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How to Build a Home Gym Without Breaking the Bank

You know you want to get stronger but you’re allergic to a big gym. The bros. The smell. The overwhelming choices of machines and weights. You’d rather workout in the privacy of your own home.

You’ve been doing body weight exercises like virtual barre or yoga classes, but they’re just not cutting it anymore.

Here is my list of essential home gym equipment if you want to get stronger, have more visible muscle tone, and not break the bank.


  • Great for home gym

  • Can use for both upper body routines (overhead pressing, rows, chops) and lower body routines (squats, lunges, deadlifts)

  • Get 1-2 heavy and 1-2 medium weight, you can level up later.

  • I use Perform Better, solid brand with good long lasting quality, but there are solid options on Amazon for less, if that’s your jam, like this one. Target sells heavy dumbbells too.

  • I can’t recommend adjustable hand weights. They’re too bulky for my home gym needs and a bit cumbersome to change weights quickly. Plus the locking nut gets loose on some models, so safety and rattling sounds become an issue. But a couple of fitness friends love their set, so...

  • Main Con: once you get used to the weight you’ll need to buy a heavier one - so over time it becomes an investment and a storage space issue. Especially if you don’t foresee joining a gym any time soon.


  • Multiuse for strength and power

  • Can use for upper body and lower body routines PLUS plyometrics (kettlebell swinging & fast paced exercises, so fun!)

  • Get 1 kettlebell that you can press overhead with moderate challenge (10-17lb if you’re new to this)

  • Get 1-2 heavier kettlebells (25-40lb and a 45-70lb)

  • Heavier bells can be used with one hand or two hands, this makes it versitile

  • I highly recommend Rogue Fitness - great customer service, super quality, an investment & commitment to yourself for your lifelong health goals

  • Kettlebells are usually listed in Kilograms (metric system), you’ll have to convert to pounds if that’s all you know

  • Main Con: Can scratch wood floors, so you’ll have to invest in a floor mat OR simply put felt pads on the bottom of the bell for easy sliding and floor care


  • Versatile, lightweight, travel-friendly equipment

  • Can use for upper body and lower body exercises

  • Great for people that need assistance with balance work

  • Excellent for pull-up exercises and shoulder work

  • Can be fun to play with in planks and pushups

  • Many gyms have them, but can easily adapt to home use (I use it at the gym, so can’t give advice on how to set it up at home)

  • Many options to purchase at Target, Amazon, REI, etc.

  • Main CON: you will eventually need to invest in a pull-up bar or get access to one because you’ll get stronger and want to master the unassisted pullup ;)

Resistance Bands

  • Versatile and super travel friendly

  • Can be added to a variety of exercise movements to give immediate feedback & strength component

  • Come in a variety of sizes, weights, lengths. You can even buy a whole roll and make your own size - I made a long one with handles/foot stirrups on the ends for dynamic dance-like workouts if you’re feeling playful.

  • Get 1-2 small loops (light weight + medium/heavy weight) and 1-2 long bands (light weight + medium/heavy weight)

  • Main CON: the material is sensitive to light, heat & time. They can break in a year or two even if properly stored, but they’re fairly inexpensive compared to other items on this list. They come in latex rubber (leaving a rubber smell on your skin) or non-latex for sensitive skin.

If you have questions or need more info on equipment, email me at or DM me on Instagram @macklenmayse I love talking about gear!

Have fun building your home gym space.

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