Home gyms are a convenient way to up your fitness game. However, sorting through all the gear available can be overwhelming, especially if you're just getting started. Don't let your workout dreams be derailed by the details. The ACTIVE Reviews Team is here to help you sort through the must-haves items in beginner home gym equipment.
The key to home gym equipment for seasoned exercise pros and for fitness newbies is to purchase quality equipment that you will actually use. So whether you're into cardio, weightlifting, yoga, or are interested in a virtual trainer who will help you figure out what exactly you do like, you'll find something in this list.
Why Trust Us?
The ACTIVE Reviews Team is made up of fitness experts that include athletes, coaches, and certified trainers who bring their years of knowledge and experience to each review. More importantly, each member of our team is a fitness enthusiast. Fitness may be our job, but it is also our passion. Therefore, we strive to bring you products that we trust and would personally use.
Our Top 12 Beginner's Home Gym Essentials
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- Best Beginner Smart Trainer: Tonal
- Best Beginner Virtual Trainer: Future
- Best Beginner Adjustable Dumbbells: Bowflex SelectTech 552
- Best Beginner Indoor Cycling Bike: Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy Magnetic
- Best Beginner Suspension Training Cables: TRX Home2 System
- Best Beginner Treadmill: Horizon Fitness T303
- Best Beginner Jump Rope: Rogue Licorice Jump Rope
- Best Beginner Resistance Bands: Gymreapers Resistance Tube Kit
- Best Beginner Wearable Weights: Bala Bangles
- Best Beginner Fitness Tracker: Garmin vivosmart 4
- Best Beginner Pull-Up Bar: Titan Fitness Adjustable Depth Wall Mounted Pull-Up Bar
- Best Beginner Yoga Mat: Gaiam Dry Grip Yoga Mat
Best Beginner Smart Trainer – Tonal
The Tonal system is a convenient, wall-mounted smart home gym and a great stepping stone for beginners looking to build up strength without traditional barbells, dumbbells, and plates. The system starts with a personal assessment of your strength levels, customizes your workouts, and then analyzes your performance to help you get the best results for your personal fitness goals down to the body part. How cool is that?
Additionally, expert coaches are on hand to help guide you through classes and full-body workouts without ever leaving your home. With this much technology at your fingertips, price is often a big caveat, so if the cost is worth the perks, then this system is well worth it for all you can accomplish.
What We Love
- Thousands of classes and programs to choose from
- Access to expert coaches and instructors
- Professional installation is included in the price
Best Beginner Virtual Trainer – Future
The advice and guidance of a certified trainer can greatly increase a beginner's comfort level. With innovative apps such as Future, you get the benefit of a personal trainer from the comfort of your home. The app–which is only compatible with Apple devices–matches you with a trainer who designs personalized workout plans that are based on individual fitness levels, the amount of equipment available, and your overall goals. For a $199 deposit, you will receive an Apple Watch (if you decide to end your training but not your love affair with your Apple Watch, you can pay the difference between the deposit and the full cost of the watch) to use during the time that you use the program.
The best aspect of the Future app is that you're connected to a real person that you can chat with. They are there not only to help you create a plan but to motivate you and modify your routines as necessary. The Future trainers understand that fitness is just one aspect of your overall wellness. They consider your profession, your sleep patterns, and your travel schedule to help design a plan that is optimal for you.
What We Love
- Connection with real certified trainers
- Plans are customized to individual needs
- Includes Apple Watch to stream workouts
Best Beginner Adjustable Dumbbells - Bowflex SelectTech 552
If you're fairly new to lifting weights, having equipment that can grow with you as you get stronger or more comfortable is a must. The Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells feature simple, adjustable dials ranging from 5 to 52.5 pounds giving you a variety of weight options when using your dumbbells for different exercises.
These dumbbells also come complete with a 1-year JRNY app membership included with your purchase, meaning you get instant access to on-demand full-body strength workouts on your smart device that can help get you started using this versatile piece of equipment.
What We Love
- Great for small spaces
- Comes with custom intuitive storage trays
- Bowflex website has how-to exercise videos for beginners
Best Beginner Indoor Cycling Bike - Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy Magnetic Indoor Cycling Bike
One way for beginners to put a good spin on their fitness routine is to incorporate an indoor cycling bike. Indoor cycling is an excellent choice for cardio conditioning, and biking is generally easier on the knees and other joints when compared to treadmills. The Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy Magnetic Indoor Cycling Bike's performance monitor allows you to track their progress by checking RPM (rotation per minutes), speed, calories burned, distance, and time. While there are no built-in workouts on the Sunny, there is a device holder you can use to stream beginner-friendly workouts from your phone, using free apps like Zwift or paid options like Peloton.
