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Building a home gym

Published in Weight Management, For the Health of It Author: Alyssa Monson, Registered Dietitian

Gym memberships can get expensive. And depending on your schedule, it may be easier to work out from home. Check out the ideas for building your own home gym without breaking the bank.

Price guide

$ = $0-$25
$$ = $26-$100
$$$ = $101-$200
$$$$ = $201+


Yoga mat/exercise mat
Yoga mats allow you to do a variety of exercises without slipping or getting carpet burn. They also provide cushioning for floor exercises and higher impact routines. Most brands range from $10 to $25.

Resistance bands
Resistance bands allow you to exercise the same muscle groups as dumbbells, but they are portable and do not take up as much space. Get a few different resistances to allow to combine them to get your perfect level. Resistance bands range from $5 for 1 band to $30 for a set.

Stability ball
Stability balls can be used for a variety of exercises. Sit on it to add a challenge during your core exercises or place your feet on it and pull towards your body for a hamstring curl that engages your glutes and core. You also can use it as an office chair to strengthen your core and improve posture while you work. Make sure to get a size that is appropriate for your height. Depending on the size, most brands run from $15-$25.

Dumbbells and kettlebells are great alternatives for resistance bands and allow for more range of motion. There are also full dumbbell/kettlebell workouts you can do to that include cardio while also strengthening your muscles. Kettlebells and dumbbells can range quite a bit depending on brand and features. Basic models range from $10-$25.

Jump rope
Let out your inner child and have fun with this cardio tool. Jumping rope can burn up to 10 calories per minute! This inexpensive home gym tool will have your sweating no time. For extra intensity, you also can purchase a weight jump rope. Most brands range from $5 to $15 while weighted ropes can run up to $50.

Exercise videos
Not sure what to do or need help to stay focused during your exercise time? The coach in the videos will guide you through the exercise and keep you motivated during the session. Exercise videos are available for a variety of exercise types and levels so be sure to include these in your home gym. Most videos can range between $10-$25, while full exercise programs (P90X or similar) can cost $100+.


Medicine ball
Medicine balls allow you to add more resistance to a variety of exercises. They work great for adding weight to your regular core exercises and add some extra intensity to your plyometrics routine. Medicine balls range from $25 to $100 depending on the outer material and weight you choose.

Aerobic step
Use your step to add another degree of difficulty to lunges or get your cardio in and do a step routine. You also can use it to add difficulty to a variety of body weight exercises. A step and four risers, which allows you to adjust the height, average about $45-$55.

BOSU ball
A BOSU ball is basically a stability ball with a flat base you can stand on. Standing on a BOSU ball while doing any standing activity allows you to train your core and stabilizing muscles while also training other muscle groups (i.e., biceps while doing arm curls). BOSU balls range in cost between $60-$80.


Boxing bag
Boxing bags are helpful to add variety into your cardio routine. Some may even use it to train in self-defense or as a way to relieve stress. Before purchasing one, make sure you have a place to hang it safely and also consider purchasing boxing gloves to protect your hands. If you haven't boxed before, you may think about taking a kickboxing class or boxing class to work on form and prevent injury. Boxing bags can range from $60 to $150.


Cardio equipment
Treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes are all great for getting your cardio in when there is inclement weather or you need a low impact option for cardio. They can be quite expensive and take up a lot of space so make sure it will be used more than just as a nice piece of home decor. Depending on brand and features, cardio machines cost anywhere from $200 for a basic model to $1,000+ for the more high-tech models.