An Introduction to Home Exercise Equipment for Beginners

A home gym is a great way to stay in shape and keep on track with your fitness goals. Whether you’re already a veteran athlete looking to save on gym fees or a fitness newbie just starting your first training program, setting up a home gym can be daunting.

What equipment is most important for your home? What should you keep in mind when buying pieces? We’re answering these questions and more in today’s article. We’ll examine plenty of equipment and cover its pros and cons as a starter piece so you can make an informed decision based on your fitness goals. Get ready to hit your home gym hard!

Key Takeaways:

  1. When setting up your home gym, purchase high-quality, basic equipment.
  2. Start with a few pieces of cardio workout equipment; if you have space and money, go for a treadmill machine or bike, or just try a simple jump rope!
  3. Strength training equipment is essential; consider investing in kettlebells, dumbbells, and/or barbells.
  4. You can add other “extra” equipment as you continue building your home gym.

The importance of starting with basic equipment

First thing first: we’ll discuss many different equipment options and details in this article. However, you do NOT need to rush out and buy every item immediately! That’s the quickest way to get burnt out and spend money on things you might not use. Instead, start simple. Identify your biggest workout goals so you know what equipment to prioritize. If you’re looking to up your cardio game, consider equipment like treadmills and ellipticals, or just invest in a good-quality jump rope if you’re on a budget! For rehab and strength, consider resistance bands or stability balls.

You should be prepared to work your entire body in your home gym and focus on equipment that helps you meet your goals. Consider getting a few versatile, essential pieces of fitness equipment, like kettlebells or dumbbells, and add a few specialized items tailored to your unique fitness goals. This approach allows you to invest in good-quality items that will last you for years–prioritize quality over quantity when starting your home gym!

Benefits of working out at home for beginners

Maybe you’re still on the fence about putting together a home gym. It can feel like an overwhelming task, but consider the benefits! First, you’ll save plenty of money on a pricey gym membership. While there are start-up costs to consider, if you buy good equipment, that will be your ONLY cost. Compare your one-time investment with months of gym fees; the savings add up quickly!

Another benefit of home workouts is the flexibility. Driving to and from the gym takes time, and if you’re on a busy schedule, making space for frequent gym visits can be challenging. If you’ve got a gym in your garage, your commute is just steps away! If you’re a parent, you don’t need to worry about finding childcare while you work out, either–you can keep an eye on your little one while you make those gains!

Finally, home gyms are ideal if you’re concerned about health and hygiene. Unlike at a gym, you get to pick who you share your equipment with–if you want to share at all. No need to worry about whose germs are lurking on that treadmill anymore!

Now that we’ve covered the primary benefits of a home gym, let’s look at some of the equipment you should consider purchasing.

Essential Equipment for Cardio and Strength Training

Regardless of your specific workout goals, cardio and strength are essential additions to your routine. Fortunately, there are at-home cardio options for every interest and budget! Below is some versatile home exercise equipment to get you started.

Beginner Cardio Equipment

Jump Ropes: Fitness Benefits and Usage

Cardio equipment is known to be bulky and pricey (treadmill, anyone?). Don’t get us wrong; an indoor bike or elliptical is a fantastic way to burn calories and get your heart pumping. However, if you’re on a budget or have space constraints, they might not be your best choice. Don’t worry, though; there’s still fitness gear to help get your cardio exercise in without filling your workout space or breaking the bank!

Meet the HeroStrength Speed Rope: a rope designed for fun and fitness. This isn’t your seven-year-old’s jump rope! It’s designed with a steel rope and light aluminum handles to help you pack in a heart-pumping cardio workout, no matter your space constraints. Plus, it’s easy to transport if you want some outdoor exercise or a lunch break cardio boost. The bottom line? Stock your home gym with a jump rope for effortless cardio!

