For everyone who needs shiny new objects to entice them to exercise more.
I always feel refreshed, energized, and clear-headed after a morning run and have always savored that rush of adrenaline that comes with a particularly challenging workout. Plus, the science is clear. Regular exercise is an excellent way to improve your overall health — from lowering blood pressure to combatting depression, and even adding years to your life. But I’ve always had trouble sticking to a regular workout routine.
Each year, I’d embark on what was beginning to feel, after years of trying and failing, like a quixotic mission. It would always play out something like this. For the first two weeks of the year, I’d visit the gym three or four times a week, content in the knowledge that with each trip I was becoming stronger, fitter, healthier. But in the back half of the month, my resolve would begin to fade. Walking the three-quarters of a mile to the gym during a New York winter to lug around kettlebells and sweat on a treadmill for an hour felt less and less appealing as the month dragged on. And by the time the first major snow storm swept through the city, this California native will, without fail, have abandoned that weekly routine.
That was until the pandemic completely upended this tortured yearly ritual, and I was forced to develop an at-home regimen. That meant buying at least some equipment. I purchased a yoga mat, some kettlebells, a resistance band, and even got an elliptical from a friend. And guess what? I’ve finally managed to commit to exercising regularly throughout the year.
So if you’re aiming to be more active this year, building up your home gym might just be the nudge you need. We’ve rounded up our picks for the best workout equipment on the market today, with something for people at every fitness level, from ankle weights to kettlebells. Plus, if you’re still reeling from that scene in the Sex and the City revival and are in the market for a new exercise bike, we’ve got a Peloton alternative too.
Bodylastics Resistance Bands Set
These are some seriously high-quality bands. The set comes with five bands of varying resistance, which are specially designed to prevent overstretching. Handles, ankle straps, and a door anchor are also included to accommodate essentially any resistance band workout.
Lululemon Lift and Lengthen Yoga Block
Sometimes during your yoga practice, you need a little bit of help holding a certain pose. This foam block from Lululemon isn’t only aesthetically pleasing, but it’ll support you in challenging positions and offer a greater stretch for ones like “puppy” and “fish.”
Superfit 2-in-1 Folding Under Desk Treadmill
More often than not, there’s just no space for a large treadmill and all your other workout equipment. Thankfully, this one is small enough to be placed under a standing desk if you like to walk while you work, or you can pull up the handles and run or walk as you would on a regular treadmill. When not in use, you can stow it away under a couch or bed.
Alo Moves Year-Long Membership
Sometimes planning your workout is the hardest part of actually working out. If you’re anything like us, that can stop you from doing a workout at all. Thankfully, Alo Moves is a treasure trove of pre-planned workouts from a variety of different categories like dance, strength, mindfulness, and of course, yoga. A membership comes wrapped up in this nice box, and it’s even on sale at Nordstrom right now, so you can snag a full year of workouts for more than half off.
Planks are great for core strength, but they can get old pretty quickly. Try incorporating ab sliders into your workout for a more challenging (and fun) way to engage your core muscles. You can also use sliders for leg and glute workouts, and they hardly take up any space in your gear stash.
Les Mills+ Workout App
If you’re lucky enough to have a complete gym setup in your house, barbells and all, then the Les Mills+ program is a great option for you. The subscription-based app is full of weight training workouts that you can do with equipment, but there are also bodyweight options to choose from — or you can opt to do a cardio routine instead, as that’s also an available class on the app.
Alo Yoga Warrior Mat
If you’re ready to upgrade your yoga mat, this is the one to buy. While it’s a bit of an investment, it’s worth it; it’ll support your advanced yoga positions and is anti-odor, dry-wicking, slip-free, 100 percent formaldehyde-free, non-toxic, and PVC-free. It’ll stand the test of time, too.
Bala bangles have recently soared in popularity — and for good reason. They look more like a high-fashion statement piece (available in a handful of flattering colors) than a pair of wrist or ankle weights. They’re comfortable, easily adjustable, and a super simple way to elevate your workout.
If you’re someone who prefers the structure of a fitness class, the Mirror is the perfect addition to your home gym. The device streams live and on-demand classes, giving you access to a virtual instructor in your own home. It’s definitely a splurge, but if you’re already paying for pricey classes at boutique fitness studios, it may be worth the investment.
These kettlebells are a great budget buy. They’re available in seven different weights and have a wide handle that’s easy to grip for both single-hand and two-handed moves.
Gaiam Ankle Weights
If you’re searching for some heavier wrist and ankle weights, Gaiam makes a great-looking set, available in 5 pounds and 10 pounds.
Bowflex Select Tech 2080 Barbell
Bowflex’s SelectTech 2080 Barbell is really a great option if you like lifting and don’t want to clutter your home workout space. It comes with a straight barbell, a curved curl bar, and seven weight settings ranging from 20 to 80 pounds.
Yoga Accessories 1/4-inch Thick Yoga Mat:
A reliable yoga mat is a must-have for any home gym. This option from Amazon is affordable and comes in 30 different colors.
Nathan Zipster Fit Running Belt
Any runner will tell you that trying to run with your wallet, phone, and keys all jostling in your pockets is an incredibly annoying experience. This running belt has room to hold all of that and more, and is easily adjustable so it fits snug along your waist so it won’t bounce throughout your jog.
Perform Better Exercise Mini Bands
These mini resistance bands are perfect if you’re rehabbing an old injury, trying to increase your range of motion, or strengthening a specific region to prevent future injuries.
NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle
NordicTrack’s workout bike is an excellent alternative to Peloton. It has a 15-inch screen and the bike itself can automatically incline and change resistance to fit the workout set by your virtual trainer.