I've had a few consultations recently where people tell me they have equipment at home and they usually own a pair of fixed 3 lb pink dumbbells and an incline bench for crunches. I always wonder how people think it's possible to get in decent shape with these next to nothing, and sometime even possibly dangerous pieces of equipment.
Just last night I was at a sports store, buying an adjustable dumbbell for my friend's birthday, and I saw this lady confused, trying to pick up dumbbells to take home. I asked her if she needed help and she said she doesn't know what to get. After I explained to her that adjustable dumbbells are wayy more cost effective than fixed once, she informed me she just wants to 'get in shape' and buying anything over 3 lbs is not necessary. I politely excused myself.
The convenience of training at home, especially if you are busy, or a work at home person, or a mom with a small baby on her hands, are innumerable. You don't waste time in commute, you don't have to fight for space in the gym during the busy times, and you can definitely not care what anyone thinks of your style of training. Of course, some people outgrow their home gyms, whether emotionally or physically, and they move on to the commercial gym, but wait, not yet.
At home, I personally own a set of resistance bands, a 16 kg kettlebell, and a mat. In a perfect world, a swiss ball would be a nice addition, but I do just fine with what I have, given that I normally train at a gym and I use the stuff at home to make up for a day lost in work.
Let's assume you don't own anything at home, but would like to start your home gym today.
If you are new to the world of bodyweight and total body training, you will need:
1. A mat: to comfortably lay on
2. A set of resistance bands: I recommend getting a set like this one
3. A swiss ball for your height (an inflated one should be slightly taller than your knee height)
4. A set of adjustable dumbbells. I must say that the Bowflex ones are my favorites, if the most cost ineffective.
5. A foam roller and a few tennis balls
6. A jump rope or a step to jump on
If you are a bit more advanced, installing a pull up bar and investing in a couple of kettlebells should set you on the right track for future fitness.
Of course, a home gym grows as your needs do, so start one thing at a time and build happily ever after. I would love to hear what everyone has at home beyond the bare essentials.