Personal trainers say these are the best things under $30 to help you get in shape

Your fitness goals don’t have to be expensive.

ByCassandra Seale and Christina Wood
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Don’t let the high price of a gym membership — or your reluctance to go to a gym — stop you from achieving your fitness goals. Building a home gym might sound like an expensive proposition that requires more square footage than you have. But that’s a myth. Effective workout gear isn’t expensive and much of it can be stored in a drawer or under the couch. If you have invested in gear that didn’t pan out for you, don’t give up. When it comes to building an effective home gym, ignore the hype and listen instead to people who know what works. Personal trainers say these are the best things under $30 to help you get in shape.


An under-desk bike so you can pedal all day at work

If you work at a desk, finding time to move after work is a challenge. "One product I frequently recommend to my clients who spend much of their day sitting at a desk is an under-desk exercise bike,” says James Dixon, certified personal trainer at the Fitness Brain. This simple and affordable pedal machine is a great way to get started. “I've found these bikes to be a fantastic solution for sprinkling low-impact cardio into an otherwise sedentary workday."


These resistance bands & core slider set

“I highly recommend purchasing a set of resistance exercise bands,” says Melanie Leguizamon, a professional personal trainer at Fitness Together Brentwood. This affordable and portable latex band set in resistance that goes from light to heavy is the perfect starter set. And they come with a set of core sliders, which create a challenging core workout anywhere. “They are a great portable piece of equipment to be able to train wherever you are,” she says.


These yummy electrolytes in a variety pack

"I also recommend buying the LMNT electrolyte packets,” says Leguizamon. “They are easy to put into water and provide a lot of the essential electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, and potassium) needed for performance and recovery.” This variety pack in refreshingly fruity flavors is a yummy place to start.


A step platform that adjusts

"One tool I consistently recommend is a good adjustable step platform,” says Daniel Richter, a certified personal trainer, fitness coach, and founder of Strength Log. This one with two risers to make it adjustable is a terrific option, he says. “Finding one that can accommodate people of all abilities makes it so useful. Being height-adjustable opens up tons of exercise possibilities. You can do everything from full-body cardio circuits to targeted lower-body and glute moves. Some favorites I suggest are high knees, jumping jacks, and stepping up for hip and core work. You can also use it for static stretches."


This irresistible water bottle

"Especially when I'm working with clients who are just getting off the couch,” says Caroline Grainger, ISSA-certified personal trainer at, “one of the basic items I often have to remind them to pick up is a good water bottle. Hydration is so important to optimal performance and recovery during workouts." She recommends this Owala FreeSip insulated bottle that comes in so many fun colors and four sizes. “They're easy to use even when you're exercising, they're easy to clean, and their metal construction makes them durable and well-insulated."


The resistance bands that are best for home workouts

"I swear by resistance bands!” says Andrew White, a certified personal trainer and co-founder of Garage Gym Pro. “They're a game-changer for home workouts and excellent for enhancing strength and flexibility. Fit Simplify's Resistance Loop Exercise Bands are my go-to choice when it comes to versatile workout equipment,” he says. “These bands are perfect for stretching, strength training, and even physical therapy. Plus, they come in five different resistance levels, making them suitable for people at all fitness levels. Personally, I've found them especially valuable for exercises that target the legs and hips."


This high-quality jump rope for the burn

White also recommends jumping rope. “[It] is a great cardio workout,” he says. He recommends adding the DEGOL Skipping Rope with Ball Bearings to your home gym so you can do it anytime. “This durable, lightweight rope makes it easy and fun,” he says. “[It] is a standout for its smooth, fast, and tangle-free experience. Its adjustable length makes it suitable for all heights, and the foam handles ensure a comfortable grip.”


A great yoga mat that’s easy to carry

"For yoga, pilates, or any floor exercises, I recommend the BalanceFrom Yoga Mat,” says White. “It's got just the right thickness for cushioning and support, nonslip surfaces, and it's easy to clean. Plus, it comes with a carrying strap for convenience." It also comes in seven colors so you can coordinate it with your other workout gear for a gym that looks good even if you don’t put it away.


This low-tech pedometer for setting goals

Fitness trackers are on-trend at the moment. But they are expensive and complicated. "If you're looking for a straightforward, no-fuss pedometer,” offers White, “the 3DFitBud Simple Step Counter is my suggestion. It's user-friendly, reliable, and motivates you to increase your daily activity. It's an excellent tool for those looking to make their first step into fitness tracking." It has no monthly fees, clips to a belt, and comes in seven colors.


