For Bodyweight Training
As the name implies, bodyweight exercises are ones that use your own weight to provide resistance and build strength. Exercises include push-ups, squats, twists, sit-ups, and more. Luckily, you can do bodyweight exercises at home, in the park, or while traveling—sans gym. The equipment you might want to have on hand for this type of training, however, can improve your comfort (like yoga mats) or allow you to optimize the effectiveness of your workouts (i.e., pull-up bars and weighted vests).
Yoga Accessories Non-Slip Exercise Mat
A yoga mat isn’t just for yoga; it can make bodyweight exercises like stretching and core work more comfortable, says Elizabeth Corkum, a certified personal trainer and running coach in New York City. (Plus, it can provide a good surface for strength training too.) Most basic yoga mats are affordable and get the job done just fine without breaking the bank. This one, however, is longer than most other mats out there, which is a plus if you’re on the tall side.
Feierdun Doorway Pull-Up Bar
“Doorway pull-up bars are my go-to piece of equipment to help maintain and gain upper body strength, all without any added weight,” says Elizabeth Murphy, a certified personal trainer in Boston. Pull-ups recruit muscles in your back, shoulders, chest, and arms, and you can easily isolate muscle groups by changing your hand position on the bar. (If you want to hammer your biceps with a bicep dumbbell workout, the chin-up variation—palms toward your body—just might be the variation for you.) Plus, you can also add resistance bands for a pull-up assist (and we’ve got recommendations for those below).
TRX Suspension Trainer
The TRX suspension training system allows you to work both your upper and lower body, while helping you develop core stability. If you don’t have access to a trainer to walk you through it, TRX’s website has instructional videos, as well as 30-minute video workouts that are updated daily. (Or you can try this TRX core workout from SELF too.)
“Although it’s a bit more expensive than other pieces of equipment, if used correctly, the all-in-one TRX system can be the only piece of equipment that you need,” says Victoria Nolan, a certified personal trainer at Suite Time Fitness in Houston. “It’s easy to set up and store, as it can be hooked up over a door or even a good backyard tree.”
Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro Weighted Vest
Weighted vests like this one are great for improving endurance during bodyweight and strength exercises like pull-ups, says Noam Tamir, CSCS, founder of TS Fitness in New York City. “The added weight helps you build muscle size,” he says. “The vest can also help your endurance if you use it to walk up inclines without creating too much stress on your joints.” He especially likes this Hyperwear vest because it's less bulky than others.
For Resistance Training
The benefits of increasing muscle strength are far-reaching, including preventing injuries, improving balance, building bone density, and simply making everyday tasks like lugging grocery bags easier. Resistance training exercises often use equipment that adds external resistance (such as ankle and wrist weights, resistance bands, and dumbbells) in order to build strength and endurance in specific muscles or muscle groups. “Whether it’s moving your body weight or with external weights, resistance training is a great way to help your body stay functional and healthy in the long run,” Sivan Fagan, an ACE-certified personal trainer based in Baltimore and founder of Strong with Sivan, previously told SELF.
Zensufu Ankle Weights
Oprea considers ankle weights a helpful piece of equipment to diversify your at-home workout. Using ankle weights can add extra resistance to lower-body moves like donkey kicks as well as core exercises like V-ups.
Theraband Resistance Band Loop Set
“These resistance bands have become my go-to item for home and travel workouts,” says Jen Temperley, a certified personal trainer and owner of Climb Fitness in Los Angeles. The bands are portable, come in a range of sizes and tension levels, and work for all levels of athletic ability.
“I love resistance bands because they’re travel-friendly and you can easily switch between working your arms, core, and legs without changing equipment,” adds Sarah Periman, a certified personal trainer in Houston.
Spri Xertube Resistance Bands
These resistance bands with handles come in a variety of resistances and tend to hold up better than many other brands, says Art Sherry, a certified personal trainer in Houston. They can be used to work essentially every muscle group and provide even more exercise options when anchored to a door or wrapped around a post.
Fit Simplify Resistance Bands
There are so many moves you can do with these “booty bands,” which are great for strengthening your hips and glutes, says Holly Roser, a certified personal trainer and owner of Holly Roser Fitness Studio in San Francisco. They’re also excellent for injury prevention because they fire up one of the harder-to-target glute muscles, the gluteus medius. As an added bonus, these bands come with an e-book and access to online workout videos.
Jfit Dumbbell Set
If your goal is to build muscle, dumbbells (or free weights) for weight lifting are a must-have. “Dumbbells can be one of the most important pieces of equipment in any home gym, as they are both versatile and durable, and are very space efficient for apartments and small spaces,” says Luke Milton, a certified personal trainer and founder of TrainingMate in Los Angeles. “There are hundreds of exercises you can do with a pair of dumbbells, including clean and press, bicep curls, chest presses, squats, deadlifts, renegade rows, and tricep kickbacks.”
