Weight Training at Home: What You Need

Do you need fancy gym equipment to get a good weight-training workout? No. Several people have asked me this recently and it may be because I often talk about mixing your routine up in the gym. Also, for various reasons I don’t work out at home. But the truth is you can get the same results at home using some basic equipment.

It’s really simple to work out at home. You don’t have to worry about workout clothes, driving, or paying for a membership. The equipment is minimal and inexpensive. You can work out whenever you want. So if you’re ready to get started, take a look at what you need.

Have Fun with Bands

I often suggest using cable and FreeMotion machines because they’re so versatile, but you can get the same results using bands (also called tubes). Bands are made of elastic, stretchy latex that you can attach to doors, place under a bench, and stand on to perform exercises.

Bands come in different levels of resistance which are indicated by different colors. It’s best to buy several in different colors to use for different exercises. Many bands have handles, and you can also buy ankle cuffs and door attachments for some. You can buy them anywhere – I’ve seen them at sports stores and even electronics and drug stores.


Go to Livestrong.com and Bodybuilding.com.


  • Use the same good form as you would with other exercises.
  • Anchor your bands on smooth surfaces to avoid wearing them down. Popping bands are painful bands!

Be Friends with Dumbbells

You do not have to use dumbbells as part of your home workout, but you may enjoy them more than or as much as resistance bands. You need to experiment with both to see which you prefer. I suggest that you have both types of resistance on hand in case you don’t like the way bands feel for a certain exercise or vice versa. Remember that versatility will prevent boredom!

If you are a beginner and need to buy three- and five-pound weights, know that you will only be using these for a couple of months. After that you will need to buy a pair of heavier weights (eights and tens). You need to keep increasing the weight or your muscles will hit a plateau and you will not see further results.


Go to Bodybuilding.com and select a muscle group. Then filter for dumbbells under “Equipment.”


  • Use good form and avoid swaying your body during exercises.
  • Pick up dumbbells carefully to avoid straining your lower back.

Mat, Bench, Stability Ball

You need a surface on which to exercise – I don’t know how else to put it! A basic weight bench is versatile and great to have. But you don’t have to have one. You do need a place to do chest presses, for example, and a stability ball can fill in nicely. Not only that, but a stability (or Swiss) ball forces you to use your core for balance on many exercises. You can use it in place of a bench in some cases, but not all.

Why do you need a mat? Because carpet gets in your nose. A mat is softer on your knees and head. And it (hopefully) provides a nonskid surface on which to place your weights and exercise.

So what are you waiting for? Go get your equipment and check out the exercise database links above. You will see muscles on that beautiful body before long.

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  1. Not that many supplies needed! Good list. I have a stability ball, medicine ball, several different weights and they work great.

  2. I LOVE home workouts! The best part about it is that you can use any or all of the equipment that you mention or you can use nothing at all and use your own bodyweight and an awesome exercise plan.

    BTW, my favorite is the kettlebell and foam roller 🙂
    Susan@Home Workouts recently posted..3 Best At Home Cardio WorkoutsMy Profile

    • OH YES, bodyweight as well. Heh heh, I love dumbbells so much I forgot to mention bodyweight exercises :). You’re the expert! And I’m with you, gotta love that foam roller!

  3. Excellent article. Women in particular seem to sometimes be afraid to strength train. Other folks just worry that the equipment will be too expensive. You have shown some great options that are all low cost. May I use this as a guest post on my site?

  4. you can also get some great kettle bells at sports authority. I LOVE MINE! Great ups as usually Suzanne.
    lindsay recently posted..Challenge CompleteMy Profile

  5. Have the bands, have NO idea what to do with them, so thanks for that! I used to have a stability ball, but it got lost in the move. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Looks like it will be an early birthday present to me. 🙂

  6. Suzanne,

    Good topic for someone looking to get in shape for the first time.

    I’ve been a fan of kettlebells and resistance bands for a while now. I like the convenience of the two if free weights and dumbbells are not an option.

    Mitchell @ Qwikbody recently posted..2011 Transformation ChallengeMy Profile

    • Thanks Mitchell. I try to remember the beginners out there too. Kettle bells are so versatile and much different in the movements in many cases. Maybe they’ll become more affordable and mainstream in the next few years.

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