The Best Home Fitness Equipment

With advances in exercise science and functional equipment much better exercise programs can be performed at home at a fraction of the price.  Years ago the typical home exercise room would include  a bike, treadmill and a selectorized multi-stack weight machine that had the typical chest press, pull-down, shoulder press, leg press, chest flyes, bicep curls, etc.  A treadmill would be $2,000 -$4,000 and he weight machine itself would cost several thousand of dollars.   Another benefit as a result in advances in functional training is that you literally have hundreds of exercises available to you as opposed to just a few that the old weight machines offer.

The past few weeks I have had several people ask me what equipment they should have at home.  The following is a list of the essentials to have at home.

  • TRX Suspension Trainer.  It is best if you have a place in your home to bolt the TRX into the stud of a wall or suspend it from the ceiling.  It does come with a door anchor that you can suspend it from any door and remove it when finished but this would be my least favorite option, but it still works.  Cost $189.95

    TRX Suspension Trainer









  • Dumbbells.  For women the recommended weights in pairs are: 8 lbs., 10lbs., 12 lbs., 15 lbs., 20 lbs. Then single dumbbells of 25 lbs., 30 lbs., and 35 lbs.

For men the recommended weights in pairs are: 15 lbs., 20 lbs.,  25 lbs.,  30 lbs.,   35 lbs., 40 lbs., 45 lbs., and 50 lbs.

The price for Rubber Encased Dumbbells are about $1.49/lb.  Or, a set from 5 lbs. to 50 lbs., can be purchased for about $699.  Used Dumbbells can easily be found online for half the price.

  • Adjustable Incline Bench. Really any bench will work but a good one that adjusts inclines is about $1195.00.  Even a sturdy bench found at a garage sale or used sporting store will work and will probably cost a few hundred dollars or less.  The bench will be used for Bench Presses and Incline Bench Presses, Single Arm Row and what is called Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat, (RFESS).

    Adustable Bench






  • Pull-up Bar.  Don’t use the door jam mounted pull-up  bar because it is too narrow.  The best pull-up bar for home is the Beachbody Pull-up bar.  Even if you can’t do a pull-up, you can do assisted pull-ups by using bands or a chair.  One of my favorite exercises that all my clients hate are the, “jumping pull-ups.”  Costs: $75.oo

    Beachbody Pull-up Bar






  • Val Slides.  These are a must have because many foundational exercises can be used with Val Slides and they are super easy to travel with as well.  Cost $34.95

    Val Slides






  • Foam Roller.  This is for soft tissue work is vital before stretching!  I highly recommend soft tissue work every day using some kind of foam roller.  A 3′ long 6″ round PB Elite Foam Roller is about $23 and a 1′ long 6″ round is $10.95.  I prefer, “The Grid.”  It is 13″ long and 5″ round and costs $39.95.  Because it is hollow, you can pack the inside with socks, t-shirts, etc., for travel.  I packed a pair of shoes inside it on my recent trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  Having, “The Grid,” with me was a life saver.

    "The Grid"



  • Mini Bands.  Mini Bands are wonderful for activation work especially for the Gluteus Medius and for Shoulder Rotator Strengthening.  I would recommend purchasing the light strength (yellow), medium strength (green),  and the heavy strength (blue).  Cost is approximately $3.00 for each.

    Mini Bands




  • Ab Wheel/Ab Dolley.  The Abe Wheel is another easy device to take when traveling.  As for core work, the Ab Wheel is one of the best.  Cost.  $12.95  Another good tool is the Ab Dolly which is also very effective but a little easier to use than the Ab Wheel.

    Ab Wheel






Ab Dolly






Cardio Options for Home

When we think of cardiovascular work we automatically think of long distance running outside or on a treadmill, time on an elliptical or bike.  Below I have listed different options for cardiovascular work for home use which will better support the idea of performing our cardiovascular work in shorter higher intensity work efforts or what is called High Intensity Interval Training, (HIIT).  An example of a typical work to rest ratio would be 20 seconds of full effort with 40 seconds of rest, repeated 4-8 times.  If you already have a treadmill, bike or elliptical at home you can utilize the High Intensity Interval Training method on those machines as well.


Jump Rope

Pros:   Inexpensive, improves balance and agility, variety of movements, built-in difficulty factor, variety of movements.

Cons:  Steep skill level curve, high-impact on joints if not done correctly.

Approximately $15.

Keiser M3 Total Body Trainer

Pros:  Excellent total body work resulting in a better metabolic burn.  Easy to use for any age and ability. 

Cons:  High priced for this list but very reasonable when compared to other machines such as treadmills, bikes and ellipticals.

Approximately $1,800



Schwinn Airdyn

Pros:  Excellent total body work resulting in a better metabolic burn.  Easy to use for any age and ability.  Less money than the Keiser M3 Total Body Trainer. 

Cons:  Not as durable as the Keiser M3 Total Body Trainer, noisy because of the fan which can be problematic if you are watching TV or someone is sleeping near by.

Approximately $900. 

Slide Board

Pros:  Promotes lateral movements, good for balance, high metabolic burn, low impact.

Cons:  Steep skill level curve.

Price:  Approximately $300 – $500.


Pros:  Low impact, easy to use, anyone can use it, high metabolic burn, promotes balance, can also be used for core work and hamstring-glute activation, requires good form.

Cons:  Must be done with strict form to be effective. 

Price:  Approximately $325



My recommendation would be to acquire the Keiser M3 Total Body Trainer or the Schwinn Airdyne and the Slide Board.  With two items,  you can then switch routines for more variety and effectiveness.

There it you have it.  The number of exercise and routines that you can utilize with this equipment is several hundred and is exactly the same equipment that the top sports performance coaches use in their facilities.





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