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Money Crashers

No one likes being bamboozled by the latest, greatest infomercial fitness products promising to whittle your middle and give you a celebrity body with just six easy payments of $39.99. Let’s be real: Nobody needs a Shake Weight or an Ab Belt. If you’re serious about getting in shape from the comfort of your own home, choose multipurpose products that are time-tested and affordable.

It doesn’t take much to get in shape, as long as you commit to doing it. Just a couple of pieces of equipment from the following list can help get you started on your own home workout plan, and they might end up being all you need to succeed in losing weight and sculpting the body you desire.

Multipurpose Fitness Equipment on a Budget

1. Jump Rope
If you haven’t picked up a jump rope since grade school, you’re in for a surprise. Jump ropes generally cost less than $20 and they deliver a killer cardio workout you can do practically anywhere. Just don’t expect to knock out a 30-minute routine right off the bat – jumping rope is tough work, so use yours for interval training, switching back and forth between a minute of jumping and a minute of rest.

2. Flat Bench or The Step
The beauty of the workout bench is that you can use it for standard exercises, such as a dumbbell chest press, or you can use it in place of a plyometric box – a raised, sturdy platform ranging in height from 6 to 42 inches – for step-up and jumping exercises. The classic step aerobic tool, The Step, is another good option, enabling you to use it as a bench, a low plyometric box, or, of course, a tool for step aerobics.

Either piece of equipment is going to set you back between $45 and $90, so you need to decide which one is best for you. If you tend to focus on strength training, you’re more likely to benefit from a bench, while those who prefer doing exercise videos may prefer The Step.

3. BOSU Ball
BOSU stands for “both sides up,” and this odd-looking half-stability ball delivers a killer workout that challenges your balance, core, and strength. For a cardio workout, set it on the floor with the ball side up, and use it like a step. For a strength and stability routine, flip it over and use the flat side as a platform for lunges, squats, and pushups. You may have to do some searching online to get a deal on a BOSU Ball, but you can usually pick one up for around $100.

4. Stability Ball
Stability balls became popular in the late 1990s, and there’s no sign that they’re going to fall out of fashion any time soon. These large, inflated balls range in size from 45 to 75 centimeters in diameter and are designed to support the weight of most adults. While best known as a tool for ab exercises, you can achieve a total body workout using nothing but a ball.

Balance your shins on the ball as you do a set of pushups or place the ball between your back and a wall to make wall squats harder. You can even use the ball like a bench by lying back on it and using your feet for stability. From this position you can do everything from dumbbell chest presses to triceps extensions. Fitness balls range in price from about $18 to $70, so look for a high-quality, mid-range ball appropriately sized for your height.

5. Medicine Balls
While I wouldn’t suggest you spend a huge amount of money on a full set of medicine balls, go ahead and buy one or two of them. These weighted balls are about the size of a soccer ball or basketball, but range in weight from 2 to 30 pounds. They’re easy to grip, making them great for adding weight to ab exercises.

They’re also fantastic for building upper-body power: Every time you throw a weighted ball against a wall or back-and-forth with a partner, your arms mimic the mechanics of jumping, and the explosive movement increases strength. Start with medicine balls between four and eight pounds and expect to spend between $20 and $45 per ball at these weight increments.

6. Dumbbells
There’s a reason dumbbells are staples at gyms around the world: they work. They’re easy to incorporate into practically any exercise, and when used appropriately, they help build total body strength. Dumbbell pricing varies greatly by brand, style, and weight, so shop around and test out a few brands before buying.

It’s a good idea to start with at least three to five sets of dumbbells varying in weight from 5 to 30 pounds. Expect to spend between $1 and $4 per pound, so a single 10-pound dumbbell might cost between $10 and $40.

7. Kettlebells
Kettlebells have been around for hundreds of years, and recently resurfaced as a trendy workout tool. Kettlebells feature a bell-shaped lower half topped by a handle. The genius of its design is in its uneven distribution of weight – the bell weighs more than the handle, so as you lift, press, and swing the kettlebell, your body constantly adjusts to the changing pull of gravity.

Like dumbbells and medicine balls, kettlebells enable you to increase the weight you lift during exercises like squats, lunges, and shoulder presses, but they also provide you with a powerful cardiovascular workout when used to perform swinging exercises. Like the other weighted tools on this list, kettlebell pricing varies by weight, but you can expect to spend between $1 and $3 per pound. Start in the mid-range and pick up a couple of kettlebells between 12 and 30 pounds.

8. Resistance Bands
When you’re on a budget, resistance bands are the way to go. They are lightweight, flexible, and easy to store away. They allow you to increase the resistance of practically any exercise, whether it’s a lateral slide, a biceps curl, or a seated row. Resistance bands are also excellent tools if you’re in rehab or just starting a weight training program. You can get a full workout in using nothing but the bands. Grab light, medium, and heavy resistances for about $30.

9. Foam Roller
Work out your post-exercise kinks with a lightweight, portable foam roller. Known as tools for self-massage, foam rollers are also great for stretching exercises and balance training moves. Just try doing a lunge with one foot on a roller – it’s tough. Look for rollers made of EVA foam to prevent warping. Typically you can find them for under $30.

