Home Workout Equipment – The Essentials

You’ll need to invest in a few pieces of equipment before starting your home workout program.  The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money.  You simply don’t need expensive home gym equipment to get great results from your home workouts.


There are three pieces of equipment I recommend for getting started:



Dumbbells are one of the most versatile pieces of resistance training equipment.  With dumbbells, you can strengthen and tone just about every muscle in your body.  They’re also great for developing muscular balance and coordination.  The number of different exercises you can perform with dumbbells is endless and they’re easy to store. (Try stashing a big multi-stack home gym under your bed!)

Home Workout Equipment

Since different muscles vary in strength, you’re going to need more than one pair of dumbbells. For most women just starting out, I recommend a set of dumbbells up to at least 10 – 12 lbs. (pairs of 3, 5, 7, 10 & 12 lbs).  For most men starting out, I recommend a set up to at least 20 – 25 lbs. (pairs of 5, 10, 12, 15, 20 & 25 lbs).  You can always buy additional sets as you need them.


The most common option for purchasing dumbbells is buying them in pairs. Another option is the high-tech, adjustable dumbbells such as Powerblocks. They can get expensive but are well worth it, especially if you need many pairs of heavier dumbbells and don’t have a lot of space. You can also buy individual dumbbell handles which you add weight plates to. (I’m not a fan of these – too much wasted time changing weights!)

Home Workout Equipment

I generally recommend that you buy dumbbells in pairs, especially if you’re just starting out and only need a few.  The regular metal, hexagonal ones are just fine. But if you need the heavier sets of dumbbells, you might want to check out the adjustable ones. There’s no need to spend a fortune on chrome or solid rubber dumbbells – your body doesn’t know the difference. Check out places like Craigslist and buy them used if you can.


Stability (Swiss) Ball

A stability ball is another extremely versatile piece of exercise equipment you should have.  You can use it to perform many different exercises. It’s especially useful for exercises to improve your core strength, balance, posture and flexibility.  It also doubles as a weight bench, giving you a surface to lie down or sit on as you do certain exercises.


Home Workout EquipmentWhen purchasing a stability ball, make sure it’s the right size for you.  They come in many sizes (30 – 85 centimeters).  The size you need is based on your height.  Here’s a guide that will help you buy the right size ball (height range/size of ball):  Under 4’6”/ 30 cm ball;  4’6” – 5’/45 cm ball;  5’1” – 5’7”/55 cm ball;  5’8” – 6’1”/65 cm ball;  6’2” – 6’7”/75 cm ball;  6’7” & up/85 cm ball.


I recommend buying a high-grade stability ball.  You can expect to pay around $20 – $30 for a quality ball.  I’ve made the mistake of buying them at dollar stores in the past, only to find out that they were about as durable as balloons.  It’s worth spending the extra money for a good one – you’ll be glad you did!


Exercise Mat

I never used to consider an exercise mat a piece of equipment.  But now that I’m older, I have much more of an appreciation for them. They come in real handy when doing floor exercises, particularly if you’re on a hard surface.  They’re also very useful when doing exercises that require kneeling. Even carpeting can be pretty tough on knees.

Home Workout Equipment

The type of mat I recommend you buy depends on your floor.  If your exercise space is carpeted, you can typically get away with using a regular yoga mat.  If your surface is hard, I suggest you purchase a mat with much more padding.  If that’s the case, you want to check out the mat made by Everlast (6’ long x 2’ wide and folds in half) or one similar.


Like the stability ball, I recommend you go for quality when purchasing an exercise mat. It’ll probably set you back about $20 – $30 (about $50 for the Everlast mat).  Just make sure it’s padded enough for the floor surface you’ll be using it on.  I’ll admit that it might be a bit of a stretch to consider an exercise mat essential, but trust me – you’ll want one.


There you have it – those are the three pieces of home workout equipment I recommend to get you started.  Dumbbells, a stability ball and an exercise mat – three main staples for any home gym. There are definitely other useful pieces of equipment available that will boost your home workouts, but these are a great start.


I hope that helps,


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