9 Fitness Instructors Reveal Their Favorite At-Home Exercise Equipment

We know you’re motivated enough to squeeze a workout into your day, but hitting up the gym, a group fitness class, or even a nearby park can sometimes be challenging. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to get quality exercises in at home with one or a few simple tools.

From the few pieces of gear you can cobble together to make a mini at-home gym to the go-to tool that bolsters mobility, fitness instructors and personal trainers swear by the following nine must-haves.

1. Kettlebell

“There are unlimited kettlebell exercises that target every single part of the body. They vary from core stability and strength to a cardiovascular workout. The most common exercises are squats and deadlifts, but my favorite is for shoulder stability. Hold the kettlebell upside down balancing its weight with your hand. Walk or go upstairs and downstairs. It’s fun!” —Adela Blevin, NASM, CES, PES, Pilates instructor and personal trainer in Fair Lawn, NJ

2. Resistance bands

“I love mini loop resistance bands.  They are versatile and easy to use. You’ll feel the muscles working the whole time!” —John Urena, CPT, CES NASM, Level 1 Precision Nutrition (PN) Coach and owner of Start to Fitness Training in Los Angeles, CA

Related: Shop training accessories to help you burn those calories.

3. Jump rope

“[A jump rope] is easy to use, inexpensive, and can be combined with equipment-free body weight exercises for a cardio, HIIT or circuit style workout.”
Franklin Antoian, ACE personal trainer and founder of iBodyFit.com, Delray Beach, FL

4. A Stability ball

“I can use the stability ball as a piece of equipment for stretching, for strength work, and for balance in many different positions. [You can] stand, sit, or kneel on top of it, [or put it] on the ground with legs on it. It also works great with other equipment, such as hand weights or weighted ball.” —Kim Evans, AFAA, ACE, USATF, fitness specialist in Grand Haven, MI

5. Ab roller

It’s one of the easiest to use—but not easy to do— home workout tools. Plus, it’s cheap and hits your abs like no other exercise. Another great thing about it is that anyone can use it, from a novice to the advanced. You can vary the intensity by the amount of bodyweight you employ and by how far you roll out. It’s a must have!” —Mike Donavanik, CSCS, CPT, PES, FitFusiontrainer in Los Angeles, CA

6. TRX strap

Basically, you can make your training as easy or as hard as you want just by making a few adjustments of your body position and strap length. TRX straps are lightweight and portable. They come with a door anchor, so you can attach it over a door, or you can buy a permanent anchor and mount them to your ceiling. They are one of very few pieces of equipment out there that you wouldn’t eventually outgrow if you continued to work out and train long-term. With a TRX strap, there’s always going to be some way you can make a move more challenging when you feel like you’re improving and ready to challenge yourself further.” —Allison Perry, AFAA-certified group fitness instructor with training in multiple TRX modalities in Lexington, KY

Related: Shop delicious protein powers to rev up your workouts.

7. Resistance tube 

“My favorite at-home or on-the-road tool is a medium exercise tube with handles. My ‘Old Red’ has traveled many miles. That’s because it’s super easy, lightweight, and infinitely versatile. You can anchor it on any doorway or bed post for a variety of upper body exercises: rowing, curling, chest presses, etc. Also, it’s great for stretching shoulders, back, and legs.” —Chris Clough, NSCA-CPT, Elite Trainer in Baltimore, MD

8. foam roller

“People often neglect mobility, [which is] an important piece of fitness in their regular routine. A foam roller can easily be used a few minutes in the morning, a few minutes at night, or while watching TV. It takes up minimal space, is inexpensive, and provides huge improvements in workouts and recovery. Some of the best exercises to perform on the foam roller are thoracic spine extensions. When focusing on soft tissue, rolling through the quads, hip flexors, and piriformis can make substantial impacts, especially for those who sit all day long.” —Virginia Kinkel, NPC Figure Competitor, personal trainer and group exercise instructor in Washington, DC

 9. A yoga mat and a pair of free weights

“That’s really all you need to get a completely stellar workout. Planks, burpees, jumping jacks, and weight lifting on your yoga mat in bare feet is about the best exercise in the world. That’s all the at-home gym you need!”—Sasha Brown-Worsham, RYT 200, yoga instructor in Maplewood, NJ

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