10. Yoga Mat
Granted, a yoga mat isn’t a fitness tool like the rest of the items on this list, but it’s still an important purchase. For under $40 you can pick up a high-quality mat to provide cushioning as you perform yoga, stretching, or ab exercises. Mats are also great for taking your workout outside, enabling you to do pushups, planks, and lunges without worrying about sticks or stones.

11. Set of Cones
Think back to elementary physical education class – could you have done anything without a set of cones? With nothing but five or six cones, you can set up a million different drills.

Line five cones up in equal distances across a 90-foot field and perform “suicides” by running to the closest cone, then back to start, the next cone, and back, and so forth until you’ve run back and forth between each one. Set cones up in a square formation and practice sliding laterally, running forward, and backpedaling as you move around the square. The possibilities are endless, and because you can pick up a whole set for under $10, they’re a must-have for your home workout arsenal.

12. Suspension Trainer
One of the hardest muscle groups to work at home is your lats, one of the largest muscle groups of your back. Think about it – it’s easy to exercise your legs with lunges and squats, your chest with pushups, your arms with any number of biceps, triceps, and shoulder exercises, but what about your back? Sure, you can do rows with your dumbbells, but it’s tough to mimic the movement of a pullup or a lat pull-down at home.

Buying a pullup bar is one option, but I’m inclined to go the route of the suspension trainer. These straps can be hung from the ceiling, wall, or door, and are adjustable, enabling you to perform assisted or unassisted pullups with the added element of instability. Plus, they’re not just great for your back, you can use them for a full-body routine as you pull, push, and press yourself through a series of movements. Look for a set of suspension straps for $90 or less.

Final Word

A home gym doesn’t need to cost a fortune. With just a couple of dumbbells, a suspension trainer, a set of cones, and a jump rope, you can get an awesome workout for less than $150. What you really need is motivation – all the equipment in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t use it. If motivation is what you lack, save up and splurge on a month of sessions with a trainer. A trainer holds you accountable for your workouts, teaches you proper form, and shows you how to design your own training programs. Once you get on track, wean yourself off the trainer and get to work on your own.

What’s your favorite piece of home workout equipment?

Cheap home gym items that won’t break the bank

There are lots of good reasons to have a home gym, especially if you don’t want to shell out for a gym membership or you want a lot more freedom than you get with the average gym.

Not sure what kind of equipment you’ll need and how much it might cost? Here, we’ve put together a guide to some of the fitness items that will help you to achieve your fitness goals and build an affordable home gym without having to spend tons of money.

Home gym equipment you can buy online

What kind of items do you need in a home gym, especially if space is at a premium? We’ve listed 10 items that you might want to think about having in your home gym, along with their plus and minus points.

1. Dumbbells

Dumbbells are a popular example of free weights and they’re an affordable and versatile alternative to weight machines, especially when you’re pushed for space.

In fact, many fitness experts believe that free weights are more effective than weight machines as they help to build a more three dimensional and “functional” fitness that mimics the type of movement you do in everyday life. This has a lot to do with the portable nature of free weights and the fact that you can move around with them to vary your program, unlike weight machines that are in a fixed position and don’t replicate natural movement as easily.

You can also train either one muscle group or several at a time but it’s harder to target specific muscles in isolation with dumbbells.

You can choose from either fixed or adjustable dumbbells. The latter can be a bit more expensive but they tend to be a better bet if you plan to be lifting heavier weights. With fixed weights, you’d need to buy a new set every time you moved onto a different weight, which can quickly get expensive!

Celsius 10kg Dipped Dumbell Set

rebel

Meteor 0.5-6kg Anti-Slip Dumbbells

eBay

Dumbbell Weight Set – 12kg

Sportitude

2. Gym Ball

Also known as stability balls and Swiss balls, the gym ball is a must have for your home gym if you want to improve your balance, stability and posture. When you first use one you’re almost definitely going to struggle to stay on it – and that’s the point, really! Trying to keep your balance works your ab muscles, especially when you also bring exercises such as press ups into the equation. Your muscles will probably be very tired to begin with so it’s always advisable to start with short sessions and build up the time you sit on a gym ball as your muscles get stronger and more used to it.

Some people even use gym balls instead of a chair but this can have its downsides as the lack of arm rests means it doesn’t support the upper body if you’re sitting on it for extended periods of time. As a fitness tool though, it’s a fun and effective way to give your core a workout!

Celsius Fit Ball – 75cm

rebel

Anti-burst Gym Ball 70cm – Teal

Target Australia

Gym Balance Core Ball with Resistance Strap

Sportitude

3. Gym Mat

You’ll definitely want to have a good quality gym mat, especially if you’re going to be doing yoga or Pilates. It will protect your back in particular by acting as a cushion.

BAHE Alignment 4mm Yoga Mat

rebel

PTP Essential Mat – Jade

rebel

Yoga Cork Mat – 6mm

Target Australia

4. Ankle Weights

Using ankle weights means that your legs need to work that little bit harder to be lifted, which can help to build stronger glutes, hamstrings and quads. They can also help to improve your bone density, build stronger muscles and may burn a few more calories because your body is under more stress than usual.

