Ask almost any trainer what the most important piece of at-home workout equipment is and chances are they’ll say you don’t need any equipment at all.
It’s true; you can get a completely effective total-body workout performing only bodyweight exercises.
“Your own body is all you need for some the most challenging exercises,” says Pamela Hernandez, an ACSM certified personal trainer and ACE health coach. “Push-ups are one of the hardest exercises you can do, if done correctly, and a plank is a great test of core strength and works more than just your abs.”
When creating your home gym, don’t underestimate your body as an effective exercise tool. Especially if you’re on a tight budget, think about bodyweight exercises first, then, based on how much you want to invest and what you’re goals are, you can incorporate more equipment and tools.
“Before you rush to your local sporting goods store, start by thinking outside of the big box,” says Hernandez. “Craigslist is great place to find great exercise equipment at rock bottom prices.”
Plus, many bargain stores like Walmart and Target now offer affordable home gym pieces, too.
Ultimately, the main goal for your at-home workout space will be for you to use the best of your natural surroundings while incorporating a few simple pieces of equipment, if you need them.
Here are some tips to help spark your creativity and get you started.
Start with the essentials.
“A simple yoga mat, an adjustable resistance band, and a kettlebell or medicine ball are great tools for creating a simple and effective home workout,” says Dom Spain, a certified personal trainer and healthy lifestyle expert.
Invest in a few sets of dumbbells.
For those who aren’t quite ready to strength train using bodyweight exercises, Lisa Northup, a NASM certified personal trainer and owner of Inergy Fitness Solutions in Raleigh, N.C. says that dumbbells are an essential home gym item. She suggests investing in a few different sets so that you can work your way up and continue challenging your muscles, but be sure to find a weight range that’s right for you; if they’re too light you won’t gain much muscle and if they’re too heavy you'll increase your risk for injury.