Nowadays, we have working from home, and we have working out at home. Here are the essential must-haves for an affordable home gym set up!

The way we do things has drastically changed over the last year or so. We have had to trade office life for working from home. Huge box office titles have been postponed several times, and we’re still waiting to see how live music can return properly. Another change has been the closing of public gyms. So, how have people been staying in shape?

Well, I have managed to stay in shape. That shape is a wheel of cheese, and I’m cool with it. That’s not to say that exercise hasn’t entered into the lockdown equation. Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, managed to invigorate the UK with his PE with Joe routine on YouTube. Now that the weather is changing, getting out for a run with some great headphones and motivating tunes seems more attractive.

But, if you were a regular at the gym, you’ll likely be missing your favourite machines. Here are some things that can help create an affordable home gym workout and all-round sweat box atmosphere.


Those machines, the ones with all the cables and bars that resemble something akin to a medieval torture device, are expensive. But, you can do an effective shoulder press or chest press without them.

Free weights are not reserved solely for the super buff, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Kettle bells are fantastic for incorporating into core workouts, or adding extra challenge to your squats. The classic dumbbell is super versatile, and can be used in a huge variety of ways. Adjustable sets are perfect for upping resistance as you progress. My personal favourite move is the one where you lift the weights, put them in a cupboard, then not open it again for three months.

You then have the barbell weights. These are the ones that muscle machines deadlift and pop above their heads, or bravely lie beneath. Do remember to get a friend to spot you, and don’t take on more weight than you’re comfortable with. The heavier weight, generally, the higher the price. You can find fantastic sets of weights or standalone ones starting at around $30.


If lifting weights is something you enjoy, then investing in a bench is a great idea. A bench will unlock a whole host of weight exercises that you simply can’t recreate by lying on the floor. Benches are great for dumbbell rows, flies and shoulder presses. You can get hold of a decent bench for around $80, although fancier ones will mean a fancier price.

Exercise Mat

Callisthenics and body weight exercises are perfect for those who don’t want to spend loads on home gym equipment. But, you need to ensure you protect yourself and stay comfortable. Nobody wants a bruised bottom from too many sit-ups on a wooden floor.

Yoga and exercise mats are wonderfully inexpensive, come in an array of styles and colours, and will transform your home workout. You can easily grab one for around $15 and have an effective workout without anything else!

Pull-Up Bar

Great for upper body strength and toning your arms and back, a pull-up bar is a fun addition to the home. You can do chin-ups, pull-ups, or just hang there – which is brilliant if you’re a climber, actually. For around the $25 mark you can grab a straight bar that can be installed in door frames without any screws or drills. If you’d like a more complex bar, pick up a multifunctional bar for a little more money and train different muscle groups.

Foam Roller

After a session in the home gym, it won’t be shocking if you end up with some sore muscles. Warming up is vital before working out, but warming down and focussing on recovery is just as important. Neglecting to warm down can result in tight muscles, leaving you open to injury. Rest and recovery is as productive as a 10-mile run in your fitness journey.

For just $15 a sturdy foam roller can be your new best friend. There are softer foam ones, or rollers with a more solid inner tube, to really dig into those muscles. It may look easy and like some fun rolling around but oh boy, it hurts. No pain, no gain, as they say.

Pumping Music

Any affordable home gym set up needs music. Depending on the kind of exercise you’re doing, there is a perfect BPM to work out to. Whether it’s pumping tunes for HIIT, or calming tones for a yoga session, check out Synchedin. Perhaps you’re planning to share your fitness activities on YouTube, or you’re even a fitness coach vying to be the next Joe Wicks. Music will make the workout more entertaining, driven, and bearable.

Synchedin offers a huge library of awesome royalty free music, all with the sync license covered. This means you can feature songs in videos without any copyright issues to worry about. Filter tracks by genre and mood to discover the music that will fit your workout faster and simpler. Stream the catalogue for free, or get unlimited download access for just $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year!