Your guide to building your home gym

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I often am asked about what equipment you need to be able to workout at home.  The home gym can be a blessing for a busy mom. While I still enjoy going to the gym, it isn’t always convenient.  The best part about having a home gym is there are no closing hours, no waiting to use the equipment, and no need for a sitter to watch your kids. Unfortunately, it can often be confusing to know what items you really need in your home gym.  That's why I’ve rounded up a list of amazing must-haves to add to your home gym.

A Dry Erase Board:  While this isn’t really “equipment”, but I feel like it is so important to have to jot down your workout, put some motivating quotes up, and record finish times/weights used.  A dry erase board is a great way to stay motivated and record your progress.

An Interval Timer:  I recommend the SecondsPro Timer App. You can download the free verison but I prefer the paid one that’s about $5.  One of the best things about the SecondsPro Timer is that you can add the name of each exercise (i.e. burpees, rest, overhead squats, etc.), so that I am not constantly having to look at my workout and know exactly what I am supposed to do next.  It also syncs with your music, so it continues to play music while you are going through your intervals.  You will need all three timers (interval timer, stopwatch, and timer), so make sure whichever app you’re using has all three variations of keeping time. Many phone and watch timers have all three.

Dumbbells:  The exercises you can do with dumbbells are seemingly endless so they justify their purchase immediately. Look for hex shaped dumbbells with black rubber coating – these last the longest and are most comfortable for working out. Get 3-5 sets in a range of weights to accommodate for different exercises and for the strength you will be gaining.  I recommended a set of 5 to 8 pound dumbbells, and at least one set of heavier weights of 25 to 30 pounds to use for exercises as you progress.

Kettlebell:  A lot of people will tell you kettlebells are not essential. Many kettlebell movements can be done similarly with a dumbbell. However, certain kettlebell movements are unique, and some movements just work better or are more challenging with a kettlebell. I think they are a worthwhile investment for the variety they can add to your workout routines. Look for kettlebells with big smooth handles and without a painted coating.  Start with a 10 to 12 pound kettlebell and then add heavier ones as your progress.
Jump Rope:  If you haven’t jumped rope since you were a kid, you’re in for a surprise! Turns out it’s harder than it looks, and it’s fantastic cardio. Jumping rope also works your coordination in a big way. If you are a beginner, get a durable rope and don’t worry about details. If you have some jumping skill, look for either a wire lightweight rope to work on speed and timing or a weighted rope to work on strength.

Medicine Ball:  A great tool for plyometrics as well as core strength movements, a medicine ball is an essential purchase. Whether you are throwing it, carrying it, or doing abdominal exercises with it, a medicinal ball provides you with many, many options. Look for a SOFT medicine ball so that it is forgiving when you do exercises involving throwing or catching it. If you are not sure about weight, err on the lighter side as many medicine ball exercises emphasize speed and power.

Plyo-Box:  Boxes are a great item for building explosive power and quickness. You can also use them for squatting, for bench dips, and for other non-jumping exercises. You can find these relatively inexpensive at various sporting goods stores. But, you can also build your own wooden box if you have the ability, or hire a friend. In a pinch, you can also just go down to the hardware store and purchase an irrigation box.

Resistance Bands:  Resistance bands are compact and easy to stow away when you're done with them, but they offer many ways to challenge your muscles and up the difficulty of your workout. Most resistance band kits ($19) come with different weighted bands, as well as a door attachment and workout ideas, so you can combine and change bands as you improve.

I've created a list on Amazon that you can access here to all the examples I've listed here plus some "wish" list items you may want as you begin to get stronger and need more of a  challenge! *I am not an Amazon affiliate and do not receive any money from your purchase.