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Whether you’ve just decided to take up weightlifting for the first time in your life or you’re a seasoned pro, having weight equipment in your home is a huge benefit. Resistance training is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your mind and body; not to mention it’s great for improving your body composition.
However, with so much equipment out there, how do you choose? We’re here to help you do exactly that by taking our own experience and pro recommendations.
Home gyms are all-encompassing sets of equipment that will work every muscle group in your body. These maximize space as you don’t have to purchase 10 different machines that will essentially do the same as this one home gym.
The Bowflex is probably the most famous example currently out there and is very effective. However, there are others which use your traditional weight stacks or even resistance bands to help you burn calories.
Note: Make sure the weight is set heavy enough so that when you come up to the last 1-2 reps of each set you’re really struggling to finish them, while keeping proper form.
Lat Pull-Downs: 3 sets of 15
Tricep Pushdown: 3 sets of 20 (note: If you’d instead like to superset the lat pull-downs with the tricep pushdowns, you can do that for extra burn)
Bicep Curl: 3 sets of 12
Chest Fly with Cables: 3 sets of 20
Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 15-20
Hamstring Curl: 3 sets of 20-25
This workout focuses on the protagonist/antagonist muscle groups so that when you work out one and exhaust it, the next exercise focuses on the complementary muscle group which will allow the exhausted group to rest, and vice-versa until the entire workout is completed.
You may see some cables used in full home gyms, but just plain cable machines are solely that. They almost always use weight stacks as resistance and are incredibly effective at training those little tiny muscles that are often forgotten about. They require intense focus while in use, and work well at correcting muscular imbalances.
Goblet Squat: 3 sets of 20
These are done by grasping the handle, pulling it up to your chest with both hands, keeping it at your chest while you perform squats as normal.
Pull-Through: 3 sets of 20.
These will require a rope attachment for best results. Take the rope, with your back facing the weight stack, pulling it between your legs and bending over. Make sure your back stays straight, with your chin tucked the entirety of the motion. Push your hips forward, acting as a lever, finishing by locking out the knees.
Chest Fly: 3 sets of 20
Seated Row: 4 sets of 25
Bicep Curl: 3 sets of 15-20
Tricep Pushdown: 3 sets of 15-20
Pilates is an incredible form of exercise that will put your mind and body in a world that will test your strength. Pilates reformers don’t require you to head to a classroom to do so, making them incredibly convenient and great tools for building strength and balance. These machines use springs, bands, and your own body weight to provide resistance and many come with handy training videos to make the most of your experience.
Footwork: 10 reps each foot position
Keep the balls of the feet on the foot bar with your heels lifted up and the knees shoulder width apart or narrower. Press your legs out, extending them, then as they’re extended, lowering the heels until the count of 3, then raise them for 3.
Leg Circles: Keep your legs up and together while your back is on the mat. Keep them rotated externally, outward from the hips. Bring them in at around 45 degrees, then as you exhale, bring the legs up. Inhale to sweep open.
Knee Stretch – Round Back: 8 reps
Place your hands on the foot bar and your knees on the mat. Keep your back rounded and stomach scooped, then stretch knees, opening and closing at the hip.
The squat rack is one of the most effective pieces of equipment you can have in your home gym. Squat racks allow you to perform compound exercises that really offer the best bang for your buck. If you’re serious about lifting weights, then we highly recommend getting one – even if it’s basic. Squats aren’t just limited to squats, either!
Squats: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Bicep Curls: 3 sets of 15 (remember you’ll need much lighter plates for this exercise than for squatting)
Deadlifts: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 15
Resistance bands are without a doubt the most portable, convenient forms of exercise equipment out there currently. They weigh next to nothing yet still provide enough resistance to seriously get you in shape. If you’re someone who’s living out of hotels and always on planes or trains, then stuff a few of these in your bag!
Single Arm Bicep Curl: 3 sets of 20
Perform these by placing two feet over one band and grabbing the remaining part with one hand, lifting up to perform a bicep curl.