The downside is that there is more potential for injuries due to more stress being placed on the joints and this can be a problem if you already have issues with your knees and other joints.

Celsius 3kg Adjustable Ankle Wrist Weights

rebel

Adjustable Ankle/Wrist Weight Straps – 2 x 5kg

Sportitude

Wrist and Ankle Weights Set (pair of 1 kg) – Pink

Catch

5. Kettlebells

Kettlebells are another example of free weights and appearance wise, they aren’t too dissimilar to cannonballs. At their simplest, they can be thought of as being a bit like dumbbells with a slightly different handle. They are mostly used in a standing position and it helps to have a strong core as you engage your ab muscles a lot while using them.

If you don’t have a good core or you haven’t mastered the right technique for using them, it’s easy to get things wrong when using kettlebells and injure yourself. Another downside is the fact that they aren’t that easy to adjust, which can up the cost factor. You’re also likely to need different weights for different exercises, which can mean a sizeable investment. They’re not the cheapest bit of gym kit you could buy but they can be a good buy if your fitness goals would benefit from using kettlebells regularly.

Celsius 6kg Kettle Bell Weights

rebel

Kettle Bell – 8kg

Target Australia

4 Pieces Exercise Kettlebell Weight Set – 20kg

Sportitude

6. Resistant Bands

They may look like giant rubber bands but your home gym won’t be complete without some resistance bands. They use force (or resistance, hence the name!) to build stronger muscles. They’re a convenient and cheap way to work out – as long as you invest in some good quality bands that won’t break easily – and they’re a lot more versatile than you might think. You can incorporate them into a range of workouts to give your muscles some added resistance to work against.

PTP MediBand+ 3 pack

rebel

Fila Resistance Bands Heritage Set

Target Australia

19 Piece Resistance Exercise Bands Set

Sportitude

7. Foam Roller

Using a foam roller is a bit like a self-massage and helps to “roll out” tight muscles. It can be painful but it’s also an effective way to increase your mobility, get rid of nagging muscle aches and pains and protects against injuries that might otherwise develop because of overly tight muscles.

Trigger Point GRID X Foam Roller – Black

rebel

Foam Roller – 33cm

Target Australia

Foam Massage Roller for Yoga/Pilates

Sportitude

8. Medicine Balls

Want to supercharge your workouts? A medicine ball could be just what you need! Just like free weights, a medicine ball helps with “functional” training that replicates the kind of activities you do in everyday life. They can be used to target the abs, legs and upper body and can even improve your hand-eye coordination.

SKLZ Trainer Medicine Ball

rebel

Medicine Ball – 2kg

Target Australia

10kg Double-Handled Rubber Medicine Core Ball

Sportitude

9. Abs Core Roller

If you plan to do crunches and other exercises that target your abs, you may want to invest in an Ab Roller. These nifty gadgets help you to reduce your risk of injury by supporting your head and neck as you perform the exercises. There are also Ab Wheels, which are a bit more complicated and aren’t as great for newbies. It’s usually better to have a strong core and shoulders for using an Ab Wheeler whereas an Ab Roller can be used by pretty much anyone.

Harbinger Ab Carver Sport Training Aid

rebel

Abdominal Fitness Wheel

eBay

METEOR AB Abdominal Wheel Roller

Catch

10. Skipping Rope

When was the last time you used a skipping rope? If you still associate them with kids, it’s time to change that mindset! Skipping is great for a cardio activity that works out your whole body and it can make your core stronger into the bargain too. It’s fast becoming a popular addition to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) circuits, as just one example of how you can start including it in your plans. And if you’re worried about not having enough room in your home gym, you can even get “rope less” versions that give the same effects.

SPRI Premium Adjustable Speed Jump Rope

rebel

Weighted Skipping Rope

Target Australia

Digital LCD Skipping Jumping Rope

Sportitude

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Get active with exercise and fitness equipment

Investing in exercise equipment is an investment in your health and happiness. Being able to exercise despite the weather or time of day makes it much easier to workout regularly. Whether you choose a full stack of weights with cardio equipment or you simply want some dumbbells and a yoga mat, the products in Walmart’s Exercise and Fitness department will help you get moving and stay healthy. If you need to improve your health or if you want to maintain your current level of fitness, this part of our site is your ideal destination. We offer a wide variety of equipment at Every Day Low Prices, making it easy to put regular workouts within reach. Expensive gym memberships aren’t the only way to get the job done, and in fact, having equipment of your own at home can save you money in the long run while making it harder to skip a workout due to the proximity of your exercise equipment.

Exercise machines

treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, stair climbers and other types of motorized exercise equipment can make the task of getting your cardio in much simpler. This is especially true if you live in a crowded area or experience frequent foul weather that makes it unappealing or even dangerous to go for a walk, run or cycle outdoors. Cardio exercise is an important part of the whole picture of health and wellness, and if you’re currently living a sedentary lifestyle that doesn’t include much movement, bringing a cardio machine home can make a world of difference. If you can replace even a few hours of stationary time each week with movement, you’ll be on the right track to better health and even a better mood. Our Exercise Machines category also includes home gyms, inversion trainers and other strength and weight training equipment so you can get assistance with form or do specific exercises you can’t do with free weights or resistance training.

