Best gym equipment for home workouts
With all gyms closed in Australia now, you might be freaking out about how you’re going to get your workouts in now without the right equipment at home.
Whether your goal is to gain strength, improve flexibility, lose body fat or simply get your blood pumping, you could benefit from incorporating a range of simple gym equipment into your exercise routine.
That’s why we’ve rounded up the best home gym equipment including dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, TRX ropes and more to keep yourself healthy and active during lockdown. And if you’re new to home workouts or just need some fun ideas, for each piece of gym equipment on our best list, we’ve suggested one of our favourite workouts to go with them.
If there’s one piece gym equipment you need at home, it’s a set of dumbbells. It’s great for all kinds of strength training and it isn’t a ridiculous size, so it’s easy to store in your home.
Ideally, an adjustable dumbbell set that comes with a range of weight plates would be best for home workouts. This way, you can vary your weight levels for every workout by simply taking individual plates on and off, so you’ll never feel bored.
However, in the current frenzy to buy gym equipment, you’ll be hard pressed to find an adjustable set that’s at a decent price. That’s why we recommend a decent 10kg dumbbell pair as a home gym staple. If you want a variety of weights, getting some smaller 1kg-5kg dumbbells wouldn’t hurt too.
Best Barbell: You only need one
If you’re willing to pre-order and wait till June, you can get your hands on Gym Direct’s aerobic 23.5kg adjustable barbell set.
It comes with a range of weight plates so you can alter how heavy it is according to your strengthening goals.
The 140cm barbell is a standard size, so you’ll be able to add additional plates if you want to go even heavier.
Best Barbell Substitute
Alternatively, HCE’s 10kg weight bag is a convenient log shape, which makes it great as a barbell substitute.
It’s easy to hold for squats and deadlifts. And you can try hurling them over your shoulder or giving them a punch too.
3. The Barbell Set
Gym Direct 23.5kg Adjustable Barbell Set – $88
4. The Next Best
HCE 10kg Weight Bag – $120
Best Kettlebell Alternative
It’s even more difficult to source a kettlebell online now without blowing your budget above $150 for a single kettlebell.
For functional training, HIIT and all-round strength training, a medicine ball is handy for adding difficulty and variety to your sets and circuits, including throwing and rolling.
This one from HCE is a decent price if you’re desperate for a proper 3kg exercise ball.
Budget Hack: Why not pump up your old basketball or football instead? Otherwise, hold a single dumbbell or get creative by recycling large milk bottles or laundry detergent containers.
5. The Medicine Ball
There are a wide variety of products designed to strengthen your core and sculpt your abs to get you closer to that coveted six pack.
Here are our top 4 picks for adding some oomph to your core exercise routine.
6. The Wheel of Abs
8. The Disc Duo
The ab roller wheel claims to make your core work harder as you literally roll this wheel back and forth while on your knees.
Increase the difficult by planking or add this into your next circuit workout.
Here are 6 workout ideas to get you started:
1. While planking, pop your feet on top of the sliders and drag your feet back. Slide your feet back forward while tucking your knees. Alternatively, instead of knee tucks, try plank jacking with your feet on the sliders.
2. Vary this movement by doing as many mountain climbers as you can with your feet on the sliders.
3. Try completing as many pushups as you can on your knees or toes with the core sliders underneath the palms of your hands.
4. While in a bridge position, place the sliders under your feet. Slide your feet away till your legs just slightly bent and slide back into bridge position with your hips up.
5. Try single-leg lunges with one foot on the slider and the other hand touching the floor.
6. For a great heart rate racer. try scissor jacks with both feet each on a slider, going forwards and backwards.
9. The Staple Ball
For those who want to add variety to your core workouts and are looking to improve your stability and balance, an exercise stability ball is a great tool to have at home.
Whether you love yoga or want to add more fun to your crunches, get this ball.
Here’s one stability ball exercise to really test those glutes and hamstrings: try doing a reverse push up with both your feet on the sides of the ball as you pull your knees in and then push your feet out again.
10. The Multi-Function
If you’re looking for something lightweight and multifunctional, this is the workout accessory you need.
For a versatile and portable upper body burner, this hybrid pull-up bar will be your best friend.
Use it for sit-ups, push-ups, dips, pull-ups and even hanging crunches.
11. The Level Up
If you already own a pull-up bar (or you’re thinking of getting the Alextreme multi-function bar above), you can add even more versatility to your workouts with ab string straps.
Sure you could just work your arms without these, but the arm padding will be more comfortable on your elbows. The idea being it could help you do more reps without stopping. Translation: faster and greater results.
ARMAGEDDON Sports Ab Sling Straps – $60
12. The TRX Fan
And for those that don’t have a pull-up bar, with this TRX strap set, you don’t need one.
Simply attach the door anchors provided to the top of your door, beam or any other stable and secure object.
Hook the suspension straps on to the anchor and train your arms, legs and core till you just can’t do any more.
O RLY Suspension Trainer Kit – $83
13. The Jumper
If you’re looking to add variety to your cardio workouts, a skipping rope is a no-brainer. Add these into your HIIT, circuit training or try a full-on skipping rope session for a simple yet super effective session.
You can adjust the intensity by varying the speed and duration of your sets.
Add some extra difficulty by skipping with two feet at a time, trying single front to back skips, or for a real challenge, front to back skips with both feet.
14. The Yoga Staple
For those looking for a basic yoga mat for your morning meditation, warm up and cool down stretches or for more advanced yoga and pilates workouts, we recommend the KUYOU yoga mat.
Another plus is it comes with body alignment lines to help you make sure you’re positioning yourself correctly throughout your exercises. This will suit you if you’re a beginner unsure of executing a yoga pose the right way and can also aid the more advanced with increasingly complex moves.
KUYOU Yoga Mat – $68
15. The Essential Mat
If you’re looking for a non-sweat, simple exercise mat, here’s the one to get.
It’s padded for comfort to keep you safe and protected while doing floor-based workouts.
I’m a sucker for pretty yoga mats and towels, so I couldn’t help adding this 2-in-1 Mat + Towel in as an honourable mention.
Coming in a wide range of prints and patterns, its calming designs might take you halfway towards achieving a peaceful meditation sesh.
EVERLAST Exercise Mat – $20
16. The Physio Aid
Are you in physio rehabilitation, have back problems, sore muscles or other injuries?
If so, a foam roller is a great piece of equipment suitable for warm ups, cool downs, stretches as well as specific rehab exercises.
17. One more bonus option
How about swapping your (frozen) gym membership for a home gym weekly subscription?
Gym and Fitness offers a cool deal for all you gym junkies who just can’t live without the full range of gym equipment: for up to $20 weekly, you can get a complete home gym to you. How does this work exactly? Through Gym and Fitness’ partnership with Zip Pay, you’ll be able to split the costs of the gym equipment you purchase over the year which won’t exceed $20/week (limited to equipment in their collection under $1000). One catch is you’ll probably have to wait till at least April for most popular items to restock.