Home Gym Equipment Guide

A home gym not only saves you gym membership fees, but it fits your busy schedule. You can exercise when it’s convenient, eliminate the time it takes to drive to and from the gym, and you no longer have to wait for cardio machines. Best of all, you can exercise in the privacy of your own home.

This guide will help you decide what you need by explaining different equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, dumbbells, weight benches, stability balls, and more. You’ll also discover tips on how to make space for your new exercise apparatus, as well as key exercises to add to your routine. As always, please consult your personal physician before beginning any fitness or diet program.

Finding Space in Your Place

If you don't have a room to turn into a home gym, clean out your garage, guest bedroom, or even the corner of your living room to free up real estate. Consider replacing your living room couch with a treadmill. Mats, dumbbells, and resistance bands can be stored in a closet. You'll also want to make sure the space has enough lighting and appropriate flooring. Having at least one full-length mirror is a smart idea, and, if you'll be doing cardio or watching DVDs, be sure there's room for a TV.

Dumbbells and Weights

An excellent choice to build muscle, dumbbells or free weights are smaller and cheaper than most home gym equipment. Start off with one or two dumbbell sets and add more as you become stronger. Almost every strength training exercise incorporates the use of weights.

Cardio Machines

Treadmills, stationary exercise bikes, rowing machines, and elliptical machines are popular choices for cardio equipment. Cardio is an important component for optimal fitness because it burns calories, strengthens your heart, benefits your lungs, and helps reduce stress.

Adjustable Weight Benches

An adjustable bench works for a wide range of exercises—with or without dumbbell weights. It incorporates three workout benches in one: a flat bench, an incline bench, and a decline bench. Exercise steps can be used as a weight bench by adjusting the risers.

Stability Balls

Excellent for abdominal work, it supports the spine and isolates stomach muscles. When using an exercise ball, core muscles are engaged with every move. Stability ball exercises include push-ups, chest presses, or tricep extensions.

Resistance Training

These stretchy bands offer extra resistance during controlled exercises. Resistance band training targets arms or legs to help build strength.


The kettlebell is a round weight with a flat bottom and thick handle on top. These weights are used to perform exercises which combine cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training.

Exercise DVDs

Watch as a pro leads you through an effective combo of exercises. You can play back through exercises at any time to polish your technique. Owning a library of exercise DVDs also affords you access to many types of workouts that may be very different from each other (think yoga, dancing, and boxing-style workouts). Sample types of exercise regimens in the comfort of your own home without having to pay premium prices for classes or be bound to gym or fitness franchise contracts.

Other Equipment Options

Bosu Balance Trainer: A stability ball cut in half. With the flat side of the Bosu ball on the floor, use it for push-ups, hip raises, or challenge your core muscles while doing upper-body exercises such as bicep curls or overhead presses. Bosu is short for both sides utilized.


Chest Expander: Springs are connected to two handles. Build muscles in your upper torso and arms by stretching the chest expander.


Mat: Helps relieve joint pressure during moves that involve sitting, kneeling, or lying. Also used for yoga and Pilates.


Medicine Ball: Weighted ball. Ideal for core exercises such as side twists, they're available in a range of weights.


Swiss Ball: A great tool for targeting your core. Can substitute for a bench in a pinch. Also called a stability ball, physio ball, or exercise ball.


Tension Spring: Metal elastic part that bends from the force the athlete exerts on its ends. It then returns to its original shape.


Twist Bar: Bar consisting of a tension spring and two grips. Bend it to strengthen the upper part of the body such as the arms and shoulders.

Gym Jargon & Exercises

Learn more about exercises that improve your fitness and the lingo of fitness fans.


Aerobic Endurance: The ability to maintain prolonged exercise.


Auxiliary: An optional exercise that may supplement a basic exercise. Auxiliary exercises work a specific muscle or a head of a muscle.


Burpee: From a standing position, drop into a push-up as you jump your legs behind you. Then reverse it, bringing your knees under your chest and jumping straight up to a standing position again.


Circuit Training: Sequence of exercises.


Compound: An exercise that combines two or more joint movements.


Deadlift: Grab a weight bar overhand, grip about shoulder-width apart. Keep your shoulders over the bar. Pull the bar to hip level as you come to a standing position.


Dynamic Stretching: Body movements that stretch your muscles.


Interval training: Repeated periods of exercise interspersed with rest.


Isolated: Exercise that requires one joint movement.


Isometric: The force produced by the muscle equal and opposite to the external resistance. There is no net change in muscle length and no limb movement.


Plank: Get into push-up position on your elbows, resting your weight on your forearms. Keep your body in a straight line and hold the position for 60 seconds.


Resistance Training: Training to maximize strength, power, and muscular endurance through resistance exercise such as weight training.