The best home workout equipment will serve you well when you’re running late for the gym, just need a quick pick me up, and even if you happen to be quarantined with your family and need something to do with your energy. Even though for many of us an At-Home Workout is not our favorite option, but having home workout equipment available is one of the defining factors of people who are Lean for Life.
The Best Home Workout Equipment
The days of the 500lb treadmill in your living room are gone. And if you’re still using your Bowflex – well, hats off to you good sir. It might have been the best at-home workout equipment in the ’90s, but NO MORE!
At-home workout equipment solves the common complaint of “I don’t have time to go to the gym!”
Even if you don’t have a gym membership or 90 minutes a day to…
- drive to the gym
- cool down
- drive home
…People still want and need to workout. That’s why the home gym business will never go out of style, but simply shift from one bulky piece of cardio equipment to the next “As Seen On TV” midnight special.
You don’t need a hula chair, shake weight, or combination Elliptical-Stair Stepper-EZ Bake Oven to get results.
Check out my favorite 6 training elements to get results at home
Best At-Home Workout Equipment
Best Minimalist Option: Sliders.
Why We Love It.
Sliders are great because they add a degree of difficulty to regular body-weight exercises like push-ups and lunges. Rather than a regular lunge where you can press of the back toe to bring yourself back to a standing position, it’s necessary to pull in with the back leg, thus activating more lower core, hip flexor, and glute muscle.
These two sliders weigh less than 1lb, and can easily fit into any carry on luggage, backpack, or probably even cargo short pockets if you’re still rocking those.
While the push-up, lunge, and core variations are endless, there’s not a ton of other exercises you can do with these. No pulling, hip hinging, and squats can be iffy. Also, you can only use these on carpet, wood, or tile. They don’t slide so well on rubberized gym floors.
Best Weight Room Mimic: Resistance Bands.
Why We Love It
Resistance bands are awesome. And I’m not talking about the rainbow colored bands that come 6 sizes from ‘extra small’ to ‘pretty small’ – I mean the 40″ loop bands that can be used for everything from adding tension to squats, making pull-ups easier, explosive jumps, and more.
These are the real deal, and if you have a full set of these, they can take the place of an entire cable stack in your weight room.
If you get a cheap adjustable pulley system off of Craigslist, you’re still going to be talking about $1,000.00 and at least 200lbs of weight that the previous owner probably won’t help you move.
But with a set of bands, you can do almost anything, plus you have the advantage of “Increased Difficulty at Peak Contraction” with the band.
This simply means that as you stretch the band farther, the resistance increases, which makes the end range of motion of the exercise (think: top of the squat, elbow lockout on pushup or triceps pressdown, etc).
If you have to pick just one or two bands, rather than purchasing a full set, but the 1″ and 1/2″ bands. These cover the full spectrum of strength from 40-180lbs of force.
These bands are mostly made of latex, and while they’ll last for a very long time with proper care, they do break, especially when subjected to the lifting of heavy gym-goers to the pullup bar on a daily basis.
If you’re getting this for a home gym, you’ll be good as long as you keep them out of the sun, but you might want to think about doubling up on each size if you’re adding this to a public gym.
Best Cardio: Peleton Bike or Bike Trainer (if you already have a bike)
Why We Love It
A great option for cardio is the Peleton cycling bike. It takes up less room than a regular spin bike that you’d find at a big gym and can provide a great workout.
Cycling is a great form of cardio because it’s low impact, and can be used for more difficult sprints or hill repeats, or for a long duration session.
The Peleton is comfortable for the longer rides and makes it easy to increase or decrease difficulty while pedaling.
If you don’t have 1,200 bucks burning a hole in your pocket, and you already have a bike that you like riding, you can purchase a trainer for your bike that sets up under your rear wheel and allows you to ride indoors while watching your favorite Real Housewives of Orange County re-runs.
The price is HIGH for a home-based piece of equipment that you’re not sure if you’ll use or not.
If you’re not totally into cycling as a sport or preferred method of getting some morning cardio – you might want to wait to find this at a garage sale.
Best Skill Based: Parallettes (P-Bars)
Why We Love It
Despite what we read in magazines, fitness isn’t just about burning calories and getting big biceps.
Fitness is the most fun when you’re learning a new skill, and doing something you enjoy. So if running isn’t your cup of tea, but playing racquetball is, you’ll enjoy fitness a lot more when you’re slappin’ some balls around.
You probably don’t have room for a racquetball court in your house though, so you may want to invest in some P-Bars.
You can find these on Amazon for $90.00+, or build your own out of PVC pipe from Home Depot for about $40.00.
While they look like dip bars that are too low, the training you can do on here is some of the best for upper body strength and total body control, and will really help you excel at party tricks.
In addition to strict Parallette training, you can also use these for pushups, dips, L-sits, and tons of other upper body pressing movements.
Expectation vs. Reality.
You won’t be good at using these bars for at least 3 months. You’ll suck, it’ll be hard, and you won’t feel like you’re making any progress. But then all a sudden, it’ll click, and you’ll be happy!
But if you’re the kind of person who expects results and wants them yesterday, this style of training might not be for you.
There are also not very many ways to train exercises for legs and back on the P-Bars, so don’t get this as your “1 Stop Shop” for all your home fitness needs.
Best Overall Home Workout Equipment: Suspension Trainer
Why We Love It
The Suspension Trainer can do it all. Arms, legs, core, back, chest – you name it.
It can also be used for muscle building, cardio conditioning, or elite zombie preparedness. It weighs about 2lbs, and can fit inside a backpack or suitcase easily. You can hang it from a door frame, tree, basketball hoop, or pullup bar. And a Suspension Trainer has an unlimited amount of exercises that you can do on it.
Depending on where you buy one, you can find these for as cheap as 79.99, all the way up to 199.99. The quality differs somewhat, but as long as yours can hold 300+lbs, you should be OK.
Suspension Training is good for very fit individuals, as well as people just starting out, because every exercise can be regressed to easier than body weight (like doing a squat, holding the handles), or can be progressed into a ninja-esque movement like the Single-Leg-Suspension-Trainer-Handstand-Pushup-with-Abduction. Boom! That’s a mouthful.
Honestly, there’s not much bad about this style of training. As long as you have a plan to follow, or at least workouts that change regularly, you won’t get bored, you can keep progressing, and you’ll always be challenged.
Bonus: Best Combination Equipment: Bod in a Box
Why We Love It
First of all, I love it because I came up with it – so make sure you know that I might not be totally impartial.
Bod in a Box combines the best of minimalist Home Workout Equipment – 2 Sliders, 2 Resistance Bands (heavy and medium), and an F3 Suspension Trainer in an easy to carry backpack to provide you with the results you need – EVERYWHERE you want them.
Bod in a Box also comes with a digital 3 Month Training Plan that has been carefully designed after testing on hundreds of clients to get you results, while keeping your workouts short, effective, and fun. The program is 4-days per week, and comes with an extensive video library, so if you don’t automatically know what a Suspension Trainer Row with Band Assist is….click the exercise and see a quick demo.
I put this together because nothing like it exists in the industry today, and I thought that you deserved a better at-home training option that gave you the ability to train a ton of different muscle groups quickly and easily, and still be able to store ALL the equipment in a large mixing bowl…if you so desired.
Grab your Bod in a Box HERE and if you’re still not conviced, here’s a picture of me with a puppy.