Home gym on a budget!
We’re programming workouts to be effective with the items that you have at home already, however if you want to build up a bit of a gym, here are our recommendations.
We’ve prioritized options that have multiple uses, rather than spending money on things that aren’t very useful outside of a single application (i.e. buy a single band before you get an entire set of dumbbells). Also, next time you go on vacation or a work trip, you can bring these items along for a little on the road fitness!
All links to order are included as well (note these things are also popular and the initial link might no longer be available or delayed when you read this).
Options that are from $5- $20:
ratchet strap $9.97
Pulling is often the hardest thing to do at home. Don’t spend $100 on a TRX. The fine folks at Powerathlete came up with this brilliant idea and you can use it later when you move! Loop it over the door, pull with the second strap and boom – pull ups for less than $10. We tried it and it works like a charm.
Monster bands. $15.75 – $20.75
You know them from the gym and they have SO many uses (curls, pressing, hamstring activation, stretching, you can tell time with them – kidding, you can’t). Better yet, you’re familiar with their tension. For most folks, a single blue or green band will get you alot of use for multiple applications. Probably no better overall value. If Rogue is out of them, here’s another option.
Resistance bands – $15.79 (for 5!)
Again, tools we use in the gym. How are they great? Let’s say you want to improve your squat (and also shoulders!), but you don’t have much/any weight. Slow it down, use one of these and build positional strength. These are used all the time in physical therapy practice because they work. Also, they are tiny and apartment friendly.
Buckets! – $3.48
Not kidding, we made a video about this. Just replace the metal handles with rope and you have a way to adjust weights and consolidate single things into one heavier option. Literally fill a bucket, hold it, squat. Boom.
Yoga/exericise mat – $12.99
Likely you have a floor that isn’t very forgiving when you lie on it. A mat can give you a nonslip surface with a little bit of padding to make movements safer and slightly more comfortable.
Lacrosse ball – $5.99
Recovery can’t be overlooked in training. A simple lacrosse ball can be used to work out aches from plantar fasciitis, to shoulder pain and everything in between. You’ll have it forever assuming your dog doesn’t eat it. No promises.
If you bought this entire list (which you don’t even need to do!), you’d have spent $63.97 and have a very formidable and dynamic apartment gym.
Options that cost a little more..
First of all. Prioritize. If you’re fortunate to have some money to spend. Don’t go crazy. Prioritize items that will last, have more than one use and aren’t going to take up alot of space.
For those of you OGs out there, this is largely what CrossFit started with and certainly our very own gym. Now, sand in your apartment can be tricky, but you can also get filler in rubber or other means. It’s a little more complicated, but you can use them for just about any movement (squat, clean, press, deadlift, carry…). In our experience with these, you do get what you pay for, less expensive bags often leak and have dodgy zippers. Goruck or Rogue are more expensive, but they hold up over time.
If you can buy one weight, a kettlebell is hard to beat. Lots of applications for it, small size and very useful. Remember, weights are generally a little more than a dollar a pound. If you want more, then a set of dumbbells at a modest weight (Don’t get something super heavy).
Limit weights that you buy to things that you can press overhead, that is likely the movement where you can lift the least, so make sure your choice is useful. We can always add reps or slow down pulling movements where you are relatively stronger with the same weight.
There are lots of options out there, but a good backpack that you can close and has buckles can be used for weighted carries (literally walk around with it), weighted push ups, rows and many more. If you want to get fancy, GoRuck makes them with the option for integrated weights. However, you don’t need all that for fitness.
Same goes for a weight vest. Sure they can be handy, but a backpack will accomplish the same idea and for less money.
Bars, plates, benches, rowers, GHDs…
Seriously, if anyone buys a GHD right now…
Yes, in a fully functional gym you would have access to these things, but consider how many movements can I get from one thing. In our videos we use a backpack or bag often, so can you! Also remember that you’re working out at home, don’t get big things or things that using will piss off your neighbors. You can construct a very useful set up from a backpack, single band, ratchet strap, bucket and laundry detergent bottle and spend less than $30.