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.
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.
I totally love my Polar and have used their products for years. They are reliable. This heart rate monitor includes a chest strap for the most accurate reading. It’s also compatible with several pieces of cardio equipment so you get your actual reading vs. the machine’s made up reading. I highly recommend it.
This fitness tracker is the truth. It not only counts steps but it tracks how much water your drink, your cycle, sleep, how many flights of stairs you walk, includes challenges with other Garmin users and offers workout plans! I use this to sync with my StepBet games as well. It’s a keeper and one of the best out there in the market in my opinion.
Let me share with you some of the key pieces of equipment I use during my workouts.
You definitely need a fitness or yoga mat to protect your knees and if you don’t want to touch the ground directly. It provides a nice cushion and you can double it up for extra cushion.
I received these Aftershokz Open-Ear Headphones as part of a campaign and honestly they are my absolutely FAVORITE of all time. They conduct sound through your jaw bone which leaves your ears open to hear other sounds around you. This is especially useful if you run outdoors, etc. I love them and now I don’t have to worry about buds falling out of my ear. The buds never stayed put for me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.