If there’s one thing you know about yourself, it’s that you HATE going to the gym.

But you know you should. After all, you know that getting in quality workouts is one of the ways you can take care of yourself.

Staying at home sounds so much better, though.

Is there a way to get in quality workouts at home?


And with my list of the best home exercise equipment for beginners, we’re going to move you from couch potato to fit and fabulous in no time.

First Published: February 11, 2016… Last Updated: November 20, 2019

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As a personal trainer who works with clients in their homes, I like to teach my clients how to use everyday objects– like ottomans, coffee tables, and counter tops– in their workouts so they can minimize the amount and types of equipment they need to purchase (and store).

That said, there are a few essential pieces of equipment that will help you amp up your workouts and take your fitness to the next level. You’re worth the small investment for how much these items will pay off over time.

And if you need exercise tips to get you started, check out my article Fitness for Real Life: A Beginners Guide.


Best Home Exercise Equipment for Beginners: A Personal Trainer’s Guide

For people who want to spend a little money on equipment for at home workouts, there are three absolute must-have items: a quality yoga mat, a set of resistance tubes, and a set of dumbbells. Let’s take a look at how these basic items can get you on the road to fitness.


A good quality yoga mat offers protection for your joints and greater comfort when performing floor exercises. Whether you are looking to strengthen your core muscles or stretch out after your workout, you’ll need a yoga mat. Opting for one that is 1/2″ or greater offers the cushioning you’ll appreciate after a tough workout.

Give this at-home easy ladder workout a try and see how you can really make yourself work with a simple yoga mat as your only equipment!


Buying a resistance tube or two is the least expensive way to bump your workouts from body weight to true resistance training. These tubes are an essential item in any beginner’s home gym. They offer a way to challenge your muscles where you can control just how much work they have to do based on a few simple factors:

  • how thick the tube is– thinner is easier than thicker.
  • whether you hold the tube by the handles or on the tube itself– making the tube length shorter and pulling offers more resistance.
  • whether you’re holding the tube by both handles or are doing single-side exercises using the tube as an anchor point.

Curious if these basic resistance tubes can actually give you a good workout? Try my awesome small space workout that uses a yoga mat and resistance tube as the only equipment.

BONUS: While resistance tubes are some of the best home exercise equipment for beginners, they’re ideal because they are easy to take with you when you travel. And when you create an exercise habit that sticks, you’ll want to get your workout in even when you’re away!


A few pair of good quality dumbbells are the final piece of kit that make up the best home exercise equipment for beginners. Depending on your base level of fitness, I recommend purchasing pairs of 3 pounds, 5 or 6 pounds, and 8 or 10 pounds. Different weights are appropriate to use for different exercises.

You’ll use the lighter weights for upper body exercises and heavier weights to add challenge to low body exercises. It’s amazing how adding just a little bit of weight really increases your effort level.

You can even buy sets of dumbbells like those pictured above that come with a handy storage tower.


If you feel committed to exercising at home and want to invest in something that will last a lifetime, my absolute favorite piece of home exercise equipment is the Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbells. With weight increments from 5 to 52.5 pounds, this is the best way to get a full set of dumbbells that will work for any exercise you want to do.

I purchased a set of these all-in-one dumbbells nearly ten years ago, and I have never had a single issue with them. I love that they offer so many different weight options– all in a space-saving design. And because I know that women over 40 need muscle, I have no excuse to not use them regularly!

This basic equipment makes exercising more enjoyable because it allows for variety in workouts. By varying using body weight, bands, and dumbbells you can try a huge range of exercises that will work your major muscle groups– all from the comfort of home.


Other Home Exercise Equipment Beginners Might Enjoy

If you’re ready to move beyond the bare-bones basics of home gym equipment, the three next best home exercise equipment for beginners items are a stability ball, an aerobics step, and a pull up bar.

I also encourage people to buy a stability ball. Yes, these things are huge and unwieldy. But they can be used for a wide variety of exercises that challenge low body strength, core strength and stability, and balance. As such, they are a worthwhile investment and a necessary component of any home gym– no matter how modest.

You can also sit on the stability ball while at the computer or watching TV for some passive core work. Who wouldn’t want to improve their posture while doing everyday activities?

An aerobics step may not be the first thing you think of as an essential piece of home gym equipment, but it is! A good quality (this is not a place to cheap out!!) step serves multiple uses in your home gym

The step serve its obvious function offering a way to step up an down to raise your heart rate. Add a little music and simple choreography– like those from the popular Cathe Friedrich— and you’ve got a great cardio workout right in your living room.

You can also use the step as a weight bench or push up platform. This is why buying a quality step with a soft top (like the one pictured above) is worth the investment. Being able to lie down on the bench to do exercises like chest presses and triceps extensions makes the step multi-functional. And having a soft spot for your hands while doing pushups lets you focus on keeping the work in your chest and triceps.


Really? A pull up bar is for beginners? Yes, ma’am!

Even beginners can learn the first steps to doing a pull up. Learning to do a pull up challenges your upper body, back, and core muscles. It’s a fantastic way to work on your muscular coordination, too. Conquering the pull up will make you feel like you can conquer the world.

No interest in learning to do a pull up? That’s okay. An adjustable-height pull up bar is still a useful piece of home exercise equipment for beginners because it can be used for body rows, push ups, triceps dips, or even to hold your toes when doing core exercises.


Did I leave anything off of my list of best home exercise equipment for beginners? Leave me your must-have items in the comments!

You can check out even more of the best home exercise equipment for beginners

by clicking here!



Karen Shopoff Rooff is an ACE certified personal trainer and health coach. The Well Balanced Women blog is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please discuss your health issues with a licensed medical practitioner.

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