Fitness trainers swear by these cheap at-home fitness products because they're effective as hell

These are great if you want to start up a new workout routine.

Life
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Sometimes, exercising outside your house can be a challenge — whether you’re in your yard or at a workout class. A gym membership can make it easier, but they’re often expensive. And once you’ve paid, it becomes necessary to find time and motivation that may not be there. Bustle spoke to a number of fitness trainers who are intimately familiar with these challenges and got their top recommendations for at-home workout products.

From upgraded versions of classics like jump ropes and medicine balls to innovative finds like Pilates rings and slider discs, these tools can help you save time, money, and energy as you keep the endorphins flowing all winter long. You won’t need to spend a fortune or travel far to keep moving and feel strong, and you’ll likely want to use these products all year long.

01

A heavy-duty and versatile set of resistance bands

Marshall Weber, a Boise-based CPT and the owner of Jack City Fitness, names resistance bands, much like this well-reviewed set, as one of the most versatile and inexpensive pieces of equipment he knows. “Resistance bands are a great way to work your entire muscle groups and target the muscles at various points. You can buy a set of different weight resistance bands to add a variety of options to your home workouts,” he explains. “You can use these bands in almost any type of workout and work out your entire body with them!"

02

These lacrosse balls for instant muscle relief

These lacrosse balls, which are great for more than just a day on the field, are perfect for muscle flexibility and come recommended by Ryan Horton, owner of Horton Barbell. He says of the product, “Foam Rollers may be more popular, but they can't access knots in the upper back, especially the mid-scap area where many of us hold our stress.” He also shares that “Lacrosse balls are also much more effective at working on the areas like hip flexors and calves.” This set, which is made of vulcanized rubber, is great for athletes of all levels.

03

This adjustable, tangle-free jump rope

Jake Dickson, a certified personal trainer (CPT-NASM) and contributing editor at BarBend, calls jump ropes “one of the cheapest and most effective home exercise products available.” This version, meant for fast jumps, is made to last with coated steel wires and ergonomic foam handles. Dickson shares that “a small amount of jumping may get your entire body moving with no effort, making it ideal for cardio and preparing you for any type of planned activity.”

04

These color-coded kettlebells that come in a variety of weights

Dickson also recommends kettlebells for “total-body exercises and shaping” that won’t break the bank. He calls them “an excellent purchase for any at-home exercise room, as they come in a range of sizes to accommodate different skill levels.” This particular brand is covered in color-coded vinyl for easy storage and organization, and they clock in at over 2,700 five-star ratings.

05

This resistance band cuff that helps with agility & strength

Stephen Holt, owner of 29 Again, recommends using resistance band cuffs, sharing that “we use this virtually every day at my gym. I even use one myself at home.” They're available in medium and heavy resistance levels to accommodate each fitness level. Holt says he uses the bands “mainly for gluteus medius exercises and shoulder stability exercises.”

06

These stretchy fitness bands for resistance training

If you’re looking for a lower-body burn, check out these stretchy fitness bands, recommended by Christina Dorner. The owner of CDornerFitness LLC says, “These thick elastic fabric bands can add extra resistance to any workout helping to shape and strengthen the backside and hips.” If you’ve tried latex bands and they’re not for you, these could be a great solution; Dorner shares that “unlike the latex bands, these do not slip or dig into your skin while exercising. Booty bands can also help correct form with Deadlifts, squats, and more."

07

These fitness sliders that work on every surface

Dorner also loves fitness sliders, which are effective on a variety of surfaces, to enhance any exercise. She shares, “Sliders create an unstable surface which forces you to engage your muscles. These are especially great for core and lower body moves to create more challenging movement without having to add weight.” Looking for a workout you can take on the go? Dorner says that “these are so easy to travel with as they can slip right in your bag for an anywhere workout.”

08

A yoga ball for posture, planks, & more

Available in a number of adorable colors, this yoga ball helps improve stability and won't slip on smooth surfaces. Dorner loves it for all kinds of movement: “Not only is this fantastic for exercise, but you can use it as a seat to work on your posture while working at your computer. Movements like planks and crunches [on] the ball can work the core, pushups on the ball [can] work the upper body, and wall squats using a ball to work the lower body, are all a little more effective when adding this piece of equipment.”

09

These tough and durable sand bags for strength training

Running coach Erik Brown loves using tough and durable sandbags for a heavy-duty workout, sharing that “sandbags are very effective for strength and endurance exercises and are comparable to dumbbells, and kettlebells.” What makes them a strong choice over those two types of weights? Brown says, “they are affordable and yet very effective because the sand inside the sandbags moves about when they are moved which presents an additional challenge to the muscles. As a result, smaller and more difficult-to-reach muscles in your arms and core are fully engaged.”

