10 Home Exercise Products That Are Actually Worth Buying

Before going full-on home gym, I spent 18 years working out in a variety of gyms and I loved it. I’m a big fan of gyms for the social aspect, the added motivation and the access to top-of-the-line equipment. But just because you have a gym membership that you actually use doesn’t mean you can’t also have a few things at home for doing other types of workouts that you don’t have time for at the gym, or for those days that you just can’t make it out the front door.

Here are 10 pieces of home-workout equipment that don’t cost much, don’t take up much space and provide a variety of good workouts to improve your fitness in the comfort of your bedroom, basement or living room. From ridiculously effective Bowflex dumbbells to the ridiculously cheap stretch band that will strengthen you from the inside out, get ready to up the ante.


Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym
Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym

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Marcy Diamond Elite Smith System with Linear Bearings
Marcy Diamond Elite Smith System with Linear Bearings

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Marcy Combo Smith Machine - Home Gym Equipment
Marcy Combo Smith Machine – Home Gym Equipment

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Gold's Gym GGSY29013 XRS 55 Home Gym System
Gold’s Gym GGSY29013 XRS 55 Home Gym System

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There are lots of cool exercises to be done on an exercise ball (also known as a Swiss ball), but the one made by SKLZ in Carlsbad, CA, comes with an excellent twist: It has a variety of exercises printed right on the ball. I’ve found these guidelines to be great motivation for doing more than simple crunches.

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3. Core Training Wheels

Core Training Wheels

Some big ab crunch machine isn’t the answer to training your core, but these are training wheels that can take you to a new level. Your core is what holds you together, joining top and bottom and making it solid. These devices come in a number of varieties and can give you a rock-solid midsection.

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4. Exercise Bands

There are a ton of different exercises to be done with resistance bands, and one of my favorites is the wood chop, since I don’t have a big, expensive cable machine in my basement.

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This 5-Move TRX Workout Will Sculpt Your Bod and Blast Mega Cals


5. Jump Rope

Jump Rope

If you’re going to get a jump rope, you should spend a few bucks and get a good one. These are great for accelerating the hell out of your heart rate, teaching you coordination and skill, and adding a plyometric component to your regimen that builds your leg power.

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6. Stretching Mat (with exercise guide)

Stretching Mat (with exercise guide)

Prolonged sitting is seriously bad for you and North Americans rack up ametric shirt-ton of TV time, which is why I think you need an exercise mat near your TV to inspire you to get up every once in a while and move a bit. But what to do? That’s why a mat with exercises printed right on it is the best bet.

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7. Adjustable Dumbbells

They’re dumbbells, yes, but what makes the Bowflex special is two things: You get a lot of different weight selections for less money than a bunch of individual weights, and they take up a lot less space than a full set.

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8. Free-Standing Punching Bag

I’ve had a Wavemaster in my basement for several years. They’re affordable, durable and can easily be rolled into a corner. Fill it with water and beat the hell out of it. There is merit in being skilled at throwing a hard punch or kick, because you never know when you might need it.

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9. TRX

The TRX strap was developed by a Navy SEAL to stay “mission ready” on the road. I have one in my basement, and it’s great. I use it at least three times a week in conjunction with all my free weights. Since I have a permanent setup, I opted for the ceiling anchor, which I do advise if you don’t mind drilling a couple holes. On the bright side, the TRX does unclip, so it’s not always hanging there. Otherwise, you can get it with a door anchor. Bottom line: They’re portable and very effective.

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10. Chin-Up Bar

I was skeptical of the “Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar” when it made its debut in TV commercials, but I’ve since had to reconsider my initial judgement. In fact, a friend of mine has one and raves about it. One perk of this tool is that it allows you to temporarily (and easily) turn a doorway into a multi-position chin-up bar for a low cost.

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