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No gym membership, no problem! Master home workouts with these essentials

Start your home gym with these affordable picks!
TODAY Illustration / Courtesy Alicia Tan / Amazon / Obe
/ Source: TODAY

Whether it's the cold temperatures or your crowded neighborhood, leaving the house for a workout can be tough. We're also still spending lots of our time indoors these days, which adds another big obstacle to getting a good workout in.

Luckily, there's a huge trend in the fitness industry: the home gym. Although brands like Peloton and Mirror are drawing attention to the home fitness movement, you can create your own home gym for a fraction of the price.

Here, we're sharing everything you need to know to get in a good workout at home.

Who can benefit from a home gym?

Almost anyone can benefit from having some sort of fitness equipment in their home, whether it be a pair of dumbbells or a complete gym setup. But for those who often finds themselves making excuses to skip their workout (it's too late, it's too cold, there's traffic on the way to the gym), it can be particularly helpful.

"The benefit is that there's never the excuse of 'I can't get to the gym, so I can't work out,'" Khaleah London, a lead group fitness instructor at Equinox+ told Shop TODAY.

When you have everything you need for a successful workout right at home, it's harder to find a reason to skip it. "It holds you a little bit more accountable," she added.

Plus, not everyone loves having an audience while they exercise, so working out from home provides you with a safe space to experiment with your fitness. "Some people really don't care for a group setting or to have a lot of individuals around them," London said. "So it gives you a chance to say, OK, I'm going to get my fitness goals somewhat met and feel comfortable in my environment, being that it's just me, myself and I."

How to choose home gym equipment

According to London, when choosing equipment for your home workouts, one of the most important things to consider is variety. "If you don't have accountability or a lot of creativity, you can burn out and it becomes a little bit monotonous," she said. "So it helps to have just a little variety."

While that means that you ideally would have a range of equipment at your disposal, there are a few essentials. (London counts dumbbells, gliders and ankle weights as some of her must-haves.) And when it comes to strength training tools, you also might want to consider investing in a few different weight types as well. That way, you can experiment with different kind of workouts and intensity levels to keep things exciting and have room to level-up as you get stronger.

Whether you're looking to lose weight or tone up, we put together a list of expert-approved and top-rated items that will help you reach your goals from home.

The best home gym equipment for 2022

Amazon Basics Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Weight Set

This bestselling dumbbell set has an impressive average 4.8-star rating and comes in a variety of weight combinations.

According to London, you should have pairs of dumbbells in light, medium and heavy weights. You can use the latter for strength training, while the medium pair will come in handy for HIIT workouts. "If you want to do sculpt, where you're doing steady state nonstop with just a little bit of resistance, that's where the lighter dumbbells will come in."

Elite Sportz Sliders

Much like dumbbells, London said that gliders can be used by people of all fitness levels, from newbies to frequent gym-goers. Great for lower body, core and upper body workouts, these gliders are lightweight and compact so you can even bring them with you when traveling.

Bala Bangles

Bala Bangles are a popular choice because they come in different weights and can be used on either your wrists or ankles, London said. And unlike the gaudy ankle weights of the past, these ones are super stylish.

BalanceFrom GoFit Fully Adjustable Ankle Weights

These popular and top-rated ankle weights are another option. Wear them on your wrists or ankles for walks, jogs, cross-training and more to boost the intensity of your workout.

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 has a 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.

Manduka 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 said.

Hyperwear Sandbell

This portable training tool provides a slew of benefits for your body, from metabolic conditioning to total-body strengthening, said 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," Matthews told us. And with a soft neoprene cover, you don’t have to worry about damage to your floor.

Survival & Cross 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, celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson said. Stokes is also a huge fan. “Not a day goes by that I don't use mine,” she said.

Yes4All Total Body Workout Weighted Bar

If you already have all of the basics and are looking to take your home gym up a notch, London said that a body bar, like this one, can help you get creative during sculpt workouts.

RitFit Pilates Ring

"Sometimes we're so busy trying to make sure we tax our muscles, we forget to give them a chance to recover," London said. This Pilates ring can be used both during and after workouts to work and stretch tired muscles.

XTERRA Fitness Folding Exercise Bike

Not ready to splurge on an expensive stationary bike, but want to try your hand at cycling? This budget bike is a reviewer favorite. It features eight levels of resistance and an easy-to-read display that tracks your time, speed, calories burned and heart rate. The best part? You can fold it up after your ride to store in a closet or corner.

Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell

Whether you regularly do full-body workouts or are trying to build a specific muscle group, you'll want to have a kettlebell in your arsenal. This quality option has adjustable resistance, so you can switch the weight from eight pounds all the way up to 40 to suit your workout. Right now, you can get it for 40% off.

Perform Better Mini XL Band

These resistance bands give you a big fitness bang for your buck. Personal trainer and creator of the Stoked Method Kira Stokes says they're perfect to enhance mobility, strengthen your upper and lower body and work your core. This set of four bands ranges in resistance from light to heavy and also comes with an exercise manual.

Lifeline Stretch Bands

You can use these bands to tone your arms, abs and glutes! They come in different levels, depending on your strength and fitness goals. You can choose to get different sets of resistance bands, or you can double up on them if you need more resistance.

AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller

A long foam roller is another home gym essential for post-workout soreness (and, let’s be real, everyday life). This versatile roller helps relieve tight muscles, increase blood flow and work out the kinks all over your body.

Perfect Multi-Gym Bar

This isn't your regular pull-up bar. It can be used on the ground for exercises like pushups that target the triceps and biceps.

Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine

Rowing can be an effective total body workout, and now you can do it from the comfort of your home with this affordable machine. You can cycle through the 12 levels of resistance throughout your workout and track your progress on the digital monitor.

TRX Training GO Suspension Trainer Kit

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

Obé Fitness Classes

For a gym feel at home, Obé delivers over 2,500 live and on-demand classes for every mood, level and goal. Steaming is easy — you can take classes from your phone, tablet smart TV or laptop, and the service starts at just $27 a month.

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