10

A soft & supportive foam yoga mat

Sometimes all you need is a strong foundation — just ask Phung D. Tran, an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist and the founder of Be Active is Easy. Tran recommends finding the right exercise mat, like this soft and supportive foam yoga mat. Tran explains that “A good exercise mat is light to carry around yet accommodating for your body weight and does not break under normal pressure as you exercise,” and recommends Gaiam as a brand, which Tran says, “produces durable mats that work and last a long time.”

11

These sturdy threaded dumbbell handles

Rachel MacPherson, a certified personal trainer and product reviewer, is a fan of these sturdy threaded dumbbell handles for their versatility and price point; she let us know that “this is much more affordable than buying expensive adjustable sets.” You can choose between black and chrome and adjust your weights to any fitness level. Because this brand has been a mainstay of the exercise industry for over 30 years, you can trust that these handles are reliable and will last through even the toughest workouts.

12

These adjustable ankle weights that will enhance any style of movement

Carrie Dorr, the creator of the O44 Method, loves this pair of adjustable ankle weights to increase the resistance factor of any move. She shares that “Incorporating ankle weights into your workouts can be extremely effective for lower body strength training. I love these particular ankle weights because they are comfortable, durable, and reasonably priced.” You can stick to sleek grey or choose between neon pink and green for a pop of color.

13

These portable & professional-grade resistance tubes

Dorr also advocates for these portable, professional resistance tubes, which can help with stretching, conditioning, and much more. She says, “Incorporating heavier tubing into your workouts is a great way to add resistance to both lower and upper body exercises. Tubing is also super portable and easy to throw in your suitcase.” She advocates for the Theraband brand, sharing that “I love these particular tubes because they offer great levels of resistance, are high-quality, and [are] reasonably priced.”

14

A TRX suspension training system that’s like a full gym for the price of one month

If you’re looking for variety in your workout but don’t want to shell out for a full gym membership, try this TRX suspension training system. Kate Cherichello, an NYC-based personal trainer, recommends it because “it can essentially take the place of multiple pieces of large, expensive equipment.” How does she use it? “At home, the TRX can be affixed to a door and is very easy to put up and take down. Long-lasting as well: I've had my TRX for over a decade, and it is still in good condition.”

15

These recycled foam yoga blocks for an eco-friendly stretch

Certified yoga and Pilates instructor Ivory Howard suggests these recycled foam yoga blocks for a sustainable workout you can take anywhere. She cites their small size, explaining that “you can easily stash these in your backpack or carry-on. These palm-sized blocks are easy to grip and can easily be used to support you in deep stretches like half pigeon, runner’s lunge, and splits bringing the floor closer to you.” Howard shares that they’re great for stability work as well: “you can also use them during arm balances and headstands. The extra height these blocks provide may make these poses more accessible.”

16

An ab roller that supports core strength & protects your back

If you’re looking to strengthen your core and protect your other muscles while doing it (hello, lower back!), this ab roller might be the solution — just ask Ashley Iwanicki, a fitness expert with certifications in yoga and Megaformer. She explains that “An ab roller not only targets your entire core... it also targets your back, shoulder and arm muscles while working your balance and stability.” Iwanicki also shares that it “can be especially beneficial for postpartum women who are working to rebuild their core muscles and prenatal women who are limited in the types of core exercises they can safely complete.”

17

A 9-inch exercise ball to increase balance & flexibility

"Pilates balls are an incredible piece of equipment to incorporate into your core and leg exercises — especially when doing at-home pilates or barre classes,” shares Iwanicki. She explains that “they often activate your stabilizer muscles and tiny muscle fibers that are harder to target without the assistance of this prop.” This particular exercise ball is small enough for an apartment or office burn and comes in a variety of rainbow colors.

18

This high-quality, bounce-resistant slam ball

Marie F. Smith, CPT, and owner of Golden Hour Coaching, suggests purchasing high-quality, bounce-resistant slam balls for a weight you can toss around without breaking it. She explains, “There are many exercises that you can do with a slam ball. They come in a variety of weights and can be used for cardio, abs, as well as traditional strength exercises.” This model is available in a range of weights, from 10 to 30 pounds, and is ergonomically textured for a non-slip grip.

19

A full-body massage kit that cares for sore muscles

Charlie Nash, ACE-CPT and former level 10 gymnast, recommends this full-body massage kit “because it's customizable to fit your body's unique recovery and conditioning needs.” According to Nash, this BodyFlex tool can help “release tension and speed up the recovery of muscles, tendons, and ligaments by treating those hard-to-reach trigger points (e.g. along the back).” He prefers the BodyFlex over other massage tools because “it's equipped with 11 trigger point knobs (most others have less than eight), three additional knobs with built-in metal roller balls, and a detachable mid-section that doubles as a muscle roller stick.”

