My friend recently purchased a new house, and as he sets his sights on being #fitat40, he asked me for some advice on setting up a home gym. He didn’t want any flashy, unnecessary machinery. He just wanted a simple home gym setup that would help him hit his goals without breaking the bank.
So, I put together a list of the best home exercise equipment for beginners. With the following equipment, you can have a simple home gym that’s perfect for the busy professional.
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The Benefits of Strength Training
For my friend, a home gym is a great next step. He’s already taking steps to get more active by walking every day, and counting his steps with a fitness tracker. He often works at a computer (like most of us), so he also wants to do some exercises to counteract sitting all day.
Feeling motivated, he asked me about some simple home exercise equipment to get started with some strength training. Naturally, I was thrilled.
For many of us, strength training is part of our strategy to chisel our bellies into the abs of Tyler Durden. But, the real benefits run deeper.
Strength training can:
- Help prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes.
- Improve glycemic control in those with type 2 diabetes.
- Help reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate depression.
Yeah, strength training is pretty awesome. So, let’s gather up the best home exercise equipment for beginners and get that home gym setup.
The Best Affordable Home Exercise Equipment Under $100
You don’t need a lot of equipment to get a good workout. Therefor, you don’t have to spend much money either.
Here’s what I recommend if you have a budget under $100. The following will get you a basic beginners setup which you can then add to overtime.
I’m a big fan of resistance bands, because they’re cheap, they take up very little room, and you can easily travel with them.
Resistance bands are also one of the best pieces of home equipment for beginners because they allow you to develop strength through basic functional movement patterns, and then transition into bodyweight exercises.
For some beginners, body weight exercises like pushups and pull-ups are too advanced. But you can use resistance bands to perform the chest press and lat pull , which help develop the same groups of muscles. As you increase strength, and lose weight you can consistently work closer to performing bodyweight exercises like pushups and pull-ups.
Sets like this one will run you about $30.
These are great because you can also increase the resistance by doubling up the bands. So, say for instance 50 lbs is too light for you. Easy! Just clip your handles to both the 50 lb and the 10 lb, now you’re working 60 lbs… all about the gains, bro.
These also contain a door anchor. So, you simply slip it between the door crack, and you have an anchor for your band. This allows you to easily perform chest presses, rows, and other exercises without needing to attach anything to your wall.
A pull-up bar is essential to any home gym setup…. period. And, I know what you’re thinking.
“What if I can’t do a pull-up?”
That’s okay. Don’t worry about it. You can use your resistance bands to first work toward building up that strength. Even if you can’t do a pull-up, you can use the bar to loop your resistance bands around, which will more easily allow you to perform exercises like lat pulls, and rows.
And, even if you can’t do a full pull-up, you might be able to do a negative pull-up. That’s where you start from the upper pull-up position and then slowly lower down to the lower starting position. This is a great way to build up strength for doing a pull-up.
Wall mounted pull-up bars like this one are ideal. But they’ll require you to be comfortable with mounting something to your wall.
Doorway pull-up bars like this one work pretty well if you don’t have a place to install something more permanent. They run about $30.
Okay, this is not really for strength training. It’s for aerobic training. And, if you haven’t tried jump roping since middle school gym class, you’ll quickly realize how high intensity it can be.
I’m putting this on the list of best home exercise equipment for beginners because it’s a great cheap alternative to something like a treadmill. Few of us have room for a treadmill in our house, plus they’re expensive. So, if you want to get a cardio workout, but it’s raining outside, a jump rope is a simple solution.
You can get a good jump rope for less than $10.
I’m telling you right now, get a jump rope then start out at 5-10 mins of jump roping. You’ll be surprised how good of a cardio workout you’ll get. There’s a reason jump roping is an integral part of training for boxers.
More Home Exercise Equipment for Beginners
See? It’s pretty easy to get a home gym setup for under $100. But if you’re okay with spending a little more, the following are great additions as well.
If you stay consistent, an entire set of dumbbells will come in handy. This will allow you to consistently progress, and introduce a variety of exercises into your workout.
But if you’re a beginner, you can also just start out with a couple of weights, then add more as you progress. Maybe start out with a set of 20 lbs, one set of 10 lbs, and then add as you increase strength.
A weight bench is not a must have. But, it can be especially handy if you’re including dumbbells in your workout. You can also use it conjunction with your resistance bands.
I recommend getting a sturdy well padded weight bench that you can adjust to multiple different positions. This will allow you easily incorporate multiple different exercises like a chest press, incline chest press, and a military press. Yes… your chest will thank you for buying this bench.
A bench like this one will run you between $150 – $200.
No matter what kind of training you’re doing, I recommend having some padding in your gym. A lot of times people install home workout spaces in their garage, or places with cement. And, cement is hard on the body.
Since the whole point of working out is to take care of your body, I recommend going the whole distance and picking up some padded tiles.
The ones above work pretty well because you can buy as many as you need and then interlock the pieces to fit your workout space. They offer a variety of different thicknesses, but I recommend going for the thickest option (3/4″) to take care of your body, and let you know you love it.
Speaking of self-love, don’t forget to stretch and roll out those muscles. I’m talking about self-myofascial release.
Using a foam roller, or lacrosse ball works like a deep tissues massage. It helps to break up layers of fascia, that can cause tension and muscle discomfort. So, it’s an important part of your workout, and home gym.
I recommend including one of each.
A dense foam roller works great on the upper back, hamstrings, calves, and quads.
A lacrosse ball is great for targeting tension in the shoulders and chest.
Lastly and Most Import
All of the gear above will give you a great setup for a home gym. This is some of the best home exercise equipment for beginners you can find. But even if you get all of this equipment, you still might find yourself struggling to workout.
That’s because the hardest part of working out is showing up, making time, and knowing what to do. In a future post, I’m going to walk you through some simple exercises using the equipment above. But, I can’t find the time for you.
To do that, you must see yourself as a priority. You must see yourself as important, capable, and deserving of better health.
I believe you are worth it. I believe you are capable. Do you?
My last recommendation is as follows. Do this before you even get your home gym setup. Have a plan before it’s physically there.
- How many days per week will you workout?
- For how long?
- On a scale of 1-10, rate how realistic your goal is.
- Ask yourself, what needs to change in order to hit this goal?
And lastly – don’t judge yourself.
If all you can realistically commit to is one day per week for 20 minutes, that’s okay.
Start with what you can do. Don’t worry about comparing yourself to others. Start with where you’re at, and take pride in the actions you’re taking to improve yourself.
Trust me, you’re awesome. And if you believe that yourself, you will succeed.
What’s next? Try setting some nutrition goals.
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