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/ Source: TODAY
By Locke Hughes

Going to the gym may be a good thing, but it also means you have to pack a bag, drive there, and deal with people vying for the same equipment (and showers).

Home workouts, on the other hand, eliminate all those pesky excuses. With the right gear, you can get stronger, fitter and healthier in the comfort of your own living room.

But first you have to create a dedicated space to get your sweat on. To find the best gear for a home gym, TODAY asked a few of the country’s top fitness professionals for their recommendations. Their picks suit any type of workout style, from functional strength training tools to yoga essentials.

Choose the tools that make sense for you, and you’ll be able to hit the ground running — or downward-dogging.

TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.

Titan Fitness Adjustable Kettlebell, $99, Amazon

Titan Fitness Adjustable Kettlebell

This is the all-in-one fitness tool you didn’t know you needed. “The kettlebell is a foundational piece of equipment that you can use to elevate your cardiovascular system, practice coordination and focus, and for strength training,” says Jen Widerstrom, trainer and author of "Diet Right for Your Personality Type." “As a fitness professional, it's one of the most versatile tools I have access to.”

As a bonus, this version comes with adjustable weights, so you can increase the weight the stronger you get.

Perform Better Mini XL Band, $15, Amazon

Perform Better Mini XL Band

These resistance bands give you a big fitness bang for your buck. Use them to enhance mobility, strengthen your upper and lower body, and work your core, says Kira Stokes, personal trainer and creator of the Stoked Method.

This set of four bands range in resistance from light to heavy and also come with an exercise manual.

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Jade Harmony Yoga Mat, $70, Amazon

Jade Harmony Yoga Mat

Another must-have for your home gym, this high-quality mat is one favored by yoga instructor Heidi Kristoffer, creator of CrossFlowX.

It’s has nice grip and just the right amount of padding for smooth, seamless flows. And it’s not just for yoga — use it for any type of home workout or stretching routine.

Hugger Mugger Cork Yoga Block, $20, Amazon

Hugger Mugger Cork Yoga Block

For supported restorative poses and better balance, yoga blocks are essential for at-home practices. “They’ll help ensure you won't fall, or strain any muscles trying to be more flexible than you are,” Kristoffer says.

This cork version is the way to go, since cork is sturdier and steadier than foam.

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Dumbbell Set with Stand, $33, Amazon

Dumbbell Set with Stand

Bodyweight exercises are an effective way to build strength and burn calories. Add in some dumbbells and your options for at-home strength workouts are literally endless, Stokes says.

This colorful set comes with a stand to keep them from rolling around, and their neoprene covering makes them durable and easy to grip.

AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller, $19, Amazon

AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller

A long foam roller is another home gym essential, Widerstrom says. For recovery from post-workout soreness (and, let’s be real, everyday life), you can’t beat the restorative benefits of foam rolling.

This versatile roller helps relieve tight muscles, increase blood flow, and work out the kinks all over your body. Use it to work your core, too.

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Hyperwear Sandbell, $30, Amazon

Hyperwear Sandbag

This portable training tool provides a slew of benefits for your body, from metabolic conditioning to total-body strengthening, says Jessica Matthews, fitness instructor and senior adviser for American Council on Exercise.

“Since it’s filled with sand, it adds a challenging new dimension to strength and power exercises, such as slams, swings, squats and more.” And with a soft neoprene cover, you don’t have to worry about damage to your floor.

TRX Training GO Suspension Trainer Kit, $100, Amazon

TRX Training GO Suspension Trainer Kit

These suspension straps essentially turn any part of your home into a workout machine, Stokes says. Attach them pretty much anywhere — over a door, a tree, a lamppost — to work your entire body and improve strength, stabilization, flexibility and cardio.

Jump Rope, $10, Amazon

Jump Rope

No room (or budget) for a treadmill? No problem. Jumping rope is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and an efficient way to sprinkle some cardio into your strength training routine, says Gunnar Peterson, a celebrity trainer. Stokes is also a huge fan: “Not a day goes by that I don't use mine,” she says.

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