home gym
Whatever you’ve got, you can get a workout.

by Cathy Engstrom

With in-person gyms and fitness classes still mostly unavailable, we reached out to our BAMR community to see who was putting together a home gym and what tips and tricks they had for the rest of us. Our Facebook page quickly filled up with images, ideas, and favorite gear.

Whether it’s a small storage box under your bed that hides hand weights and resistance bands or an unfinished basement with machines and square footage to spare, we guarantee working out at home can be simple, sweat-worthy, and satisfying. 

One major bonus: You can get it done even faster without the commute.


Weights: Want to carve out those shoulders and biceps or add some extra credit to your squats? One set of handheld weights or bands is all you need to increase strength and perform endless reps.

Save: This set of 5 bands works the same way weights do by contracting and stabilizing muscles. Price: $11

Splurge: Adjustable dumbbells are an investment, but you get a complete weight set with options that range from 10 to 55 pounds. Price: $599

home gym

Yoga Mat: You definitely want a soft layer between yourself and the (Goldfish crumb-encrusted) hard floor. The no-slip feature will also help you hold those stretches and planks.

Save: Affordable options can be found here and at discount department stores like Ross. Price: $5

Splurge: For extra cushion, anti-odor, and non-toxic materials, this mat is a dream. Price: $100 

Stability: At its root, running is hopping from one foot to the other. To build stability and strength at the same time, a piece of equipment that enhances balance is key.

Save: For just a few bucks, you can grab a stability ball like this one for one-legged squats or single-leg glute raises. Price: $5-$10

Splurge: A BOSU Balance Trainer is a one-stop-shop for all stability exercises to improve balance and core strength. Price: $120

home gym

Cardio: Get your heart rate up within the walls of your home? It’s possible!

Save: A jump rope will give you a challenging, high-intensity cardio workout. Don’t knock it: you’ll be surprised at how difficult it can be. Best of all, you need zero floor space to store it. Price: $5 

[Want a free, no-equipment stair workout? We’ve got you.]

Splurge: A treadmill, natch. No matter the weather, the school open-or-closed situation, or your own schedule, a treadmill means never missing a run. If you have the means and the room, it’s an obvious choice for runners. Price: $1,799

home gym

Recovery: Take care of your tight muscles and hot spots with at least one recovery item.

Save: A tennis ball or lacrosse ball. I once spent an entire month driving my kids to and from school with a tennis ball under my right glute. Ahhhhhh. It completely relieved my cranky butt muscle. They make excellent tools to release tension and loosen soft tissue. Price: $8

Splurge: Foam Roller. These amazing self-massagers come in a variety of shapes, lengths, and firmness. Rolling out your calves never hurt so good.
Price: $30


One of the reasons going to the gym is so pleasing is because they have strict rules about putting equipment back where it belongs

Your workout mojo will disappear if it takes 20 minutes to dig your hand weights out of the freezing garage or you have to unearth your spin bike covered in 3 loads of laundry. 

Left: Marcella’s workout zone has everything in its place. Top right: Christa’s home gym in a corner of her bedroom is helped by bookshelves that hold gear. Bottom right: Amanda stashes equipment in a small shelf organizer to keep it out of the way.)

Make a hard and fast rule for your home gym: keep it clean and organized. The easier it is to find what you need, the better the chance you will start and finish your workout.


The key to remember when building your home gym: work with what you’ve got. Would it be great to have a Kardashian home gym? Obviously, yes. But waiting for the day you have more space or nicer flooring means you’re just missing out right now. Here’s what some BAMRs did to take advantage of the space they had.

Mini: No space at all? No problem. Heather says, “I love my bands. I keep one in my kitchen and do exercises while making dinner.” Christine also maximizes her tiny space. “I keep my weights next to my dresser and the rest in a drawer. It’s nothing fancy, but I can get a killer workout with minimal gear.”

home gym
Left: Stephanie’s home gym in her unfinished basement. Top right: Pam’s laundry room mash-up. Bottom right: Christine’s weights and bands she keeps in her dresser.)

Moderate: Pam turned her larger-than-average laundry room into a home gym. She was able to squeeze in a fair amount of equipment with her washer and dryer. Think outside the box and see if you have a space that can be multi-purposed.

Mega: For those with unfinished basements, garage space, or a spare bedroom, the sky’s the limit. Bonus if you have room for a few mirrors on the walls and shelves for equipment. Just remember home gyms don’t need to be built in a day. Erin admitted, “We’ve been slowly adding equipment over the last 15 years.”

[Enter to win your own new NordicTrack Treadmill with iFit!]


Adding a touch of inspiration to your space helps turn it from meh to magnificent. It doesn’t need to be worthy of Pinterest, but it should bring you joy. Best of all, there’s no rule that says it must be fitness related. Here are a few ways you can punch up the vibe in your own home gym.

Large: Nicole went all in on her celebrity crushes: “I bought a sticker mural of the beloved Golden Girls.” Color us impressed! Betty White has never looked better.

home gym

Medium: Amanda found these gorgeous motivational prints on Etsy. Framing a handful of lovely quotes can turn any space into something extra special. 

(Left: Amanda’s Etsy prints. Top right: Stacey’s framed race bibs. Bottom right: a line from the “Bravey” poem.)

Stacey framed her race bibs and proudly displayed them. Seeing past goals that you’ve set for yourself—and achieved—can help you push through just about any workout.

This flower print from Alexi Pappas’s “Bravey” poem is simple but so inspiring, and we can’t help but think this would be a perfect addition to your workout space.

Small: I keep my daily workout and my new favorite stickers on a clipboard on my desk. All I have to do is see the words, “I run things” and I’m motivated to crank out some bicep curls. I also have my eye on this print, because I think it’s perfect.

We know fitness at home can be a challenge. Trying to execute a HIIT workout while your fussy toddler won’t nap and the sink is full of dirty dishes is no easy feat. Carving out time—and space—is a process. But if you thought you couldn’t get a quality session of strength and cardio within your own four walls, we hope this has shown you otherwise. Make your space work for you, add a few pieces of essential gear, and you’ve got the makings of a great workout.

What did tips + tricks for a home gym did we miss?