There are many upsides and advantages to having a home gym, even if you've not got a room that's a dedicated gym, being able to pull out some equipment and get a good workout in is hugely beneficial.
If you find that you haven't got time to visit a gym, or the membership fees are too expensive at your local gym, a home gym is the perfect way to get your workout in, keep in great shape and keep your workout routine in tact.
Here are our recommendations for 14 essential pieces of equipment for the perfect home gym. Let's get stuck in.
1: Jump Rope
Easily the most compact and inexpensive piece of cardio equipment you’ll ever see. Skipping ropes are small enough to fit in your pocket but pack a powerful punch… there’s a reason they’re a favourite tool among boxers and MMA fighters: jumping rope develops your speed and agility, as well as being awesome for cardio.
Many people underestimate the benefits that a skipping rope offers (probably because they're remembered as a childhood toy) but we can't stress enough how good a few minutes with a skipping will be for you.
Using a skipping rope will help with speed, agility, cardio endurance and weight loss.
Smaller than a barbell and plates, dumbbells will help you get strong without taking up your entire house. Grab a variety of weights and you’ll be able to hit most of the major compound lifts and isolation movements.
The great thing about dumbbells is their versatility and the amount of exercises you can do with them as they allow you to alter the weight amount easily.
Whether you're looking to add muscle, tone up or burn fat, there will be dumbbell exercise to help you out.
3: Medicine Ball
Assuming you don’t have downstairs neighbours, throwing a medicine ball around can be a heck of a work out. If you value your nose, don’t get the bouncy type for ball slams. Weighted situps, balancing pushups, and throwing drills will get your heart pumping in no time.
The medicine ball is another piece of home gym equipment that is very simple yet hugely effective and is used by top athletes around the world in their training routine.
If Anthony Joshua uses a medicine ball, that's a good enough for me to use one!
4: Pilates/Exercise Ball
If you're looking for a piece of equipment that will help your balance, core stability and muscle tone, then a simple exercise ball will do the trick.
For ab work and balance, nothing beats a pilates ball. There are many great workout plans centred around using an exercise ball too for you to try out.
Bonus: if you’re really short on space, you can always deflate it between workouts (and call blowing it up your warmup).
5: Yoga Mat
Downward dogs are more fun when your feet aren’t sliding all over the place. A yoga mat will provide you a non-slip surface and a bit of padding for exercises such as planks and sit-ups.
As well as making your exercises easier, a yoga mat will make things much more comfortable too, protecting your back, knees and elbows as you work out on the floor.
Easy to store and inexpensive to buy, a yoga mat is definitely worth having around a home gym.
6: Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are a great accessory to have at home that be easily stored away, taking up minimal space.
An effective alternative to heavy weights, resistance bands come in a wide array of strengths. Loop a band around the ends of a length of PVC pipe, stand on the middle of the band, and you’ll have the effect of a deadlift or squat without the heavy equipment.
Once again, resistance are a great addition to a home gym that you can pick up for a cheap price.
7: Pull-up Bar
Pull-ups develop grip and back strength, not to mention engage your core - there's a reason why people flock to the pull-up bar before going on holiday.
Raise your toes to the bar for an intense shoulder and abdominal strengthening move. Choose from a permanent, wall-mounted set up or a movable door-mounted rig.
Keep track of your progress and continue to try to better your personal best. It's difficult, but rewarding as your total number of reps gets higher.
8: Interval Timer
You might think that this isn't a proper piece of gym equipment, but ask any gym junkie about the importance of rest and intervals, and you'll see why we've included a timer on the list.
Either a standalone timer or an app on your phone will keep you accountable. HIIT intervals will be much easier to keep track of than trying to have an eye on a stopwatch while working up a sweat.
9: Music Speaker
This is another piece of equipment that won't benefit your body directly but more be a help for your motivation and focus.
Some kind of music-playing device blasting your favourite playlist will keep you pumped. (If you’re accommodating roommates or neighbours, try wireless headphones).
Music is a great motivator and also a great distraction, taking your mind of the hard work, keeping you going for longer.
Kettlebells are another great additional to your home that allow you work several different muscle groups, allowing you to use them for various workouts.
Kettlebell swings are an impressively effective training tool: Turkish getups for core strength and kettlebell swings for metabolic conditioning.
Train your coordination by working up to more complicated moves like kettlebell cleans and jerks. Check out our guide to buying kettlebells for your home.
11: Rowing Machine
A rowing machine is one of the most under-rated pieces of gym equipment. While a gym-quality elliptical might break the bank, a professional-level rowing machine will cost much less and give you a more complete full-body workout to boot.
Many people are often put off from buying a rowing machine as in the past they've been expensive and difficult to store.
However, the size and cost of some rowing machines has been drastically decreased, enabling you to buy a rowing machine without breaking the bank and easily store it once you have it at home.
Much like rowing machines, if you wanted to use a treadmill in the past, you would've had to take a trip to the gym (or to your rich friend's house).
As with all technology, treadmills are now smaller, more compact, and cheaper than ever before.
If you fancy getting a run in before or after work but can't get out of the house, maybe you have small children or the weather isn't great, a treadmill is the ideal piece of equipment.
13: Stationary Bike
If you prefer to watch TV while you get your cardio on, try a piece of equipment that allows your head to stay relatively still, like a bike.
If you're looking to get a good cardio workout in without moving all over the room, an exercise bike is the perfect solution for you.
Once again, these are now available in compact, fold-away options to easily store the bike once you're finished.
14: White Board
Now this is the piece of equipment that will really get your heart racing... Of course, we're joking but keeping track of your progress is really important if you're looking to better yourself.
Nothing ruins the flow of a workout faster than having to leaf through a notebook or phone to find out what comes next. Jot your workout on a whiteboard and you’ll just have to glance at the wall, document your personal bests and keep track of when you complete your goals.
Bonus Item: Playing Cards
Hear me out... when you’ve got the workout boredom blues, assign one move to each suit in a deck of cards. As you draw each card, perform the assigned move the number of reps you see on the card. Spades are situps? 10 of spades = 10 situps. Jack, Queen, and King each count for 11, Ace counts as 1. Can you make your way through the whole deck without stopping?