I’m not going to say that any of these pieces of inexpensive home workout equipment are essential. Because they’re not.
If you spend so much as 2 minutes searching for workouts on YouTube or Pinterest, you’ll quickly see there are plenty of bodyweight workouts out there. These require no equipment – not even a gym. They can be done at home, and they are seriously the most frugal way to get fit.
Combine these workouts with some outdoor running and you’ve got yourself a completely free fitness routine!
Wait, what? Then Cedar, why should we read this post at all?
Keep reading – I have a point!
The farther along I’ve gotten in this blogging journey, the more I’ve wanted to define my target audience. While I want to be inclusive – and yes, I think everyone can still benefit from my tips – I want to make sure I’m addressing the needs of those I initially began writing for.
My goal is to help women like me: young women in their 20s and 30s who are busy living goal-driven lives. They have no time because they spend all day committed to their careers, and they have no energy because they give their all every day. These women are go-getters, leaders, and potentially even work-a-holics. And their fitness goals may sometimes fall to the wayside.
This doesn’t mean they don’t work out – it just means they haven’t been seeing the results they want.
Maybe they aren’t able to be as consistent as they want, or they don’t have time to really look into why their routine isn’t working. Or maybe they even know why it isn’t working – lack of time to meal prep and instead grabbing whatever food is easily accessible at lunch time or while on the drive home.
They really want to be healthy and fit, but just aren’t sure of the best way to accomplish that.
That’s where I come in.
Because I’ve been there. In my first nursing job, I was all-in, devoted, working 12+ hour night shifts (and they were usually longer). I was tired, I was unhealthy, and I felt defeated. Towards the end of it, I found my escape in fitness – and now devote my life to it. But it’s my passion, and I know that’s not the case for everybody.
Working most recently in a cardiac rehab, I saw that fitness could be accessible to anyone, even if they originally never thought that was possible.
I want to help make fitness accessible for you badass women who are crushing it every day in your professional lives (whether you’re a lawyer, engineer, nurse, entrepreneur, masters student, vet tech, social media manager – or pursuing your dream job while working another to pay the bills).
Whether you’re pulling in six figures a year or pulling in $10 an hour, you want to protect your hard-earned money. I know I sure as hell do!
So I wanted to create a post that considers you, my target audience, and what you need to be successful. Certainly most fitness equipment can help you do that, but you definitely don’t need to buy a treadmill for your living room or a rack of dumbbells with 10 different weights.
What, then, do you need? I’ll be honest: not much.
I have a few pieces of fitness equipment that I use almost daily and attribute a lot of my success to. And that’s what we’re going over today!
No long laundry list of items – just a few pieces of inexpensive home workout equipment that us frugal ladies will actually find helpful and will actually use.
(Because what’s worse than spending your hard-earned money on something and then rarely using it??)
Please note: Check with your physician before starting any exercise routine or starting any particular diet. See this Disclaimer for more details. This post may contain affiliate links. For details, please visit my Disclosure page. Thank you!
Best Home Fitness Equipment for Frugal, Busy Women
1. Yoga mat
I told you, just basics here today. But no less necessary.
If you have hardwood floors, a yoga mat is going to be needed for any move you perform on the ground. It’ll save your knees and your tailbone. It will also provide a little bit of cushion for any jumping movements, like jumping squats and lunges.
If you have carpet, a yoga mat is a little less necessary for the cushioning aspect. Personally, I like to use it as a barrier between the carpet and my sweaty back. You can easily vacuum up your pet’s fur, but sweat? Not so much.
Putting down a yoga mat provides both cushion and an easy-to-clean workout surface.
2. A pair of medium weight dumbbells (such as 8-10 lbs)
Now yes, there are tons of bodyweight workouts available, and some could make the argument that you don’t need weights at home. But finally investing in a pair of 10 lb dumbbells has been the biggest game-changer for me.
You can do so many more exercises with a pair of dumbbells.