It is compact and weighs in at 88 pounds, making it fairly easy to move around, but is durable enough to hold up to 275 pounds. Furthermore, apartment dwellers will be happy to know that due to the Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy Magnetic's use of magnetic resistance, it is very quiet.
What We Love
- Compact and lightweight
- Magnetic resistance provides a quiet ride
- Monitor for performance tracking
Best Beginner Suspension Training Cables - TRX Home2 System
Strength training is part of any well-rounded fitness routine, but dumbbells and barbells can often be anxiety-inducing for people new to exercise. If you want to add strength training without the weights, the TRX Home2 System is for you. This suspension trainer engages the entire body by using simple foundation movements: push, pull, plank, rotate, hinge, lunge, and squat.
A workout guide and access to the TRX Training Club app are included with each purchase, so you don't have to sweat over how to use these straps. Although the total system weighs less than 2 pounds, its carabiners have been tried and tested to hold up to 700 pounds. The TRX Home2 Trainer can also be set up inside your home in less than a minute and is portable enough to take with you when you travel.
What We Love
- Comes with guide and access to training app
- Quick setup and takedown
- Lightweight with comfortable padded handles
Best Beginner Treadmill - Horizon Fitness T303 Treadmill
When it comes to home gyms, treadmills are ubiquitous. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, the Horizon Fitness T303 is dynamite. There is a wide variety of price points for treadmills, but for those just getting their running-shoe-covered feet wet, this treadmill combines durability, usability, and affordability. Plus, if anything goes wrong, it comes with a lifetime warranty. Also, if you're asking yourself: Should I do long steady walks or runs? What about quick sprints? Are inclines beneficial? The Horizon T303 has seven built-in programs that will help guide you and mix up your routines.
The 3.0 continuous horsepower (CHP) motor on this treadmill has a substantial weight capacity of 325 pounds, and the wide, cushioned belt makes for a comfortable running surface. If you want to take your workout up a notch (or 12), you'll find that this machine has a 12 percent incline. Many believe that no run is complete without a hot playlist or intense podcast, and if this applies to you, you'll love the built-in audio jack and Bluetooth-compatible speakers. There are three LED windows that display the time, distance, and calories, and the handlebar grips provide heart-rate feedback.
What We Love/strong>
- Durable and affordable
- High weight capacity
- Lifetime warranty
Best Beginner Jump Rope - Rogue Licorice Jump Rope
The Rogue Licorice Jump Rope is great for beginners because it is a very straightforward and sweat-inducing piece of fitness equipment. It is also budget-friendly, coming in at around $8.50. The rope is made of a durable PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic that allows for smooth and quick rotations when using. Also, if you find that the length of the rope isn't working for you, there are other sizes at the same low price point.
This rope is old school in its design. It is simply a rope with two handles. However, even those who are picking up a jump rope for the first time will find that you'll get a great cardiovascular workout. Dare we say that it will have you jumping for joy.
What We Love
- Variety of sizes
- Great for beginner HIIT training and cardio
Best Beginner Resistance Bands - Gymreapers Resistance Tube Kit
When you're just beginning your fitness journey, you'll want to easily and safely add resistance to your training. Resistance bands are a simple yet effective way to up the intensity of your workouts. The Gymreapers resistance bands are tubular, have cushioned handles, and are made from durable natural latex.
The carabiners on the ends of each resistance band mean you can take and attach them almost anywhere in your home using the door attachment. These resistance bands are also great travel companions as they come with their own custom Gymreapers bag.
What We Love
- Great value
- Variety of color-coded weight options
Best Beginner Wearable Weights - Bala Bangles
Carving out a dedicated time to work out can often be intimidating; however, wearable weights such as the Bala Bangles are an excellent way to get yourself started. Wearable weights add resistance to not only your training but to everyday activities such as cleaning the house, folding laundry, or walking the dog.
Bala Bangles weigh in at 1 pound a piece and can be easily worn around the ankles or the wrists. They are made from recycled stainless steel and covered in a soft silicone that provides extra comfort. The weights are secured through elastic bands and can be adjusted to a wide variety of sizes with velcro. The sleek design and variety of colors allow you to be both shredded and stylish, and each order comes with two bangles and a black carrying case.
