Getting to the gym isn’t always easy or practical, especially after a busy day at work, so it’s great to have a few bits of equipment around the house for when you want to get an awesome home workout. When it comes to home gyms the sky’s the limit in terms of the variety of stuff you could buy but I prefer to focus on a couple of key items which won’t break the bank and are versatile enough to be used for all kinds of moves – you don’t have to install a full Olympic lifting deck to get a good 30 minute workout!

Dumbbells

Massively versatile for upper body exercises, dumbbells are a classic piece of equipment. I have some fairly ‘light’ 8kg dumbbells which you can see in the pic at the top. These aren’t going to be particularly tough for chest presses (you can do press-ups for that) but they are great for leg exercises like walking lunges and squats or arm exercises like bicep curls, hammer curls and lateral raises. You can also use it as a substitute for the medicine ball when doing seated Russian twists.

Pull-up Bar

These are a great really cheap bit of equipment that you can hook over a doorway and use for either wide-grip pull-ups (to hit your lats) or narrow grip for more of a bicep curl. You can also put it on the floor and kind of use it for dips. This is what I have.

Stretching Mat

Don’t mess up those carpets! Pick one of these up for about £15 and you can use it for all kinds of stretches or for crunches as part of an ab workout.

Ab Roller

I love this thing! I was shown these by my PT and it’s a really great way to combine a good ab crunch with a stretch. I use it a couple of times a week after cardio. Try 3 sets of 10 reps.

Resistance bands

Resistance bands are possibly one of the most versatile pieces of gym equipment you can get. They come in a range of different sizes and strengths and you can use them for everything from bicep curls, bent-over rows and lateral raises to squats. Check out this link for all kinds of exercises. One of the great things about having resistance bands in your home gym is also the fact that they are really easy to store or even take away with you.

Foam roller

If you train 3 times a week or more then you’re going to be putting your muscles under a fair amount of work. Make sure you loosen up the muscle properly by doing both stretches and rolling out on one of these for 10-15 minutes hitting different areas of your body. An easy one to get in when you’re watching TV!

Get Shopping!

So that’s pretty much it. Like I said, a few pieces of equipment for your home gym which won’t break the bank, are super versatile and will get you a good workout when used in a circuit with high reps. Try this workout to get you started:

Upper body & abs workout

I recognise that this requires a certain amount of strength before attempting so if it’s too difficult then build up the reps over a couple of weeks. Also use only low weight dumbbells.

Combo 1

  • 10x normal push-ups
    • 30 sec break
  • 10x close triceps push-ups
    • 30 sec break
  • 10x wide grip pull-ups (using the bar)
    • 30 sec break
    • Repeat the above for 3 sets

Combo 2

  • 12x dumbell bicep curls
  • 12x dumbell hammer curls
  • 12xdumbell lateral raises
    • Repeat the above for 3 sets with 1 min rest between

Combo 3

  • 12x ab roller extensions
  • Plank (hold for 1 minute)
  • 12x jackknife
    • Repeat the above for 3 sets with 2 min rest between