these Home Gym Essentials

There are a lot of reasons to love working out at a home: no monthly membership fees or sweaty commutes, no grunting brute hogging the squat rack while bragging endlessly about his quads. At home, it’s your space. You choose the music and the hours, and you never have to worry about someone else’s sweat. If you’re ready to dive in or make the switch, you can start to work out at home with these essential items for a home gym.

Tattooed woman holding weight plate. Work out at home.
Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Deciding if a Home Gym Is Right for you

Investing in a home gym isn’t cheap. In many cases, the investment to work out at home is worthwhile. It may even save you money over the long haul. Other times, that $10/month gym membership may be far more valuable.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you pull the trigger:

  1. What are your workout goals? Are you looking to tone up, or get ripped,  run long distances? 
  2. Do you enjoy working out alone? Do other people energize and motivate you? 
  3. What kind of equipment do you need? Do you need a treadmill and a rowing machine and a smoothie bar to feel like you got a full workout?
  4. What does your time look like? Can you trek to the gym and back, or do you need to squeeze in your workouts between meetings and bedtimes?
  5. Do you have the space to store your equipment, or even to move around? Do you live in a closet-sized studio, or do you have a garage or bedroom to spare?

Essentials to Work Out at Home

For the Minimalist/Low Budget Athlete

A simple setup is great when you don’t have a lot of room or if you’re just starting to work out. All you really need for a great workout is a mat and your body. Bodyweight exercises like pushups, squats, and crunches are fantastic for building strength without a ton of fancy equipment.

For a slightly elevated approach to your minimal setup, add some resistance bands, a jump rope (for easy cardio), a bench or step, and dumbbells or kettlebells in both light and moderate or heavy weights. As an alternative, TRX systems are incredibly flexible and versatile, offering full-body workouts with little equipment.

For the Intermediate to Advanced Athlete

Once you’ve built up a consistent fitness practice and you’re ready to take it to the next level, consider adding a bit more equipment to your home gym setup. A barbell and a collection of weight plates are essential to elevating your workouts, allowing you to push your limits even more than with dumbbells or kettlebells.  

A power tower adds variety to your at-home workout by allowing pull-ups, chin-ups, leg raises, and other exercises you simply can’t do on the floor. If you can swing the cost and space, a power cage is even better. And, if you didn’t get one already, a bench is now crucial to a complete setup.

Medicine balls are another essential item for home gyms. Working out with a medicine ball can help to improve strength and balance with dynamic movement.

For the Cardio Junkie

If cardio is your thing, you’re in luck – and you don’t even need a treadmill or stationary bike. Dance, jump rope, or do a series of dynamic movements like jumping jacks and butt kickers to get the blood flowing right in your living room.


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Whether you work out at home, hit the gym, or do a little of both, just get in there and crush it!

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