Looking to setup a budget-friendly home gym?
Short on space for your workouts?
We’ve got you covered!
Our handy guide outlines the best value fitness gear for exercising at home.
Most of this equipment takes up very little space and could be stowed away in a cupboard when not in use.
They’re arguably the most versatile equipment you can have in your home gym. The countless number of fitness programs that use only dumbbells for full body workouts are testament to this.
Of course dumbbells are synonymous with bicep curls and other upper body exercises, but they can do so much more. You can also train your lower body with exercises such as goblet squats, or use them to increase the difficulty of abdominal exercises, such as v-sits.
Fixed dumbbells are offered at specific weights that cannot be changed. For example, a pair of 12.5kg fixed dumbbells can’t be adjusted to a lower weight of 10kg each or increased to a heavier weight of 15kg each. Being able to use those different weights would require three pairs of fixed dumbbells (10kg, 12.5kg and 15kg).
Fixed dumbbells are by far the most convenient option on offer, as you can quickly swap between different weights by simply picking up the appropriate dumbbells.
If you’re looking for a high quality set of fixed dumbbells, then we recommend the Premium Dumbbell sets from Iron Edge.
A full set of fixed dumbbells at various weights will take up more room than adjustable dumbbells, so that’s something to keep in mind if you have limited space for fitness equipment.
If you have a tighter budget, then a cheaper option is a set of adjustable dumbbells. It will take more time changing weights during your workout (i.e. adding or removing weight plates to adjust the difficulty), but the cost difference can be substantial.
Adjustable dumbbells are also a great option for people with limited available space for fitness equipment.
There are two main types of adjustable dumbbells:
- adjustable dumbbell handles with sleeves for holding weight plates; and
- adjustable dumbbell handles with integrated changeable weights.
The most common type of adjustable dumbbells are metal handles with threaded sleeves on both ends to slide on weight plates, which are secured in place by screw on caps.
These are the most affordable option, particularly if you already have suitable weight plates.
This type of adjustable dumbbell is almost exclusively offered in ‘Standard’ weight plate sizing. However, you can get a pair of ‘Olympic’ sized adjustable dumbbells with screw collars from Gym Direct, which are brilliant if you have Olympic weight plates.
Some adjustable dumbbell handles have sleeves with a smooth surface rather than threading. Instead of screw on caps, the weight plates are secured in place by clips or clamps. We don’t recommend this design, as the clips/clamps are not as secure and the weight plates are prone to falling off during some exercises, which can be quite dangerous.
The second type of adjustable dumbbells incorporates changeable weight increments as part of the design. They can be more convenient than the traditional adjustable dumbbell design (handles with sleeves), but are also more expensive. They’re also often much larger than other types of dumbbells due to the integrated design.
They can be a great option for smaller spaces, as the integrated design means they have a compact footprint.
Resistance bands can be used instead of weights for a huge number of exercises, such as: bicep curls; chest presses; overhead presses; seated rows; and many more.
They can also be used to increase the difficulty of calisthenics exercises. For example, they can be used for banded push-ups or banded bird dogs.
They can also be used to increase the difficulty of exercises performed with weights. For example, the barbell bench press can be made more difficult by attaching anchored resistance bands to both ends of the weighted barbell.
Resistance bands can also be used for assistance to perform some exercises, such as band-assisted pull-ups or band-assisted dips.
We much prefer bands that include woven fabric, as they’re stronger and often more comfortable to use.
We recommend purchasing high quality resistance bands, as they’ll last a lot longer before they need replacing. High quality resistance bands are sometimes called power bands.
Skipping ropes are a simple, but highly effective tool for fitness.
Skipping is an incredible exercise for cardiovascular health, but also has numerous other benefits, including improving agility and balance. It’s also beneficial for bone density (the strength of your bones).
That’s why skipping features in the training regimes of many elite athletes, such as boxers.
We highly recommend the Speed Ropes from Iron Edge. They’re a pleasure to use and are super easy to adjust to ensure they’re the right length for you.
So how do you know what length your rope should be? Easy. Simply place one foot in the middle of your rope to anchor it to the ground, then bring the handles up towards your shoulders. The end of the handles should be below your shoulders, reaching just to your armpits.
Ab wheel or the multipurpose Utility Roller
Abdominal wheels or ‘ab wheels’ are inexpensive and require very little space.
They’re a great tool for training your abdominal muscles of course, but they also work other muscles in your upper body, such as your shoulders (deltoid muscles).
Ab wheels are a great way to mix things up and increase the level of challenge beyond the more traditional abdominal-focussed exercises, such as sit-ups and v-sits.
Ab wheel rollouts are a challenging exercise. It’s important to ensure that you have sufficient core strength to stabilise yourself during the movement, so that your spine stays in a neutral position.
One of the signs that your technique is not correct or perhaps you don’t yet have sufficient core strength, is a sagging abdomen and extended lower back (lumbar area) when performing the exercise, creating a U-shape. This can cause discomfort or even injury to your lower back.
Ab wheel rollouts are sometimes described as being like a ‘moving plank’. If you find that you’re not quite ready for ab wheel rollouts, then a great way to work up to the exercise is to incorporate planks into your workouts. Over time, this can help you increase your core strength, so that you can progress to the more challenging ab wheel rollouts.
We absolutely love the multipurpose Utility Roller from Iron Edge!
It can be used as an ab wheel, but also offers so much more. You can perform hamstring curls, lunges, splits squats and many other exercises.
Plus, it has numerous attachment points for resistance bands, so you can increase the intensity of exercises and really amp up your training!
The Utility Roller is amazing value for money, given the low price and huge versatility it offers.