Studies have shown that exercise can have life-long health benefits, and not just for your physical health, but you're mental well-being too. Luckily, the best equipment for small home gyms can make it easy to stay on top of your workouts, even when you can't hit the gym.
With so many options available, it's important to consider your personal needs before opening your wallet. While you should definitely consider how much space you have at home, as well as your skill level, the most important thing to keep in mind is this: The best workout equipment is the equipment you're actually going to use. If you find sit-ups tedious, a fancy gadget isn't going to change that. Instead, try a more dynamic workout aid like an agility ladder. Hate cardio? Resistance bands can offer an effective total body workout that you can do while watching TV.
To help you find the best equipment for your small home gym I've rounded up for you here. There's a variety of items to suit people of all skill levels, and none of them are over $100.
1. These Resistance Bands Cover All The Bases
The overall best choice when it comes to exercise equipment that you won't outgrow quickly is this set of resistance bands. Each order comes with five levels of resistance ranging from 10 to 50 pounds, and you can even stack them on top of each other for an extra challenge (up to 150 pounds). Whereas other resistance bands are generally just large rubber bands, these ones are housed in protective latex sleeves for extra durability.
So, why do these "cover all the bases," anyway? Unlike other pieces of home gym equipment, you can use these bands to tone muscles all over your body. The included handles make it easy to do shoulder presses by simply standing on the bands, and you can even attach the carabiner clips to fences, handles, hooks, and more for added versatility. You also get two foam handles, two ankle straps, one door anchor, as well as a travel bag and workout guide to help get you started.
2. This Weighted Bars That Amplify Any Workout
If you've searched around for home gym equipment, then you already know it can be expensive. This pack of weighted workout bars, on the other hand, is a total steal at $85. The bundle comes with 5-, 8-, and 12-pound bars.
What makes them so great? You can add these bars to nearly any exercise that you can think of for some added intensity. (Even your sit-ups can benefit if you hold the bar above your head while you crunch.) The caps on each end are square so that they don't roll when you lay the bars down, and each one is coated with foam to help you maintain a firm grip if your hands are sweaty.
3. A Balance Ball With Built-In Resistance Handles
While it can be a little intimidating at first, this balance ball is suitable for people of all skill levels. The slip-resistant base will stay in place while you're on it, and the built-in handles are perfect for those times when you need a little help steadying yourself. You can also use them to incorporate your upper body into your workout by performing exercises like bicep curls or bent-over rows, and the grips are soft to help prevent your hands from cramping.
Why choose this balance ball over other pieces of equipment? Training on an uneven surface forces more muscle groups to activate in order for you to stay balanced, which means that it can help you get the most out of your workouts.
4. These Gliding Discs For When You’re Low On Space
When you live in an apartment or if you have roommates, you might not have space in your home for bulky exercise equipment. If that's the case, then these gliding discs are great options that take up hardly any space (no matter where you store them). Stash them underneath your couch after your workout, or just tuck them into a drawer for later. These discs aren't just for toning your core, though — you can also use them to train your glutes, legs, back, arms, and chest.
Each order also comes with five resistance bands so that people of all fitness levels can use them.
5. This Abdominal Trainer With Power-Assisted Rebound
Keeping your motivation levels high when you're exercising at home is key to making it all the way through your workout, and this abdominal trainer gives you that added push right when you need it. Even if you want to give up halfway, the power-assisted rebound helps you keep going so that you hit the top of each crunch. It's also significantly easier to use than an ab roller, and you only need to use it for about eight minutes every day to start seeing results.
While there are three resistance levels to choose from, this trainer may not be intense enough for seasoned exercise enthusiasts. However, it makes up for it in versatility. You can also use it to tone your chest, shoulders, and back, simply by turning around and pressing down on the levers with your hands (and even your legs). Each order comes with an exercise and meal prep guide to help get you started, and it even folds down flat for simple storage.
6. An Agility Ladder That's Easy To Store
Including cardio in your workout routine can help increase your VO2 max levels, which means your blood will gradually begin delivering more oxygen to your muscles when you exercise. And while running on a treadmill is an easy fix, they can cost hundreds of dollars — which makes this $50 agility ladder set a great space-saving option when it comes to elevating your heart rate.
Each rung on the ladder is adjustable so that you can choose how far apart they sit, and you also get six agility cones that you can use to switch things up if you get bored.
7. An Ab Roller With A Detachable Resistance Band
Ordinary ab rollers can be a challenge no matter how toned you are, which is why this one comes with a resistance band that helps control your rhythm as you roll back and forth. Not only does the band give you help when you need it, but each order also comes with a free knee pad so you don't end up with bruises at the end of your workout.
But what if you don't consider yourself a beginner? Not a problem — simply detach the resistance band and use this roller alone. The wheel itself is extra-wide for added stability, and it's made from a combination of rust-resistant stainless steel as well as non-slip thermoplastic rubber that shouldn't scratch your hardwood floors.
8. A Push-Up Board You Can Adjust
Push-ups primarily activate the muscles in your chest, but did you know that by changing your hand position you can also target other muscle groups? This push-up board takes the guesswork out of it, as the handles can be re-positioned in order to activate your triceps, shoulders, and back. The slots are color-coded so that you can be sure you've placed the handles in the correct positions — and it's even portable, so you can take it with you when you're traveling.
With a promising 4.4-star review, many raved about how this board is sturdy and effective. "I really like this pushup board since before I used to just change my hand position and my hands would hurt," one customer said. "This makes it easy to keep track of the areas you’re affecting and it works."