A home gym can seem like a luxury, especially after looking at the prices of most high-end gym equipment. Some machines can run into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars. But for someone whose goals are less Ironman and more fit-into-those-old-jeans, the budget for a home workout equipment can be far, far less. Here are a few easy pieces of equipment to help you get started without breaking the bank:
1. Yoga Mat or Gym Mat Tiles
The easiest to start and cheapest workouts are bodyweight exercises because they’re all about just moving the body you have in a way that will make you stronger. Many moves, however, require laying on the ground, jumping or kneeling which can be hard on hips, knees, elbows, backs and any other part of the body that comes in contact with a bare floor. Start off with a protective, cushioning surface for your workout.
If you’re setting up a permanent gym area in a spare room or a garage corner, buy a set of interlocking gym mat tiles. These are usually about 2 feet square and cost between 4 to 8 dollars a piece. If you have less space and need to be able to put away all of your equipment as soon as you’re done, get a thick workout or yoga mat. Some yoga mats may be too thin to provide the kind of support needed if you plan to do any high impact training.
2. Dumbbells and Kettlebells
These are organized together because the kinds of exercises they’re used for can vary but are essentially the same. Try to buy one kettlebell or a pair of dumbbells to start with. Buy them slightly lighter than you think you need them. This may seem like the opposite of what you should do, after all, heavier weights will make you stronger faster, right? That’s true, but also consider that you’ll likely be doing sets of 20 with these weights and they will begin to feel heavier with every rep. After a while, if they’re too easy and you’re enjoying using them, invest in a nice set but don’t be ashamed to start with the basics.
3. Jump Rope
A jump rope is a piece of workout equipment that doesn’t get a lot of hype, but it can be a great cardio workout. Usually costing around 15 to 20 dollars, maybe more for weighted jump ropes, it’s way cheaper than a treadmill. It also provides cardio in your own home which can be especially beneficial for those unable or uncomfortable with jogging.
4. Exercise Ball
These are fun and great for your workout at the same time. Exercise balls can provide alternative exercises that don’t require coming in contact with the ground as much and provide extra back support for those who need it. They’re cheap, and if you find yourself getting tired of the same old bodyweight exercises, it can really help to revitalize your workout by being more challenging and more fun. By substituting an exercise ball for a desk chair, you can also passively strengthen your core and improve your posture throughout the day.