Strength and weight training

Walmart’s Strength & Weight Training section has everything you need to build muscle and take care of anaerobic exercise requirements. From weight benches to dip stands and pushup stands, this equipment can give you the support and assistance you need to work out as efficiently and completely as you’d at the gym. If you don’t have room for this kind of heavy equipment in your home, this section is still a good resource for you. There are a lot of muscle-building and strength-conditioning exercises to do with dumbbells, barbells and other types of free weights. We even offer some adjustable-weight hand weight sets that are compact and efficient, so you can have a complete workout and step up your strength without taking up a lot of space. Whether you have a full garage or basement to fill with workout equipment or you just have a corner of an apartment or dorm room, you’ll find options to suit your needs.

Yoga and Pilates

Cardio and weight training aren’t the only ways to get fit. Yoga and Pilates are two increasingly popular strategies for building flexibility, strength and endurance. From simple equipment like mats and blocks to more advanced kits with straps and cords, you’ll find the equipment you need to perform your mat Pilates or yoga routines at home. If you’re new to these two exercise techniques, you can learn what they’re all about and get some guidance on how to perform the moves with yoga and Pilates DVDs. Taking private yoga or Pilates lessons can be expensive, but you can still practice these exercises at home on a budget with the supplies and equipment in this section.

Activewear for the family

The right clothes can make it much more comfortable to exercise. Clothing that moves with your body and doesn’t restrict your range of motion can help you run, stretch, bend and lift without interference. Lightweight, modern activewear fabrics are also cooler and more comfortable to wear for exercise than standard street clothes. If you’re trying to get your family more active, having the right wardrobe basics can make it a lot easier to get moving and make regular physical activity a part of your lifestyle. Activewear pants, shorts, capris, tees, tanks, jackets, socks and shoes are available through the Exercise and Fitness department. We’ve divided our activewear offerings by size range, making it easy for you to find just what you need. From athletic clothes for kids to big and tall men’s sizes and maternity options for pregnant women, we offer activewear options for each and every type of person in every phase of their fitness journey. Don’t let a lack of athletic clothes stop you from getting the activity you need. You’ll find just the clothes you need in your size in this section.

Amazon, Walmart, and Target Have Great Deals on Yoga Mats, Weights, Ellipticals, and More Gear to Get You Super Fit

It’s understandable if you’ve been dragging on your New Year’s resolutions. After all, this is the first Monday of the new decade, and the first time many people are back to work after the holidays.

So if indulged just a little more than usual these past few weeks but have decided that 2020 starts now, more power to you. And if you are looking to get healthier this year, there’s a number of fitness sales and exercise equipment deals that you can take advantage of. If you start sweating now, you’ll be feeling good when bathing suit weather gets here.

Amazon, Walmart, and other major retailers have a number of post-New Year’s sales this week, with deep discounts on everything from kettlebells to yoga mats to (if you have room in your place) big-ticket exercise items like ellipticals and exercise bikes. And yes, that includes deals featuring some of the biggest and best fitness equipment brands such as Bowflex, Nautilus, Champion, and more.

Whether you want to start small with hand weights or go all in on a workout bench, there are deals for every level of #fitnessgoals. Here are just a few examples of exercise equipment deals that are live right now:

Amazon Exercise Equipment Deals

Look for Amazon sales on everything from Flywheel exercise bikes to medicine balls and more. Amazon’s #1 best-selling yoga mat is 10% off right now too.

Flywheel Home Exercise Bike with Free Two-Month Subscription: $1,299 (list price $1,999)

Courtesy of Amazon

AmazonBasics Medicine Ball: $28.50 (list price $33.53)

Courtesy of Amazon

BalanceFrom GoYoga Exercise Yoga Mat: $11.69 (list price $12.99)

Courtesy of Amazon

Deals at Target

Target’s post-New Year’s sale is offering 20% to 25% off a wide range of exercise gear, including Bosu balance trainers and Everlast boxing products, plus discounts on yoga mats, water bottles, and more. Among the deals:

C9 Champion Neoprene Hand Weights: From $2.61 (normally from $3.49)

Courtesy of Target

Fitness Deals at Walmart

Walmart prices on most items are competitive if not downright cheap, and right now there are some especially good discounts on workout equipment.

Gold’s Gym Stride Trainer 380 Elliptical: $199 (list price $289)

Courtesy of Walmart

Gold’s Gym XRS 20 Olympic Workout Bench: $97 (list price $119)

Courtesy of Walmart

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Seven Pieces of Home Gym Equipment for Your Tiny Apartment

Fitness

Get your workout in without compromising space.

By Asia Bradlee· 10/24/2019, 11:05 a.m.

Read all about the latest gym openings, healthy events, and fitness trends in our twice weekly Wellness newsletter.

Photo via Getty Images

Taking a workout class or visiting the gym are all great ways to stay in shape, but sometimes the idea of working out without leaving your house is even better. While the idea may sound great, small apartments and lack of storage can make this dream a challenge.

