The 9 Best Home Fitness Equipment Pieces

Set up your home gym with these basic pieces

Setting up a home gym doesn't have to be a daunting task when you consider all you need is basic strength training equipment.

Here are the 9 basic pieces of equipment you need, including weights, exercise balls and other important gear to help you reach your goals. Learn what you need to create a well-stocked gym to meet your ever-changing needs.


The best investment you can make is with a good set of quality dumbbells. Not only can you do a huge variety of strength training exercises, you can also use dumbbells for cardio exercises as well — dumbbell swings for example. It's a good idea to have a variety of weights, ranging from 5 to 25 pounds. Iron hex dumbbells are a good choice because they're inexpensive and won't roll away.


An exercise ball is the perfect choice for a home gym. You can do core work while working on your balance and stability and, like dumbbells, it has multiple uses. Use it as a weight bench (such as in a chest press) or use it for pushups, back extensions or leg lifts. You can even sit on it while watching television or working on the computer to help reduce nagging back pain.


A step is an excellent choice for your home gym because it can be used for more than one activity. A step can be used for cardio activities, such as step aerobics, and also do double-duty as a weight bench. Get enough risers with it and you can change your step to become an incline, decline or flat bench, adding new dimension to your weight training.


If you're not into step aerobics or you tend to lift heavy weight loads, you will want a weight bench instead of a step. You'll need it for chest and back exercises, and you can even use it for a quick ab workout or some tricep dips. There are a variety of choices — from flat to adjustable. It's best to get an adjustable bench so you can do incline and decline exercises.


You've got your dumbbells, so you may not think you need much more than that, but resistance bands are an excellent addition to your strength training equipment.

Resistance bands can help you get a full body workout, no matter where you go. They're small enough to fit in your suitcase and versatile enough to use in any hotel room. Another bonus is that they provide a different type of resistance than free weights, so your muscles get a brand new workout (great for busting weight loss plateaus). Check out these resistance band workouts.


One side effect of lifting weights, aside from sleek muscles, is that your hands can get a little rough from calluses. To protect your hands, you'll want a solid pair of weight lifting gloves. 


Believe or not, you will need a couple of different types of mats. The first is a no-slip yoga mat, which is great for yoga or for just regular old stretching. Plus, you will want a thicker mat you could use for floor exercises, such as crunches, that require a little more cushion.


Gliding Discs may seem like an odd thing to use in a home gym or, well, anywhere but they're surprisingly useful. These small discs (yes, they do look like Frisbees) can be used for any number of exercises. Stand on one and do a sliding lunge. Put them under your hands for killer ab slides or try mountain climbers and see how much your quads thank you for it. Truly, a totally different way to work your body.


You may want to invest in a quality pair of ankle weights for working the stability muscles of the lower body (like the inner and outer thighs) with moves such as standing leg lifts or leg extensions. These exercises are great add-ons to standing lower-body moves, such as squats and lunges, and ankle weights can help add a little intensity. For the record, you usually don't want to use ankle weights that are heavier than 10 pounds.


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