What We Love
- Stylish design
- Two bands per order
Best Fitness Tracker - Garmin vivosmart 4
Smart fitness trackers are available everywhere nowadays. For beginners, the Garmin vivosmart 4 is a great option because it has a simple interface but still packs in a lot of features. Track all the metrics you want: steps, heart rate, stress levels, calories burned, sleep, resting pulse, and more. Another cool feature is the included challenges featuring leaderboards that allow you to "compete" against other users, which could be a fun motivational tool for beginners. Although the Garmin vivosmart 4 doesn't have built-in GPS, it will connect to a compatible smartphone's GPS to provide accurate tracking during outdoor activities.
This fitness tracker is sleek, stylish and it is offered in two sizes: small/medium and large. It comes in four colors, and its battery life can last up to seven days. Also, this tracker is A-OK to take for a dip in the pool or a post-workout shower. It offers activity profiles to accurately track running, cycling, swimming, walking, strength training, and other activities so that you can see how your activities compare to each other. The Garmin vivosmart 4 gives vibration alerts for calls and text messages and Android device users can send text replies.
What We Love
- Small, sleek, and stylish
- Many features for the price point
- Durable (especially for its size)
Best Beginner Pull-Up Bar - Titan Fitness Adjustable Depth Wall Mounted Pull-Up Bar
Ever since the days of elementary school P.E. classes, being able to do a full pull-up has been a goal for many people. Using a sturdy and simple bar like the Titan Fitness Adjustable Depth Wall Mounted Pull-Up Bar will move that goalpost closer and closer. This bar has a high weight capacity and will easily allow you to use resistance bands for assistance as you work up toward your pull-up. Users can also purchase a set of gymnastic rings to attach to the mount that will help build your upper body pulling strength.
This pull-up bar is compatible with any stud spacing up to 50-inches apart and can be installed to both concrete and wood studded walls. The design is simple but stable and if you want to add additional pull-up bars, these can be easily daisy-chained together to create multiple stations.
What We Love
- Budget-friendly price
- Simple but stable design
- Easy to daisy chain multiple bars together
Best Beginner Yoga Mat - Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat
Even if you aren't interested in becoming a Zen master, a quality yoga mat is a multi-faceted and essential exercise supply for any beginner home gym. The thick, 5-millimeter cushioning of the Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat will provide comfort during long stretching sessions. Also, there is nothing worse than fearing that you will fall during downward dog because your mat has become slick with sweat. This yoga mat's top layer is designed to wick away sweat from your feet and hands so that you will stay securely in place.
This yoga mat weighs in at 4.25 pounds, making it easy to carry if you want to move your practice from room to room or even outdoors. It is made from PVC which seals out germs, odor, and bacteria. PVC is also a great option for those with latex allergies and/or those who just don't like the smell of rubber.
What We Love
- Moisture wicking top layer
- Thick cushioning
What to Look for in Home Gym Equipment for Beginners
Committing to a healthier lifestyle that includes at-home workouts is admirable. Unfortunately, wading through all the various exercise equipment can be daunting, especially when you are just starting out. It is imperative that before beginners start building out their home gyms, they conduct research about the type workouts that they are interested in. By its nature, working out is demanding; there is no reason to make it harder by investing in equipment that will ultimately be used as a clothes collector.
Once you've decided if you want to be a cardio crusader, an iron pumper, or a Zen master, it's time to start gearing up. Of course, there will be unique considerations for individuals, but there are some general checklists that you should follow when equipping your home gym.
Fitness equipment can be bulky and it rarely coordinates with your home decor. Therefore, you want to make sure that you have the space for it. Fortunately, there are a lot of space-saving options to consider, such as compact cardio machines and other foldable, portable equipment.
Another factor to consider when it comes to the size of your equipment is clearance. Even though the smallest studios have room for a jump rope or an adjustable dumbbell set, you will need to make sure that you won't be whacking your ceiling or walls when using the items. If purchasing larger items, such as ellipticals, make sure that you check the manufacturer's guidelines for how much headspace is needed while in use.
Although this seems like a no-brainer, it is important that those new to purchasing exercise equipment have a budget in mind. And don't worry if you feel that you don't have enough to spend. It is possible to get an awesome workout without breaking the bank. There are plenty of affordable workout equipment options. While you might sacrifice advanced features, you can still get the gear you need to keep working toward your goals.
Ease of Use
Not even home gym pros want to deal with complicated equipment. Facing exercise gear that produces anxiety before you even step on it, may quickly make you abandon it altogether. Therefore, it is important to not only read the manufacturer's specs but customer reviews as well. This will provide information from actual users that will let you know if the equipment makes you sweat and not cry.