It's Wednesday 10th February 2021, and as of right now, gym equipment has never been more expensive. Gyms are still closed, due to Covid19, which has forced the price of most equipment sky high.
We also have no idea when the gyms will open back up, and if they do, how long before we're put back into a national lockdown and back relying on EVEN MORE bodyweight circuits.
But, obtaining a small home gym set up, in order to continue progressing and get some really well rounded sessions in, isn't out of the question... if you know what and where to buy.
If I had 250 squid right now and my goal was to improve overall fitness and strength, here's what I would buy...
(please note the products below may have changed price, be out of stock or discontinued since this article was written)
1 - Suspension Trainer
£14.99 - Decathlon
This is probably the most versatile piece of kit you can own and it's the reason it's first on my list. There isn't one muscle group that won't benefit from this being in your arsenal, none more so than back.
This muscle group is notoriously limited in options when training at home, but the suspension trainer will give you some much needed weight for hitting many different angles when working your back.
2 - Kettlebell 12kg
£34.99 - Decathlon
Another versatile piece of kit that can be worked into conditioning circuits to push the heart rate or be used to isolate and build muscles. For someone looking to undertake well balanced sessions, this is a must!
12kg in weight because its the higher end of what most intermediate gym goers are comfortable swinging around.
2 - Ab Wheel
£6.99 - Decathlon
Don't let the name fool you. The ab wheel is more than just for abs. This tool is fantastic for not only building the abs, but also strengthening and stabilising round the shoulders, lower back and shoulder blades.
All very important if you're planning on doing fast explosive movements whilst under load. Another essential!
(Before you mention it... I don't have a sponsorship deal with decathlon lol! I trust their products after many years of buying from them - also very reasonably priced)
4 - Resistance Band Set
£31.98 - Amazon
Fourth piece of kit and we're still under £90. The resistance bands are the most reccoemended thing to my clients over the past year.
This set of resistance bands comes complete with both handles and Velcro straps. Meaning they can be used by themselves or combined with other weights (kettlebells/dumbbells) to add much needed tension to some of your main compound lifts i.e. squats, overhead presses etc.
They can also be hooked over a door, opening the possibility for more back exercises along with the replication of a Ski Erg - you grab the bands either end and ferociously pull down replicating a skiing motion - a great exercise we've made good use of during HIIT circuits over zoom.
5 - Dumbbells 5kg
£34.97 - Amazon
The gym equipment that's currently being traded as a commodity - Dumbbells! I searched high and low and these were the cheapest I could find. Prices for the same weight went up to around 80£ (yes, my thoughts exactly).
A couple of 5kg's because again they are flexible enough to use in a variety of ways. This piece of kit also opens up the option for hammer grip press ups which I'm a huge fan of.
6 - Slam Ball 6kg
£39.95 - Amazon
The slam ball is a favourite here at our personal training studio in Sheffield. It's an explosive full body exercise that's sure to get the heart rate sky high and shoulders burning.
There's also something weirdly satisfying about driving a ball into the floor as hard as you can. A real stress reliever. The type of exercise I throw in if I know someones had a bad day. Well worth the purchase for your home gym!
7 - Reebok Stepper
£79.95 - Newitts
Now this is by far the most expensive purchase bit of kit. And truth be told there are a lot of cheaper alternatives out there. So why this one?
Well, the cheaper alternatives are cheaper for a reason. They tend to loosen very easily, especially during exercise (I have the gym fail anecdote to go with this piece of equipment).
The Reebok stepper however, is much sturdier, preventing any unnecessary injuries and after having one for over 4 years (and it gets a hammering too) I can say they really last the test of time. Well worth the extra mula!
As with most the equipment on this list, the Reebok steppers can be extremely versatile. I use it primarily in conditioning/HIIT circuits.
But it can also be used to isolate muscles. For example - Raised feet press up, raised feet pike press. I also detach the blocks underneath and stand on the small step whilst doing kettlebell deadlifts to give greater depth. With glutes a hot topic in women's training at the moment, this is also the perfect platform to glute bridges off.
Needless to say - another essential!
8 - Exercise Mat
£4.87 - Amazon
No home gym set up is complete without the trusty exercise mat. Its comes into play during those ab circuits which require some cushioning for your back, or when your doing burpees in bare feet, or potentially for those unwinding yoga sessions.
A great all rounder to complete this list!
And that's £250 spent up (£248.69 to be exact) - if I was rebuilding the R5 studio those would be my first purchases. I will note that some of the items exclude shipping costs so be aware of that.
I hope this gives you a better idea of what to go for if you're creating a home gym from scratch, or if you're simply looking to add to what you already have.