The average person pays around $41 per month for a gym membership, but depending on location or type of gym, you may pay a lot more! Memberships at premium fitness clubs can end up costing hundreds to even thousands of dollars a year. But just because you’re paying for a membership doesn’t mean you’ll go; 80% of people who pay for a monthly membership don’t actually make it to their gym.
Why You Should Build a Home Gym
With a variety of exercise resources available on social media and the internet, along with the ease of ordering equipment online, you don’t need to have a gym membership to get in a killer workout at home. You can get in amazing shape on your own schedule without leaving your house – even with limited space and budget. Skip the trips to the gym and the hundreds of wasted dollars a year and invest in your own affordable, versatile home gym – all for right around $100!
We’ve broken down the recommended five pieces of equipment that you need to get you fit on a budget, all in the comfort of your own home.
1. Yoga Mat
Estimated Cost: $25
Why You Need A Yoga Mat
You will definitely want to pick up a yoga mat to reduce pressure on your joints, protect your floor from scratching or dents, support a variety of workout types, and limit the noise associated with your workout. Yoga mats are generally inexpensive, with most decent quality mats available for under $25. Yoga mats are compact, so they are great for smaller spaces and provide you with the flexibility to change up your workout area at home. You can also throw the yoga mat over your shoulder for a workout when traveling or headed to your local park!
Choosing The Right Yoga Mat
When selecting the right yoga mat for you, consider the thickness, material, and stickiness depending on your preference.
- Thickness: 1/8 inch thickness is standard, providing decent knee and joint support without being too bulky to carry around. Bump up to 1/4 inch mat thickness if you like a little bit of extra support!
- Material & Stickiness: PVC material mats are inexpensive, durable, easy to clean, and your best bet in terms of stickiness, which will limit slippage during workouts.
For a more eco-friendly option, consider recycled rubber, jute, or cotton mats that are a bit pricier but are available with the similar thickness and comparable stickiness. If you have a larger, more dedicated work out space, you may want to consider foam or rubber cushioned flooring.
Try These exercises At Home
- The 10-Minute Stretching Sequence You Should Do Every Day
- 20 min Core Workout
- Body Weight Workout for Beginners
- 10 No Equipment Bodyweight Workouts
2. Jump Rope
Estimated Cost: $10 – $20
Why You Need A Jump Rope
You don’t need some big, expensive piece of equipment to get some good cardio exercise in at home. A jump rope is a cost effective way to improve your cardiovascular health, coordination, bone density, strength, rhythm, and balance – among many other benefits. Cheap, compact, and highly effective at helping you burn calories, jump ropes are perfect for all fitness levels. Jumping rope burns more fat than running over the same period of time, and it recruits almost all of your muscles while enforcing good posture and core activation.
Choosing The Right Jump Rope
When it comes to finding a jump rope that’s right for you, material, weight, and length are the most important selection criteria.
- Material: For a great workout in your indoor gym or outdoor space, PVC or beaded jump ropes will be the most budget-friendly, durable, and come in adjustable models.
- Weight: 4.8 – 6 oz is a great, mid-weight rope range for a beginner jump rope. Lighter ropes are great once you’ve mastered your jumping skills and are ready to kick up the speed, and heavier are used for more weight and resistance training
- Length / Sizing: Select a jump rope length based on your height, or you can pick up an adjustable rope that can be used by you and other household members.
Try These Exercises At Home
- The Perfect Beginner Fitness Jump Rope Workout Routine
- This Jump Rope Workout Will Make You Break a Sweat In Just 20 Minutes
- Why Jumping Rope Is the Best Total-Body Workout You Haven’t Tried Yet
Estimated Cost: $20 – $45
Why You Need Dumbbells
Pick up a pair of dumbbells to elevate your home workouts with strength training, which will help you build lean muscle while shedding calories and body fat. Strength training with dumbbells also helps improve your functional movement, balance, stability, and bone density, and more. Strength training with dumbbells doesn’t just make you stronger – exercising with weights has also been proven to enhance your mood, posture, and core strength.
Choosing The Right Dumbbells
Dumbbells come in many weights, materials, and shapes. Here’s what you’ll want to consider when selecting the perfect set of dumbbells.
- Weight: While everyone will be different, the general starting dumbbell weights for strength training are as follows:
- the average woman can start with a set of two 5- to 10-pound weights, and
- the average man starts with a set of two 10- to 20- pound weights.