Bowflex Selecttech Adjustable Weight
Kettlebells work your entire body while getting your heart rate up, says Roser. A kettlebell allows you to perform a variety of moves, including swings, deadlifts, lunges, and squats, all of which elevate your heart rate for an instant HIIT workout at home. “I love how this kettlebell adjusts to your personal fitness level, and it’s also great for small spaces since you don’t have to buy multiple weights,” she says.
Bowflex Selecttech 552 Dumbbell
Here’s another strength builder from Bowflex: the adjustable dumbbell, recommended by Alicia Jamison, C.P.T. at Body Space Fitness, which is based in New York City. “The Bowflex goes from five to 55 pounds, which is perfect for every fitness level, and probably takes up only a yard—which is great if you’re trying to save space.”
Amazon Basics Vinyl Kettlebell
A basic 15- to 25-pound kettlebell weight is one of the most versatile and affordable pieces of strength training equipment you can own, as it can target and tone everything from your arms to your abs. “You can use this one item extensively for the lower body, giving enough resistance to tone even glutes,” says Morgan Rees, a certified personal trainer in Los Angeles.
Prosource Fit Soft Medicine Ball
A medicine ball is one of the most durable and functional pieces of equipment you can include in your home gym, says David Harvey, a certified personal trainer and registered yoga instructor in Houston. With a soft medicine ball, you can do a variety of movements to work your arms, legs, and core, as well as anti-rotational and physical therapy exercises to prevent injuries.
Rage Fitness Slam Ball
A slam ball is weighted with sand to prevent it from bouncing—and to allow you to get your heart rate up while performing various exercises that you would traditionally use dumbbells for, such as lunges, squats, and overhead presses, says Blake Rogers, a certified personal trainer and certified yoga instructor in Blenheim, South Carolina. You can also use them for partner work.
Fitstylevip Adjustable Resistance Bands (Set of 3)
These adjustable resistance bands are a favorite of Fagan's.“It’s like having four different bands in one,” he says. “We use these bands for exercises such as lateral walks, seated abductions, glute bridges, and more—basically any glute exercise where we want to add tension.” Additionally, he likes that the bands are made of fabric (which is tougher than elastic), that the hook makes adjustment easier for anyone who has trouble lifting their feet and placing bands, and that you’re able to quickly change the intensity throughout a set without having to change to an entirely new band.
Committed HP Move Bands
Morit Summers, CPT, a strength coach and founder of FORM Fitness Brooklyn, says these stretchy resistance bands (sometimes referred to as “hip circles”) are “amazing” for hip and glute work. “They're so much easier to get on by design and can be adjusted to fit and add resistance,” Summers says. “As a woman with big thighs, this is a game changer. It’s also a product that the elderly or people with disabilities can more easily maneuver into.”
Lebert Equalizer Bars
Equalizer bars are highly functional pieces of workout equipment, says Tamir: “They’re very light, easy to store, really can incorporate strength, stability, speed, endurance, and they can be used for a lot of levels, from beginner to advanced.” With the two gymnastics-inspired bars, which weigh eight pounds, you can do dips, pull-ups, push-ups, pulling motions, and more.
Fitness Reality SuperMax Weight Bench
An adjustable weight bench (coupled with dumbbells and resistance bands) should be a “staple of any at-home workouts,” says Fagan. Weight benches can provide support during strength training and reduce your range of motion (since you’ll use the bench instead of the floor if you do, say, a push-up). “This bench is an affordable one that you can adjust for different exercises,” says Fagan. “I love using it for bench-supported rows, one-arm rows, chest presses, hip thrusts, and more.”
Smrtft Nuobell (Set of 2)
“They have been a game-changer for my workouts,” says Tamir. What he likes about the Smrtft set, in particular, is that unlike the Bowflex set, the weights become smaller in size with the less weight you opt to use. They're also easy to adjust, with 5-pound increments added via a twist of the middle. Lifters may appreciate that the Smrtfrt adjustable dumbbells are sold in 50-pound and 80-pound sets.
Hyperwear Sandbell (2 lb.)
Sandbells are easy to grip, lift, and throw for building strength and power. The weight of the bag you choose depends on what movement you choose and the level of fitness you're already at. “I like using it for high plank pull-throughs and overhead floor slams,” says Tamir, who uses between 10- and 20-pound sandbells with his clients.
For Circuit Training
To perform this type of training, rotate between exercises targeting different muscle groups with short rest periods between each rep. Completing a set of exercises is one “circuit,” and circuits are often performed multiple times. Circuit training is an excellent way to get a full-body workout and increase your heart rate while also strengthening. Here’s an expert-recommended tool that can assist you in having a circuit training plan.
For Cardio Training
Cardio (short for "cardiovascular) training elevates your heart rate, which in turn can reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular function overall. Not to mention that cardio workouts often deliver an enjoyable rush of endorphins. Cardio exercises that get up your heart rate include running, cycling, rowing, and jumping—all assisted by equipment like what you'll find below.
WOD Nation Speed Jump Rope
A top-notch jump rope provides an easy yet challenging workout with a significant cardio punch, says Corey Phelps, a certified personal trainer and owner of Cultivate by Corey in Washington, D.C. “A bonus is that it takes up no space, and you can easily travel with it.”
