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I love fitness, yet I don’t love the monthly bills that come with a gym membership or the waiting in line to use a machine. Because of that, most days I choose to work out at home and surpass the gym all together. I live in a tiny apartment in the city, yet I’ve succeeded in creating my own home gym that is effective in providing me the equipment I need to get a good strength and cardio workout done. The beauty of a home gym is you can design it to be as small or complex as you desire. You can make an ultra frugal home gym, or you can make an expensive fancy home gym with all the bells and whistles. The choice is yours!
I’ve rounded up what you’ll need for a basic starter at home gym for under $100 (SCORE!). Following the basic equipment, I’ve listed items you can acquire down the road once you’re ready to expand your home gym. Whether you choose to stick to a basic home gym or expand to a more complex home gym, the money and time you’ll save by surpassing the commute and bills to your local gym will be well worth it.
BONUS!: All these items can be purchased on Amazon. If you have an Amazon prime account all of these items can be shipped to your door step for FREE. (I’ve had the poor delivery man deliver a 30 pound dumbbell and a 15 pound dumbbell to my door step… what he must think of me LOL.) And if you don’t have Amazon prime? Don’t worry, I got you covered! Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. Just enough time to order your own gym essentials 🙂
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Basic Home Gym For $100 Or Less
Floor Mat: I recommend investing in a mat of some sort for your home gym. Doing commandos, sit ups, planks, or any type of physical activity on the ground can be hard on your back and elbows. Even a carpet can give you rug burn on your knees and elbows, I know from experience. A thick yoga mat will do the trick and will save your joints from unneeded pain. If you have a bigger space than the corner of your living room dedicated to your home gym, investing in some foam tiles to create a padded floor may be a good option for you. The foam tiles I’ve linked below create a 24 square foot padded area, perfect for a room you’re flipping into a home gym space.
-Dumbbells: If you’re looking to incorporate strength into your exercise routine, I recommend investing in adjustable dumbbells. They may be more spendy initially than purchasing just one pair of 5 pound dumbbells, but as your strength progresses you’ll want to increase your weight. Adjustable dumbbells are perfect for that so you won’t have to continue buying another set every few months. Another reason for purchasing adjustable dumbbells is how many of you can use the same weight for every exercise? I know I can’t! I may use 15 pounds for bicep curls, but when I do tricep extensions, I’m going to use one heavier dumbbell, like 30 pounds, to extend behind and over my head. With adjustable dumbbells, I can easily trade weight in and out for each exercise based on how much I’m able to lift. Additionally, adjustable dumbbells take up much less space in your home gym than if you were to have 2+ sets of individual dumbbells.
-Resistance Bands: Resistance bands are great for a starter home gym because of the many exercise you can do with them. You can use them for stretching or for strength exercises. You can use the ankle straps for leg exercises and the handles for arm exercises. There are multiple bands for you to choose from which is great because I don’t know about you, but my legs are much stronger than my arms. I wouldn’t want to use the same band for every workout because for some exercises it would be too easy and others too hard.
-Step: A step is a great multipurpose addition to your own home gym. It can be used for many cardio exercises in a more low impact style. The step I’ve linked below is 8 inches total in height. TIP: If you don’t want to invest in a $100+ bench, use your step to lay back on for dumbbell overhead exercises.
Jump rope: A jump rope is perfect for at home cardio. I like to use a weighted jump rope to get an extra burn for my arms as I jump rope. The Everlast jumping rope I linked below has weighted handles to get more of an arm burn while jumping rope. The Yokirin jump rope does not have weighted handles.
Add On Items For A More Well Rounded Home Gym
-Sliders (both options – dual sided for carpet or floors) – Have you ever done a slider workout for your abs? My goodness those things are KILLER. The best part about sliders is they are thin and compact so they’ll take up a tiny amount of space in your home gym. Looking to go ultra frugal? TIP: Use the top plastic lid of a store bought spinach container or something of the like. It slides great on carpet. Use a dish towel if you’re working out on hard floor.
-Kettlebell: Kettlebells have quickly become my favorite tool for strength workouts. A kettlebell can be used to strengthen just about every muscle in your body. Once again, just like with the dumbbells, I recommend getting an adjustable kettlebell that can have more or less weight added or taken off. But, if you want to stick with one size, I’ve linked many options below. I’ve also linked a really awesome frugal option I found. It’s a kettlebell handle so you can add weighted plates onto it that you already own for your adjustable dumbbells to create your own kettlebell.
Bosu Ball: Bosu Balls are fantastic because of the versatility they provide. You can do an entire cardio intensive, full body, strength workout with a Bosu Ball.
-Box: Box jumps are my personal favorite when it comes to cardio exercises that get my heart rate soaring. TIP: If you don’t want to invest in a box jump, a dinner table chair or something of that sort works great as well. That’s what I currently use and find effective 🙂
Now you’re set for a fully functional, well-rounded, at home gym! Here are a few workouts to try in your new home gym. And here’s an awesome uplifting playlist to motivate your workout. I hope you absolutely love your new home gym and especially love the time and money it will save you from the gym commute and fees. 🙂
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