Creating Your Own Home Gym

I love working out at the gym and exercising in the great outdoors is my happy-happy-happy place! But as a busy mom I need at-home exercise options. For that reason I have aquired quite a few pieces of fitness equipment so I can workout from the comfort of my home. Right now the home gym is stored in a closet and the “gym” is the open space in my living room. In our old house we had a great space in our unfinished basement that I adored using for our home gym, but you make do with what have! I love that creating your own home gym eliminates excuses–you can always workout at home!

Creating your own home gym - Recommendations for adding to your home gym so you can always workout!

Home gym essentials:

These are the things I would get right away for creating your own home gym! Of course, there are a lot of bodyweight exercises you can do, but just these five items will open up a lot more challenging moves to you!

Dumbbells — Get a light and heavy set of dumbbells or an adjustable pair first of all. For deals scour local thrift stores, garage sales, and Craigslist—there is always someone out there getting over a New Years Resolution or a parent cleaning out their teenager’s bedroom! You can definitely keep and use a set of dumbbells forever!

Favorite move: Standing Romanian Deadlift with Dumbbells

weights for home gym



Bench or Chair–I’ve used an old recovered piano bench and also now that I have less space our ottoman doubles as a bench in the living room. If I had the space I’d be all over this adjustable bench!  A hardback chair can also be used for seated exercises or for balance as needed, I just grab my dining room chair as needed!

Favorite move: Bulgarian Split Squat

Yoga Mat — A good yoga mat is awesome! It will help support you and make your floor exercises more comfortable while keeping your floor non-sweaty. (Or keeping you clean from your kid’s crumbs, snot, etc. on the floor.)  I’ve had mine for 3-4 years and it is still going strong!  I have used an old folded throw blanket before, just to soften the floor; of course this is not stable, so not ideal for yoga or other standing exercises.

Favorite move: Plank or Down Dog or Pushups!

Interval Timer: An interval timer will keep you HIIT workouts or reps for time on track. I also like to use the timer feature on my iphone to time out my rests between sets of weight lifting, otherwise I can get distracted and take excessive breaks on Pinterest. I like the interval timer app in conjunction with my iphone timer app. I’ve heard really great things about Gymboss timers for a stand alone interval timer!

Favorite move: Rounds of HIIT moves (air squats, dumbbell swings, burpees, jumping lunges, jumping jacks, high knees, etc) for time.

Fitness DVDs: These are an essential to me! I have a nice little library built up now so I can switch between workouts based on my goals and interests. Some of my favorites are Piyo and Turbofire!

Awesome Additional Equipment:

These would be considered “non-essentials”, but definitely try to add in a few of them to give your home gym more variety and effectiveness.

Exercise ball  –I use this as a “bench” for additional core stabilization and also lots of ab exercises. It has also come in handy for bouncing on to reposition our little man while pregnant and as a giant toy for Layla! The downside is having to store it.  It is okay to get fitness equipment as long as you request it!

Favorite move: Crunches on the ball (burns so good!)

Kettlebells — I don’t have a set of my own, but I’d love to get a kettlebell or two to add variety to my workouts. I have my eye on this 3-in-1 version!

Favorite move: Kettlebell swings

Kettlebells for home gym

Exercise band — that I bought for under $10 in college to work out in my dorm. It was a great investment! I use it to modify gym exercises all the time! I also like how small of space it takes up and that I can adjust the tightness to make exercises more intense

Favorite move: Seated cable pulls (loop band around a stable piece of furniture)

Jump ropeI have a couple jump ropes and although I’m not the most coordinated hopper, it is a great way to get your heart rate up and I love using them in HIIT workouts!

Favorite move: Just…..jumping. I do  nothing fancy. 😉

Medicine Ball I love my medicine ball! It’s a great way to change up ordinary exercises and especially like to use it to add intensity to core exercises.

Favorite move: Russian Twist with medicine ball


Bosu Balance Trainer –This item is on my splurge list, for sure! The uneven surface really challenges your body to work in new ways! You can do pushups on them, squats, ab moves–there are so many possible ways to shake things up!

Treadmill — Oh, yeah! A treadmill in the home gym would be amazing! Walks, runs, intervals all could be done just by hopping on the treadmill- a complete excuses eliminator! Be sure to check out Craigslist and local estate sales to find deals on the product. (I have no recommendations on a brand since I have never bought one!)

I think splurges from this point would have to do with your personal preferences and fitness goals. An Olympic weight lifting set, a bike trainer, a rowing machine, a pool–whatever you LOVE, have room for, and will use consistently should make you happy!

Creating your own home gym can start small, you really only need a few things and your “gym” can be anywhere–the living room, spare bedroom, or anywhere you have a little extra space! Over time your gym space might grow and need it’s own room in a basement (I’d recommend getting mats if you’re working out on concrete), garage, or it’s own room in your house! No matter it’s size your home gym can become an integral part of your fitness routine!

[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true”]Ready to up your home gym game? See some great tips for creating a home gym from @katemoving[/tweetthis]

Do you workout at home? What are YOUR home gym essentials? 

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