We can’t make your apartment bigger, but there is a variety of home gym equipment that is small enough to fit in your tiny Boston apartment, and not take up too much space. From resistance bands to a miniature Stairmaster, this list can help you sweat without ever leaving the house—or spending more than $50.

Photo via Amazon

1. Core Sliders, $9.90

For less than $10, core sliders are an easy and inexpensive way to get a workout in. These sliders can be used on carpet or hardwood flooring and provide a low-impact way to work not only your core, but your whole body. With these sliders, you also get a free workout e-book to help you get started.

Photo via Amazon

2. Flat Weight Workout Exercise Bench, $49.99

A basic workout bench is an essential for any home workout. It provides a space for arm, ab, and leg exercises using dumbbells or just your body weight. This workout bench is easy to assemble and weighs only 24 pounds, making it easy to move around your apartment.

Photo via Amazon

3. Dumbells and Stand, $41.99

This dumbbell set comes with three, five, and eight pound weights, plus a stand for easy storage. If you’re too intimated to step foot in the weight room at first, these weights are a great way to work on your form and routine, in the comfort of your own home.

Photo via Amazon

4. Ab Roller, $17.97

If you’re sick of sit-ups, try this ab roller. It’s a great tool to have lying around, especially because it can be done while you’re doing something mindless, such as watching TV. This ab roller also comes with a knee pad for added comfort, a nutrition e-book, and an ab workout e-book.

Photo via Amazon

5. Kettlebells, $35.99

Kettlebells are a great alternative to weights, and their handle makes them easier to use for leg exercises. This one is made out of long-lasting cast iron. If you’re not sure how to get started with kettlebells, try out this full-body circuit.

Photo via Amazon

6. Pull-Up Bar, $49.99

With no assembly required, this pull-up bar hooks into your doorframe for a hassle-free way to build up your upper body and ab strength. This bar is six inches higher than traditional ones, making it good option for taller people. It’s also completely foldable and can be easily stored in your closet.

Photo via Amazon

7. Mini Stepper with Resistance Bands, $41.63

Get in your cardio, and resistance training, with this dual machine. The stepper is good for those looking for a low-impact workout and also comes with a monitor to keep track of the time and your steps. At only 16 inches long and 12 inches wide, it’s easy to keep in the corner of a room when it’s not being used.

Home gym equipment is, ironically, getting more popular even as more and more gyms open on the high street. Whether that’s because people want to carry on working out when they get home, or they try the gym and decide they just can’t stomach the relentless techno music, machines that people blatantly do not clean after use, and intimidating changing rooms.

However, you don’t necessarily want to spend a fortune on home gym equipment such as the Wahoo KICKR suite or Wattbike Atom. And the good news is you don’t have to…

  • Best dumbbells
  • Best workout shoes
  • Best home multi-gym

How to buy the best home gym equipment

There are some important reasons why, despite their irritations, most of us keep paying our direct debits and going back through the turnstiles of our local health clubs. It’s because working out at home means investing thousands in in a fully kitted out home gym, or making do with a very limited selection of kit.

Doing the same exercises every work out could improve your fitness but it can lead to you getting bored and quitting.

But there is another way – choosing a variety of cost effective gym equipment so you have everything you need for a fun and varied workout.

Thankfully, app developers and inventors have been hard at work coming up with solutions that promise freedom from the gym walls, combining workouts and entertainment to boot. And best bit of all, they promise more bang for your buck than shelling out for a gym membership you hardly ever use.

But how do you choose what to invest in? We suggest looking out for kit that will keep your attention, as working out at home takes a bit of willpower. It’s also advisable to put together a selection of equipment that gives you a rounded workout, such as a balance between pushing and pulling, upper and lower body, cardio and resistance exercises.

From the tried and tested to the cutting edge, we’ve rounded up 10 gadgets that could free you from the gym without breaking the bank or taking up vast amounts of space.

The best home gym equipment

1. TRX Fit Suspension Trainer

Professional-level training, Argos-level price

Reasons to buy

+Compact and suitable for newbies +Vast range of exercises for the price +Using bodyweight has additional advantages

Reasons to avoid

-Requires very secure installation

• Buy TRX Fit from Argos for £89

Most pieces of home exercise kit that promise a ‘full body work out’ are worthy of suspicion. There’s a reason why the only place you usually see these machines is on shopping channels and not in decent gyms, let alone professional sports clubs or military training facilities.

The TRX, however, has become ubiquitous in these kinds of elite institutions, and for good reason. The simple machine, consisting of two handles that can be suspended from a door frame or wall mounting, can be used for a vast range of exercises. The key is that it uses your bodyweight as the load. Squats, lunges, rows and more can all be replicated easily, and using your bodyweight instead of bars and weights has the side effect of requiring more balance, which is likely to make you better at sports out of the home too.

Best of all, the TRX takes up little space and the price is a bargain for such a versatile bit of kit.

• Best resistance bands

2. Adidas ADI Speedrope

Cardio equipment does not get more affordable and compact than this

+A rope that’s not child’s play+Great for interval training +Dirt cheap -You have to master the technique first-High ceilings required if using indoors

• Buy for £10 from John Lewis

Cardio equipment doesn’t come much simpler, yet hardcore, than a skipping rope – the only piece of cardio equipment that’s popular with both little girls and enormous boxers.

