My Favorite Home Gym Equipment

This week felt like it flew by, which is a fairly rare occurrence towards the end of pregnancy in my experience.  However, work was pretty demanding for me, and it was not easy getting everything I wanted to do fit into this week.  Fortunately, I was able to get in one of my workouts in the garage and one of my runs on the treadmill, which saved me a solid chunk of time both days.  Over the past two years, my husband and I have been slowly increasing our little home gym, and it has come in handy during weeks like this.  Which is why I want to share some of my favorite home gym equipment pieces today.

We don’t have a full garage gym by any means, and I’m not planning on giving up my CrossFit membership any time soon.  But having a handful of items has given us both a lot of flexibility in making sure our workouts still happen, even when our schedules are crazy.  For me, this crazy week started out with a 5 mile treadmill run that was done about 3 minutes before I needed to log in for work.  Henry also happened to have a busier morning than usual, so I was really grateful I didn’t have to rush back home or cut my run short before he left for the day.

Thankfully I didn’t have any doctors or prenatal appointments this week. I honestly don’t know if my schedule could have handled one more thing on my to-do list. I did have some company on my Thursday morning run, and I noticed that my pace was significantly faster than it has been recently. The rest of the week was filled with work meetings and projects, which also meant that I needed to get in a quick home workout during a shorter than usual lunch break on Thursday. By the time Saturday rolled around, I was a little bit dazed and decided to sleep in just about 30 minutes later than usual.

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I still ran my longer run outside, but those 30 minutes had an unbelievable impact on how hot it got during my run.  At about the 10k mark I was really regretting the fact that I didn’t opt for another treadmill run, even though I tend to prefer running outside to running inside.  Lesson learned!  After more than one nap and a few snacks, my husband and I met up with a couple of friends for dinner while my cousin hung out with our kiddo.  It struck me that this might have been our last “date night” for a good while, since we’re not great about scheduling baby sitters in advance.  I meant to get a picture, but completely forgot once the amazing food arrived at the table.  Womp womp. 

My Favorite Home Gym Equipment

When COVID first forced most gyms to shut down, there was a huge run on home gym equipment.  My husband and I invested in just a couple of things at that po- int, but we had a really hard time finding reasonably priced equipment that was available or in stock.  We had to get pretty creative with our workouts, but ever since then I’ve recognized the convenience of having at least a minimal home gym set-up.  As I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy, and thinking about what life is going to look like with an infant, I’m even more aware of just how valuable it will be to be able to get in a good workout at home.  And while I love incorporating body weight movements into my workouts, there are a few key items I just don’t want to ever go without anymore.  Here’s my absolute favorite home gym pieces of equipment.

