Here’s Everything You Need For a Successful Home Gym

Joining a gym can be expensive. And if you only have time to work out for 30 minutes a day, it might not be worth it to drive all the way to the gym and back, plus pay a monthly membership fee. For that reason, it could make more sense to have a workout area in your home. Here is everything you’ll need for a successful home gym — and you won’t have to spend the big bucks (if you don’t want to).

Young woman folding blue yoga mat

A mat for workouts is essential for your home gym. | fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

Open space

The most important part of a workout area is having adequate room to do your workouts. If you’re working out in a tight space, it might hinder the exercises you’re able to do or affect your form (if you’re not extending your body in full to avoid bumping into something). Also, try to make your workout area separate from your bedroom, such as in an office or spare room. If this isn’t possible, carve out a specific corner only for workouts, and avoid cluttering it with other bedroom items.

A yoga mat

This is important to make workouts comfortable. Even if you don’t do much yoga, it still adds support and comfort when you’re doing exercises on the floor, such as sit ups or planks. You don’t need to spend much money on a yoga mat, but the price depends on quality and thickness. If you have carpeting in your home, you’ll only need a mat that’s a few millimeters thick. But if you have wood or tile floors, you might want one that’s thicker (about a half-inch) for extra comfort.

Free weights or ankle weights

A set of free weights or dumb bells is key to get the most out of your workout. When you first start working out, you won’t need them, but as you start to build that strength, they’re great for adding an extra challenge. Use them while doing squats or lunges, and lift them for a quick arm workout. You can buy a set of several different weights or simply buy new ones as you build your strength. Purchasing a set somewhere like Amazon or Target might save you more money in the long run.

Ankle weights are not as necessary, but they can be a great added challenge for those leg and butt workouts, too.

Resistance band

Resistance bands are extremely affordable and can be stored pretty much anywhere. They add a challenge to workouts the same way weights do, but they’re even more compact. If you have no room to store free weights, a resistance band is a good alternative — especially for leg workouts. It folds up tightly, so you can throw it in your bag if you want to go work out at the park or the beach.

Aerobic stepper

These take up a bit more space than the other items on this list, but it’s worth the purchase. Aerobic steppers add a lot to cardio workout. The step-up and step-down motions are also a great way to work the legs, so they’re perfect for a home gym without any fancy machines. It costs around $50 for one, which is the priciest item on this list, but that’s probably what you’d pay for one month at a gym.

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