Treadmills: Features to consider

The treadmill machine is the cardio OG for a reason. It allows you to walk, jog, and run without slogging through muggy summer days or freezing winter conditions. If you’re serious about cardio exercise, the treadmill might be a worthwhile investment as you start your home gym. However, the list of treadmill machines and features available can be daunting! Here are a few features that you should consider when you’re shopping for your best fit:

  • Motor size: Measured in CHP, a treadmill’s motor size tells you whether it’s best for slow walking or whether the machine can sustain long runs. A 2.0 CHP motor is suitable for light jogging and walking, while a treadmill with a CHP of 4.0 or higher will easily handle your longest and most grueling runs. Unsurprisingly, bigger motors will cost more, so consider your fitness goals–if you’re not really a runner, you probably don’t need to invest in a 4.5 CHP machine.
  • Weight capacity: Obviously, you want a treadmill that can handle your weight. What’s less well-known is that experts recommend getting a treadmill with a weight capacity at least 50 pounds above your weight. This will reduce strain on the motor and keep your treadmill running at top shape longer.
  • Deck length and width: If you’re taller, take long strides, or want to do lots of runs, a longer deck will be much better for you. If you’re shorter and prefer jogging, a more condensed deck will do just fine.
  • Extra features: Many treadmills let you set different incline levels or include snazzy features like fans, phone portals, and built-in screens. These features can be fun, but they will increase your price. Consider what’s most important for you, and don’t spend money on flashy extras that you won’t use.

Indoor Cycling Bikes: Advantages for beginners

A stationary bike is a great way to ease into cardio workouts. It’s low impact, gentle on joints, and protects you from the outside elements. You can change resistance settings and difficulty levels based on your fitness level, meaning that a stationary bike can grow with you no matter where you are on your exercise journey!

When choosing an indoor bike, pick one with plenty of adjustability options. The seat height and difficulty level must work for you at every stage. Like with treadmills, you should also consider how much you’re willing to pay for “extras” like screens, workout subscriptions, and heart rate monitors.

Ellipticals and Rowers: Full-body workout options

If you want to get your heart pumping and work your muscles, an elliptical machine or rower might be an excellent home investment! The elliptical is a lower-impact alternative to the treadmill, working similar muscles while being gentler on your joints. A rowing machine gives your back, arm, and core muscles an incredible workout!

When choosing an elliptical, consider the type of configuration you want, whether the elliptical size fits you, and if it offers the exercise intensity levels you want.

Rowing machines come in four major types: magnetic, air, hydraulic, and water. Try all four (at a gym or store) and pick the machine that fits your home needs.

Alternative Cardio Options: Jumping jacks, power walking, and outdoor running

What if you just don’t have the space for a cardio machine? No worries! You can still get cardio exercise without keeping that gym membership. Consider equipment-free workouts, like jumping jacks. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air with power walking or a brisk run. If you live in a temperate climate, you might be able to do outdoor cardio all year long. If not, search online for home bodyweight cardio workouts–there are plenty out there!

Strength Training Equipment

Strength training is essential to help you build muscle and keep your body strong! There are many types of weights on the market, and you don’t need to buy each kind when starting out! Below is our guide to some of the strength training equipment available and how to decide what’s best for your home gym.

Resistance Bands: Versatility and types

Resistance bands are the perfect exercise tools for strength and mobility. If you’re a beginner to strength training or doing rehab or physical therapy, you should add some bands to your home gym collection. Plus, resistance bands are perfect for smaller home spaces because they’re easy to tuck away and extremely transportable! If you’re looking for high-quality resistance bands, look no further than the Herostrength Power Bands and Herostrength Fit Bands! Fit bands are made from latex and come in 8 different sizes, so you can find the perfect band for all your workout needs. Power bands are made from pure cotton inlaid with rubber, and they come in a set of 3 that’s an automatic addition to your home gym setup.

Stability Balls: Core strengthening and balance

Your core is an essential but often overlooked part of strength training. A weak core limits the effectiveness of your other home workouts and can cause health problems, so keeping it in top shape is crucial. Stability balls are a versatile workout tool you can deflate and store in a small space. A stability exercise ball is a perfect addition to your home gym if you want exercise equipment to strengthen your core and improve your balance. Plus, your ball can double as a chair replacement around the house to promote balance, even when you’re not working out.

Our Herostrength “Stability” Balls come in 3 sizes for all your workout needs. They’re made from high-quality vinyl that can support up to 500 pounds, so there’s no need to worry about babying your ball. It can handle your most aggressive home workout!