If you try to skip without putting in effort you will find skipping is anything but child’s play, but done properly, it’s incredibly effective. This rope from Adidas has the clever feature of an adjustable length so that you can switch between short for fast, intense workouts, and long for a slower burn. A ball bearing ensures speed and efficiency.

Ideal as part of a high intensity interval workout, a jump rope is a way that you can have a serious cardio workout without leaving the home, (well, maybe venture into your garden if you have lower ceilings) and by spending only £10. You can perfect all sorts of cool tricks with practice, too.

3. SteelBody by Marcy Power Tower & Bench

Just like being at the gym

+Amazing range of exercises for the price +Professional quality construction -Takes up lots of room -Only for free weights lovers, clearly

Buy Steelbody Power Tower from Argos for £549.99

The Steelbody Power Tower is essentially a slimmed down version of the standard weight lifting rack you would find in any gym. The bench has a neat folding action, taking you from a bench press position, through incline press to overhead press, to folding completely out of the way to make room for squats in the rack or chin ups from the bar. Add in the removable bars for dips and you have all your need here for the core strength building exercises.

Okay, so this one costs the equivalent of a year’s gym membership (not including barbells or weight plates) and will be a struggle to camouflage in a stylish home, but as it truly replicates the kind of strength training you can do at a commercial gym, the SteelBody could be the last bit of kit you ever need to buy, and you can cancel that membership…

4. Adidas Gym Balance Ball

Best affordable fitness equipment for core and balance work

+Extremely versatile+Great for balance -Needs pumping up now and then

Buy Adidas Gym Balance Ball from John Lewis for £25

Your core muscles are a great place to focus your attention when working out. Not only are they are used in almost all exercises, they also stabilise your posture while you push, pull, run or jump. Neglect them you will limit your performance and potentially face injury. Oh, and they make your tummy look more lean.

While the gym ball, balance ball or Swiss ball as it’s sometimes called may not be the most exciting piece of equipment, it is great for core workouts, and exceedingly cheap. This Adidas one features anti-burst rubber and is also suitable for outdoor use. You’ll need to pick the right size and perhaps watch a YouTube tutorial or two about how to use one properly. This 65cm diameter ball is sized for those between 5’7” and 6’1”. As with any ball, it can be a pain to store, unless you deflate it between workouts.

5. Fitness-Mad Set of 3 Resistance Bands

Another great, cheap resistance-based workout

+Can be used for a full body workout +Endless uses in the gym -Rubber can be uncomfortable

• Buy from John Lewis for £19.99

Found in gyms everywhere, resistance bands provide endless different uses for workouts of all levels. Seasoned weight lifters find them handy for stretching before and after lifting, and for those looking to vary their existing workouts, bands can also be used to modify traditional exercises – adding extra resistance to the top of a bench press, for instance.

This set of three bands from Fitness-Mad promises a balanced workout on its own. You get three different strengths of band, a pair of clips to adapt the bands to different exercises, and guide to working out with the gear. As a way to start out in resistance training, it doesn’t get much simpler or better value than this.

6. FIIT app and device

Our favourite home fitness app, with handy cardio strap

+A fitness app you won’t get bored of +Training plans will definitely improve general fitness +Requires no other equipment -Not the best if building muscle is your goal

• Shop direct from FIIT

Among the plethora of fitness apps out there, Fiit is different. This video app for your mobile device – you can use a cable to plug in to your TV, which makes it much easier to view – gives access to hundreds of classes from world-class trainers.

Classes from yoga to body-weight exercises to HIIT are organised into 6-week plans, each with a specific goal. The premium version of the app includes a heart-rate chest strap and is the one to go for – by giving you points for hitting cardio zone targets, it’s really motivational. Cost for this is £120 per year or £45 per quarter – great value if you use it regularly, but maybe not one for those with a history of gym-dodging.

• FIIT app and device review

7. Tacx Vortex

Best affordable turbo trainer

+Makes use of your existing bike +App keeps interest with different workouts and competition -There are simpler routes to cardio fitness, clearly

Buy from Wiggle for £199

One way to be cost effective is to make use of what you’ve already got. If your road bike tends to gather dust in the winter, then hooking it up to a turbo trainer will convert it to an indoor exercise bike fit for all seasons. An added advantage to this set up is that you don’t have to adjust to the awkward geometry of a stand-alone exercise bike.

The TacX Vortex pairs via Bluetooth with an app to control the resistance. TacX’s own bundled app has the neat feature of pairing in turn with the Strava app to import your logged GPS data, so you can simulate your own favourite routes that you have followed in real life. Or you can use Zwift, of course. With a maximum resistance of 950 Watts, this will give anyone short of a pro cyclist a very good workout… and removing your bike’s wheels and bolting the frame to this smart trainer is a pretty damn good one, too.