A foam roller because recovery is key

"Post-workout recovery is just as important as the workout itself,” according to White. “And the LuxFit Foam Roller is a staple in my routine.” Use it for myofascial and to enhance your stretches. Choose from four sizes and five colors for a roller that fits your needs and style. “It's excellent for easing muscle soreness and improving blood flow. The medium-density foam is perfect for both beginners and experienced users,” says White.


An insulated water bottle for sipping through workouts

"Staying hydrated is key,” says White. “The Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle makes it easy. It's insulated, keeping your water cold for hours, and comes in various sizes. The durable stainless steel and leak-proof design make it ideal for bringing along to workouts." There are so many colors, you are sure to find one you adore and each one comes with three interchangeable lids and two straws.


This speed rope when you want to turn up the burn

Ready to take your jump rope game up a notch? "This adjustable speed jump rope is ideal for high-intensity interval training workouts,” according to Sydney Jones, ACE-certified personal trainer and nutritionist. “The steel wire rope allows for faster spins while the adjustable length ensures the right fit.” They come in six colors.


A stability disc for a stronger core

Mike Julon, ACE-certified personal trainer, CrossFit athlete, and founder of This Is Why I’m Fit recommends adding this stability disc to your arsenal. It comes in seven vibrant colors and fills easily using the included pump. "Balance discs are inflatable and are great for balance training and core strengthening exercises,” he says. “It's an excellent tool for enhancing stability and can also double as a seat cushion for posture improvement."


The grip strengthener you can use anywhere

"Hand grip strengtheners are great for improving grip strength,” says Julon, “which is beneficial not just for weightlifting but also for daily activities.” This grip strength trainer is adjustable so you can build strength at your own pace and comes in three colors. “It's small, easy to carry, and can be used almost anywhere,” he says. “For less than $10, it's almost a no-brainer for those wanting to increase grip strength."


A massage ball for better self-care

Julon suggests adding this colorful, palm-sized massage ball to your recovery routine. "These balls are used for self-massage to release muscle tension and improve blood circulation,” he explains. “They can be used on different parts of the body and are particularly good for foot massages, helping in recovery and relaxation. An absolute must-have for fitness enthusiasts."


These cooling towels to mop your brow

Drop a set of these cooling towels into your gym bag, suggests Elite Runner and editor James Rogers. They are super absorbent and stay cool — after you wet them — for hours. "Having your own towel is necessary if you work hard at the gym,” he says. “These cooling towels can help cool you down and act as a welcome relief, particularly during a hard treadmill or spin workout on the bike. They also come with a pouch to store in."


A sport beanie in Merino wool

If your activities take you outdoors in cold weather, this Sport 150 beanie will keep you warm without making you wet. "Merino wool is one of the best fabrics for exercise clothing due to its sweat-wicking properties,” says Rogers. “This beanie hat is not too thick and light enough to still do some hard workouts without overheating. It also comes in a range of colors to suit your personal preference."


The long-distance running socks that go the distance

Rogers is also a fan of these cushioned, high-tech, Danish long-distance running socks. "These socks from DANISH ENDURANCE have been my long-time favorite running socks, mainly because they are super comfortable, are long-lasting, and don't give me any issues with blisters." They come in seven colors and over 13,000 Amazon reviewers agree with Rogers and give them five stars.


A complete foam roller set to get you started

"I use a foam roller all the time,” says Rogers. “It helps my legs feel better and more relaxed after a hard, long run.” If you are new to foam rollers, he recommends this foam roller set that comes with everything you need. “Here, you get a host of other items, including a foam roller to help stretch and self-massage your muscles. The kit comes with a mesh bag, so it's easy to store away, take to the gym or exercise class, or keep it tidy at home."


These resistance bands with a door anchor

“My go-to product to improve strength and health under $30 is a good set of resistance bands,” says Jim Richard, certified personal trainer, fitness blogger, and online wellness coach. “They let you perform a wide range of exercises, effectively targeting every major muscle group for full-body workouts.” This set of six heavy-duty bands will set you up. They come in five, color-coded resistance levels and the kit is complete with a door anchor, workout guide, and carrying bag.


A great insulated water bottle with a handle

Kathy Covington, founder of pilates studio, Mantra Fitness, suggests that you start your gear kit with, "a great insulated water bottle.” In particular, she likes an insulated steel one with a handle. “My personal favorite is the Hydro Flask which comes in a range of sizes and great colors,” she says. “It’s great for keeping your water cold and keeping you hydrated.” If you have other criteria, she suggests that you “look for a water bottle that is sturdy and easy to clean so it can be reused for years to come."