20

An at-home pull up bar that's not hard to assemble

Give your upper body some love with this at-home pull-up bar, which comes recommended by Kerri Howell, NASM-CPT, NASM-CNC, PN1-NC, and PN1-SSRC. She calls it “the best upper body exercise ever.” If you’re concerned that it might be too challenging, Howell shares that “you can attach resistance bands to give yourself extra help, if you need it!" Its handles are coated with foam, making it easy to grab and hold while you work your arms, back, and shoulders.

21

A lightweight foam roller that soothes muscles & speeds up recovery

"Massage rollers help reduce muscle soreness and promote better blood circulation, both of which are important for aiding in muscle and workout recovery,” shares Lalitha McSorley, a physical therapist — these lightweight foam rollers are a great choice. McSorley explains that “massage rollers can help flush out toxins and break up any scar tissue that may have formed as a result of the workout or previous injury.” With over 70,000 five-star reviews, these rollers are a reliable fix for muscle pain, and their molded polypropylene material will stay firm over time.

22

This 5-in-1 massage roller set to target any muscle group

Ryan Koziol, CPT and founder of RYKO Fitness, cites mobility as one of the most important and often-overlooked aspects of a well-rounded workout routine. He says, “This 5-in-1 set includes everything you need to start improving your mobility.” Each tool has a specific function: Koziol explains that “I love the 'peanut' tool which is useful for smashing and releasing tight tissues between your shoulders, your hips, and even the bottom of your feet. The foam roller is great for finding tender tissues that need to be addressed. And lastly, the strap will help stretch your tight hamstrings from sitting at your work desk all day.”

23

A stylish & leak-proof reusable water bottle

When was the last time you had a drink of water? Koziol is all too familiar with the struggle to stay hydrated — he shares that when clients aren’t feeling their best, “one of the first questions [he asks] is, "How much water did you drink today and yesterday?" The usual response is, "Probably not enough.” This stylish and leak-proof reusable water bottle is a great choice; it clocks in at 64 ounces, and Koziol shares that “about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women is a great hydration goal to aim for.”

24

A weighted hula hoop that’ll make your workout more fun

Hannah Shine, AFA certified personal trainer, health coach, and manager at Hourglass Waist, recommends this fun weighted hula hoop for a full-body workout that’s more exciting than your average plank. Shine shares that “they are an amazing no-impact form of exercise that targets the hips, core, and glutes.” She also loves that they’re portable, citing that they “can be used basically anywhere including in the comfort of your home. "

25

This balance board that strengthens lower body muscles & joints

You don’t need to be a surfer or snowboarder to benefit from this balance board, which helps build strength, engage muscles, and improve balance. Shine recommends it too, explaining that “these are amazing for strengthening ankle joints, as well as the calves and legs!” Shine shares, “the core area is also targeted and of course, it helps improve balance which is vital for older individuals.” Even better, this board comes in multiple fun colors that can brighten up your workout space.

26

A Pilates set that brings the class to your living room

Henry Foster, owner of Skilled Golf, loves this Pilates set, which includes a 9-inch mini exercise ball, 3 resistance bands, and a magic circle band. He appreciates the magic circle in particular, recommending that exercisers “bring the Pilates studio to [their] house with this padded foam handle ring with a soft rubber finish.” It's small, lightweight, and portable, so you can bring the burn anywhere you go.

27

An inexpensive dumbbell set that comes with a storage tower

As exciting as it is to discover a brand-new fitness product, it’s always important to keep the basics covered. Foster recommends having an inexpensive dumbbell set in the home. “A set (or two or three) of dumbbells would be missing from any list of home gym equipment,” Foster noted. It comes with a storage stand that helps you stay organized while you stay fit.

28

This professional grade balance disc with massage spikes

Emily Nichols, a certified personal trainer and habit coach, suggests this professional grade balance disc for strength, balance, and coordination. Her preferred use is to “stand on one or two and squat down and engage your core & embrace the shake!” This one comes in five colors, so you can bring a little flair to your at-home workout routine, and it comes with a hand pump for convenience.

29

An adjustable weighted vest to increase the intensity of your workout

Nichols cites this adjustable weighted vest as “a great addition to an at-home workout.” Because it’s adjustable to any size or weight level, it helps you “bring an additional challenge to your workout,” whether you’re going for a run or training at home. It's made of a soft neoprene material, so you'll be as comfortable as can be while you get stronger.

30

These wooden gymnastics rings that you can hang almost anywhere

Ashton Ferrazzo, the owner of Freedom Fitness Equipment, suggests these wooden gymnastic rings as a way to build strength and coordination from the comfort of your home. Ferrazzo shares that “[Gymnastics rings are] fantastic for full body movements,” and you can hang these particular rings almost anywhere, from a doorway in your apartment to a tree in your backyard or local park. If you're trying to protect your joints while you work your upper body, these rings might be a perfect choice because, according to the manufacturer, they won't inhibit your natural range of motion; you can switch around your grip to find the most comfortable positions for you.