Exercise Equipment Basics for Beginners

If you have decided to start a fitness program to maintain good health I applaud you for that decision.  It will probably be one of the best decisions of your life.  You might be thinking what type of equipment you need to get started.  Well you have come to the right place.  Here is a list of some of the equipment and brands I own and use and believe work well.  Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Exercise Equipment Basics for Beginners

My husband and I bought most of our equipment at Dick’s Sporting Goods or Sears but you can pretty much find the same equipment at any one of your local sporting goods stores like Sports Authority, Walmart, Target, Sears, etc.


Let’s start off the list with what we like to use to track our heart rate during our workouts.

Adidad miCoach Fit Smart

Adidas miCoach Fit Smart – white ($128.99)

I totally  like the Adidas miCoach Fit Smart tech wearable.  I did an entire review on it which you can read HERE.  I like that it changes color based on the heart rate zone you reach during your workout which is an easy indicator as to where you are.  You can also easily look down and see your actual heart rate big and bold. It’s easy to use and accurate.  It also is a trainer (I never used that feature) so depending on your sport it can help you develop strength to dominate.  Other great thing about this one ~ no chest strap.  I highly recommend this and we love ours.

Polar FT4 HRM

Polar FT4 HRM ($55.99)

For those of you who don’t mind a chest strap then I highly recommend this heart rate monitor.  It’s long lasting, reliable, accurate, affordable and very easy to use.  It captures your heart rate and calories burned.  I have used mine and recommended this heart rate monitor for years.

Fitbit Charge

Fitbit Charge ($129.95)

I received a Fitbit Charge last November as part of a Fitfluential campaign and I haven’t taken it off since.  I use it to track my steps and sleep primarily.  I also compete with my co-workers to see who can get in the most steps every week.  I swear by this as a decent, basic tech wearable that syncs up to show you how many steps you are taking, how many minutes you are active and the quality of your sleep.

Let me share with you some of the key pieces of equipment I use during my workouts.

Blogilatest yoga mat beauty

Yoga mat by Blogilates ($35.00)

This yoga mat is thick, durable and hasn’t fallen apart on me yet.  I have owned it for about 12 months now and it even comes in it own carrying case. The case HAS fallen apart on me.  LOL.


Yurbuds Inspire Sport Earphones for Women ($17.75)

I won a pair of these Yurbuds when I entered a contest on Facebook a few years ago.  I have not looked back.  These are the first in-ear earphones that I have used that actually stay in your ear and doesn’t fall out while running or lifting.  I highly recommend these.  I like these so much – I have about 2 or 3 pair that I carry around in my gym bag.

Jump Rope by Ultimate Body Press
Jump rope ($7.99)

Everyone who knows me knows I love jumping rope.  It is a perfect form of cardio, isn’t as bad on your knees and legs as one would think and is very affordable.

Gymboss Timer

Gymboss Timer ($19.95)

I bought this timer back in 2009 for interval workouts and it works like a charm.  I have YET to even change the battery on it.  It is long lasting, dependable and can easily be placed on a table, the floor or clipped on you as you use it.  They changed the way it looks a bit and it looks like the face has some slight improvements from the one I have but this is a trusty item to have in your exercise equipment arsenal.

Workout Bands

Workout Bands ($33.28)

I don’t use these enough but my husband swears by these.  These are a lightweight option of hand weights especially when you are travelling.  The tension is determined by the color of the band and the more tension, the more resistance which is what you need to build those muscles.  You can do most traditional hand weights exercise with these.  These are a keeper and an absolute must have in your exercise gear arsenal.  We own a few types.  One version is from Dick’s Sporting Goods and the other is from workoutbands.com.

Spri Dual Grip Medicine Ball
Weighted ball ($47.00)

This ball is extremely useful.  I use it for weighted workouts like front raises and to work abs like Russian Twists.  This is definitely a must have for your home gym.  We have several medicine balls but we started off with the 8 lb. ball.  Note:  Our ball is actually by Gaiam but I could not locate the ball anywhere.  That brand may have discontinued it.