Dumbbells: Adjustable vs. fixed weights

It’s the age-old question: should you choose adjustable or fixed-weight dumbbells? When setting up your home gym, you probably don’t have the space or budget to purchase both. The best type for you depends entirely on your home space, preferences, and personal goals. Below are key factors to consider:

Adjustable Dumbbells

  • More compact (for smaller home spaces)
  • Take more time to set up
  • Can be more budget-friendly
  • Generally have a smaller maximum weight

Fixed Dumbbells

  • Require more home space to store
  • Generally more durable
  • Come at a higher price point
  • Offer a higher maximum weight

Regardless of the type you choose, Hampton has the perfect dumbbell for your home needs! Check out our extensive collection of fixed and adjustable dumbbells and weights to find the best fit for your home gym.

Kettlebells: Benefits for full-body workouts

As an alternative or addition to the dumbbell for your at-home setup, the kettlebell can’t be beat. From rows to cleans to swings, kettlebells pack the perfect cardio and strength training combo. 

Kettlebells are especially useful if you plan to do a lot of full-body workouts in your home gym. If you find yourself short on time, just 30 or 45 minutes of exercise with some good kettlebells can work all the muscles in your body while keeping your heart rate up. For the best urethane kettlebells–and racks to keep your equipment organized in your home gym–check out Hampton’s kettlebell collection. The urethane makes these bells hardy and weatherproof, ensuring they’ll stick with you for years of intense home workouts and daily wear and tear.

Barbells and Plate Weights: Advanced strength training

If strength training isn’t your top priority, kettlebells or resistance bands might be all you need for your home gym. However, barbells are an absolute must if you want to get serious about lifting weights. This equipment can be a significant investment between the bars and the plates, so take your time when choosing the right lifting products for your home gym! Below are some factors to consider:

  • Tensile strength: This metric helps determine how durable the bar will be. A tensile strength PSI of 150,000 or more indicates good quality. If you’re into lifting extremely heavy weights and are willing to spend the extra money, a 180,000 or higher PSI means the highest durability–our American Power Bar, for example, comes in at 185,000 PSI.
  • Material/coating: What is the bar made of? Look for stainless steel, cerakote coating, and chrome sleeve coating for the highest quality.
  • Yield strength: This metric tells you how much weight you can load onto your bar without it bending or becoming unsafe. The yield strength you need depends on how much you plan to lift weights regularly. Your budget is also a factor, as bars with a higher yield strength usually cost more.

If you’re searching for high-quality barbells and plates, check out our products at Hampton. We offer a variety of battle-tested equipment that’s designed to stay in your home gym for years.

Specialized Equipment

While standard equipment like dumbbells and bars might come to mind first when you’re thinking of the best home gym equipment for beginners, there are other specialized pieces of equipment that you might want to consider. 

Pull-Up Bars: Doorway options and benefits

Pull-ups are, of course, a great way to strengthen your core and arm muscles. Wall and ceiling pull-up bars are great options to add to your home gym. Is space at a premium for you? If so, consider a doorway pull-up bar. You can place this in any doorway in your home and get a little workout every time you walk through the door. 

Whatever type of pull-up equipment you choose, the benefits of this exercise can’t be denied! Improvements you can expect include better posture, lower blood pressure, core and muscle strengthening, and fat burning.

Balance Trainer Balls: Core strengthening and stability

Work on your core and balance with a good exercise trainer ball. A BOSU (Both Sides Utilized) ball is an inflated half-dome you can use on both sides. Flip it so the flat side faces up for more challenging balance exercises! The balance trainer ball is an excellent addition to the stability ball to round out your home gym.

Suspension Trainers: Full-body workouts with minimal equipment

With a few rings and other suspension gear, you can strengthen your core and increase your functional strength at home. A suspension trainer is a great way to get a full-body workout in, and it’s highly versatile–with just a few modifications, you can use the trainer for anything from squats to rows.

Consider space and storage if you’re adding a suspension trainer to your home gym.

Plyo Boxes: Exercises for leg strength and cardio

If your workout goals include explosive strength and agility, the plyo box is essential for your home gym repertoire. It allows you to practice jumps and other plyometric moves, incorporate compound exercises, and strengthen muscles. When choosing a plyo box for your home, you can’t go wrong with the HEROSTRENGTH “Jump” Box! It’s a 3-in-1 box that you can flip to give you three different configurations for your workout. It’s made of soft, high-density foam to cushion your joints and prevent injury. The anti-slip surface gives beginners the confidence to tackle jumps without worrying about slipping off the box. To up your home gym plyometrics game, take home a Jump! Box…you won’t regret it!

