Do you really need to go back to the gym? By the time you've driven there, waited in line for the machines, chatted with the staff at the smoothie bar (with a mask on), and wiped down the equipment, you could have gotten a serious workout at home. And if you stop spending money on that membership, you could hire a personal trainer to whip you into fighting form and set you up with equipment you'll actually use. However, it's not always necessary to spend a ton of money on professional guidance and top-notch gear — especially if you learn to use some of the cheap at-home fitness products personal trainers are obsessed with.
Believe it or not, some of the simplest pieces of workout gear have been given a nod by various professional trainers. Take the doorway workout bar, for instance. John Fawkes, the Managing Editor at The Unwinder and a personal trainer who's certified with National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) tells Inverse that the doorway trainer is one of his favorite pieces of equipment because it allows you to perform "multiple bodyweight calisthenics" (such as push-ups and dips).
That's not all, though. Ms. Flo, another personal trainer at F.L.O (For the Love of) Life Fitness who's certified with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) tells Inverse that there are various affordable fitness products she suggests using — and many of them can be found on Amazon. Some of those include dumbbells, a kettle ball, a jump rope, a medicine ball, and resistance bands.
In fact, resistance bands seem to be the go-to product recommended by many professionals. Certified personal trainer Dani Singer — who's also the founder and CEO of Fit2Go Personal Training and a corrective exercise specialist through NASM — tells Inverse that he recommends this five-pack of resistance bands. He says resistance bands are versatile and "challenge your body to work in a more functional way than isolating with weights."
As you can see, there are tons of fitness products that've been given the "OK" by professional trainers — and many of them are available to purchase online. Go ahead and shop the following pieces of gear and upgrade your home gym.
1. This ab & aerobic workout kit that comes with a jump rope
This home gym kit contains some of the items Ms. Flo recommends, plus an ab roller. The ab roller is easy to use, but you'll feel the burn (and see results). The push-up bars take the strain off your wrists so you can do more push-ups without the soreness, and the jump rope is great for adding quick cardio to your workout. There’s even a pad to protect your floor and knees.
2. A weighted medicine ball that's fun & effective
Ms. Flo recommended a medicine ball, and this one can help you get an upper body workout that feels like play. Toss it back and forth, bounce it off a wall, or hold it while doing crunches. This version is solid, grippy, durable, and a terrific price for this type of workout accessory. Pick your preferred weight and start your workouts.
3. This set of kettlebells that add weight to any move
Kettlebells — which were also recommended by Ms. Flo — are a basic in any home gym setup, and this set of three comes in a stand for a very appealing price. You can start light with the 5 pound-weight and work your way up to 10 and 15 pounds as you get stronger. Made from durable HDPE and filled with cement, these will last a lifetime.
4. A set of heavy resistance bands with handles & leg straps
This resistance band set offers resistance starting at 10 pounds — and it goes up to 50. It also comes with a carrying bag, a door anchor, two cushioned straps, two ankle straps, a workout guide, and a workout poster. In other words, if you're trying to get more than resistant bands in your workout set, this pack is for you.
5. This set of hand weights to pump up any workout
A set of dumbbells is high on Ms. Flo's list of recommended workout equipment — and this is a compact, versatile, affordable set that's perfect for starting out. It comes with its own rack and has six color-coded weights ranging from two pounds to five. Each of them is wrapped in a soft, grippy neoprene that's easy to hold with sweaty hands.
6. These resistance bands that are incredibly easy to travel with
Again, Singer specifically recommends these circular resistance bands to his clients because they're effective and easy to travel with. These are also color-coded set, but they're made of natural latex and range from resistances between extra-light and extra-heavy. With over 47,000 overall reviews, it's clear that customers are using them regularly.
7. The classic playground balls that make it fun to exercise
You know what the best kind of exercise is? The kind you want to do. If you ask me, playing outside with a ball is something everyone can enjoy — no matter how old you are. These playground balls are probably exactly like the ones you played kickball and dodge ball with in middle school gym class. They come in a variety of sizes, are super affordable, and are very bouncy.
