10 Home Gym Must Haves
Aloha Flex Appealers! To get fit and stay fit for life, you DON’T need to join an expensive health club. But you DO NEED to train CONSISTENTLY. One of the very best ways to exercise regularly is to MAKE IT EASY and as CONVENIENT as possible.
The best way to workout for often is to create a designated space in your home as your HOME GYM. But there are so many choices, how do you know what to buy? I have made it easy for you and will outline what I have in my home gym and what products I recommend for any budget.
When I created Kiana’s Flex Appeal, one of the most popular segments I designed was the HOME GYM Segment. My main goal for the Home Gym segment was to show television viewers how to workout at home using simple portable equipment found at local sporting goods stores.
Having been working out my entire life, creating and hosting Kiana’s Flex Appeal, I’ve had the opportunity to try almost every fitness equipment on the market.
I recommend investing in quality home gym equipment that will literally last for years (I’ve had my dumbbells set since filming Kiana’s Flex Appeal at the Grand Wailea and they are like new!)
I’ve had a designated Home Gym area in my house for as long as I can remember. Even when in college, a corner of my dorm room for fitness with a couple sets of dumbbells. I even taught aerobics (yes, aerobics, leg warmers and all! lol) at the sorority house. I was a Pi Beta Phi, at UCSB University of California at Santa Barbara, a fun group of super athletic girls – shocker huh? Such fun times! I transferred to UCLA after 2 years to pursue a career in modeling and television.
10 Must Haves for your Home Gym
Recommended to purchase in this order
1. Dumbbells : There are 2 types to choose from for your home gym.
Adjustable: The best thing about these is that you can select what weight you want to use and they don’t take up a lot of space. The footprint is vertical instead of horizontal, and you can go from light to heavy weight with a click of the switch. I recommend the Power Blocks or the BowFlex adjustable weight sets. The BowFlex is more modern and sleek in appearance, with rounded edges and the Power Blocks are more, well, blocky. I used Power Blocks on Kiana’s Flex Appeal for years in my home gym segment and loved them!
Individual Dumbbells: This is what I use in my home gym. I have a dumbbell rack and have 3 lbs. – 45 lbs. It’s important to get quality dumbbells that won’t rust. Checkout recommended dumbbells here
2. Quality Home Gym Mat: A quality mat is a must have for any home gym. First, it creates a designated space for your home gym. It’s best if you can leave the home gym area set up to make it as easy as possible for you to workout. A quality mat not only protects your hard floors from weights but creates a more professional area to workout. Besides, training on carpet is just … gross! Ew! These mats are thicker for strength training, floor work and jumping rope. Avoid the thin, yoga type mats as they do not provide an anti slip padded area are not enough for weight training & don’t protect your knees for jumping rope. Shop Mats here
3. Fitness Bench : Flat or Adjustable
Flat Bench: If you are on a tight budget, I recommend a flat bench. Yes, you can do SOME exercises on a household chair or lying on the floor or in a bridge. However, it is much safer to use a sturdy fitness bench. The benches I”ve been using for years are very cost effective, sturdy, high quality and look great. See the Fitness Bench here.
Adjustable Bench: An Adjustable Bench allows you more variety for incline, flat and decline. Excellent options are the Power Deck or an Adjustable Weight Bench. I personally like adjustable weight benches as compared to the plastic step / bench combos that don’t feel as professional. However, if you are doing step aerobics or need portability such as taking an adjustable bench to clients, the Power Deck would be a better option for you.
4. Jump Rope Speed Rope and/or Weighted Jump Rope : I use both regularly. Speed Jump ropes are lighter and allow you to jump really fast. Weighted Jump Ropes shred your shoulders and actually are often easier to jump with since the weight of the rope makes the rope revolve more slowly.
5. Resistance Tubing & Strength Bands Choose yours here. I have used these for years on Kiana’s Flex Appeal ESPN Home Gym Segments. When I hosted the Fitness America Pageant(s) series for ESPN and the Body Building contests, men and women used these to pump up back stage.
I travel with these and toss them in my gym bag, too. They are wonderful for tightening and toning the entire body, for stretching and getting a full body workout anywhere. My husband and kids love them too! I use them for dynamic warm ups, total body strength circuits and active cool downs. Fun for partner exercises too!
6. Stretch Strap – stretching is very important. I had these straps made to make it easy to do partner – style stretches ALONE. I use these after EVERY Workout to stretch my body and increase blood flow. It’s important to stretch AFTER your workouts (not before) when your muscles are warm. I had my Stretch Straps made in both black or hot pink.
They are very strong and support up to 1500 lb. tension, I also use them to to pull my weighted sleds in the gym and to even strap my stand up paddle boards on my car when I go to the beach with my daughter.
7. Fitness Ball: These are a must have for any home gym. I use them to stretch and to do a variety of exercises for the entire body. They make a good option if you don’t have an exercise bench, too. My favorite exercises are adductor lower ab tucks, core / glutei rolls and inner thigh blasters. (see images below) Shop Fitness Balls here
8. Medicine Balls: I use 3 types of medicine balls: the 2 handled, small soft hand balls and traditional medicine balls. I use these every time I train. Balls are very versatile and can be used as weights for total body exercises, used for agility drills, abdominal exercises and partner exercises. If you’re budget allows it, get 1 of each. If not, get a slam ball for starters. Women: 6-10 lbs. Men: 20-30 lbs. Core 2 Handle Medicine Balls here. Traditional medicine balls here. Shop Soft Hand Balls here
9. Slam Ball: Slam balls are so fun to train with and I love slamming them, doing burpee slams, squat slams, lining up 3 and doing lateral shuffles and 3 slams, etc. Shop Slam Balls here
9a: Wall Ball: I love training with wall balls and use them a lot. Some of my favorite exercises to use them for are alternating reverse lunge bounces, side ways wall throws, deadlift bounce, partner passes and target tosses. Wall Balls are larger than slam balls and medicine balls. Remember, every time you change up the gear you use, you force your body to adapt and you get stronger and in shape faster. Shop Wall Balls here
10. Battling Ropes: Really fun and challenging to train with at home or in the gym. I’ve used so many types of battling ropes and the best ones I’ve found are NOT stiff, but flexible to perform various rope patterns. At home, you can attach it to the base of your weight rack with a strap attachment or purchase a metal holder for weight plates to secure the ropes. This is a great piece of gear if you want to workout with friends in your garage gym and get a competion going. You can use this to stabilize 1-12 people training with battling ropes.
ALL IN ONE OPTION - Don't want to piece it all together? A great option is a HOME GYM SET in small, medium or large if you don't want to purchase everything separately.
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