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*This article contains links to products that I have used, or to brands that I trust and recommend. In some cases, I may receive compensation when readers purchase products I have recommended. This allows me to continue to create and offer free and low-cost classes, workshops, and articles, and helps support the sliding scale membership options. Please be assured that my intention is to remain objective and impartial with any recommendations I make, and I will never recommend anything that I haven't tried and enjoyed myself.
As a personal trainer and yoga instructor, I get asked all the time what type of equipment to buy, and a lot of the small equipment recommendations I have can be found on Amazon. If you've been thinking about investing in some new fitness equipment, here's what I recommend (and why!).
I love resistance bands, especially for at home workouts! Not only are they lightweight and space efficient, but they are also relatively inexpensive compared to dumbbells. They are especially helpful in replicating cable workouts from the gym, they recruit stabilizer muscles which help to support our joints (and larger muscles), and they are constantly working the core (even when you're not doing a "core" exercise!). There are a few different styles of exercise bands, and I've included the 3 styles I use most regularly.
While most commonly seen used for assistance with pull ups, these bands are super versatile. The resistance offered with this set spans from 15 to 175 pounds, making them an excellent choice for progressing your difficulty level without having to repeatedly buy more equipment. A lot of dumbbell-based exercises can be altered to be suitable for resistance bands - super handy if you work out from home or on the road. Additionally, the long-looped bands are great for certain mobility techniques and rehabilitation/corrective exercises.
The mini bands are often used for lower body exercises, but they're great for working the upper body and the core, too. The set of 5 offers the largest range of resistance levels. All rubber bands will eventually stretch out and lose some of their tension, and/or break with repeated use (mine so far have lasted about a year with regular use), so it's a good idea to check them over for any signs of small tears before you use them. It's also why I tend to purchase more inexpensive options like this one!
I love the rubber mini looped bands for their versatility with exercise selection, but they do tend to twist and roll up your legs which can get uncomfortable. These non-slip bands are fabric based and have a little latex grip strip that holds the band in place. The wider band also feels a little more comfortable, particularly around the leg. I do find, however, that these bands have a wider diameter to start with, which may make them slightly less versatile, depending on your needs. I like these for lower body exercises, such as squats and glute bridges.
This set uses the resistance bands with rubber tubing and handles. They are stackable, meaning you can clip multiple tubes into the handles to increase the resistance level as needed. Starting at 10 pounds of resistance, you can increase your resistance level up to a maximum of 150 pounds. This set comes with the 5 resistance tubes with sturdy clips, two handles, two ankle straps, a door anchor, plus a set of 5 mini looped bands.
I'm not one for a lot of supplements, but the two products I do tend to use regularly are on sale right now! Always check with your primary health care provider and/or your pharmacist before starting any supplements. This is especially important if you take any prescription medication.
This is my favourite collagen powder because it has no smell and no taste. It dissolves instantly in hot drinks. I like to add a tablespoon to my coffee in the morning. Bonus: it's a Canadian brand! Quick tip: I find it dissolves better if you add the collagen to your mug first, then pour your hot beverage over it.
There are other flavours of this powder on sale for less, but this is my favourite flavour by far. I use this to help me get into a deeper sleep at night, but magnesium citrate is also known to reduce muscle cramps and pain and can help reduce constipation. When I use this supplement, I make it with boiling water and drink it about an hour or so before bed.
Depending on what you're looking to add to your home gym, here are a couple extra things that might be worth checking out! The stepper I have listed here is actually not part of the Early Access sale, but just on sale for a great price.
These kettlebells are significantly smaller than the competition style bells you might see at the gym, making them much easier to store in a small space. The vinyl coating protects floors and reduces noise. The handle is not coated with vinyl so that you have a better grip. Keep in mind, kettlebells are different than dumbbells! Depending on your exercise goals, you may want to see a trainer and get some tips for getting started.
Adjustable Stepper (3 Levels 4"/6"/8") - $45.99 (-8%) *not part of the Early Access Sale
This is currently the #1 best seller in step platforms. I like that it has 3 levels of height, rather than the typical 2. It's not quite as versatile as the steps you can buy additional risers for, but these are definitely more stable. The risers included in this stepper can be taken off for storage, so it's great for small spaces. I like using designated steppers whenever possible (over a step stool you might have at home) because they are designed specifically for repetitive movements, and are usually longer in depth, making it easier to fit your full foot on the step (very helpful in reducing knee pain associated with stepping!).
Honestly, there's not much that can go wrong with foam yoga blocks, so I'm including these because they are a good price for a set of two. The foam yoga blocks are not quite as sturdy as cork blocks, but their rounded edges are more comfortable, and they're generally less expensive than cork. I generally recommend students have two blocks available during their practice and it's especially helpful if they are the same thickness, so buying a set of two is usually what I recommend.
Of course, there are additional types of equipment such as yoga mats and straps, dumbbells and cardio equipment pieces on sale today and tomorrow, as well. I haven't included recommendations for yoga mats or straps because the brand that I use is not on sale, and I generally make recommendations about mats based on how long a person has been practicing yoga for, how often they practice, and what features are important to the individual. I personally like the brand B-Mat (which I am not affiliated with) but at around $100 a mat, it's more of an investment. If you're new to yoga or exercise, I typically recommend finding an inexpensive mat first, rather than suggesting some of the higher priced options.
And honestly, when it comes to dumbbells, I'd recommend saving yourself some money and looking at used options such as a sports equipment store that has a used section (Play It Again Sports is a good place to check), garage sales, and Facebook Marketplace (but there's definitely a buyer beware consideration when it comes to Facebook!). For your reference, I'm seeing price points from about $2.50 to $3 a pound now. If you are planning to buy new, make sure you choose an option where shipping is included!!
For higher cost cardio equipment, I'm not personally comfortable making recommendations for equipment or brands that I haven't tried before, so I purposely haven't included any in this article. If you are looking to invest in some cardio equipment, keep in mind that there will be different guidelines based on what type of equipment you're looking to purchase (ie elliptical vs stationary bike). You'll also want to make sure you're clear that the size of the equipment (when in use) will fit in your space. I can help with general recommendations on things to look for based on equipment type, however I would recommend speaking with someone familiar with what you're looking to purchase, and be sure to consider features such as warranty, set up support, and return policies.