8. A handy stop watch for tracking your times
Whether you are playing pickle ball, running sprints, or just trying to do a plank for two minutes, a stopwatch and timer are key (and personal trainer-approved). This digital stopwatch is water- and dust-resistant, will hang around your neck, and has big, easy-to-press start and stop buttons. It'll time singles or splits and has a calendar and an alarm.
9. A jump rope for easy cardio workouts
There’s a good reason why Ms. Flo recommends a jump rope for your home gym. You'll be shocked at the intensity of cardio workout it delivers in just a few minutes. This is a fast rope for speed-skipping, and it'll raise your heart rate quickly. The length is easily adjustable, and even it's lightweight. The handles are smooth and comfortable, and the rope spins within them to eliminate tangling. It's small enough to fit in your gym bag, too, so you can travel with it.
10. This armband that carries your phone & keys on a run
Where do you put your phone when you go for a walk or a run? It's is one the great questions of our time. This slim, colorful armband is uncomplicated and easy. Slide it on your arm. Slide your phone in the pocket. Your headphones — even if you use wired ones — will connect, as will your phone (and keys). It's washable and comes in lots of colors. This is a set of two, so you can always have a clean one handy.
11. An exercise ball that's also a great desk chair
A stability ball — like this inflatable one — is often seen as an essential piece of home exercise equipment (and was even suggested by Ms. Flo). You can also sit on it at your desk to engage your abs, improve your posture, and stay active. Plus, it's relaxing to stretch on one. This professional-quality PVC ball is so affordable and gets so many reviews — almost 14,000 — that it's an easy pick. Choose your go-to size and color.
12. These push-up bars so you don't hurt your wrists on the floor
These push-up bars will let you take your push-ups to the next level. Go lower, do sideways push-ups, or even do handstands and protect your wrists from carrying the weight of your body while extended. These give you something to grip so your wrists are strong and straight. They're slightly sloped for extra comfort and made with durable, foam-wrapped polypropylene.
13. A set of core sliders that turn the floor into an ab machine
This two-pack of core sliders is inexpensive, portable, and will work on a hardwood floor or carpet. Just flip them over for the right surface and start gliding back and forth while strengthening your abs. They also come with a workout guide, so you can explore new exercises. Fawkes even suggested to Inverse that towels can take the place of core sliders — but if you'd rather use the real thing, this set is a great choice.
14. A thick yoga mat so the floor isn't so painful
If the hard floor hurts your knees and hips during yoga, Pilates, or other workouts, treat yourself to this half-inch thick deluxe yoga mat that's help soften the surface. It is corrugated on one side to keep you sturdy (you can choose which side you prefer to stand on). It also cleans easily and comes with its own carry straps.
15. These yoga blocks that bring deep poses within reach
If you're struggling to get into deep poses, adding a block to your yoga practice can help you bridge the distance from where you are to where you want to be. These are the go-to yoga blocks for many customers. They're made of lightweight, durable foam with a nonslip surface. They also come in four muted colors to enhance the vibe of your yoga rig.
16. These strap-on weights that add resistance to any movement
Instead of lifting weights (and aggravating your hands and wrists), strap these ankle and wrist weights on. They add weight and resistance to your walk or workout. These range from 0.25 pounds. up to 25 pounds — and they'll turn your leg lifts, arm rolls, donkey kicks, or even a day working at a desk into a strength training maneuver.
17. The cotton resistance bands for hip & leg workouts
These hip resistance bands are made from a blend of cotton and polyester that doesn't roll, slide, or tear when you use them. Wear them on your hips, thighs, or anywhere to ad weight-like resistance to your workouts. The light one offers a resistance of 14 to 25 pounds, the medium offers 25 to 35, and the heavy adds 40 to 50. Many reviewers love them because they stay put.
18. These disks with handles for the perfect push-ups
If you rotate your arms during deep push-ups, you'll engage more muscles and get a better workout. That's the idea with these "perfect" pushup handles. Over 6,000 people have given them a try, and many of them found these to be awesome. They also allow you to do a deeper push-up because they raise you above the floor. One customer with past experience in personal training wrote, "This is an amazing addition to any at home gym. I used to be a personal trainer and would have loved to have these in the gym when I trained. The swivel allows you to work every portion of your arms and chest."
