If you’re struggling to put in the work at home, read this buyer’s guide to find out how you can optimize your workouts (either if you’re looking to lose or gain weight), and hit all the muscle groups without having to break the bank.*
Rowing machine (100-700$)
This is the optimal option for warming up. You might have considered purchasing an exercise bike or a treadmill, but I’d recommend a rowing machine over those. Why? Because the rowing motion will give you a full-body cardiovascular workout, whereas the previously mentioned equipment will primarily target your lower body. So for you who have back problems or experience difficulties when running and require an alternative, know that rowing might help straighten your posture and reduce your back pain. Just remember to stabilize your posture and tighten your core when using it, plus implement core exercises to your workouts, because otherwise the effect might be counterproductive.
Resistance bands (10-30$)
This is arguably the most versatile gym equipment there is, as they can assist you in your pre-warm up, stretching, and main workout, while you barely have to pay anything for it! They won’t be sufficient alone if your goal is to look like the next Schwarzenegger, but they can assist you with providing additional resistance for your workout, plus help you target those hard-to-engage muscles. Although if you are on a limited budget and your goal is just to slim down or tone your body, then resistance bands could be all you need to reach your goal. If you’re looking to get a full-body workout using resistance bands, I’d recommend getting the regular ones, plus the ones that come with handles, because they can easier target your upper body muscles.
Power Tower (100-200$)
A power tower will provide you with the opportunity to get an upper-body calisthenics workout in the comfort of your own home. It’s a more compact version of a power cage, and you can get one for approximately 90% cheaper! It almost seems unreal that you can fit a device in your home which allows you to perform pull-ups, chin-ups, dips, knee raises, and pushup variations. Some of them even include a bench, which would come in handy if you have a barbell.
Carefully compare the measurements, and stability of them before purchasing one, as a poor power tower will easily capsize.
Now I’d only recommend kettlebells if you also purchase the next item (spoiler alert; a barbell), if not, or if you’re a beginner, I’d recommend getting dumbells instead. So why do you need both kettlebells and a barbell, when you could just get dumbells, you might think. Well, kettlebells can be a better alternative than dumbells, because they’re better for dynamic movements, improving grip strength and giving you a challenge that simulates lifelike lifting. This means that using kettlebells will prepare you better for movements usable in sports and spontaneous activities, while dumbells will enable you to lift heavier in a controlled environment (the gym).
Generally you’ve got 3 different ones to choose from; trap bar (optimal for triceps), curl bar (optimal for biceps, and a conventional straight bar (which is optimal for compound movements, and to combine with the other equipment I’ve listed). Consider the size, weight, and material before purchasing one, as a cheap one rarely offers longevity, and an Olympic sized bar might feel clunky in a confined space.
*Prices are approximate