Flyes: 2 sets of 20
Hold the band in both hands with your arms out to the sides and the band behind your back. Push the band straight in front of you, bringing your hands together as your arms are all the way extended and your chest muscles squeezed.
Front Squat: 3 sets of 15
Stand on the resistance band with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart. Pull the band to rest just on the front of your delts, lowering into a squat and back up.
Glute Bridge: 2 sets of 15
Place the resistance band looped right above your knees, lying flat on your back with knees bent and feet on the ground. Then, lifting your toes off the ground, raise your hips up until you’ve made a straight line from your knees to shoulders. Make sure your glutes are squeezed throughout the entire motion.
Kettlebells have exploded in popularity over the last 10 years, and are known to be incredibly effective at strengthening the body quickly while boosting mobility. Made of cast iron and dipped in vinyl coating, they’re made to last for years upon years to come.
As they’re easy to grasp, they’re often less intimidating to beginners than your regular dumbbells. Not only that, but if you’re an athlete looking to improve mobility instead of simply strengthening or gaining muscle, they’re perfect for that too.
Strict Press: 4 sets of 10 reps
Tricep Extension (one arm): 4 sets of 10 reps (each arm)
Kettlebell Swing: 3 sets of 15
Clean and Press: 3 sets of 10
Russian Twists: 3 sets of 10
Adjustable dumbbells are awesome pieces of equipment either if you don’t have the space or the budget to buy multiple sets of different weights of dumbbells. As you can add or subtract weight, you only need one set to get in an effective full-body workout. This also makes them great for beginners and pros, alike.
Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets of 15-20
Tricep Extensions: 3 sets of 15
Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 15
You can do these on a bench, which would be ideal, or do them on the floor or on an exercise mat if you don’t have one.
Walking Lunges: 3 sets, walking back and forth until you can no longer take a step. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, keeping them at your side as you perform the walking lunges. Make sure to keep your abs engaged and your spine straight.
Dumbbell Rows: 3 sets of 15-20
Most of us have used or at least seen a medicine ball before. These are the balls made of nylon, vinyl, rubber, PU, or even leather in some cases. Those you typically see in commercial gyms are made of rubber or polyurethane and are incredibly durable. Inside, there’s a filler which will consist of sand, rubber, or even just air.
Where medicine balls really excel are in rotational exercises, such as Russian Twists, offering strengthening opportunities in every plane of motion. While they’re great for throwing, catching, lifts, and rotations, remember that these are not made to be slammed onto the ground. That’s what slam balls are for!
Walking Lunges: 3 sets of walking back and forth until you can no longer take a step
Overhead Squats: 3 sets of 20
Hold the medicine ball to your chest or to increase difficulty, above your head, as you perform your squats
Bent Over Medicine Ball Row: 3 sets of 15
Deadlift: 3 sets of 20
Russian Twists: 3 sets of 15
Pushup with Medicine Ball: 3 sets until failure
These can be performed 2 different ways: 1. With the medicine ball under one hand while you do each rep, until failure. Then switch to the other hand and repeat until you’ve done 3 sets on each side. 2. With the ball under your feet.
Finally, we have the weighted vests which are pretty much exactly what they’re called. These vests are worn tight against the body, and come with little pockets for you to place weight in, or are already loaded with weight in the form of sand, usually. Even just walking around with these or standing will help burn more calories as your body is transporting more weight than it’s used to. These are great low, impact forms of exercise and are perfect if you’re just getting into the swing of things.
Pushups: 3 sets until failure
Walking Lunges: 3 sets of walking until failure
Pullups: 3 sets until failure
Jump Squat: 3 sets of 15
Now that you’ve had the chance to go through all of the best weight equipment for your home gym, do you know what gear you’re going to use first? We know that they’re all very different from one another, and they each do a specific job. No matter what level of fitness you are in or what your preferences are, there is something just for you and your needs.
We hope that our guide has been able to help you figure out what’s right for you so you can have fun and accomplish your fitness goals all at the same time. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you again shortly!