The beauty of a treadmill is that it accommodates you no matter where you’re starting from fitness-wise. You can walk slowly if you are new to exercise, jog if you’re no stranger to fitness, but still have a ways to go, and run once you’re ready for all-out aerobic exercise. And the 3G Cardio Elite Treadmill is ready and willing to take you to your peak.
This is a serious piece of equipment, with the same type of features you’d find in a gym treadmill. If you’re tall, you’ll appreciate the 62-inch long platform, and if you run, you’ll love the quality suspension system that keeps the treadmill smooth and steady. One-touch incline sets your “hills” up to 15%, and the one-touch speed ranges from 0.5 to 12 mph. There are eight built-in programs or you can set your own pace.
Some of the really nice features include a wireless heart rate belt, cooling fan, built-in speakers, and iPhone/MP3 connections. The display is similar to what you’d find at the health club, showing you all of your essential stats while you exercise.
If the 3G Cardio Treadmill is too pricey for your budget, we also recommend the following:
The Exerputic stationary bike isn’t too fancy, although it does display distance, calories burned, speed, time, and heart rate. There are eight levels of resistance, so you’ll continue to be challenged as you grow stronger.
The bike’s frame is sturdy and durable, and best of all, it easily folds up nearly flat so you can store it when not in use. The padded, large seat is easy on your rear, and the pedals have straps to hold your feet securely in place.
The Exerpeutic Folding Upright bike has nearly 5,000 reviews on Amazon, and an average rating of 4.4 stars, so a lot of people are happily pedaling their way to fitness.
Says one satisfied owner, “I thought this might be more of a disposable bike, last a couple of years at best, be too wiggly, weak mechanics, that kind of thing; but quite the contrary, I am happily surprised by the quality of the entire product.”
Pros: Folds up, sturdy construction, great price, several levels of tension, large seat
Cons: A few owners felt the seat was too large, some complaints of squeaking
Why you'll love it: The Survival and Cross Jump Rope was designed for speed with its right-angle ball bearing construction and lightweight handles.
Think jumping rope is only for schoolgirls or Rocky Balboa? Well, think again, because according to the American Council on Exercise, jumping rope not only torches through calories, it also increases the resiliency of your lower-leg muscles, improves balance and coordination, and even ups your cognitive skills. Pretty impressive.
When it comes to choosing your jump rope, you can’t go wrong with the Survival and Cross Jump Rope. Whether you’re doing intense training or just starting to get off the couch, you’ll benefit from the super-smooth swivel, the adjustable length, the comfortable handles, and the downloadable exercise manual to help you make the most of your jump-rope workouts.
With nearly 5,500 Amazon reviews and an average of 4.3 stars, you know a lot of people are skipping with this rope.
A typical comment, “This is one kick-ass jump rope. I was surprised at first because the rope is so thin. I didn't think it was going to work, but with a little practice, I'm ripping out double-unders better than I ever have. What even better, the cord doesn't retain memory, so if you leave it coiled up in your gym bag or you pocket, it doesn't stay twisted.”
If you're not taken with this jump rope, we also recommend the following:
Why you'll love it: If you want one machine that does it all — arms, legs, chest, back, and abs — with enough variation to work muscles you didn’t even know you had, consider the Bowflex Blaze Home Gym.
Bowflex's all-in-one machine comes with up to 210 pounds of resistance, so whether you’re just starting out or are already buff, you’ll give your muscles a workout.
There are more than 60 possible exercises with the Blaze, including 16 arm exercises, 13 leg exercises, and five ab exercises.
The sliding seat also allows you to use the machine for an aerobic rowing workout. It’s easy to adjust your resistance as you gain strength, and the wide variety of possible exercises not only provides strength training to your entire body, it also keeps things interesting.
Pros: Lots of variation, very sturdy and durable, easy to adjust resistance, reasonable price for a home gym.
Why you'll love it: Looking for a reasonably priced whole-body workout that uses your own weight to provide resistance for a nearly endless range of natural-motion exercises? Then check out the TRX Training Suspension Trainer Basic Kit.
