What are your home gym essentials? My bare minimum recommendation is two pairs of dumbbells, a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell, and a couple bands. I’ll give you specifics below.
Equipment for Your Home Gym
Home gyms have been growing in popularity, and for great reason! Even if you continue to go to fully equipped gyms, it’s a fantastic idea to have some of your own equipment at home. Might be raining so hard, traffic might be crazy. Whatever the reason, keeping some equipment at home gives you options.
People have been building home gyms from basic, bare minimum style to fully equipped, built out garages for some time now. Most people fall somewhere in between having absolutely no equipment and having pallets delivered to their driveway.
With just a little bit of equipment, you can get good training. Read here how to get a full body push pull squat training session.
How Much Equipment Do You Need?
Take into consideration your budget, your space, and your needs. I highly recommend having a dedicated space where you can focus solely on your training regardless of how minimalist your set up is.
The Bare Minimum
At a minimum, I’d like to see you have:
- a light pair of dumbbells
- a medium pair of dumbbells
- one heavy-is weight
- a band, maybe two
With these, you can do many exercises to keep you conditioned. You’ll miss out on the benefits of heavy lifting without having a heavy weight, but this basic combination can keep you building muscle and building your health for a long time.
The designations of light, medium and heavy will be different for everybody. I recommend your light bells to be 2-5 pounds and your medium bells to be 8-15 pounds. Email me if you’d like specific recommendations. email@example.com
The Next Level
If you’re ready to invest a little more, buy one heavy dumbbell or kettlebell, and a hip circle. These should not be prohibitively expensive and give you more options to build strength. Your heavy implement can be 30+ pounds in most cases. A kettlebell is easier to hold on to, but is usually more expensive than a dumbbell. Your choice.
Where to Buy Your Equipment
Remember that weight equipment just needs to allow you to work. It doesn’t have to match and it doesn’t have to be fancy. If you have a resale shop like Play It Again Sports in your town, make that your first stop. I have found Amazon prices are sometimes literally double what I can buy in person. Some of my clients have had luck at Target and Wal-Mart online. Now is a good time to be checking Craigslist too.
My favorite hip circle, the blue band is typically used on the lower body, can be found at Mark Bell’s web site. My favorite one is here (this is a clickable link, but not an affiliate link).
Finally, I order my bands on Amazon. The easy way out, but it lets you compare so you can be happy with your purchase. Search “resistance bands” or “exercise bands”. You can find these in stores too if you’d like to put hands on them before buying.
Here are my favorite home gym organization ideas.
What Do I Do With These Weights?
If you are comfortable designing your own training, then you are now off to the races! If you would like guidance, you can do a week free of The Home Team, my training program for people who are exercising at home. This will give you a good taste of how to structure a week of training and get you started. If it works for you, you can continue from there. If you’d like to continue on your own, you’re off to a great start!
Enjoy! Tag me in pictures of your home set up (@alexanderkma on Instagram), or let me know how you’ve set up your home gym!
Check out this list of best fitness places in North Austin.
About the author
Kathryn Alexander is a strength coach and personal trainer in Austin, Texas. She loves hiking, college football, and the feel of a perfectly knurled barbell. Read more about Kathryn here.