What equipment do I need to exercise from home?

Wellbeing | | Charlie Launder

This is a question that I hear time and time again from women who are looking to fit exercise into their busy schedules. The truth is, you might be surprised to hear how little you actually need to make progress with your workouts in the comfort of your own home. If you were exercising in an empty room with nothing in it, you could still get a good workout done, so anything on top of that is a bonus. In short: don’t let a lack of equipment put you off.

Let’s go through my top recommendations, why they are useful, and should you be thinking about investing in some exercise equipment for your home.


Of course you can always use cans of beans or bottles of water for weights, but if you are serious about getting stronger, then you’re going to need to go a bit heavier than these. I would always advise on getting two sets of dumbbells so you can have some variety and options depending on the exercise you’re doing.

The brand is not so important with dumbbells so you can search the internet and decide on a sensible price range for you. (Check local selling groups for second-hand bargains!) If you have used weights before then you’ll have a good idea of how heavy you should go but if this is your first time then I would advise going for a pair of 3 – 4 kg and if you’re looking at a second pair then choose 5 – 6 kg. There are many ways that you can play around with these weights to increase or decrease the intensity. For example, holding one weight with two hands instantly halves the weight per arm.

Resistance band

These are super cheap to come by, easy to carry around if you’re going away, and incredibly versatile, so I highly recommend getting yourself a few.

You will find there is a wide variety, any of which can be used in different ways: short closed loop bands, long closed loop bands, bands with handles on, and therabands with no handles. It will depend on what kind of exercise you’re doing as to which one might be most useful to you. Therabands are often used in Pilates or yoga, whereas closed loop bands are more often used in strength training, but they’re all very handy for adding resistance without adding weight.

A mat

Obviously you are always able to just use your carpet or a rug to exercise on (or a baby play mat which I find useful!!), but having an exercise mat is especially helpful if you want a non-slip surface or something cushioning for your knees, elbows or back when in certain positions or exercises.

You can spend hundreds of pounds on exercise mats with some brands, but there is no need. Search online for something that specifies non-slip. Don’t get the super thick ones as you’ll find it tricky to balance on something too squishy. The only difficult decision you’ll need to make is ‘which colour?’


There’s no need to buy steps or benches, as we all know what happens to them – they become a clothes horse or a side table for your coffee cup and they take up far too much space.

You can use kitchen chairs, sofas, poofs, steps in your garden or house and pretty much anything you can think of to add elevation to your workouts, so wipe that cost off your list.

As you can see there really doesn’t need to be a huge financial commitment to working out from home. Once you’ve got your dumbbells, resistance band and mat, you are good to go and can choose many different workouts with these. Don’t let a lack of equipment be your reason for not pursuing your goals.