There are plenty of reasons why someone would prefer to workout at home instead of making regular trips to a gym. Busy schedules prohibit people from making it to the gym as frequently as they would like. There are also plenty of “Essential Home Gym Equipment for Beginners” articles online with products in them that are hardly essential.
As a personal trainer, when I say essential, I mean the items that should be the building blocks of any gym around the world and items that are the building blocks of any strength and conditioning program. It doesn’t matter what you’re fitness goals are, you need some or all of these items.
Here is my list of essential home gym equipment for beginners.
Essential Home Gym Equipment for Beginners
The barbell is probably the most essential home gym equipment piece you can buy. You’re most likely familiar with the bench press, squat, row, and deadlift, but there are many variations to those exercises. On top of that, compound movements are optimal for putting on quality muscle while shedding excess body fat.
Barbells come in many shapes and sizes but you can’t go wrong with the 7’ft Cap barbell or the REP Sabre barbell. Both bars are well constructed by highly reputable companies and should last a very long time. I personally like the Sabre barbell from Rep Fitness which is designed specifically for power lifts and has a weight capacity of 1000lbs. Don’t purchase a cheap barbell, you lose money and time having to purchase workout equipment over again — and every workout counts.
Alternatively, you can use dumbbells to perform many of the exercises you can with a barbell. The difference is that dumbbells give you a better range of motion while performing the exercise. Both have their place, but there is really no substitute for the barbell. If you feel more comfortable starting out with dumbbells, consider adjustable dumbbells to save money and space.
Kettlebells offer an excellent way to combine strength training and cardio without taking up a lot of space. When I say strength training, I mean core strength in particular. There are hundreds of full-body workouts online that use only Kettlebells.
For someone who isn’t interested in “weightlifting” or “bodybuilding”, Kettlebell workouts are the next best thing although I would say that anyone trying to alter their physique is bodybuilding — professional or not.
Kettlebells come in various sizes and I would also recommend Adjustable Kettlebells which are cost-effective and saves space. There are also padded adjustable kettlebells that help protect your floors and absorbs shock to the body.
I like HyperWear’s Softbell Kettlebells from the pictures above because they’re soft and easily adjustable. Alternatively, you can purchase adjustable Kettlebells from Powerblock. PowerBlock is well known for their adjustable dumbbells and kettlebells but they’re a little too “blocky” for my tastes and don’t have any protection for floors. — expensive too.
Kettlebell exercises aren’t something you can just read about and perfect. Here is a decent video by CriticalBench with some Kettlebell movements. CriticalBench also put together How to Unlock Your Hip Flexors if you’re having issues with tight Hip Flexors.
15 MUST-DO Kettlebell Exercises | Strong from Head to Toe
Kettlebell training can transform your body
The TRX “Suspension Trainer” is great for building strength, endurance, flexibility, and even building some lean muscle if you’re just starting out. What makes the TRX powerful is that it’s extremely portable and allows you to workout anywhere. Whether you’re on the go and want to workout in the Park or a Hotel room, the TRX Suspension Trainer is easy to setup.
If you’re serious about weightlifting and want to take your home gym to the next level, you may want to consider a power rack and a bench. Power racks will allow you to perform your compound movements safely as your working weight gets heavier. Also, having a bench is not only necessary for bench pressing, but adds to the number of exercises you’re able to perform.
Most power racks have optional attachments such as dip bars, pull-up bars, and leg press addons. The Titan T2 Power Rack is a home commercial-grade rack with a 700lb weight capacity. It has a pull-up bar, various attachments, and a combo package that includes a bench.
Alternatively, REP Fitness has a “Power Rack with Weight Combo” package which includes a Power Rack, Bench, Barbell, and 175lbs of weight. I understand that $500-$800 might be a lot to spend if you’re just getting started with your home gym, but it’s a lot less than what you’re going to spend going to and from the gym over the next 2 years. Some memberships might cost that much for 1 year.
Foam rollers may not have been on your list of consideration for a home gym, but it should be. Tight muscle groups prevent you from performing exercises correctly, hinder muscle growth, and lead to injury. In fact, you should have a foam roller lying around the house even if you’re not into fitness
Foam rollers come in various shapes and sizes and you should find the length and density that is right for you. I personally use the Prosource 6″ high-density roller. It’s the right density for me, portable, and cheap — less than $10.
Now, this the best list of essential home gym equipment for beginners. It doesn’t matter which order you purchase them in or where you buy them from, but you’ll have a well-rounded home gym by the time you purchase all of it.
I know there are items such as resistance bands, plyometric boxes, slam balls, and battle ropes not listed, but as Personal Trainer, I feel those items are accessories that you should look into at a later time.
Do you agree? Let me know in the comments below.