Equipment to set up your minimal at-home gym. Key essentials that I’ve tried and tested for you to stay fit from home.
AT-HOME GYM EQUIPMENT
I’ve been meaning to share my at-home gym equipment for so long now that it’s kind of funny that by the time I got around to it, I was pregnant. Nevertheless, here we are and I am excited to share this with you. A couple of years ago we were committed to going to the gym, several times a week. I began to notice that I was using a cardio machine for about 30-45 minutes. But the rest of the time I was using the kind of equipment I had or could easily have at home. The majority of my HIIT, yoga, strength, resistance and pilates training could be done in my small apartment. Over that time, once I quit the gym, I began slowly collecting more equipment to make sure I could get the most out of my workouts. I either create my own routines or watch my favourite fitness YouTuber’s.
I’ve photographed some of my favourites below. You might notice a theme, as I’ve tended to buy everything in black or charcoal. While there are plenty of fun, pretty colours for equipment and activewear on the market these days, I like to keep it minimal and simple. Mario trains at home too, or we go to a local park. I could have photographed all of our equipment, but I felt the post would get too long. We also have a stepper, boxing equipment, foam rollers, an exercise ball, more yoga mats, foam floor mats, more resistance bands, a black basketball and so on. Somehow it all tucks away in our tiny apartment, which is proof that you don’t need too much space. Though we are looking forward to having a dedicated workout space in our next home.
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As soon as I saw these Bala Bangles I wanted to try them. Prior to this I’d gotten cheap Kmart ankle weights, the velcro sand bag kind and I hated how uncomfortable they were. Not at all the same, the Bala Bangles not only look sleek, but are comfortable and do the job well. I actually have two sets, I wear them on both my ankles and my wrists. During a Pilates workout they are an extra bit of resistance. I wear them on walks, or can just have them on around the house when I’m cleaning. They would be great for people going through rehab training too. I have the 1 pound ones which aren’t heavy for me and in future I think I’d size up to the 2 pound ones. They definitely work to increase my workouts, even though they are light. I feel them during core, leg and arm training. To increase this again, I often wear them on my wrists during an arm workout while also holding my weights.
They can tend to come unsecured if doing more of a strenuous workout like running, jumping exercises or dance, so I prefer them for slower more concentrated movements. These do of course come in all sorts of colours too, if you aren’t into charcoal. I ordered mine through Shopbop (who aren’t currently stocking them) but Bala are now shipping to Australia from their website.
BALA POWER RING
The newest addition to my Bala collection (and yes, I fully plan to add more!) is the Bala Power Ring. This 10 pound or 4.5kg ring is designed to replace a kettlebell and dumbell in one. Plus it’s super cute. The design is even weighted and ergonomic so it makes it easy and comfortable to workout with. Rather than the ugly, bulky designs of a classic kettlebell or dumbell, this is sleek, can be stored flat or left out. Made from recycled stainless steel wrapped in baby-soft silicone, it is so damn cool and I never thought I’d talk about weights that way. Bala have about 75 different movement suggestions using this guy and I love it for presses, holds, swings, squats, lunges and even just to improve balance. Mario has been using this one a lot for things like single leg squat get ups. I can see us wanting to add another to our collection soon.
NEXT ON MY BALA WISH LIST
Next on my Bala wish list? Two things! I am so keen to try the Bala Bars, which are a replacement dumbell weight, again designed to be evenly weighted. Traditional weights are uneven with the weight being mostly on each end. The Bala Bars enable more freedom of movement and range. These again come in different colour options and weigh 3 pounds or 1.8 kg. Want to set yourself up with the Bala Bangles, Power Ring and the Bars? Easy, they have an Essentials Kit in charcoal or pink.
The second item on my wish list is the Bala Beam. Weighing 15 pounds or 6.8kg the Bala Beam has a sculptural, ergonomic design perfect for concentrated & compound movements. Press, curl, row, squat and lunge to increase strength, agility, endurance and balance.
