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I’ve been working out from home for five years now. That’s more than half of my fitness journey since I started back in 2014. Back then I only had two measly pairs of dumbbells, a Wii Fit, and a Jillian Michaels DVD; all of which went unused. Now that I permanently workout from home, I’ve accumulated a variety of dumbbells ranging from 1-30 lbs, a dumbbell rack, Peloton, bench, yoga ball, Hyperbell bar, and more.
I recently acquired two new pieces of equipment, which inspired me to write this blog post sharing what I regularly use and what I’ve wasted my money on.
In case you want to jump to a particular section, use these quick links:
- Exercise mat
- Yoga ball
- Resistance loops
- Dumbbell rack
- Resistance bands & mount
- Adjustable bench
- Hyperbell EZ-Curl Bar
- Foam roller
- Slider discs
- Medicine ball
- Core ball
- Adjustable aerobic step
- Glute bands
1. Your own body weight!
I was going to list dumbbells as my number one recommendation, but realistically you can do almost any weighted exercise with just your own body weight!
Think planks, squats, lunges, push-ups, side planks, tricep dips, bridges, etc. If you’re short on equipment, do not discount the strength of body weight only moves.
Ok, now the obvious. Dumbbells! When I started working out at home, I literally only had 3’s and 8’s. If you’re just starting to accumulate, I’d recommend at least a pair of light, medium, and heavy dumbbells to get you started.
Overtime I’ve purchased (or received as requested Christmas gifts) 5’s, 10’s, 12’s, 15’s, 20’s, 25’s, 30’s, 2’s (came with my Peloton), and my most recent 17.5’s and 1’s. Yes 1 lbs dumbbells, because if you’ve ever taken a Tunde Oyeneyin arms & light weights class on Peloton, you’ll know where I’m coming from!
My lighter dumbbells are neoprene from the sporting goods store, and my heaviers are iron dumbbells from Amazon.
3. Exercise mat
An exercise mat is nice to have to provide cushion for your knees and wrists while you’re doing planks, push-ups, crunches, or other floor exercises. It’ll also help shield your floors from sweat.
While I hate to promote Beachbody, I love their Core Comfort Mat compared to an Amazon Basics one I had previously purchased. It’s thick (1/2 inch) and is made of a nice material.
4. Yoga / exercise ball
I use my yoga ball every day, and not even for yoga! At the beginning of the pandemic when I started working from home, I didn’t have a computer chair, and shipments were delayed. My back didn’t last long with a folding chair, so I swapped it out for my yoga ball and have been using it ever since. Using a yoga ball as a chair is a great way to engage your core.
Another excellent use for a yoga ball though is it’s a great alternative for a bench; think chest presses and dumbbells flyes. It honestly provides a little more challenge too since you’re having to balance more.
5. Resistance loops
These mini resistance loops became popular when 80 Day Obsession debuted, and I have intel these ones on Amazon are the specific manufacturer Beachbody used for their loops. These are awesome to mimic machine dumbbells and barbells, creating similar resistance and tension for your muscles to work against.
Some of my favorite moves to use resistance loops for are clam shells, glute kickbacks, hamstring curls, and tricep extensions.
The above were important recommendations. The below are great to have, but many including myself have found ways to go without and modify as necessary.
6. Dumbbell rack
Acquiring a dumbbell rack was a major improvement to my home gym. Before I got it, I was stacking my dumbbells in a pyramid and disassembling every time I worked out. This rack accommodates all of my weights except the 1’s and 2’s.
7. Resistance bands & mount (a.k.a. “Control Track”)
This was a 9 Week Control Freak accessory that many consumers complained about “having” to purchase to do the program. It’s promoted as being able to use as a door attachment; however, I personally anchored mine to the wall. The Control Track through Beachbody is $65; however, Amazon of course has a less expensive comparable one.
Although this piece of equipment isn’t regularly used, a few of my favorite moves to do with the Control Track are lat pull downs, cable flyes, tricep extensions, and rows.
Control Track aside, the resistance bands are also a nice addition. I can easily remove them and use them as a standalone accessory.
Not going to lie, I took a risk buying a Peloton because I had never done or even had been interested in a spin class. Thankfully I do like and regularly use it. I may only average one spin class per week, but regularly do the strength, yoga, and stretching classes using the built-in screen on the bike.
While I can’t attest to other cycling bikes, I do find my Peloton to be top notch.
For those interested in purchasing a Peloton, I do have a referral code to receive $100 off accessories with the order of a Peloton Bike or Tread.
So I have two treadmills: one full-size treadmill that was given to me and sits in my basement unused except maybe twice a year, and a second under-the-desk treadmill I bought used when I got my standing desk. I regularly use the under-the-desk treadmill while I’m working.
10. Adjustable bench
I only recently purchased an adjustable bench. It’s been on my wish list for years, but I told myself I could modify with the yoga ball or do without. Since having it, it’s been nice to use for incline chest presses, incline flyes, and Bulgarian split squats.
I love that this bench in particular inclines, declines, and lays flat. It also folds up in case I ever need to store it.
11. Hyperbell EZ-Curl Bar
The Hyperbell EZ-Curl Bar is a cool contraption that allows you to attach dumbbells to a bar. Barbells allow you to lift heavier and progressively overload more effectively. My favorite moves to do with the bar are back squats and Romanian dead lifts.
If you’re going to purchase the Hyperbell curl bar, make sure you also purchase the bar pad. I accidentally ordered it without and realized its importance when I went to back squat. Ow, my neck!
Though technically not a piece of workout equipment, having a mirror to workout with is a great addition to any home gym. Using a mirror allows you to focus on your form, which can prevent injury and increase effectiveness. Plus who doesn’t like to see their gains?!
The mirrors I purchased a ~$5 ones from Target.
Other honorable mentions
The next few pieces of equipment I have but honestly rarely use. I’ve ranked them in order of my most used to least used.
13. Foam roller
While I should foam roll more, I don’t, but it’s nice to have on hand when I do need it. Foam rolling aids in muscle recovery, helping break up your fascia.
14. Slider discs
Apart from their role in 80 Day Obsession, I rarely use these. I do like how they work your core differently though.
15. Medicine ball
I have a 15 lbs medicine ball that unfortunately goes unused. It’s probably because I’ve been doing Beachbody programs for so long and none of those incorporate a medicine ball. I would like to find a routine that does include it because I like it, but have just rarely used it since owning it.
16. Core ball
Probably my LEAST used piece of equipment is the 8″ core ball I purchased for 9 Week Control Freak. I don’t even have favorite moves to provide because nothing comes to mind. To be blunt it’s stupid and pointless (in my opinion).
17. Adjustable aerobic step
Another 9 Week Control Freak purchase LOL. Are we seeing a trend? All my 9WCF accessories seem to go unused, but you “had” to have it! While I rarely use my step, I have used it recently for deficient reverse lunges. Necessary? No. Decent to have? Meh. At least it’s more useful than the above mentioned core ball.
18. Glute bands
I purchased glute bands (a.k.a. booty bands) for Beachbody’s 645 program (they call them “power loops”). These are slightly different than the previously mentioned resistance loops. They’re made of fabric and they’re wider. They’re said to optimize muscle activation. I’ve only used them when a program I’m following includes them, but they fall on my list of least used.
And that’s my collection, folks! Many extras, many not necessary, just acquired over time. I think I’m set for a while on adding new things to my collection. Next on my list though would be 35 and 40 lbs dumbbells.