Want to make sure you’re starting with the right weight? Visit a nearby gym or exercise area with a variety of dumbbell weights and take this dumbbell test.
- Material: Adjustable and / or cast iron dumbbells are the most expensive but usually built to last – you’ll often see these in commercial gyms. Rubber-ended or neoprene coated weights are more affordable and convenient for a starter home gym. A contoured or neoprene handle will provide the most comfortable grip, and neoprene or rubber weight ends have coating that protects your floor and dumbbells against dropped weights.
- Shape: Dumbbells are usually rounded or hexagonal (aka hex). Hex dumbbells prevent weights from rolling, and they allow you to do complete a variety of floor-based movements that require dumbbell stability – like a dumbbell push-up – for example.
Try These Exercises At Home
- 25 Min Total-Body Dumbbell Workout
- The Dumbbell Workout Plan to Build Muscle at Home
- Total Body Home Workout with Dumbbells
Estimated Cost: $20 – $60
Why You Need a Kettlebell
Kettlebells are one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment and a key addition to your home gym. Unlike a dumbbell, a kettlebell’s weight is not distributed evenly, so your core goes into overdrive to stabilize your total body during movements. Kettlebell exercises lead to better coordination, balance, full body strength, and even cardiovascular health.
Choosing The Right Kettlebell
- Weight: Experts agree that for most kettlebell exercises –
- 15- to 25-pound weight is an ideal starting weight for many women, and
- 25- to 35-pound weight is an ideal starting place for most men.
Unlike most traditional, isolated strength training with dumbbells, kettlebell exercises involve multiple muscle groups and full body movements, so you’ll start with a different weight as compared to dumbbells. Select a weight from the range above based on your current activity and strength level. If you’re still not sure which weight best suits you, a good rule of thumb to follow is that you should be able to easily press the kettlebell weight overhead 8-10 times.
- Material: A traditional, competition-style kettlebell is made of steel, but there are also cast-iron and vinyl coated options available, with the latter two being more affordable. Cast-iron generally allows for more flexible grip during movements.
- Handle Shape: A smooth, curved, and wider handle will allow you to grip the kettlebell in multiple ways and with both hands, which will give you a lot of exercise options. There are also triangular and square-shaped handles, but those are generally not recommended because of the limited grip and movement.
Try These Exercises at Home
- Full Body Kettlebell Workout for Beginners
- The Best Kettlebell Exercises For All Levels Of Gym-Goer
- 22 Kick-Ass Kettlebell Exercises
5. Resistance Bands
Estimated Cost: $20
Why You Need Resistance Bands or Loops
Resistance bands are incredibly affordable, add variety to your workout, and are appropriate for every fitness level. Include a pair of resistance bands in your home gym to get a safe, effective strength workout without traditional weights. In fact, your muscles respond to strength training with resistance bands as well as they do to free weights, weight machines, and other equipment. Resistance bands are also great for home storage and travel because they’re foldable, compact, and lightweight.
Choosing The Best Resistance Bands
Consider the band type and design as well as tension level when picking out your new resistance bands.
- Band Design: Resistance bands come in all shapes and sizes, with many serving very different and often specific fitness purposes – therapy, loop, clip-tube, fit-tube – the list goes on! For example, a loop band is flat, less than 2 foot long, and designed for lower body exercises. A clip-tube resistance band, on the other hand, is more a flexible option with handles and clips at the end of the bands to easily change tension level and band size. Keep it simple and select a band or band system that gets you the most bang for your buck with full body workout flexibility – a clip-tube is a great way to start!
- Tension Level: Select a band or set of bands with a variety of tension levels, allowing you to vary your exercises and work many different parts of your body. Clip-tube sets come with multiple different, stackable band tensions, ranging from 5 – 35 pound resistance to give you the customization that you need for your home gym workouts.
Try These Exercises At Home
- 33 Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Literally Anywhere
- 20 Resistance Band Exercises to Strengthen Your Entire Body
- Stackable Tube Resistance Bands Exercises
- As an Amazon Associate, ZestofLime earns commission from qualifying purchases, including the product links above.
- Always consult your physician before beginning or changing your diet or exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, nor to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise and diet plan. If you experience any pain or difficulty with any exercise or diet changes, stop and consult your healthcare provider.