Rock Climbing Rings: Unique pull-up variations

Want to add some fun and excitement to your home gym? Try an off-the-wall solution: rock climbing rings. You can use a set of rings to create obstacle courses and training routines. All you need is a series of anchor points to hang the rings. You can use anything from a pull-up bar to a beam; just ensure your anchor points are strong enough to hold your weight comfortably!

The rings are a fun and effective way to improve grip and core strength. You can still benefit from climbing rings even if you’re not a dedicated rock climber. Rock climbing rings are the perfect solution if you want to get outside the box with your home gym fitness setup.

Yoga Mats: Importance for floor exercises

If you plan to regularly do floor exercises, yoga, and/or pilates, you need a good mat to protect your joints and keep you off the bare floor. Stretches are also essential before and after any grueling workout, and a yoga mat will make the whole experience much more pleasant.

The HEROSTRENGTH “Focus” Mat is 5 mm thick, making it durable enough to protect you from that concrete basement floor. It’s also transportable: use the provided carrying case to store it in style or take it with you for on-the-go fitness.

Additional Equipment for a Complete Workout

We’ve covered some of the most essential home gym workout tools. However, there are additional pieces of equipment that you should consider if you have specialized workout goals or if you already have the basics and want to expand your home gym. Here are a few:

Ab Wheels and Gliding Discs: Core strengthening tools

The ab wheel is a compact tool that works your core and requires minimal fuss or storage space. You can even use it to multitask, sneaking in an ab workout while you watch your favorite show. You may find that this nifty little powerhouse doesn’t stay in your home gym space!

Gliding discs are similar tools that require little space or investment and can be used almost anywhere. They’re perfect for core strengthening!

Weighted Vests: Adding resistance to bodyweight exercises

Weighted vests use sandbags, steel bars, or other weights to add resistance to everyday workouts. These vests are a great option if you’re short on time and want to get more of a workout in a smaller time frame or regularly do bodyweight exercises and want to increase the intensity level. 

Once you purchase a weighted vest for your home gym, you can use it during everyday activities, from gardening to vacuuming and walking the dog. It’s a great way to sneak in some extra training during your busy day!

Battle Ropes and Punching Bags: High-intensity workout options

For a strong core and toned arm and back muscles, you can’t go wrong with a battle rope as an addition to your home gym. It’s also a great way to get some cardio into your day in a fun way. Just ensure you have the space in your home gym, as a larger battle rope requires some open floor space so you don’t knock anything over while knocking out your daily HIIT workout!

For a durable, high-quality battle rope that will enhance your home gym equipment, check out the HEROSTRENGTH “Battle” Rope. It comes in 30 and 50-foot lengths, allowing you to choose the best rope for your home workouts. The polypropylene fiber rope and rubber handles will keep up with your every workout!

In addition to battle ropes, punching bags are another great option for cardio and strength. If you plan to add a bag to your home gym, knowing the common types is helpful. Here’s what to know about each:

  • Freestanding Bag: Great for kicks or if you don’t have great wall or ceiling mount options at home.
  • Speed Bag: Helps with agility and endurance workouts; usually smaller than other bags.
  • Hanging Bag: The classic punching bag; it won’t tip over but requires a strong anchor point.

Power Towers and Squat Racks: Advanced strength training setups

Power towers and squat racks are great “extras” if you’ve already established your home gym, love strength training, and want to add equipment to your fitness setup. Power towers are great for upper body and ab workouts; just remember that they take up some space! Similarly, squat racks help you safely add heavier weights to your squat and press workouts. If you’re picking out a squat rack, just be sure to prioritize safety–a good quality squat rack is essential, as you’ll be using it to hold heavy weights!

The market of home exercise equipment for beginners can seem overwhelming. However, if you’re looking to ditch the gym membership and create an at-home fitness setup, there are only a few essential pieces of equipment that you really need! Identify your primary home exercise training goals, invest in a few quality pieces that cover the basics (strength, cardio, and any specialized exercises you’d like to perform), and you’re ready to get started!

Plus, once you’ve set up shop, there are so many cool workout tools that you can slowly add to your collection. 

Whatever your home gym goals, we have the equipment for you at Hampton Fitness! Browse our high-quality pieces to get you started on your home fitness journey.