It seems simple: Basically, the TRX Training Suspension Trainer Basic Kit is a series of sturdy straps, handles, and hooks. But fasten it to a door, rafter, beam, or even a sturdy tree branch, and you have the equivalent of a full gym.
Not only does the system strengthen and build muscle, it also helps improve stability and flexibility. Best of all, you can apply as much resistance as you need, making the system suitable for beginners and fitness buffs alike.
This is a popular fitness system on Amazon. It has nearly 700 reviews and an average of 4.7 stars. Buyers love the effectiveness and versatility of the system, along with the fact that it’s easy to take along while traveling, and comes with an extensive workout guide and access to more workout guides online.
Pros: Great for travel, very versatile, effective muscle strengthening workout
Why you'll love them: Power Reels combine the resistance of a band with the weight of a dumbbell to strengthen your muscles.
Power Reels are a simple, yet ingenious, idea — two fairly lightweight dumbbells (3-pound, 5-pound, and 8-pound are available) joined by flexible tubing to increase the resistance, and thus, the workout. You can exercise your entire body — arms, legs, and core — with natural movements that target just about every muscle.
While Power Reels aren’t for the advanced fitness buff who’s already in fairly good shape, if you’re a newbie or middle-of-the-road exerciser, you’ll feel the burn quickly.
There are hundreds of workout ideas and videos on the Power Reel website, so you won’t get bored, and you’ll have plenty of guidance in your quest for fitness.
Pros: Great for travel, workout anywhere, very versatile and effective
Cons: If you are already in fairly good shape, you might not get much of a challenge even from the 8-pound set
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells are fully adjustable with a dial to control how much weight is loaded onto each bar and the dumbbells looking almost dainty when not loaded up to their full 52.5-pound capacity.
These dumbbells feel sturdy whether laden with just a few pounds for a lateral raise or with more than 50 pounds for bench presses or lunges. They adjust so quickly — you just set the dumbbell into its base among the weight discs, turn the dial to the desired load, and pick the bar up again. And given the fact that this one pair of dumbbells can replace fifteen separate sets, there is simply no comparison when it comes to price.
Yes, the $250 price tag is not exactly a lightweight, but they are very well reviewed, and many say these dumbbells are the only ones you'll ever need.
If these dumbbells are too expensive, you can also check out the following:
Why you'll love it: If you want to combine the benefits of Pilates with the benefits of barre workouts, you’ll find your perfect match with the Supreme Toning Tower.
The Supreme Toning Tower might look like a simple piece of equipment, but its toning abilities are far from basic. With the barre, tension coils, and hand/foot straps, you can perform a wide range of exercises to lengthen and strengthen your muscles, improve your flexibility, and increase your balance.
You’ll get two DVDs with full workouts that get your entire body in on the action. Because you use your own body weight as resistance, you can start slow and increase your efforts as you get stronger. Best of all, once your workout is done, the device folds in half for easy storage in a closet or under your bed.
The Supreme Toning Tower has more than 100 Amazon reviews and an average of 4.4 stars. A typical comment, “I love this exercise equipment. It is one of the best fitness purchases I have ever made. I am going for a lithe and lean body and it is definitely delivering those results. It is fun and the variety of different exercises makes the time fly by.”
Pros: Folds for easy storage, very versatile, an effective Pilates-type workout
Balance boards look deceptively simple but give them a try and you’ll quickly find that this isn’t a workout for wimps.
Luckily, the Revolution FIT 3-in-1 Training System makes it easier to develop your balance by including three progressively difficult bases for the nonslip board: a rocker with a flat bottom for beginners, an inflated base that really gives your core a workout, and a roller for those desiring the highest level of challenge.
To begin with, you’ll improve your balance and core strength just by balancing on the board, but over time, you’ll be able to incorporate a variety of exercises while you balance, increasing the workout potential of the system.
Choose from blue, yellow, or magenta. You’ll also get an exercise guide that helps you maximize your board’s benefits.
Pros: Very effective way to improve core strength and balance, lots of fun
Cons: It can be difficult for some people to master balancing on the board
Along with its proven abilities to reduce stress and improve mood, yoga is a wonderful way to develop your balance, flexibility, and muscle tone.
