Choosing the best exercise equipment for your home gym is like shopping for shoes.
You'll want to invest in some mainstays that you know you'll use on the regular, like a mat and a pair of dumbbells (or two). Then you'll want some fun items to spice things up, like foam rollers, jump ropes and resistance bands. And for fancy occasions, you might even save up for something shiny and new, like a squat rack and barbell set or a high-tech treadmill.
But with all of the gear available with a click to your online shopping cart, how do you know what's right for you and worth the money? Ultimately, it comes down to your fitness goals and preferences and what type of equipment you know you'll use the most.
To help you figure out which fitness tools you'll want to have at the ready, check out this guide to the most popular workout equipment and how to make the most of your purchases.
At-Home Workout Essentials
For the ideal home gym or makeshift workout area, purchase at-home fitness equipment that's compact and space-efficient, yet convenient and easy to use.
For example, adjustable dumbbells make it nearly effortless to switch from varying levels of resistance between exercises without having to buy a dozen new pairs of weights. Simply turning a dial or unscrewing the plates on adjustable dumbbells allows you to save room in your workout stash for other equipment.
Other items you may want at home are foam rollers for recovery days, resistance bands for building strength and jump ropes for quick bursts of cardio.
Get a list of the key at-home workout equipment, according to trainers.
From barbells to kettlebells to TRX straps and sliders, the strength-training equipment options are seemingly endless — but the best tool for you is the one you'll actually use.
Barbells, for instance, are the ultimate weight-lifting tool for compound strength movements, such as deadlifts and overhead presses. But if your space (or budget) doesn't allow for such a big-ticket item, dumbbells and kettlebells are much more convenient, easier to store and can be just as effective for building strength.
Or, consider investing in sliders or a TRX system to take your body-weight exercises to the next level. These tools work with the resistance of gravity and your own weight to make exercises more challenging.
Discover the pros and cons of all the best weight-lifting equipment.
Cardio Machines for Every Personality
Cardio doesn't have to look like running on a treadmill. There are plenty of other ways to get your heart pumping and break a sweat. Cardio machines like the rower, air bike, stepmill and elliptical can help you build stamina and endurance without putting additional pressure on your joints.
If you're weighing purchasing a cardio machine, consider the sports and activities you enjoy. The rower mimics that same movement and resistance you would get from rowing in a boat, and the vertical climber activates the same muscles you would use during rock climbing.
Some machines are also equipped with on-demand workouts beyond cardio — like strength training and yoga — to help you become a more well-rounded athlete.
See a complete breakdown of the different types of cardio equipment and how to decide which one's right for you.
The Best Yoga Gear
There's not much equipment you need to do yoga — a durable, sweat-absorbing mat is basically the only essential — but you can get more out of your practice by incorporating other tools, like yoga blocks, straps and bolsters.
Using yoga blocks and straps provides you with more stability in balance poses and helps you deepen asanas so you can really feel the stretch. They're also a good substitute for weights if you're taking a power yoga or sculpting class.
On the other hand, yoga bolsters allow you to relax more in restorative poses and offer support for areas where you could use a little more comfort and alignment.
Enhance your practice with these instructor-approved yoga accessories.