43 ways to get fit at home you'll wish you knew about sooner

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by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 

Going to the gym is great, but it’s not always possible to get there. Maybe it is closed when you have time or life is just getting in the way. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your workout or fitness goals. That’s why you want a home gym or at least a few pieces of workout equipment in the house. So when you don’t have a free stretch of time to devote to exercise, you can still knock out of few reps throughout the day and help maintain your progress and health benefits. All fitness does not happen in a gym. In fact, here are 43 ways to get fit at home you'll wish you knew about sooner.

If you are converting the garage or basement to a full-on home gym, you probably want to start out with some basics like floor mats and a workout bench. But you don’t have to go all in to find fitness at home. You can tuck a trampoline under the bed or drop a yoga mat and some yoga-pose cards on the floor and work out right in the living room.

There are so many ways to do this. Read on and find the one that’s right for your home.

1. An in-home gym that fits in your doorway

Hang this pull-up bar in the doorway and you can easily work pull-ups into your day. After a while, you will be knocking out more than you ever thought possible. It attaches using only leverage, so there are no screws to damage the frame. Over 3,000 people love it and give it five stars.

2. The under-door sit-up bar for better crunches

Slide this sit-up bar under any door, tighten it, close the door, and take your crunches up a notch. It holds your feet down so you don’t strain your back and can isolate gut muscles to develop core strength and definition. It’s also removable, so you can travel with it, and it’s super fast to set it up again.

3. These sliders that work on any floor surface

Many workout programs and exercises use floor sliders to engage abs and improve balance, and this is a pair you’ll definitely use a bunch in your home gym. This set of two, double-sided sliders will work on just about any floor surface — from carpet to hardwood to rubber gym floors — just by flipping them over to suit the surface you are on.

4. This set of resistance bands that enhance any workout

Whether you are doing physical therapy for an injury, getting sweaty in your home gym, or looking for a modicum of strength training while working at your desk, this set of five resistance bands will be invaluable. Color coding makes it easy to grab the weight-equivalent you want. They take up minimal room in a gym or travel bag, and over 70,000 people give them five stars.

5. An ab roller to fire up your ab muscles

If you want to hit all the ab muscles in one movement, an ab roller is the way to go. This one has a wide wheel so it won’t wobble and a log handle so you don’t struggle to hold on. It also comes with a pad for cushioning your knees as you work.

6. This pair of 10-pound dumbbells with a neoprene grip

The neoprene coating on these two 10-pound weights makes them easy on the hands. They won’t get slippery when you get sweaty and their minimal footprint means you can keep em handy and do a few reps while you are chatting on the phone or taking a quick work break. Nearly 50,000 people have made them part of their home gym and say, “Five stars!”

7. A deck of cards for a different workout every time

One of the most important parts of a home gym is knowledge because if you do the same three exercises every day, you will get bored. This deck of 50 cards delivers a new workout every time. Just deal yourself a hand and follow the detailed directions for each body weight exercise on these sweat-proof and tear-proof cards.

8. The yoga mat that comes with a carrying strap

A yoga mat is an essential piece of workout gear for the home gym whether you are doing yoga, HIIT, lifting weights, or running through a strength training workout because it protects your floors and is easy to clean up and store away. This one is a generous 1/4-inch thickness, comes in seven colors, and has a strap to keep it rolled so you can toss it over a shoulder and take it to class or store it in a closet.

9. A wrist roller to work your forearms

If you are working on improving your grip strength for tennis, rock climbing, or just opening jars, this wrist roller makes that easy. Attach the weight that’s right for you to the heavy duty carabiner, grip the cushioned handles and roll. It will hold up to 250 pounds, and keep in mind you’ll need to attach your own weights to this roller.

10. This adjustable stepper that’s a home-gym workhorse

Whether you are using it for step aerobics, exercises that require elevation like steps or dips, or as a bench for lifting weights, this adjustable stepper will get a lot of use. By adding or removing risers, the height of the platform will go from 4 to 8 inches. The surface is wide and non-slip, and it is light enough to carry around easily.

11. The agility ladder that improves your speed & game

If you are training for soccer, football, or anything that requires speed and a bit of agility, throw this agility ladder down on the ground and run through it, skip through it, or run any number of drills through it, and you will get a great workout while having fun. It’s 20 feet long and the space between the rungs is adjustable up to 15 inches.

12. A stability ball for more engaging exercises

Throwing instability — in the form of this big inflatable ball — into the surface you do exercises on calls on your body to stabilize it, which engages muscles and creates a balance challenge for your brain. Relaxing on one also allows for great stretching. This ball supports up to 2,200 pounds, comes in five sizes, and has a honeycomb structure so that if it deflates it will do it slowly so as not to hurt you. A foot pump is included for easy filling.