Plus, for those who aren’t huge fans of running or cycling, jumping rope has great benefits. It’s a good way to get a cardio workout in, says Choi. It’s easy to grab and head outside if you would like to avoid annoying your downstairs neighbors. (Try one of these three jump rope workouts to get started.)
Jumpsport 250 In Home Cardio Fitness Rebounder
Remember jumping on the trampoline as a kid? This is the adult equivalent: The rebounder, or mini-trampoline, challenges your core and tons of other muscles in your body. It’s also just plain fun, which can definitely be a motivator when it comes to wanting to do a solo workout, Phelps says.
The Peloton exercise bike offers the best full-service at-home indoor cycling experience, says Emily Collins, a Los Angeles–based indoor cycling instructor at VERVE Studios. Peloton streams live classes weekly, and you also have access to an on-demand library of workouts ranging from 5 to 90 minutes. Thanks to its real-time metrics display, you can track your progress with heart rate, resistance, cadence, and power output. See our Peloton Bike+ review of the latest Peloton model.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
Rowing machines are known for giving you a full-body workout, targeting your back, legs, arms, and abs, says Lynell Ross, a certified personal trainer and founder of Zivadream in Auburn, California. This Sunny Health rower also has a digital monitor to track your progress, a knob to adjust your resistance level, and a padded seat for added comfort. It also folds up for easy home storage.
For Stability Training
To stability train, you perform exercises while on or interacting with an unstable service so that you activate stabilizer muscles—i.e., muscles that aren't usually worked in other exercises but that keep working joints in alignment. These muscles almost always include your core and are excellent for improving your overall strength and balance. Experts recommend these exercise balls, balance trainers, and more for stability training.
Urbnfit Exercise Ball
“What I love about stability balls is that they are so versatile,” says Murphy. There are tons of options to target your core, upper body, lower body, or even get some cardio in with one of these handy pieces of equipment, she adds. Because these balls really work on your core stabilization, they can make any core workout more difficult. This one comes with an air pump, which is a plus because it’s important to make sure your stability ball is properly inflated when you’re using it. A bonus: If you need a break from sitting in a stiff chair while working from home, you can always use a stability ball as a seat.
Bosu Pro Balance Trainer
A Bosu ball not only helps with stability and balance, but it can also be used as a stretching tool to intensify a workout, says Rotner. It’s super versatile in that it offers flat and rounded sides for different exercises, including for strength and plyometric training. “You can even use the Bosu in sequence as a weight by doing a Bosu burpee and pressing the base overhead at the top of the exercise,” she says.
Champion Sports Rhino Playground Ball
A playground ball, which looks like a kickball, is excellent to squeeze for isolated inner thigh work, says Crystal Widmann, a certified personal trainer, and owner of Y2B Fit in Philadelphia. “It’s also great for stabilization when doing glute bridges or to squeeze between your hands in a forearm plank.”
Last but certainly not least is recovery—a crucial element to ensuring your body recovers from a tough workout. From foam rollers to resistance bands, high-end Therabody and Hyperice percussive massage guns to inexpensive massage balls, here's the best at-home workout equipment for ensuring your body gets the most out of any workout.
Recovery tools are a key part of any home gym, and this vibrating ball is just the ticket for loosening tight muscles and relieving pain, says Shana Hogg, a certified personal trainer at Way Beyond Fitness in Bozeman, Montana. Consider it the budget-friendly option for when you’re hankering for a sports massage.
Triggerpoint Grid Textured Foam Roller
According to Lyuda Bouzinova, a certified personal trainer and cofounder of Mission Lean in Boca Raton, Florida, a foam roller is an important component of any home gym, as it helps to soothe sore muscles while keeping your whole body loose and limber.
“A lot of at-home workouts seem to be lower-body dominant, so it’s important to give particular attention to these muscle groups during recovery,” Milton adds. Pay special attention to your calves, hamstrings, and quads.
Optp Pro-Roller Standard Density Foam Roller
Perkins likes this medium-density foam roller for its versatility. She says it’s firm enough to give you some deeper tissue work without being painful. “Some foam rollers collapse so easily that they are not effective or are too intense,” she says. “I find somewhere in the middle is ideal for most people because you need it to be deep and therapeutic but not uncomfortable or pain-inducing.”
5billion Peanut Massage Ball
Massage balls are affordable and extremely portable. “Essentially, you can use this Peanut ball for all kinds of soft tissue work as a self-myofascial release tool,” Fagan says. “I like to use it for neck tension reduction and deep hip rotator muscles release.”
Feelfree Stainless Steel Guasha
If you're already familiar with using a gua sha tool to give yourself a relaxing facial massage, here's a stainless steel gua sha you can use along the back, arms, and pecs to increase blood flow and release soft tissue. “Use this on recovery days when you're not working out,” says Tamir. “I recommend using it one to two times per week with at least 48 hours between uses.”