  • Two Sets of Dumbbells – Now, you can technically get away with one pair. And honestly, even just one moderately heavy dumbbell can go a long way if your budget is limited. But my husband and I have been able to score a couple of sets of dumbbells on the facebook market place and during seasonal sales, and I would be lying if I didn’t say it’s been really great to have options. I tend to use a set of 20’s for lighter, upper body movements like overhead press or rows, and a set of 30’s or 35’s for heavier, lower body movements like weighted lunges, deadlifts, and single arm snatches. If you keep an eye out, and have decent timing, you can probably score yourself one set of light and one set of heavy dumbbells for less than $100.
  • One Kettlebell – The kettlebell was one of the first pieces of equipment that I bought years ago, because I knew how versatile one kettlebell could be. In a pinch, you can definitely use a dumbbell for swings. But I don’t feel like it’s the safest or most comfortable way to go. We have a 35# kettlebell that we use for swings, weighted squats, deadlights, and high pulls (among other movements). If you have more room in your budget, I’d recommend opting for two different weights (one light and one heavy) rather than a matching set, since the majority of kettlebell movements only require one.
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  • Jump Rope – I haven’t been jumping around for a few weeks, but prior to being pregnant, I got a lot of use from my jump rope. What I love is that it’s so effective at getting your heart rate up, without taking up much space. Plus it’s super portable, which comes in handy if you travel frequently and want something that can be packed easily.
  • Sandbag – This will probably be the next item my husband and I purchase for our garage. I hadn’t even really realized how versatile a weighted sandbag could be until I started following Street Parking on Instagram. Sandbags can be used similarly to a weighted barbell for movements like cleans, deadlifts, and push press, but they are a lot less expensive (which I really love). Plus, I don’t hate the idea of having something that we can use for slam movements.
  • Pull Up Bar – The pull-up bar wasn’t the most cost efficient piece of gym equipment (though it certainly didn’t break the bank), but the types of workouts I was able to do was significantly different after we made the plunge. Being able to work in pull-ups, toes to bar, and all the variations of both movements gave us a lot of options that we didn’t have good substitutes for without the bar.
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  • Box – Before getting pregnant, I liked having a step up box almost exclusively for box jumps and weighted step-ups. However, since being pregnant, I’ve found myself using it a whole lot more for things like dumbbell hip thrusters, modified push-ups, tricep dips, and single leg movements. In a pinch, almost anything sturdy and a decent height can be used as a box. For several months, we used a cooler. Fortunately, my dad was able to build us one for pretty cheap, and now we have even more height options. If you’ve got someone whose handy with building, check out this DIY tutorial that gives step by step instruction for building a 3 height box.
  • Resistance Bands – One of the least expensive parts of our gym set up is our set of resistance bands. We don’t use them a ton in workouts, though they are great for upright rows, banded good mornings, and a lot of core movements. For the most part, we tend to utilize them for warm up movements and stretches, though I have been able to find some pretty effective total body workouts on Pinterest that have in come handy when I’ve been traveling in the past.
  • Bonus: Cardio Equipment – If your budget has a good amount of room, I honestly can’t recommend investing in one piece of cardio equipment for your home. Now, I personally love my treadmill because it has allowed me to get in runs regardless of weather, and I know it will get a ton of use for naptime runs when I can’t leave the house. However, if running isn’t your passion, having a spin bike or rower can go a long way to upping your home workout game. It’s certainly not an absolutely essential purchase (I mean, you can toss an 800m sprint into just about any workout to get in a good amount of cardio), but if you’re already working out at home, I can almost guarantee you’ll get your dollar’s worth in terms of utilization.

This Weeks Workouts

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Total Miles: 29.2 Miles
Total Workouts: 4
How the Run Felt
Monday morning’s run felt pretty tough.  I was pretty tired when I woke up, and honestly I probably could have just skipped the run and used the extra sleep.  Once my alarm went off, though, baby B started moving around and I knew I wasn’t going to fall back asleep, so I opted for a slower 5 miles on the treadmill.  On Thursday, I met up with my girlfriend at a greenway that’s only about 3 minutes from my front door.  I usually run over there from my house and get in about a mile between my door and greenway, but most of that mile is a pretty solid uphill out of our neighborhood.  Cutting out that hill, and having someone to chat with sure did wonders for my pace!

I was so happy to see a run in the 10’s that I decided to drive over to the greenway again on Friday.  Once again, my pace was a little faster than it has been, which I didn’t hate one bite!  Saturday’s run was just brutal if I’m being completely honest.  Tacking on 2 more miles than my weekday run isn’t a big deal, but between because I slept a little longer, it was just so damn hot by the end of the run.  I’ll definitely be deferring to treadmill runs for the rest of the summer if I can’t get out the door before the sun starts creeping up.

How the WODs Felt
This weeks workouts felt pretty reasonable for me, which is always a welcome surprise this far into pregnancy. I’m still feeling comfortable with barbell movements and squat snatches, but I do have to be a little more mindful with my belly and the barbell. I might be switching over exclusively to dumbbell movements if the bump gets too much bigger over the next few weeks. Friday’s workout involved handstand walks, and I’m definitely not coordinated enough to pull that off while pregnant, but I’ve always been very comfortable with upside movements against a wall. I decided to see if wall walks felt comfortable before the workout started, and to my surprise I felt really stable. It’s definitely a movement I wouldn’t recommend to beginner athletes who are pregnant, but if you don’t feel like you’re at risk for falling, it’s still safe to be upside down throughout pregnancy.

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What I’ve Been Listening
This week I kept binging on Transportista.  It’s not moving as quickly as I’d like, but it is fairly interesting.  I’ve also been listening to some old favorites like Crime Junkie, Trust Me, and The First Degree.

What Went Well
Having a pretty productive weekend without over pushing myself.

What Went Shitty
My back is starting to feel cranky again.

Plans to Improve Next Week
Make sure my work load is slightly lighter for the last few weeks of pregnancy should go a long way.

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