• More of the best turbo trainers

8. RDX Punch Bag set

Get fighting fit

+Great value set +An entertaining but punishing workout -Installation is tricky

• Buy RDX Punch Bag set from Argos for £70

Boxing is a sport that requires fitness and resilience like no other, so anything you can borrow from the boxer’s training regime is usually a worthwhile addition to your workout. The heavy punch bag is the piece of equipment that most people think of when it comes to training for the ring, and for good reason. This set from RDX includes everything you need to get started: the heavy duty 4ft bag, a ceiling bracket and gloves.

This classic item offers a great range of workouts. Simply hitting it as hard as you can will develop power, but punching quickly in intense bursts or punching lightly over a longer session will both present different but equally demanding cardio workouts. One big advantage of having this kit in your house is that you can easily let off steam after a frustrating day at work without having to haul yourself to the gym. However, make sure you install it properly, using suitable fixings into a ceiling made of suitably strong material. Otherwise your ceiling may fall down and you will have to take time out from punching, to kick yourself.

Top 5 Best Affordable Home Exercise Equipment

Top 5 Best Affordable Home Exercise Equipment to Build a Versatile, Inexpensive Home Gym

Building an awesome home gym doesn’t have to cost you your life savings, it also doesn’t have to be difficult.

With thousands of exercise products to choose from it can be a bit daunting though, especially if you don’t know where to begin.

But have no worries, I’m going to show you five of the best affordable home exercise equipment that will help you build a killer, versatile home gym.

Paired together these five fitness products will have you sculpting the ultimate body of your dreams in the comfort of your own home in no time.

So without further ado, here are the top 5 best affordable home exercise equipment products to build an inexpensive but versatile home gym.

Top 5 Best Affordable Home Exercise Equipment

#1. Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells

Talk about versatility. There is nothing more versatile than a plain old fashioned set of dumbbells. Unfortunately not many homes have the space required to store a whole set of dumbbells.

Bowflex SelecTech dumbbells solve this problem!

Each dumbbell is adjustable by 2 dials. All you have to do is turn the dial to the desired weight and lift the weight up out of the base. You now have the amount of pounds you selected for each dumbbell, it’s that simple.

Resistance training is key for elevating your metabolism to burn fat while you maintain and build your muscle mass. Dumbbells offer a limitless amount of exercises in which you can perform at home in the limited space you have for your home workouts.

Dumbbells can be combined with any other item on this list to create effective and fun workouts that will allow you to get great results at home.

Bowflex Currently Offers 3 Varieties of SelectTech Dumbbells

  • The 552 model adjusts from 5 to 52 pounds per dumbbell and a pair retails for around $350.
  • The 560 model adjusts from 5 to 60 pounds per dumbbell and a pair retails for around $500.
  • The 1090 model adjusts from 10 to 90 pounds per dumbbell and a pair retails for around $600.

All models including the 1090 cost less than a complete set of quality dumbbells, and best of all they won’t eat up as much prime real estate in your home compared to a standard set of dumbbells either. A stand and other Bowflex accessories are sold separately as well if you want to take things up a notch.

Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells Review | Buy Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells

#2. Stability Balls

Stability balls or Swiss balls have been mainstream now for a few years. Unlike most fad products which eventually die out, stability balls aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Why? Because they work. Stability balls are a very effective exercise tool to have in your home gym. There’s a reason you’ll find them in just about all commercial gyms.

Swiss balls allow you to work your core and abdominals very effectively. You can also do exercises for your entire body as well on stability balls.

You can use a Swiss ball with any other home exercise equipment on this list to create fun, challenging and effective workouts in the privacy of your own home.

At your home, a stability ball can also function as a chair which will cause you to use better posture than usual.

What you may not know is all stability balls are not created equal. A good stability ball such as the Duraball pro will cost around $50. The extra cost as opposed to cheap stability balls (~$15) is well worth it as the Duraball pro will last longer and inflates to a higher pressure.

This higher pressure will allow a good base for dumbbell exercises easily handling a pair of 100 pound dumbbells and a 250 pound individual.

Additional Stability Ball Information | Buy Stability Balls from Amazon

#3. Heavy Resistance Tubes

Resistance training does not have to include weights such as dumbbells, cables, barbells or even body weight. Resistance tubes offer a different form resistance exclusive to tubes.

Because the resistance tubes are elastic the further they stretch, the more resistance you will encounter.

This is beneficial because with dumbbells, cables and body weight the resistance is usually constant for the entire range of motion.

Tubes allow you to focus on the end of the range of motion which is often neglected during dumbbell or cable resistance exercises.

The best part about resistance tubes is they take up almost no space and can be stored anywhere. You can take resistance tubes when you travel for business or vacation.

You may have used resistance tubes before and found they failed to offer significant resistance. It is true, old school resistance tubes which you can get in the store for around $10 do not provide enough resistance to use for an effective home workout.

There are heavy resistance tubes now which offer a great way to challenge your entire body. The JC predator is a great tool to include in your gym workouts or home workouts. It is an adjustable 3 tube setup which allows extremely heavy resistance with all 3 tubes attached.

The extremely heavy resistance of the 3 tubes will allow you do heavy full body exercises where you have to control your own body weight which is supported by the tubes.