13. These wrist & ankle weights for more challenge

Ready to dial up everything from taking a walk to leg lifts? Strap these adjustable weights on your ankles or wrists. The removable sand weights let you increase the weight as you get stronger and the Velcro closures make it easy to get a comfy fit. They come in five colors and three weight ranges, including the 2-pound pair featured above.

14. A vinyl-coated kettlebell available in color-coded weights

Make it easy to grab the right weight and to hold onto it with this vinyl-coated kettlebell that comes in 13 weights. Each weight is a different color, so it’s easy to grab the weight you want without stopping to study the print on the side. And the vinyl coating makes holding these weights easier, especially when your hands are sweaty.

15. These bouncy floor mats that lock together

It’s easy to protect the floors in your home gym, whether you are converting an entire room or just a corner of one, by locking these six foam mats together like a puzzle. There are edge pieces to create a finished look and three color options so you can build the gym vibe you want. Over 8,000 people give them five stars.

16. This ab mat for deeper crunches

Put this ab mat under your lower back when you do crunches and it both protects your lower back and increases the intensity of your ab workout by isolating ab muscles and removing your back strength (and strain) from the equation. It wipes clean and is easy to bring with you when you travel.

17. The deck of yoga cards that lets you build your own flow

Deal yourself a hand of poses from the 70 options in this deck of yoga pose workout cards, arrange them in front of your mat, and get in a yoga workout with no video or class needed. The cards are sweat- and tear-proof, and there are instructions to ensure you get the poses right. Use them to become your own instructor or prepare for a class that looks intimidating.

18. This jump rope for an intense aerobic workout anywhere

Jumping rope is a quick, effective aerobic workout you can do in the living room, on a walk as interval training, or anywhere. And all you need is this inexpensive and super portable skipping rope to do it. It’s easy to adjust the length of PVC-covered braided-steel wire, which is durable, manageable, and spins inside the handle. And the grip is covered in memory foam for a soft and easy grip.

19. A journal for logging your workouts & progress

This hardcover workout log will help you plan your workouts so you can get right to it when you hit the gym, track what you accomplished so you can see you progress over time, and measure your progress toward goals. The 150 pages are full of forms with plenty of room to keep track of both the big picture and your daily workouts easily.

20. These rotating pushup grips for more muscle engagement

If you want to take your pushups up a notch, try doing them with these pushup handles that raise you up a few inches so you can dip lower and rotate your arms as you descend to engage more muscles. These can help you do a pushup with better form while pushing you a little harder. Over 10,000 people give them five stars.

21. An under-desk bike so you can workout where you are

Some days, getting away from your desk is impossible. Tuck this small and portable exercise bike under your desk, choose a resistance level, and you can sneak a workout in even on those days. Just put your feet in the straps and turn your sedentary time into a light workout or put it on the desk and get an upper body workout while you follow along in Zoom meetings or online classes.

22. This pulldown attachment for your home gym

Attach this pulldown system to your home gym, power rack, pull up bars, or a beam and you can do lat pulldowns by attaching weights to the carabiner. The pulley and swivel top create a smooth action as you pull and the loading pin holds most barbell plates so you can set the weight you need using what you already have.

23. This weighted slam ball for intensifying exercises

Toss it, slam it at the ground, play catch with it, or carry it as you do crunches, lunges, or dips — this weighted slam ball will make your workout powerful and more fun. The grippy rubber ball is partially filled with sand to add weighted challenge to anything and over 5,000 people say, “Five stars!”

24. This exercise strap that helps you stretch deeply

Whether you struggle to touch your toes or to get into bow pose, this non-stretchy, 6-foot strap will gently ease you closer by bridging the gap between what you can do now and your goal. Just slip your feet or hands into the loop that’s attainable — there are 10 — and pull the strap to stretch. It comes with a booklet that’s loaded with suggestions for stretches.

25. A workout bench that’s solid & affordable

A workout bench is essential for everything from weight lifting to dips to tying your shoes. It’s a home gym essential, and this one is solid, durable, and affordable, which is probably why nearly 3,000 people love it and give it five stars.

26. This sports tape that helps muscles recover faster from pain

Ever wondered why Olympic athletes are wearing tape all over their bodies? It’s because wearing KT tape supports muscles and tendons as you work out, reduces pressure on tissues, and helps you recover faster from pain. It’s simple to use, comes in 10 colors and stays stuck to you through even the toughest workouts.

27. A high-density foam roller for working out your sore muscles

If you have sore muscles in your legs or back, roll on this foam cylinder to release tension, self-massage knots, and stretch out. This 12-inch roller is perfect for working out calf, thigh, or lower-back pain, and it stores and travels easily. It comes in nine colors.

28. The acupressure mat that hurts so good

All you do is lie on this acupressure mat and pillow for a few minutes a day to release tension and reduce muscle pain. The sharp, almost painful “bed of needles” presses on pressure points to encourage muscles to let go of tightness and stress. According to the nearly 24,000 five-star reviews, it is effective at reducing all kinds of pain and tension.

