Home Gym Starter Guide

This is the time of year that many people are still trying to commit to working out. But, where do you start? Do you join a gym, join a new HIIT or barre studio or do you try to workout at home? The answer is – any of those! Do whatever seems to motivate you the most and is the most convenient. If the gym or studio is too far from your house, you may not end up committing past January. Or, if your house is too noisy and you are distracted with other things around the house, then a home workout might not be the best for you. I personally do all 3 – I have a gym membership, I occasionally do drop-ins at local studios and then I also have a home gym for backup. Sometimes I can’t get out of the house to workout and it’s nice to have the right equipment so I can get in a mini workout whenever I want. You don’t need to devote an entire room to your “gym” but just create a space in a room (or your garage) that will work! Below are my favorite pieces of workout gear for a home gym, along with just the basics you need if you are on a budget or just starting out. All of the recommended pieces of equipment below can be found at Target, Walmart or Amazon (links below under pic).

Beginner Equipment

What you should get: 2 sets of dumbbells (1 light and 1 medium/heavy), a mat, a foam roller and a resistance band with handles. These basics should get you through a few months of workouts. The weights should be a light set and a medium set for you. The medium should be a set that you can lift (say for bicep curls) for 12-15 reps with good form. The mat doesn’t have to be fancy – just a good quality one that you can use to do core exercises and exercises on your back. If you have hardwood floors or you are planning to do your workouts in your garage, you may need a thicker mat. Resistance bands are great to change things up and can be used for things like lateral leg raises and even seated rows. The foam roller is great for post-workout soreness!

Intermediate/Advanced Equipment

What you should get: Multiple sets of weights on a weight rack; a resistance band with handles and 2 loop bands; 2 sizes of kettlebells, 1 jumprope, 1 mat and 1 adjustable bench. Once you are working out regularly. You should invest in a few different sizes of dumbbells. Why? It’s good to challenge your body sometimes with heavy weights and fewer reps and then other days do lighter weights with heavy weights. Also, as you get more advanced you will need heavier weights especially for lower body exercises like squats. Another option is to add in a barbell with different sized weight plates to adjust, but I prefer dumbbells. I would get an additional resistance band with handle (a heavier one) as well as 2 loop bands to use during hip bridges, squats and lateral moves like side shuffles. Kettlebells are great because you can use them for strength training and also for “cardio” (kettlebell swings). A bench is also great to use for step-ups, chest presses, box jumps, etc. I like the “old school” steps that you can adjust with risers. The higher the step, the more challenging it is.

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