These popular bands in a range of resistances

Jazmin Margalef, a Southern California-based NASM personal trainer and a popular wellness content creator on TikTok is also a fan of resistance bands. “I recommend these bands to my clients because they add versatility to workouts by activating different muscle groups.” The muted color schemes and clear color-coding and labels also make them a decorative addition to your home gym. “They're especially beneficial for exercises like lunges and squats, elevating the overall effectiveness of their training sessions,” she says.


The pretty glass water bottle with printed measure marks

"Hydration is crucial,” says Margalef. “So I recommend this cute glass water bottle to ensure my clients stay replenished before, during, and after their workouts.” It comes in seven muted, matte colors and two sizes and the measure marks on the side make it easy to track your water consumption. “It's a simple yet essential accessory supporting overall health and performance,” she says.


An entire gym in the shape of stretchy bands

Margalef also likes this complete resistance bands set that includes handles, straps, metal carabiners for stacking the bands to achieve higher resistance, a door anchor, and a carrying bag. "I encourage my clients to use this environmentally friendly latex band set for an all-in-one workout solution,” she says. “It effectively targets various muscle groups, burns fat, and enhances coordination, making it suitable for individuals at any fitness level."


A weight-lifting belt to support your core

"For stability during heavy lifts, I advise my clients to use this weight lifting belt,” says Margalef. The heavy-duty locking system makes it a snap to get a secure, snug fit and it comes in seven colors. “It helps stabilize core muscles, allowing them to perform confidently without the worry of back strains or injuries."


These colorful dumbells you can store in plain sight

Christopher Clarke, a certified personal trainer, recommends adding this pair of dumbbells to your kit so you can add some weight training to your day with little effort. "Lightweight dumbbells are great at-home equipment,” he says. Start light, pick a color that goes with your decor, and keep them handy. The hex shape and nonslip coating make them easy to use and store. Use them often to “improve strength, bone density, and muscle growth,” he says.


The ankle weights that build muscle while you walk

Another way to add weight training to your life without turning into a gym rat is to wear these ankle weights when you walk around or work out. "Ankle weights help improve leg muscle and strength,” says Clarke. Choose a color you like — there are 10 — and wear them to vacuum the house or do chores and work fitness into your daily activities.


These soft ankle weights you can wear while you work out

When you are ready to add more weight — or less — this set of ankle weights comes in weights that range from one pound to five. They strap on easily and are filled with iron sand so there are no hard edges to dig into joints and make you want to take them off. They are so comfy they work well as wrist weights, too, to build arm strength.


A yoga ball for better stretches & improved posture

Clarke also suggests adding an exercise ball to your at-home workout space. This one comes in five sizes and 11 colors and you can use it to stretch, enhance yoga moves, or as a chair. "A stability ball will improve posture, balance, strength, and muscle growth," he says.


This wobble cushion that activates your core

For a solution you can use at your desk, this balance disc will help improve core muscles. Sit on one while doing crunches or stand on one to do leg lifts or other standing maneuvers destabilizes your balance, forcing your core to kick in and compensate. You can even sit on it in your work chair and add core work to your daily desk time. This one is 13 inches in diameter — making it a perfect seat cushion — and comes in two colors.


A smart jump rope that tracks your progress

"Jump ropes are a great cardiovascular tool that helps burn calories, boost metabolism, and improve coordination, agility, and balance,” says Clarke. And this smart jump rope will prove it to you by tracking your workout and delivering stats to your phone. A screen on the handle also does countdown timers, counts your jumps, and tracks how long you have been at it to make setting and keeping goals easier. It comes in three colors.


This leather jump rope for an old-school home gym

Or if you prefer to go old school — and want a jump rope that feels great in your hand — this ball-bearing jump rope is a piece of equipment you will use for decades. The heavy leather rope offers a solid jump and the wooden handles are a pleasure to hold. Choose from three rope lengths.


A 12-piece strength training resistance band set

"Resistance bands help improve strength, muscle growth, and flexibility," Clarke offers, agreeing with most fitness experts here. This 12-piece set of tubular bands comes with clips that attach to the included handles and straps. The set also has a door anchor, a workout guide, and a bag to store it all in.


These wide bands for boosting squats, lunges & more

This fabric resistance band set is a great way to add challenge to squats, lunges, hip thrusts, and more. The wide, heavy-duty cloth with a nonslip inner strip won’t roll or slide around while you focus on your movements, and the colors are fun and stylish. (There are two color schemes to choose from.) The three levels of resistance are indicated by the color of the band.


The training bands that are so versatile you can use them anywhere

Diversify your resistance band collection with these long, rubber power resistance bands. They’re another versatile option to add to your workout kit. Loop them over a stable base or simply stand on the loop and use them to pull up, push up, or squat. They are strong, easy to pack, and come in three resistance levels. They can be paired to increase the load.