If you’re new to yoga, you’ll appreciate the convenience of getting all the supplies you need in one kit that includes a carrying case. You’ll also get a large, thick yoga mat, two foam positioning blocks, an eight-foot cotton strap, a hand towel, and a microfiber nonslip mat.
This is one of the most popular yoga sets on Amazon, with more than 250 reviews and an average of 4.8 stars. Buyers praise the quality and completeness of the set and many comment on what a great buy it is for the beginning yogi.
Even if it’s punctured, the ball will deflate very slowly, allowing you to finish your exercise session. Because the Theraband Exercise Ball retains air so well, you won't have to reinflate it that often. It does take quite a bit of time to inflate the first time around, though.
The TheraBand ball has just the right type of surface for grip-ability, so it won't move around while you're working out. The exercise ball is available in four sizes from 45 cm to 75 cm and it comes in a few colors.
If this exercise ball isn't the one for you, you might prefer the following:
Pros: Maintains its shape and holds air better than other exercise balls, includes a slow deflate technology if the ball is punctured, extremely firm, has a good surface for just the right amount of grip, offered in four sizes
Cons: Takes a long time to inflate, no inflation pump included, only one color per size
The roller comes in seven different lengths ranging from 36-inches long to 12-inches long. As with all AmazonBasics products, Amazon provides a one-year limited warranty.
It’s super affordable, too, so it's well worth the money. The roller has a slight texture to prevent sliding and the foam is just dense enough to massage your muscles and support your body.
More than 1,800 customers give this roller a five-star rating. Reviewers have found that the AmazonBasics roller can be painful when it is your first time using it and if you have particularly fatigued muscles. However, buyers note that if you power through it will aid with post-workout recovery and make it so your body is ready to go again sooner. — James Brains
If it's not the one for you, you can also check out the other foam rollers we recommend, including the following:
The Garren Fitness Maximiza Pull Up Bar is made of chrome steel and comes with three sets of mounting hardware. Two of the sets can support up to 300 pounds of weight. The medium-duty door mount can support 150 pounds and is not recommended for use above waist height.
You can also use the bar without door mounts for sit-up foot support and other light exercises. The bar is adjustable and fits doorways between 26 and 36 inches wide, and it can be installed so that you can still close the door. The bar features non-slip, extra-long foam grips to ensure you stay up there.
Around 90% of the people who reviewed the Garren Fitness pull-up bar on Amazon gave it a four- or five-star rating. We encourage you to read the customer reviews on Amazon because some of them are fairly entertaining. Buyers like how easy it is to install, though it may take a little work to get it to the right length. There are several buyers who use it on a daily basis and have not had any problems with it, though there are some reports of the foam grips wearing thin over time. — James Brains
If you want a different option, check out our other pull up bar recommendations from our full buying guide, which include the following:
Different types of exercise you can do in your home gym
Cardio — which comes from cardiovascular — exercise is defined by the American College of Sports Medicine as any exercise that raises your heart rate and breaths per minute while repetitively and rhythmically using large muscle groups. That’s a fancy way of saying that cardio or aerobic exercise is anything that gets you moving fast and hard enough to break a sweat.
The benefits of aerobic exercise are many: weight loss, stronger bones and muscles, better sleep, lowered levels of depression and anxiety, and even reduced risk of many types of cancer, to name just a few.
The ACSM recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, which can be broken down into multiple sessions as short as ten minutes.
Strength training — also called resistance training — is the use of exercise against resistance to build and strengthen muscle. That resistance might come from your own body weight, a dumbbell or other hand-held weight, or a wide range of resistance machines.
Along with improved muscle strength and definition, resistance training helps develop bone density and helps with weight loss.
The ACSM recommends that healthy adults do strength training two or three times per week, engaging in eight to 10 different exercises focusing on varying muscle groups. Beginners should aim for eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, using the amount of weight that leads to muscle fatigue within that set of reps.
Balance and Flexibility Training
While improved balance and flexibility can be side benefits of various cardio and strength-training exercises, it’s important to incorporate some training that specifically improves these two functions. They make daily living much easier, and help improve your overall health and mental wellbeing. Aim for at least two balance/flexibility workouts each week.