19. This doorway trainer that you can use as a pull-up bar
This Iron Gym is the choice of over 9,000 Amazon shoppers. It allows you to do pull-ups, push-ups, chin-ups, dips, crunches, and more — whether through the door frame or on the floor. Plus, with the correct door size, it doesn't require any tools for installation.
20. A ribbed foam roller ball to help relieve muscle tightness
This orb roller is an intense, targeted foam roller with a ribbed shell to massage your muscles. The combination of the shape and bumps gets deep into muscles and — according to reviewers — offers "so much relief." It's compact and portable, and there are three sizes to choose from. One person wrote, "My trainer recommended this little orb. It was painful to use at first but after a couple of times I am able to use it in place of a foam roller all over. It is former than a roller and hits all the spots a foam roller cannot."
21. Hand weights that bring Zumba rhythm sounds to your workout
These Zumba training sticks will add a little extra toning to your dance moves. (Some of the official Zumba moves are designed around weighted weights like these.) They're somewhere between maracas and dumbbells, weighing in at 1 pound for the pair — and they have beads in the ends to make a small sound.
22. A set of aquatic barbells to take into the pool
Got a pool to work out in? Take this set of dumbbells into the water to add upper-body weightlifting resistance to your water walking or water aerobics. These are made of light EVA foam, and the handles won't fill with water. And since the foam doesn't hold much water, they'll drain and dry quickly.
23. The barbell grips that change up your weights
As you know, dumbbells are often recommended by personal trainers — and these grips add traction and a wider hold to those weights, changing up your workouts. Reviewers have written that they've seen a change in muscle development within a few weeks of adding them to their workouts. These foam grips can fit into your pocket so you can snap them over your own weights or the weights at the gym (and then snap them off to move on). There are two widths for different hand sizes and intensities.
24. These Bluetooth headphones to keep you motivated
What keeps you motivated while you work out? If it's music, then add these wireless earbuds to your routine. Since they're Bluetooth-enabled, you won't have to worry about any wires getting in the way while you move. They're also waterproof — so don't worry about sweat — and will cancel out the noise around you.
25. An easy-to-store stepper to work incline steps into your day
Steppers are simple, but they're effective. Stash this small incline stepper under your desk to get a bit of movement in while working, or keep it under the couch to add movement to TV watching. It would make a great addition to a standing desk, as well. It's small and easy to store, and it offers step cardio and strength resistance. It also tracks your steps and resets only when you push a button, so you can keep a daily step count.
26. This inflatable balance ball to help improve core strength
Balance balls can help improve core strength, and this one is both affordable and inflatable. The gripped sides offer a sense of stability while in use, and it can even be used as a seat cushion. Not to mention, it includes a hand pump and comes in six colors.
27. A wedge that makes yoga easier on your hips & wrists
Having trouble getting into some of those seated yoga poses? Similar to a yoga mat that provides extra cushion, this yoga wedge takes the edge off of some of those exercises. When you do poses that ask you to lean on your wrists, this wedge gentles the angle so you don't extend your hands so far. If your hips won't let you get into seated poses, sit on the wedge for a lift. It's also great for fused ankles that don't like standing on a flat floor, and it's made of EVA foam.
28. The foam roller that's better than a massage
Ms. Flo suggests people have a foam roller in their home gym — and this traditional foam roller is a good option. It can be used to work the tension out of sore muscles, release tight muscles before a workout to prevent injury, and recover from a long day at a desk job. You can do it anytime and it's so much cheaper than a massage.
29. A speed bag in case boxing is your go-to workout
You might need your own theme song once you get this speed bag installed in a handy rafter, door frame, or ceiling. It's made of cow hide and is filled with poly cotton for a fast boxing practice. Improve your cardio, hand-eye coordination, and speed while getting a terrific upper body workout and letting off some stress.
30. These gel-filled boxing gloves that are super comfortable
You don't want to hit a speed bag or a heavy bag without gloves on. These gel-filled gloves will help protect your hands and wrists from impact and provide support while you work out. They're soft, sturdy, and come in a great selection of colors. Over 7,000 people — those new to boxing and those who have been at it a while — love them, because they're both comfortable and affordable. Choose the weight that fits.