Expert trainers share how to build a simple, efficient home gym

Making time for a daily sweat session is a great way to boost your endorphin and immune levels for free—stuff we could all use more of these days—and while you can’t so easily head to the gym right now, creating a personalized workout space in your apartment is the next best thing.

Building a new fitness routine while stuck at home may be the furthest thing from your mind right now—and if that’s the case, it’s totally fine. However, if you’ve made it to the end of Netflix and are looking for a new hobby to fill your lunch hour or you’re a regular gym-goer looking for an at-home alternative, it’s actually pretty easy to get moving (and sweating) even in a small space—if you have the right equipment.

We spoke to a handful of personal trainers and coaches in our network to narrow down the tools we need to continue working out from home. From loop bands to hand towels (yes, really) here’s everything you need to get and stay fit from the comfort of home.


Mini loop bands for legs and glutes

“My essential home gym piece of equipment is a set of mini loop bands,” explained Matt Rusniak, Founder and Coach at 360 Punch in Montreal, Canada.

“The reason I opt for this over something heavy is because you can replace weights creatively with heavy household objects (filling a 4L water bottle or large olive container will get you weight between 5-10 lbs) whereas it is almost impossible finding items around the house they can mimic the increased intensity of forcing against bands.”

According to Rusniak, who is currently offering live workouts on his Instagram during the quarantine, bands can be used for upper body, lower body, and core exercises. However, he prefers using them to wrap around his knees while doing variations of leg and glute abductions and banded squats.

“There are no limits to the number of exercises that you can work for each body part and anybody from a complete beginner to a professional athlete can benefit so long as the bands are varied in strength.” he said.

Rusniak prefers Tonic performance loop bands but says his clients have been using any of the Amazon into the best sellers during the quarantine, like Synergee bands or Walito bands.


The Body Back Buddy for working out knots

“I definitely recommend the Body Back Buddy.” says Brian Sweeney, Manager at Whitney Peak’s BaseCamp in Reno, Nevada.

The back buddy is used for pressure point release and breaking up knots in the hard to reach spots in your back,” Sweeney explained. “It’s essential for any climber or someone working their back and shoulder muscles often.”

The simple, sort of cheeky-looking home gym tool also helps to release tension and trigger points in the chest, traps, feet, and quads and can be a great asset to have at the end of a grueling workout (or simply to give yourself a well-deserved massage). The back buddy is available on for $30.


Lebert Equalizers for multi-purpose strength training

According to Yvette Salva, Owner and Operator at YSF Training For Women in Spotswood, New Jersey, investing in a Lebert Equalizer is a great option for a small-space home gym.

“These bars can be used for pull ups, pushups, dips, lunges, burpees, overhead squats, and more,” Salva said. “They truly are limitless!”

Created by Taekwondo black belt, Marc Lebert, this strength, cardio and stretching tool is ideal for versatile home workouts. The equalizer uses your own body weight in full body resistance exercises that will help to strengthen your core, build lean muscle and burn fat.

The Lebert Equalizer is available on for $120.


Kettlebell weights for packing a punch in small spaces

“My preferred home gym essential is a Rogue Kettlebell.I appreciate this one piece of equipment because it takes up very little space in my apartment, and it is extremely versatile and functional,” said Dustin Hogue, Director of Interval at Studio Three in Chicago. “For me, the 28 kilo is a solid weight for both slower strength movements and more explosive power moves.”

Hogue believes that a well-rounded workout should have a variety of pushing, pulling, squatting and hinging movements, so he uses this one kettlebell for a full body strength and power workout. “With this one essential item, I can do everything from Turkish get-ups, goblet squats, swings, snatches and presses.”

While Hogue prefers the Rogue Kettlebell, there are a variety of great Amazon bestsellers available should you want to stock up during the quarantine.


A simple hand towel for at-home sliding

“A super, easy and convenient fitness equipment hack that everyone has in their house already, wait for it…. a hand towel! Yes, just a hand towel,” laughed Dannah Eve, Co-Founder of Dannah Eve Fitness. “On hardwood or tile, this is your new at-home sliding board.”

According to Eve, a simple hand towel will help tone abs, legs, total body, you name it. She suggests using your hand towel to step up your mountain climber game and roast your core by placing it under both feet and sliding it out. “I get a killer workout once a week with only a hand towel!” she added.

If you’d prefer to keep your powder room towels separate from your home gym towels, a 12-pack of hand towels is available on Amazon for around $20.

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