Home Workout Equipment: The Short List

Today I’m sharing recommendations for simple pieces of workout equipment that will take your at-home workouts to the next level.

I’m a huge fan of exercising in my home, garden or neighborhood. Not only does it save time and money (gym classes are expensive!), but I love wearing my old workout clothes and blasting a good playlist. 

Of course, having a few key pieces of equipment really help.

Now, to be totally transparent I do also have a gym membership — sometimes I like to lift heavier weights, and there is a Pilates reformer that I can use (a recent, and miraculous, discovery for which I am still smiling!) — but I primarily train at home, doing the exact workouts that I share with you on the blog each week.

In our Mind Body Bride workouts I’ve focused on using really basic equipment (read: inexpensive and multi-functional), such as dumbbells and exercise bands. 

Below you’ll find at list of recommendations for purchasing that equipment, specifically the brands that I use. This is a great way to get your collection started.

But I’m also planning to take our workouts up a notch, using new props that will increase the challenge, keep things interesting, and help you to improve your flexibility.

One of my clients from North Carolina used to call me “The Prop Queen” — I thought it was time to resume that title!

Next week I’ll release Part Two of this post, which will include recommendations for purchasing those additional pieces of equipment, if you feel like doing so.

(Of course every workout can be modified to be done without any equipment, so don’t feel like you have to get all of this in one go.)

Please note that I am an Amazon affiliate. If you purchase any equipment using the links below I do receive a small compensation. I only recommend equipment that I have tried and found useful…but feel free to shop around!

At Home Exercise Equipment — The Basics

Dumbbells: light, medium and heavy

When it comes to dumbbells you can buy several different pairs for various weights, or try an adjustable dumbbell kit. I prefer pairs. I often quickly switch weights during my workouts and I find it cumbersome to change the kits.

Weight Ranges

  • 3 – 5 pound for a light set
  • 8 – 10 pound for a medium set
  • 12 – 20 pounds for a heavy set

Things To Keep In Mind:

  • Handle width – if it’s too thick your hands will tire and cramp before the workout is over.
  • Handle texture – if it’s too rough you can get calluses (not a huge deal, but then again you are getting married soon…).
  • Shape – round dumbbells will roll; hexagonal is best.
  • Smell – they often have a bit of a funky “plastic” smell when they arrive — this goes away over time.

Click here to buy the dumbbells that I use — in single pairs

Or here to buy as a set

Try A Dumbbell Workout

Wedding Dress Workout: Toned Triceps

Exercise Mat

I’ve gotta say that I love the Manduka. You’ll see mine in most of my workout videos, often being rather mistreated with my dirty running shoes — poor Manduka! But after three years of wear-and-tear it’s still going strong.

I recently purchased a new mat for my husband from Clever Yoga. I’ve only given it a spin once so far but I like the texture, the length and the weight (it’s so, SO much lighter than mine). Plus it’s cheaper. Stay tuned for updates.

Things To Keep In Mind:

  • Length — choose a long mat, you can never have too much space.
  • Weight — a heavy mat can be cumbersome if you’re transporting it around town.
  • Slip and Grip – in my experience most mats are a little slippery when you first get them, but after a few uses they get texture and grip. You can always put down a yoga towel if needed.

Click here to check out the Manduka Pro — rather heavy and expensive, but crazy durable.

Here for the Manduka Pro Light — not as heavy and a little cheaper.

And here for the Clever Yoga mat — about 1/4 of the price, light weight, pretty colors and no funky smell.

Try An Exercise Mat Workout

better posture mindbodybride

Exercise Band

This is such a nifty piece of equipment. It doesn’t take up any space and can travel with you everywhere! You can control tension and resistance, and use it for strengthening and stretching.

Things To Keep In Mind:

  • Resistance – Different colors represent different weight, check the brand description.
  • Length – Always, ALWAYS, buy a roll and not a single band. Single bands are way too short and heavy for practical use. Cut a length of band from the roll that is about one foot longer than your outstretched arms (i.e. measure from middle finger to middle finger when your arms are in a letter T, then add an additional foot. It’s long, but it’s what you need).

You can buy a full roll here — variety of resistances; great value. 

Try An Exercise Band Workout


Foam Roller

A great tool for stretching and fascial release. If you have tight muscles, or sit at a computer all day, this is going to be your new best friend.

Things To Keep In Mind:

  • Length — If you’re just getting one foam roller, make it full length (i.e. 36”). That way you can lay on it and do lots of chest openers and hip work. If you’re getting two, go full length for the flat and shorter for the textured.
  • Purpose — If you’ve never used a foam roller before, choose the plain/flat surface. If you’re doing a lot of training, have regularly rolled, or get regular massage, then I recommend a textured roller that really gets into those muscles. 

This flat one is standard/good — it’s full length, pretty dense, and affordable.

Or this softer one – more suitable for sensitive muscles/people who are new to rolling.

For fasial release try this – but know that this can feel intense!

I also use a foot roller — great if you wear high heels or get cramping feet at night/during workouts etc … but only buy it if you will actually use it on a regular basis!

Now I’d Love To Hear From You

What workout equipment do you use? Do you have any suggestions to add to this list? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

With Love,

*JDW Blog Post Signature

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