Since we moved into a house and got a ton more usable space than when we had an apartment, I started building out our home gym and seeing which simple products we could make use of.

I’m no expert in working out: I just like to have some products lying around that I can make use of if I need to burn some calories, stretch out my body or do some activity after a long day behind a screen.

In the following list, see what we’re trying out at home, and remember: we’re not expert-level fitness fanatics; rather, we’re just regular people trying out some home gym equipment in our family room.

Nothing I’m listing here is large equipment, nothing needs setup or putting together and nothing takes up more space than I’d be comfortable with in our family room.

Yoga, stretching and pilates

While yoga is not for everyone, it’s for me! I’ve found that I’ve increased my mental and physical stamina with yoga on YouTube, from the comfort of my home, for years now. Here are some home gym accessories I picked up.

Yoga mat

I’m trying the new low-profile and reversible yoga mat from Nike and it’s a cool yoga mat to have around because it rolls up pretty thin for putting it away. As soon as I rolled it out, I got into some stretching and flipped on one of my favorite yoga YouTube channels for an at-home workout session.

Yoga blocks

The first time I tried to level-up my home gym, I went for yoga bocks (and wound up not using them, so I gave them to a friend). But now, I’m giving yoga blocks another shot, especially because I used yoga during my pregnancy to stay fit.

My Nike yoga blocks are lightweight foam, and easy to put in a tote bag to bring to a yoga studio if I venture out of the house and don’t want to rent them from the studio.

Yoga blanket

I always thought a yoga blanket was a luxury I didn’t need, but then I realized how many classes call for using one, during warm-ups and cool-downs. Plus, I snuggle with it on the couch sometimes! (My suggestion: pick a color that matches the vibe of your family room or wherever you do your exercise)

Strength

Dan’s the one who does strength training, although I actually tried a few full-body strength workouts when I was pregnant, and got really winded. Regardless, doing strength training at home feels productive because doing those workouts on YouTube are FREE!

Small free weights

My mom was always my free weights role model. She has never used gigantic weights, but how she works out in front of the TV at night goes to show that even using 2-lb or 5-lb weights at home can make a difference in your fitness.

Push-up grips

We got the Nike push-up grips for maintaining good form when doing push-ups on our gym mat in the family room. They’re surprisingly affordable and easy to put away when I’m cleaning up.

Mini kettle bells (5-15 lb)

Kettle bells are the type of thing that seem really intense and daunting, but for someone like me, starting with them in a smaller 5-lb size is much more manageable.

If you’re interested in seeing how kettlebells work for beginners or anyone who’s not too intense on them, check out a beginner kettle bell workout class online.

Resistance bands

Our fitness expert friends Alex and Ryan taught us that resistance bands are one of the best ways to work out at home, or on the go. They’re always super affordable.

Currently we just got the Nike resistance band, but in the past, we’ve also tried sets of 4 bands like these.

Other workouts (cardio & core)

For anyone who is not into yoga or strength training at home, I have some other ideas that I’ve either tried, or are on my list of things to try in the near future.

Jump rope

Unless you live in an apartment (and then I’d probably only suggest doing jump rope at home if you live on the first floor—ha!), having a jump rope at home is fun! If this is your only workout product for home, you’re all set, because using a jump rope is a great cardio activity, especially while watching TV.

I learned all about the benefits of jumping rope by reading this article from GoodRx Health. They are so affordable, and can be so much fun to use for fitness at home.

Ab roller wheel

While we don’t have an ab roller at home, we should probably pick one up, so this one’s on my wish list. Did you know ab rollers are really affordable and won’t make a huge dent at all in your home gym budget?

Ab rollers, for those who are not familiar, are for core fitness and can be used to stretch your entire body while working on balance and strength training. Pretty neat.

Here’s a tutorial on How to use an Ab Wheel, for beginners.

Post-workout

After workouts at home, we like to relax with a few simple and affordable things we keep stored in our couch.

Mini massage gun

I have flat feet, and one foot is even worse than the other. After walking outside before dinner, or after a foot ache, I use a massage gun to give my arches and soles some love.

Dan likes to use our massage gun for muscle release after running. We keep our massage guns in the storage cushions of our Flexispot sofa, actually.

Mini sweat towel

This compact towel is a quick-dry one that we can just hang in the bathroom and it dries in a few hours.

Foam roller (small or large)

Dan has used his foam roller for years, and he has two: the mini Tiger Tail roller, and a large foam roller that we store behind the couch. When it’s not in use, we stow it away (it’s also a child-friendly item to play with if you have a toddler like we do).

Types of workouts you can do

There are lots of starter ways to work out from home. For me, walking is a favorite, but only in good weather, as my limbs get numb pretty quickly in our Northeast winters. So when I’m inside, I do yoga online, or stretching sessions, with YouTube.

Dan is known to run outside, but when it’s too hot or too cold (or rainy), he’ll do strength classes on YouTube, or high-intensity workouts on a gym mat on the floor. We’ve been working out from home for years, ever since the pandemic cooped us up and we found new ways to build out strength and get our heart rates up, right from our living room in Brooklyn.

If you’re home, why not get inspired by this fitness article about ways to stay fit while working from home?

Why I wrote this

I don’t work out all the time, so basically, I wanted to find minimal and simple workout accessories for having some home gym options in our new house.

I mostly do yoga and I’ll lift small weights from time to time while I’m in the house, and Dan uses things like resistance bands, kettlebells and push-up grips. We work out very differently, but we’re both known to do exercise when we clear the family room and have some space to set up the iPad with a workout class on YouTube!

I’m not venturing out to buy fancy workout equipment that’ll go in a dedicated room off to the side; rather, my home gym accessories live among the other things in my life, like our sectional couch, my home office nook and our deck doors.


Disclaimer: We’d like to thank Nike for providing all the Nike products in this guide; all photos and thoughts are our own.