I’ve used a few yoga mats over the years and found they are not all created equally. A few months ago I got a new one in sleek black. My previous one was also from Lululemon and after a few years, I noticed that bits of the mat were coming off. Turns out I had actually been using the mat wrong the whole time.
My first lesson? The Lululemon mats are reversible. They have two sides, one a smooth finish and one more of a spongey finish. I had only ever used the smooth one for everything. However, HIIT training in sneakers should only be done on the spongey side. So I was actually tearing up the smooth side with my sneakers. Oops! The smooth side is designed for yoga. I love how grippy it is. Perfect for not slipping out of yoga moves!
My second lesson was not to spray the mat with any products like aromatherapy oils as this deteriorates the mat over time. I’d sprayed my old one a lot so I’ll be avoiding this from now on.
Anyway, once I worked out I’d been using my old mat wrong, I decided it was time to buy a new one. This sleek black mat is exactly the same in 5mm thickness and I love it. My old one was regifted to Mario who cut it shorter to take off the most damaged part. The Lululemon mats are really long, so it worked out well for him to cut it shorter. They are definitely great for lots of different types of workouts and I think excellent quality. You get what you pay for, as I’ve spent less in the past and later wished I’d not wasted my money on something that didn’t work as well.
LULULEMON YOGA BLOCK
As for the perfect yoga block? Mario actually gifted me mine a few years ago for Christmas, and it’s so handy. Also from Lululemon, it is a dense, lightweight foam that is supportive. They can be stacked or used alone.
This unique exercise band was designed to strengthen the upper body and improve posture. The gloves allow you to focus on lats, shoulders, triceps, upper back muscles and biceps. The band is lightweight, so perfect for travel and it folds up small to store at home. P.Volve have a lot of exercises to follow along with using the band but once you get used to it you can create your own too. I bought mine without signing up for their one or three-month memberships, so I can’t attest to how that membership plan is.
First of all, the P.Ball looks rather odd. Let’s put that out there. But, it is very clever. The P.Ball is a versatile way to train, strengthen and define the lower body.
It features an inflated ball to target the inner thighs, abs, glutes and pelvic floor muscles, designed to an exact diameter to fit between the thighs for the best results possible. The p.ball’s attached elastic band was purposefully crafted to lift the glutes, tone the inner and outer thighs and improve hip mobility.
Use in a variety of ways, in addition to between the legs: in hand, for upper-body strengthening, and behind the back, for more core work on the mat.
I was looking forward to trying this one for so so long and eventually got around to ordering one to add to our home gym equipment. Definitely a unique addition, this one is great for anyone used to pilates workouts or keen on resistance based training.
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FABRIC RESISTANCE BANDS
We have a bunch of different resistance bands options, from the thin rubber kind to longer thick rubber ones. I personally used the thin ones the most in my workouts only to find they rolled up or moved mid reps and often caused my legs to break out in small bumps. I hated that. So I added a set of fabric stretch bands and have been so happy I did. They came in a set from Kmart, they don’t roll or slip and offer various resistance. They are so so good, if you are a fan of resistance training then these are a great home gym equipment addition.
Obviously, weights are a personal thing, depending on your training. Or even depending on where you are at at the time. We have weights ranging from 1kilo up to over 10. Mario is used to training with a lot of weight at the gym so I think in time he will add to his weights collection, once we have more space. To get started, a few pairs of weights like these are so handy and can be inexpensive. They get more expensive with bigger weights. I don’t find them SO well designed, but they do the job.
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WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOME GYM EQUIPMENT?
What are some of the items you love and use at home? Got a workout must-have to share with us? Let me know below. You can definitely get creative at home with your workouts even in a small space. The key is to make sure you commit and of course, use everything safely and properly. We have more than this again, but these are a great way to start. Bonus pic? Me with the baby bump doing a little workout.