What to buy for your home gym?

After years of being a gym rat, I have canceled all the memberships  and now really only enjoy working out at home –alone!  In addition to the childcare issue, I find the gym atmosphere too distracting for me at this point in my life. Maybe when my kids are older and I have some more free time, I’ll venture back to group fitness and teaching but for now, I’m digging my space at home.

Here are 5 of my current “must have” pieces of equipment for my home gym: (I say current, because I am always changing things up and what I love NOW, might not be what I love this time next year.)    

  1. Treadmill:   Although it was pricey, it gets used pretty much every day.  Right now I love to do sprints and intervals and I sometimes just use it for a nice long walk while watching TV.  It was definitely a good investment for me.
  2. Kettlebells:   I love them all and I don’t think I can ever get enough.  If you can just get one,  go for one that is heavier and use it just for swings.   You should NOT waste your money on anything lighter than 20lbs!!!  kettlebells
  1. Bench:   I have an old step bench that I use as a platform for box jumps and step ups.  I also use it as a flat bench for chest press or tricep dips.   And every now and then, I bust out some old step aerobic moves!   It has so many different uses and easy to store away in a corner too!  :)
  2. Pull up bar:   Nothing makes me feel more like a badass than doing some pull ups!  I loved our Door Gym but I was very excited when I got this portable one.
  3. Foam Rollers (get extra firm) This is something you will love to hate.  Your muscles need it though and it gets easier (translation: less painful) the more often you do it!   If you need a “how-to” on foam rolling,  I highly recommend Ashley Borden’s roll out guide.    


How about you gang?
What are your (current) home gym favorites? 

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  1. Kevin says

    I like the list except for the treadmill. It’s a huge waste of money and running is counterproductive to health.

    • workoutmommyworkoutmommy says

      @Kevin: I’m curious to know why you think it’s counterproductive to health? For me, it’s a huge stress reliever and has saved what’s left of my sanity! :)

      • says

        @workoutmommy: First, the science is pretty clear that running increases systemic inflammation and leads to chronically high cortisol levels.

        Second, it’s terrible for joint health — especially if you run in conventional shoes.

        Third, if you look at how the human body is designed, it’s basically designed for two speeds: slow, methodical movement (like walking) and fight or flight movement (like sprinting). Running doesn’t fit anywhere into the model of what human beings were designed to do.

        Fourth, 20 minutes of sprinting or intense strength training has all the “benefits” of an hour of running (on metabolic systems) without any of the downsides. This renders running not only useless, but needlessly damaging.

        Hope that all makes sense.
        Kevin´s last blog post ..8 Important Paradigm Shifts You’ll Make While Rebooting Your Body and Mind

  2. says

    Great list, but I agree with Kevin… treadmills are a waste of money. Run outside. To tabata. Skip rope. KB Swings. Anyway, I also ran a blog post covering essential gym equipment all for under $100.

    I got Kettlebells on there as well. I also recommended resistance bands and medicine balls. Take a look: http://www.getfitwithandrei.com/all-the-essential-home-exercise-equipment-under-100/
    Andrei´s last blog post ..From Sloth to Spartan in 100 Days: Week 4 Day 22 – 28

    • workoutmommyworkoutmommy says

      @Andrei: I have 4 little kids, so running outside is rarely an option for me. :( A treadmill isn’t essential for everyone, but for a mom who likes to run–it’s been worth the cost for me! :) Love your tip about about getting stuff on craigslist–I always forget to look there.

  3. says

    We are currently building our home gym. We got a treadmill for my husband to walk & play videogames on. Yes, really… he spends about 30 hours on his weekend playing so his thought is at least he will be moving. For me, I got kettlebells, resistance bands, and a whole collection of BeachBody workouts. I also have my amazing form roller.

    Our must is that we got pad for the flooring and it still looks like wood floors. I need the extra cushion when working out. Thanks for the great list!
    Alissa´s last blog post ..Restaurant Review: Another Broken Egg Cafe

  4. says

    You know where I spend my money: kettlebells, baby–in doubles, and heavy. But the pull-up bar is good, and barbells/free weights for other kind of movement. Then my walking shoes for long walks along the river.

  5. says

    I bought a treadmill from ebay for my garage and it was a great investment. But more of a great investment are my smaller toys like weights and kettle bells and resistance bands. However, a treadmill can be quite a large expense so it’s worth researching

  6. says

    I love my treadmill. It has been a tremendous investment. I also love my kettlebells. I have 4 now, with a new one on the way. :) My foam roller is also wonderful, but yes, it’s a love hate relationship. I don’t have a step bench. I’ve looked at them, and I may have to get one soon.

  7. says

    @rachel… why do you even need to work out if you have kids? Aren’t they enough of a workout?
    @Kevin.. running is one of the most natural things we can do as humans. Cars haven’t been around forever, and when we needed to get someone in those days, we’d walk, jog or run, esp if we needed to escape danger. Don’t believe every study you read. It comes down to commonsense.

    • says

      @Matt G:

      I have to respectfully disagree. If you think about survival, there are two things we need to do: walk long distances and sprint.

      What is the evolutionary use for jogging? Do you think that in between hunting and gathering, our ancestors would have gone out for a jog to burn calories for no reason?

      There’s a reason “running” causes the highest amount of injuries out of any “sport.” If you’re running in shoes, it’s even worse.
      Kevin @ Rebooted Body´s last blog post ..How to Design a Workout Schedule You Can Actually Stick With

  8. says

    I agree with the kettle bells but not the treadmill, they take up a lot of room, are heavy and cost a lot- even used ones. To run go outside, in the morning before the heat sets in. I use a crunch ball, a pull up bar or look into a trx system http://www.trxtraining.com/ for the home-its an all in one system that doesn’t use weights.

  9. Bostrom says

    My top list of workout equipment would be the Treadmill!! I just love how comfortable you get to run even if you’re at home. HA HA. Another one on my “must-have list” is the bicycle and the equipment for my abs. :) Thanks for sharing this, I might check out the foam rollers and the bench. :)
    Bostrom´s last blog post ..ChaLean Extreme Workout Schedule

  10. says

    Everything on the list looks great except for the treadmill as I think it’s a waste of money when you can quite easily run outside. Although, if have kids to care to then I think a treadmill is the way to go if you can justify the cost.