2020 was the year we had to leave our gyms.
Whether it was only for a couple of months or for good, our workouts migrated their way into our bedrooms, living rooms, garages, and back yards.
But surprisingly, many of us didn’t mind it.
Training at home allowed us to refresh our love for fitness and reconnect with the basics.
Yes, some of us are still excited to go back to the gym, but the simplicity of training at home can’t be denied.
So whether you want to tide yourself over until you can go back to the gym or you want to train at home forever, here is the essential home fitness equipment.
We have broken this list up into two parts, the basics and the splurge. The basic items are the minimalist approach to home fitness equipment while the splurge items are for those looking to beef up their home gym.
To cover the basics get a pair of dumbbells, a box or bench, and some resistance bands.
The best option is a set of adjustable dumbbells. These will take up the least amount of space and give you the most options. You could also get two pairs of dumbbells, one heavier for compound movements, and one lighter for accessory movements. Further, if you really want to be minimalist and use dumbbells as your only external loading get one moderately heavy dumbbell that you can use for squatting, pulling, and pressing.
A Box or a Bench
Next, get a wooden box or a weight bench. The combination of this piece of equipment and dumbbells opens you up to a whole variety of options from rear foot elevated split squats to dumbbell bench presses and single-arm dumbbell rows, as well as countless step-up variations.
Complete your basics with a variety of resistance bands, at least two. Bands will give you more exercise options. Whether you use them to band your legs to challenge your hip abduction, for pulling resistance, or for pressing, the options are limitless.
Dumbbells, a box, and bands are the basic home fitness equipment staples. But what if you love training at home and want to invest more in your home gym? Here are the items we recommend if you want to splurge.
We still recommend that you get the basics, but suggest you opt for a bench over a box, as you can use it in a squat rack.
A Squat Rack
This is the biggest upgrade between the basics and the splurge. A good squat rack will open the doors to hundreds of exercises, including squats, bench presses, and overhead presses. To maximize your rack’s versatility get one with a pull-up bar and a landmine attachment.
Next, get a barbell for your squat rack. Along with this get a basic set of plates. The weights will depend on your capabilities, but we recommend a pair of 5s, 10s, 25s, and 45s to begin with. For bonus points, get rubber bumper plates and put mats down so you don’t smash up your floor.
Last on the splurge list is an aerobic implement. We recommend a rower because you can get very precise with your efforts to make sure they are sustainable. They are also great because they can stand up on end and be tucked out of the way. A great alternative to the rower is an Assault Bike.
Now that you have a new home gym what do you do with all the equipment?
For general health, we recommend that you do resistance training 3 times a week and aerobic training 2-3 times a week.
(Disclaimer: These are generalized recommendations. For the best results we recommend working with a fitness coach that can personalize an exercise program for you.)
If you are a beginner, train 4-5 of these movement patterns every training session.
If you are more advanced and have been training consistently for 2 or more years, divide the patterns into upper and lower body days.
Keep track of your daily workouts and either build volume over time by adding more reps or increase intensity by adding weight. Learn more about how to progress weight training here.
For aerobic training, the best rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Choose either, walking, running, hiking, biking, or rowing. Go for a duration that you can complete at a sustainable rate. Then slowly increase the duration. Another alternative type of aerobic training is interval training. Learn more about how to program interval training workouts in this guide.
If you want to dive into exact aerobic progressions here are some resources:
Right now there are hundreds of thousands of people exercising at home.
Most of them are very new to fitness and don’t know how to start their fitness journey.
This has created a demand for health and fitness coaches to provide guidance and support.
If you love exercise, nutrition, and helping others then now may be the time to turn this passion into a profession.
If this sounds intriguing sign up for our free coaching course and learn more about health and fitness coaching.