Body Bar

Body Bar ($40.00)

I think every home gym should have body bars.  These are weighted bars you strength train with.  We have a few that range in weight starting with 12 lbs.  If you have a hard time gripping barbells or dumbbells, a body bar is a great alternative.

Cap Hand Weights

Cap Hand weights ($159.99)

Hand weights are the hands down ESSENTIAL pieces of workout equipment.  They are versatile, easy grip and I recommend going with a full range of weights starting with 5 lbs on up to 20 lbs.  I know some people have an issue with lifting heavy thinking they will bulk up, but you won’t, don’t believe it.  Heavier weights build strength.

Gliding discs
Gliding Discs ($24.99)

I bought this fairly inexpensive piece of equipment and amped up my workouts just like that.  If you have enough floor space to do a push up, put these under your feet and you will get one of the most intense workouts of your life.  This really helps to firm up and strengthen the core since you have to use it to stabilize while doing the exercise moves.  I love my gliders.


Cast iron Kettlebell ($27.49)

My husband started buying these one at a time at varying weights and I didn’t think I would use them but I have since been doing workouts with my personal trainer using kettlebells and it is really changes things up from the normal hand weight routines.  I think these are essential.  Ours are by Fitness Gear but cost about the same as these.

Aerobic Step Bench

Aerobic Step Bench ($76.99)

As you see I went old school with this tried and true but it works.  I use my step bench as a regular workout bench when I am doing chest presses and single-arm rows.  I actually bought about 6 more risers to raise it even higher so I can use it for bench jumps and step ups.


Treadmill ($1,299)

We own a treadmill and I typically use it for 10 minute cardio warm ups or for longer cardio interval training.  We have the Nordictrack C900 but they no longer sell it.  We purchased it at Sears.  The treadmill featured here is by Proform and is a Proform Pro 2000.  I used to own a Proform for over 12 years and when it finally stopped working I went with a NordicTrack.

Horizon Elliptical

Horizon Elliptical ($899.99)

Last but definitely not least is the elliptical.  We own the Horizon Elliptical E1200 which we purchased many moons ago at Dick’s Sporting Goods.  It has a cradle for an iPod (told you it was old) that I never used.  The elliptical featured here is one of their most current models the Horizon Fitness EX-79-2 Elliptical Trainer.

Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale

Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale ($106.87)

My hubby bought this scale at Best Buy when he first purchased his Fitbit Flex to track his steps.  This isn’t a piece of exercise equipment but it does help you monitor your weight losses and gains.  Granted, weight is NOT the only indicator of progress, but if used in conjunction with some other indicators, it can help you determine whether your workouts are effective or if you need to modify them to get the results you want.

Surpahs Digital Body Scale

Surpahs Digital Body Fat Scale ($31.98)

I reviewed this scale last year and am so happy I did.  It is great.  It measures more than body weight.  It tells you your water composition, bone density and muscle mass.  I find all of that extremely helpful.    I step on this scale daily and then step on the Fitbit Aria scale (crazy I know) but we keep them side-by-side.  The results are pretty much the same.

And for your viewing pleasure, I also created a video sharing some of my home gym essentials.  I am sure you will find it useful.

This is my list of essential workout equipment needed to get started.  Don’t feel you have to run out and get everything at once.  Slowly build your home gym like we did.  If asked, I would say start with a heart rate monitor so you can track your heart rate and calories, a mat and hand weights. There are a bunch of body weight exercises you can do that will help you build your strength.

I hope you find this list of exercise equipment resources helpful and feel free to leave a comment below with any questions you may have.  I am happy to help in any way I can.

Disclaimer:  I am not a certified professional trainer.  The recommendations listed are based on my own personal experience and use.  Make sure you shop and inspect to find the right equipment for you.  

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