Fitness Equipment to Prioritize for a Small Home Gym


As we enter the holiday season with many parts of the world experiencing various levels of lockdowns and other COVID-19 related restrictions, it’s easy to be frustrated. The good news is that even without a full gym, you can get fit, build muscle and challenge yourself with very little equipment.

During the early days of quarantine and for four solid months, I had one 26 pound dumbbell. My dad had the other one. Along with a few bands, I worked out 5-6 days per week, never getting board or feeling unchallenged.

I also found creative ways to make things work like filling a small suitcase with books for Zercher squats and using canned food for lighter weight upper body work.

After long hours scouring websites and waiting in virtual lines for equipment drops, I slowly added to my arsenal of equipment.

If I had to start over now, here are the piece of home workout equipment I would prioritize.

Exercise Bands

Invest in three or four different types.

  • Small Thin Bands: Great for mobility work and for upper body work where you don’t want a lot of resistance. I found these on Amazon.
  • Small Thick Fabric Bands: These are great for lower body work including glute exercises. They will make your average bodyweight squat challenging. I’ve had these one for over a year and love them.
  • Resistance Band Kit: These bands can be used in many ways. You can layer them up to create more resistance. Along with a door, you will have many options for exercises. Here is a solid set that comes with a variety of resistance options.
  • Long Thin Bands: These are great for banded Romanian Deadlifts (hamstrings), pull aparts (shoulders), banded pushups and much more. They are also great for banded kettlebell workouts if you have some of those. Mine are from Rogue Fitness. The color has faded over time, but they work just as well as day one.

Adjustable Kettlebells

I did not believe adjustable kettlebells could actually work. But when I found these in May 2020, I was more desperate than skeptical and adjustable dumbbells were unavailable.

I am really impressed the Rep Fitness Adjustable Kettlebells. No issues with clanking sounds. They have 5 different settings between 35 - 55 pounds and are sold as singles.

There are an endless number of exercises you can do with kettlebells: swings, deadlifts, squats, rows, presses, core work and more.

For inspiration, check out Marcus Filly on Instagram.

I also share ideas in my workouts. You don’t need two kettlebells, but there are fun things you can do with a pair.

Side Note: Lifting heavy weight is a crucial factor in building muscle. Our bodies respond to the resistance. Of course, it is possible to get fit without lifting weights, but if you want to build muscle and fight back against age-related weakening, weights are key. Sadly, many women are afraid to lift heavy enough. A topic for another day. Just wanted to point out that if you can get your hands on a 25 pound dumbbell or more, don’t pass it up!

One of my favorite fitness professionals, Mrs. Sweendog, just launched a dumbbell only program, which I am sure you can pull off with kettlebells too. If I was in lockdown with my one dumbbell or my pair of kettlebells, I would scoop that up.


A very affordable and accessible way to bring heavier weights into your home training is a sandbag. I wish I would have thought of this in March. You can use this versatile apparatus in place of dumbbells, kettlebells or barbells.

Pull-up Bar

The nice thing about a pull-up bar is that you can take it down easily when you aren’t using it. I have one built into my rack so I can’t speak to the quality of the door versions, but this one has great ratings on Amazon and you can use it for dips.

Jump Rope

I have a speed rope from RPM and a weighted jump rope from Rx Smart Gear. These are great for adding cardio to a circuit or giving yourself a break from running.

Evy Lyons

I treat life like a professional sport and train like an athlete so I can stay in the game as long as possible and hopefully inspire more women to join the fun.