If you want to begin working out at home, it can be confusing to know where to start. I’ve put together the following list of supplies that I personally use and recommend to new and experienced exercisers alike.
Remember, even the best equipment does you no good if you aren’t using it correctly and safely, and with consistency. If you would like professional assistance in working out, please join my online exercise classes or let’s work together one-on-one with online personal training. I specialize in midlife and older adult women who are beginners. The best investment you can make is in yourself!
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For ladies getting started with strength training, dumbbells are a must-have! We use dumbbells in almost all of my classes and with personal training clients. This affordable dumbbell set with stand includes 3 pairs of weights in pretty colors — and it’s a super value! The dumbbells are covered in soft neoprene which is comfortable in your hands and easy to grip, making it a safer choice. Highly recommended rather than gripping cold, bare metal that is hard on your hands and can get slippery with sweat.
Two options available on Amazon:
Resistance tube with handles
A resistance tube (also called resistance band) is a simple but effective piece of exercise equipment that will help you increase your strength and improve mobility.
One of the best things about resistance bands is that they are so portable. You can take them anywhere, which makes them perfect for traveling and a hotel room workout. They take up little space in your luggage and weigh next to nothing. Resistance bands are ideal for working out at home or the office, and they’re very inexpensive. Plus, they’re considered safer than dumbbells because there is no need to worry about dropping it.
If budget and space are a concern, a resistance tube with handles gives you a lot of bang for the buck. We use them in my online and in-person exercise classes and with my personal training clients. Here’s a resistance tube workout I created that shows various exercises you can do.
I do advise going with a name-brand, high quality tube, rather than a cheap variety that might snap or tear.
I use and recommend the SPRI brand Resistance Tube with Handles. Start with a light resistance (yellow or green if using the SPRI brand tube). If ordering, get the one with the door attachment, which allows you to use the tube for a variety of additional exercises. The Door Attachment can also be purchased separately if you already have a resistance tube.
Until I worked out on a supportive mat, I didn’t realize just how much my body’s pressure was affecting my ability to do exercises in the proper form. Exercises on my knees, hands, hips and back were uncomfortable – and so I tended to avoid doing them. Previously I used a traditional thin yoga mat or towel, but it didn’t help much and I just figured that was the way it was. But once I got a better mat, I was able to do any kind of floor work much more comfortably. I was able to concentrate on proper form, instead of being distracted by discomfort.
This thick, high-density foam exercise mat is highly rated, and folds away for easy storage.
Wearing a good pair of supportive athletic shoes is a MUST. Yes, even for home workouts! It’s a big mistake not to.
For me, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS have been incredible, and a big reason I’ve been able to workout pain-free and can be on my feet all day as a fitness professional. While they are called running shoes, I wear them for everything, and have for many years.
Everyone’s foot is different. Fit and comfort are the most important considerations. So, find the shoe that’s right for you. See Amazon’s extensive selection of running and walking shoes here.
Beyond the basics
Here are some more fitness equipment and supplies that are definite nice-to-haves.
Treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike
If you have the space and budget to invest in a large piece of equipment, there are many options to choose from. Pick one that appeals to you. I have my elliptical (and before that, a treadmill) set up so that it’s facing a TV. It makes the time fly by!
Treadmill: Walking on a treadmill is how I lost 60 lbs. and what propelled me to success in my fitness and weight loss journey, so obviously I highly recommend it! Here’s a great one I found on Amazon.
Elliptical: An elliptical can give you a great cardio workout that is very low-impact on your joints. I love using mine! It really strengthens your legs without the uncomfortable impact on your feet, knees and hips that walking or running can have. I especially like using my elliptical during the winter, since I’m not riding my bike outdoors in the cold. Check this one out.
Stationary bike: Peloton bikes became a hot commodity during the pandemic lockdown. But if that brand is out of budget, there are competitors that offer similar features at a much lower price. Echelon Smart Connect Fitness Bike is one of them. If a traditional bike is uncomfortable for you, you might prefer a Recumbent Bike.
TRX is one of my favorite strength workouts and I use mine every week. With TRX you use your body weight and the system is adaptable for every fitness level, including beginners and older adults. There are seven movements that form the foundation of TRX exercises – push, pull, plank, rotate, hinge, lunge and squat. TRX can be used via a special mount anchored in your ceiling or wall, or you can attach it to a door. It can also be used outdoors if you attach it to a sturdy tree branch or swing-set frame.
I highly recommend getting the original TRX brand and NOT the cheap knockoffs. For quality and safety, it’s worth the extra money.
Smart watch/fitness tracker
Whether tracking your steps, heart rate, or total active time (or all of them), fitness trackers are a smart choice. There are many models to choose from. I have a Fitbit Versa. I would like my next one to be an Apple Watch. Here are all of the highest rated smartwatches on Amazon.
I finally got one two years ago and had a “Where have you been all my life?” experience. There simply is no substitute for an incredible deep tissue self-massage of achy muscles! I have the Sonic brand and love it. Try the Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun.
Feel the beat
For working out at home, motivating music is a must-have for me, and my clients and class participants have said the same. Here are a few options that I use and love.
Portable bluetooth speaker – my favorite is the ION Block Rocker. I use it in my home fitness studio, and take it with me when I do classes in the community. The sound quality is amazing, and it gets as loud as I want. I love it so much!
Bluetooth earbuds are a better option at home if you don’t want to wake up the whole house. I love my Apple AirPods, which I also use as both a speaker and mic when I conduct online classes and work with online clients. I also love my Shokz Open-Ear Headphones. With Shokz, you can still hear what is going on around you – which makes it a safer option outdoors than traditional earbuds. Both the AirPods and Shokz are also ideal if you are taking an online exercise class. You’ll be able to hear the instructions and music so much better than just relying on your computer speaker.
Join my online exercise classes or online personal training
Why go it alone? For expert assistance in working out, please join my online exercise classes or let’s work together one-on-one with online personal training. I specialize in midlife and older adult women who are beginners.