You can lessen the resistance by taking 1 or 2 of the tubes out which will allow you to perform isolation exercises for your weaker body parts. The best part about resistance tubes is you can use them along with any other item on this list to challenge your body and get results.

You can pick up some cheap limited resistance tubes in your local sporting good store for around $10 each or you can order the very versatile, adjustable JC predator resistance tube setup for around $50 online. A must have for any home gym.

Resistance Tube Exercise Videos | Buy Heavy Resistance Tubes

#4. BOSU Balance Trainer

If you have never heard of or used a BOSU balance trainer or BOSU ball you are really missing out. The BOSU balance trainer was invented in 1999 by a personal trainer.

Most gyms have a set of BOSU balls available for members to use and some have classes. If you want to bring fitness to your home a BOSU ball would be a solid choice.

At first glance you may not be able to see many uses for BOSU which is an acronym for Both Sides Up. Therefore you can use the both sides of the BOSU to perform a variety of beginner to challenging exercises.

The BOSU balance trainer is very versatile and allows you to perform many different exercises. You can also perform many different types of exercises such as resistance, balance as well as explosive plyometric exercises!

You can use the BOSU alone or in combination with any other pieces of home gym equipment on this list. The BOSU is more versatile than the stability ball because you can stand on it.

You can pick up a BOSU balance trainer from any sporting goods store at around $150. If you order online you can expect to pay less than $100.

Additional BOSU Ball Information | Buy BOSU Balls from Amazon

#5. Total Gym

Many…. actually most as seen on TV products are not worth what they cost. It’s more accurate to say most as seen on TV products are downright laughable scams which serve no purpose and are a total waste of your hard earned money.

The total gym on the other hand is a fantastic product. I’ve included it at the bottom of my list because it is more expensive than all the others items and it takes up a lot of space, which not everybody has. Some models fold up for storage which can save space but when you set it up you will need a good amount of space at home to use a Total Gym.

The Total Gym is just about what it says. You can perform a full body workout using the Total Gym alone just like you had a total gym at your house. Even better, you can use a combination of calisthenics, floor exercises, and some of the other exercise equipment on my top 5 best affordable home exercise equipment list to get a tremendous workout at home.

The total gym is adjustable and great for people of all fitness levels. The resistance or weight during total gym exercises is based on your body weight. This allows you to work your core a little more because most exercises require core stabilization.

Total Gym Exercise Videos | Buy a Total Gym from TotalGymDirect.com

🙂 Honorable Mention: Nintendo Wii / Wii Fit

The Nintendo Wii or the Wii fit is not a fitness first device. You will not go from “flab to fab” overnight or even with time using the Nintendo Wii fit.

With that out of the way the Nintendo Wii and the Wii fit can be a great way to introduce home fitness into your lifestyle.

The Nintendo Wii makes physical activity, albeit a small amount of physical activity fun. The association with fun and physical activity can go a long way in kids and adults alike.

If physical activity is associated with fun, according from Pavlov’s dog research of the 1800s a person who repeatedly has fun playing the Wii would begin to enjoy exercise.

While the previous statement may be a push the new Wii fit is designed to help people get fit. Surprisingly enough, it is actually a great way for beginners to get back into an exercise program.

The Wii fit program provides a lot of pretty good information about the sedentary body and how it can improve posture, balance and body composition.

The technology is very advanced as the Wii fit can weight each side of the stand-on sensor individually.

Another positive with the Nintendo Wii fit is the price. It retails for only $100 which is definitely a good deal as it does some of the things that expensive kinesiology laboratory equipment does!

Popular Science Article w/ Ask the Trainer | Buy Nintendo Wii Fit

The Bottom Line: Best Affordable Home Exercise Equipment

While there are literally thousands of affordable home exercise equipment products to choose from to build an inexpensive home gym, these five products are a fantastic starting point. Together they pretty much give you everything you need to get in great shape in the comfort of your own home.

Out of all these products, the Total Gym is going to be the one that really completes your home gym setup. I highly recommend it. It will likely be the biggest investment on this list, however, don’t let this deter you. Even if you are on a budget, there are discounted Total Gym models available. You can also opt for an older basic model for a fraction of the price of a newer top of the line version.

Shop around, you will be surprised what you’ll find both on and offline. Be sure to check out Craigslist in your local area, especially if you live in or near a larger city. Exercise products tend to have a fast turnaround, especially during the months following the new year. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across great deals on used Total Gyms and exercise products on Craigslist. This is especially the case when peoples New Year’s resolutions go the way of the dodo.

As a bonus, try adding the Nintendo Wii Fit to your collection of home fitness products to add that extra element of fun. Fitness isn’t exactly glamorous for many of us so adding a dash of fun into the exercise mix isn’t a bad thing. Obviously this tool isn’t going to get you ripped out of your mind but it is no doubt fun, especially if you have kids and want to introduce them to the fitness lifestyle!

Author Profile: Mike Behnken, MS, NASM-CES-PES-CPT, NSCA-CSCS

Mike Behnken is a personal trainer who holds multiple NASM certifications and a MS in Exercise Science. Mike loves fitness, travel, and photography among many other interests.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.

Best cheap exercise equipment

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