Creating a simple home gym doesn’t have to be expensive. With some key items, you can do effective cross-training in the comfort and convenience of your own home – without spending a lot of money. Some of these items are also extremely portable, so you can easily take your workouts with you when you’re traveling.
Fitness Ball: Using an exercise ball or fitness ball is one of the best ways to strengthen your abs and back, as well as increase stability. They’re great to use for core workouts, as well as balance exercises and stretching.
Set of 5-pound dumbbells: You don’t need to have an entire rack of free weights, but it’s nice to have a set of 5-pound dumbbells as part of your home gym. Five-pound weights are very versatile for runners. You can incorporate them easily into strengthening exercises such as squats and lunges and use them for upper body exercises such as chest presses, chest flies, bicep curls, tricep presses, and rows.
Medicine Ball: A great addition to any home gym, a medicine ball can help you improve core strength, promote better balance, and cultivate coordination. The weighted strength-training ball can be used for a wide range of upper- and lower-body workouts.
Exercise Mat: A basic exercise or yoga mat is perfect for doing yoga, Pilates, or stretching. You can find a roll-up mat (so it can be stored or toted easily) made of dense foam or rubber for under $20.
Foam roller: Research has shown that regular foam rolling can help athletes with benefits such as decreased muscle and joint pain, increased circulation and flexibility, improved range-of-motion, better balance and improved gait. You can use a foam roller to roll through tight muscles, knots and kinks, especially on your IT band and hamstrings. You’ll get the benefits of a professional massage without the expense or hassle of going to an appointment.
Exercise DVDs: Every home gym should have a few exercise DVDs. It’s good to have a mix of different types of workouts, such as cardio, ab workouts, Pilates or yoga.
Resistance Bands: You can use resistance bands instead of free weights to strengthen your chest, back, shoulders, arms and legs. For example, you can stand on the band and grip the handles for bicep curls. In comparison to free weights, resistance bands are inexpensive, they don’t take up a lot of space, and they travel well.
Jump Rope: Jumping rope is a great cardio exercise because it burns a ton of calories, works both your upper and lower body, and also helps improve your agility, coordination and endurance. You can combine jumping rope and strengthening exercises, such as squats and lunges, for a fun interval workout. Jump ropes are also easy to take with you and don’t take up a lot of space.