RELATED POST: Dumbbell Leg Workout for Stunningly Toned Legs
For instance, when it comes to chest exercises, pretty much the only bodyweight exercise you can do is push-ups.
How about upper back and shoulders? Sure, Y, T, I raises are great. But rows, flies, scaptions, and other weighted raises open up a whole new world of gains.
When it comes to strength training, using handheld weights will skyrocket your progress. They allow you to overload your muscles even more – which is a fundamental principle of building strength.
So don’t weight like me! (I know…dumb joke haha.)
A pair of dumbbells are totally worth it.
Edit 6/16/20: Target now has some dumbbells back in stock. Look here to see if they have the weight you need.
Edit 1/17/21: Amazon also has some dumbbells in stock now with good reviews. As of this date, the prices aren’t outrageous either. Check one popular brand here. Amazon Basics is also restocking their dumbbells.
3. Flat resistance bands
Looking for inexpensive home workout equipment? Don’t forget flat resistance bands.
I mostly use them for leg exercises, but you can honestly use them for all-over toning. They transform simple movements into challenging, “when-can-I-stop” burners.
Plus they’re small, so they take up no space and are easy to travel with.
Need some resistance band moves? Try some of these from Women’s Health Magazine.
4. Ankle weights
A few months ago I finally bought some ankle weights after mulling it over for the longest time – I told you, I’m very frugal!
I’m so glad I got them.
The thing about ankle weights is they’re a really simple way to bump up an exercise’s intensity. For moves like donkey kicks and leg raises where I’d need to do a ton of reps to feel any sort of burn, I now feel fatigued after just 10. Talk about efficient!
You can also keep them on for an entire home workout. Lunges with a knee raise just got a whole lot harder – and you didn’t even need heavy dumbbells to do it.
Ankle weights are my new secret weapon for home workouts. The resistance they add helps efficiently build muscle and also burns more fat – since you have to work harder to perform each exercise.
And they’re super inexpensive. I’d recommend starting with just 1 lb ankle weights. That’s what I got, and honestly, they do the job.
5. Running shoes
I mean, there’s literally no way around this one. You need a good pair of sneakers to do pretty much any form of exercise.
I even find my form is better when I throw on my shoes to do an at-home strength training routine versus going barefoot.
If you’re looking for a good pair of shoes, I highly recommend Brooks Adrenaline; I’ve been running in them for over ten years. I also have a pair of Brooks Launch that I bought as work shoes and have run in a couple times as well and loved.
Can’t go wrong with Brooks!
I hope you find this helpful, especially amidst the current events going on. Effective home workouts are more important than ever right now. My hope is that these pieces of inexpensive home workout equipment will help see you through, just as they have so far for me.
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You literally named the only equipment I have at home (specifically because of how inexpensive they were) ? I love this stuff, now I just need to actually use it more often ?
Hahaha exactly! I’m very frugal so these are the things I actually have too. I have a couple workouts with dumbbells already, but I’m thinking of writing ones for ankle weights and resistance bands also. Stay tuned!
I actually have been of these but I don’t use them! I know it’s horrible! This post kind of gave me a kick in the pants which is a good thing. I love that all of these are affordable options as well.
Yes! These are all great things to incorporate to ramp up your everyday workouts, specifically the ankle weights, resistance bands, and dumbbells! So many YouTube workouts incorporate these too, as well as a lot of workouts I’ve posted here.
Hi, Cedar, I would like to know more about that nice supportive undergarment you have in your picture. Looks like a “must have” to me.
Hi! Unfortunately I don’t know exactly which sports bra that is because the picture at the top is a stock photo. I use sports bras from all different brands. Some of my favorites are ones I’ve found from Dick’s Sporting Goods and Target. My all-time favorites are from Lorna Jane – their quality is unparalleled. But I only have two from Lorna Jane because it’s quite expensive! However I do believe they’ll last a very long time.