By: Matt Weik
To put it lightly, the COVID-19 pandemic put a lot of us on our butts – literally! As in, people have been sitting on their couch most of the day watching Netflix. People were told to stay in their homes, gyms were closed, and there wasn’t much of anything to do to pass the time. People all of a sudden got on a kick to do at-home workouts using just your own body weight (that is until certain areas were told they aren’t allowed to exercise outdoors – I mean, really?). While there’s nothing wrong with just using your body weight for resistance, there are a ton of great pieces of home gym equipment out there that are well worth the investment if you have a little extra dough sitting around that you don’t mind parting with.
The pieces of home gym equipment mentioned below are not only great for in times of a crisis like we’ve been faced with, but also anytime you aren’t able to make it to the gym for a workout but want to get your swole on.
There are many forms of resistance bands you can purchase. Without calling out all of the brand names (if you Google “resistance band set” you’ll get a ton of links), you have the ones with the actual foam handles as well as the ones that simply look like huge rubber bands – either will serve its purpose.
My personal favorite and the ones I use at home to change things up and have my clients purchase are bands from Bodylastic. They can be purchased in a set, offer hundreds of pounds of resistance, fit nicely in a small bag, and are easily stored out of sight when not being used. Personally, I haven't found a better brand of resistance bands.
With resistance bands, you can fit in a workout hitting every body part you can imagine. Regardless if you want to work your upper body or lower body, everything can be done through resistance bands. Some on the market are extremely inexpensive while some bigger sets that have higher resistances can go into the low $100s. These sets are small and compact which make them perfect for at home where you can toss them under a bed, in a corner, or in a closet when not in use.
If I were to recommend just ONE piece of home gym equipment that everyone should purchase and have at their house, it would 100% be resistance bands. They can even go with you when you travel which creates a dual-purpose piece of equipment. Many hotels have gyms these days, but when they don’t, you’re scrambling to figure out how to get in a workout. Your problems are solved when you pack your resistance bands with you.
It still seems like there are a ton of people who really dig the idea of using kettlebells instead of dumbbells for home gym equipment. Cool. Nothing wrong with that. And if that person is you, grab yourself a set of adjustable kettlebells – there are many brands out there selling them ranging from affordable to “you may need to take out a loan.” Figure out which set fits your needs or the needs of those in your family who will be using them and then go in search for a set of kettlebells that checks all of the boxes.
If you invest in a quality pair of adjustable kettlebells, they should last you a lifetime. If you aren’t a fan of throwing around kettlebells or you don’t have a bench at home and are using the floor, kettlebells could shorten your range of motion on some exercises which is why considering #3 may be a better option for you.
If the kettlebells aren’t exactly your thing, adjustable dumbbells would probably be an ideal piece of home gym equipment you can purchase to get in your at-home workouts. It’s traditional, most people who have been to a gym know how to use them, and you can hit your full body with a pair of adjustable dumbbells. Best of all, they take up next to no room at all in your home. They can be stored discretely just about anywhere.
Several brands are selling them like Bowflex and PowerBlock – the two leaders in the space. While not cheap, adjustable dumbbells are going to run you a few hundred dollars but if you plan on using them regularly, they’re a great investment and incredibly versatile – even if you don’t have a bench at your home and do your pressing movements from the floor. From all of the various brands I’ve tried, they all seem to be of really great quality, and you should have no issue with them lasting you a very long time.
With so many ways to attach a TRX Suspension Training Kit at home, you have the ability to work out anywhere you want. The TRX straps can be used with a closed door, around a pole, and even around a structural beam found in many basements. They even have an app you can use to guide you through various workouts – making this a great piece of home gym equipment.
What's nice about the TRX system is that you can buy only the things you want as well as the ability to continue building your home gym with their many bundles, training tools, and accessories. They have things like slam balls, kettlebells, wall balls, battle ropes, power bags and sandbags, medicine balls, stability balls, and more. You can literally outfit your whole home gym in TRX equipment if you really wanted to – of course at a much higher price tag than some of the other options that are laid out in this home gym equipment article.
If you are someone who enjoys stretching, you may find the TRX system your best bet as the straps also allow you to work your body into a deep stretch to focus not only on your lower body but your upper body as well.
Matt Weik, the owner of Weik Fitness, LLC, is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. His work has been featured all over the globe as well as having published numerous books. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. Find out more at www.weikfitness.com or on social media @weikfitness.