6 home gym essentials items you need, according to a personal trainer

Follow these tips to make the most of staying indoors.
Woman doing sport in front of laptop at home.
Woman doing sport in front of laptop at home.Getty Images

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Now that most gyms are closed and group fitness is discouraged due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are starting to find ways of getting in their regular workouts from the comfort of their homes.

But strength training and doing cardio in the middle of your living room can often be unproductive if you don't have the right fitness equipment.

Certified personal trainer and health coach Stephanie Mansour joined Shop TODAY on Instagram to share the best at-home gym products on the market, from resistance bands to yoga mats and more.

"Now more than ever, I find it's so important to get in that workout," said Mansour — especially when our bodies are begging for a little activity.

See how she transforms her living room into a personal gym and find her favorite exercise items below!

Use a basic yoga mat

When working out at home, Mansour says you should do your moves on a yoga mat instead of carpet or a hardwood floor.

"It's better for your joints to have impact absorbed by a mat and also helps with balance in yoga and Pilates exercises," she explained.

Gaiam Yoga Mat

This one from Gaiam is reversible, latex-free and has three millimeters of cushioning that provide joint support. Mansour loves it because it's easy to store, it sticks well to the floor, it's not too thick and it's inexpensive.

She recommends using a mat for multiple types of fitness activities including yoga, pilates, HITT workouts, core exercises and more.

"I have four of these yoga mats in all different colors so I can change it up based on my mood! They're inexpensive so I can afford to have a few," she said.

Find a pair of dumbbells

Dumbells are extremely versatile and Mansour uses them for working out her arms, back, shoulders and chest to help build upper body strength, and tone and tighten.

SPRI Deluxe Vinyl Dumbbells

The SPRI Deluxe Vinyl Dumbbells come in multiple sizes from one pound to 20 pounds. They are coated in durable vinyl that makes for a more comfortable grip and Mansour says you only need two.

"I love working out my arms and back with dumbbells," said Mansour. "They're basic, simple to use and efficient. I can do hundreds of exercises with just these two dumbbells!"

Add an exercise ball

If you're in need of a versatile piece of equipment that works multiple areas at once, you may want to opt for an exercise ball.

Mansour recommends this item for anyone looking to stabilize their back and strengthen their core. It activates core engagement and teaches your body to work as a whole unit, giving you a full-body workout in just a few steps.

P.volve P.ball

"This is totally innovative because you have the ball which works the inner thighs and then the band connected to it which works the outer thighs," explains Mansour. She said it's a total core piece of equipment because your whole core is engaged during every exercise when you use this!

Use a pair of exercise dice

Exercise dice are a fun way to change up your workout while keeping things interesting. Mansour enjoys DIY dice exercises and finds them helpful for anything from cardio to a total body workout.

SPRI Exercise Dice

"It's always good to change up your workouts to help your body build muscle and burn fat. These dice keep things always changing!" explained Mansour.

Buy some resistance bands

Resistance bands are another versatile fitness product and can be used for arm and leg workouts.

Valeo 4-Foot Medium Resistance Bands

This resistance band is made with durable rubber tubing and foam handles for a comfortable grip. It's great for toning, strengthening, and improving flexibility — and you can find online workouts that are full of resistance band exercises.

"I create so many full-body workout routines for NBC that just use a resistance band," said Mansour, who regularly contributes to NBC.

Invest in a percussion massage device

"Now more than ever, self-care is so important. (But) you can’t go into the public steam room, get a massage, or go to a yoga class," said Mansour.

She advises trying out a vibrating massager to keep your muscles loose. It can be used on everything from your neck to your back and thighs.

Hypervolt Plus Percussion Massage Device

Mansour said the Hypervolt Plus Percussion Massage Device should be used post-workout to provide effective relief for sore or stiff muscles. According to the brand, it uses Quiet Glide technology to enable smooth and comfortable use.

"It’s like getting a massage, and leaves you feeling loosey-goosey afterward!" raves Mansour.

She also mentions that recovery is an important part of exercise. "Make sure you integrate massage, stretching, or foam rolling into your workout routine!"

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