29. This wheel that works your abs, glutes, & upper body

Put your feet into the stirrups of this power wheel when you do pushups, bridges, or other exercises for an added challenge and to engage more muscles. Then turn around and use it as an ab wheel for a core workout that’s next level. The wheel is bigger than most ab wheels, making it versatile enough to use with over 20 exercises.

30. Running shoes that are light, supportive, & affordable

Keeping your feet in running shoes can add up to a small fortune if you hit the trail or pavement often. But these lightweight, supportive shoes are comfortable and affordable so you can upgrade more often. They come in 12 colors, and the uppers are made of a breathable mesh so your feet stay cool.

31. The light & wireless headphones that are so comfortable

Loop these lightweight, Bluetooth headphones over your ear and work out to music. The earbuds are bound to each other with a wire that goes around the back of your neck for security but are otherwise wireless. They are light and they won’t dig into your ear canals, so you can wear them through your entire workout and keep wearing them all day.

32. This clever blender bottle that mixes supplement powders

If you are having trouble mixing supplement powders into your water, juice, or other beverage, these two clever, 28-ounce blender bottles are a genius, low-tech solution. Just drop the wire ball into the bottle with your powder and liquid. Then shake. The action of the ball mixes the powder in beautifully and the whole rig is super easy to clean.

33. A complete set of neoprene covered weights

When you are ready to add weights to your workouts, this complete set is a quick and easy way to outfit your home gym with hand weights. There are six weights in pairs of two, three, and five pounds. The included stand keeps them orderly. They get almost 42,000 five-star reviews.

34. This motivational water bottle so you stay hydrated

If you fill this bottle in the morning and keep sipping all day so your water intake matches the motivational markers printed on the bottle, you will get enough water to stay adequately hydrated. It’s an easy way to get a reality check on your water consumption and know you are getting enough. It comes in 11 colors.

35. A reflective vest so you stay safe while running or walking

If you tend to run or walk after dark, don this reflective vest and the pair of reflective armbands that come with it — you’ll feel a lot safer. It’s light, breathable, and easy to wear in any weather, and it will make it much easier for drivers to see you. It also has a zippered front pocket to make up for the lack of pockets in your workout wear.

36. An indoor trampoline for easy aerobics

Some days you are stuck inside and can’t get to the gym or out for a walk, but with this little folding trampoline you can still get your heart rate up. It’s small enough to store in a corner or under the bed, and bouncing on it is easy on your joints but gets your heart pumping and muscles moving. Instead of that 3 p.m. coffee, maybe a quick jump is all you need for a refresh.

37. A set of gymnastics rings for a body-weight workout

Suspend these gymnastic rings (hanging straps are included) from a beam or anything stable enough and use them to do pull ups, crunches, or other body-weight exercises to get an incredible workout in very little space. They are made of birch and come with tape to wrap around them for a better grip.

38. This massage gun for your after-workout therapy

Sore muscles are no joke but this massage gun will work them out quickly and quietly. It comes with 10 massage heads to work everything from your thighs and back to the small muscles in your feet and hands. It’s also rechargeable and features 10 speeds. The motor is also super quiet so you can work on your tight muscles while on the phone or in a meeting. Nearly 10,000 people give this thing five stars.

39. This wobble cushion that adds challenge to everything

Step on this wobble cushion when you do lunges, put your hands on it when you do planks, stand on it to do leg raises, or put it on your chair and sit on it. It adds a balance challenge to everything in order to engage more muscles and improve your balance. It’s available in five colors and comes with a paper and digital workout guide.

40. A pedometer so you can measure your activity level

Wear this pedometer as you go about your day to see if you are moving enough or need to get up and go for a walk in order to hit your goals. It’s super simple and does nothing but count steps so setup is easy. It clips easily to your clothes, the large display makes it easy to see how you are doing, and it comes in four colors.

41. A yoga block so you can get into all the poses

When you are working toward a challenging yoga pose, use this yoga block to bring the floor a little closer or ease the pressure on tight muscles. It’s made from a lightweight foam that’s easy to use yet strong enough to hold your entire weight. It comes in loads of color options that will look good in your home or gym.

42. The waterproof armband that keeps your phone with you

When you go for a run or walk, your phone is your personal trainer and entertainment, right? Put it in this waterproof armband to keep it safe and within reach. The band is made from a comfortable blend of Lycra and neoprene, you can use the touch screen while it’s in the case, it has a key pocket and headphone cord sleeve, and it comes in 11 colors and three sizes.

43. A belt that keeps your phone and keys handy & dry

This running belt has super stretchy pockets so you can keep your phone, snacks, keys, and whatever else you need with you on your body where you can reach them, no matter how far you run. The pockets are waterproof so your gear stays dry, the band is adjustable so you can cinch it to fit, and almost 9,000 people give it five stars.

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