At Home Workouts

At Home Workout: Kick It Up!

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What’s it Worth?

On average we’re spending upwards of $600 a year on gym memberships. It may sound like a lot but it’s really not that much money when it comes to something as important as maintaining your health. The gym is one of my favorite places in the world. I know several of you though, that workout at home. At first, your body is all that you need. You can get a killer workout just about anywhere. Eventually though, you will adapt and your body will need to be challenged. This can be a problem for those of you that workout at home.

Heaven on Earth

When I lived with my parents, I had everything I needed right in the garage. We had a power rack, 2 benches, 2 Olympic barbells, adjustable dumbbells and a butt load of plates. I’ve never made as much progress as I did in that steamy, Florida garage (pictured below). I love going to the gym, but having everything to myself was the coolest. I swear one day I will have that again. If you think about it in terms of an investment… you’re throwing money at a gym when you can take that money and assemble your own. I’ve compiled a list of the top 20 at-home-fitness products that will kick your workouts up a notch! (All the titles are clickable and will take you directly to my recommended product!)

Warm-Up and Stretch Out

Jump RopeSo an easy, cheap way to warm up at home is with a jump rope. You can burn some serious calories with one of these things, about 10 calories per minute (depending on intensity). Jumping rope is a great cardio workout!

Yoga Mat : Sometimes stretching out or performing ab workouts on the carpet, hard floor or grass can be extremely uncomfortable. Not only does a yoga mat make it more comfortable, but it also protects against slipping and sliding.

Stretch Straps : These were part of our 2018 fitness products post. I included them on this one also because stretching is crucial whether you go to the gym or workout at home. These stretch assisting straps will allow you to get the deepest stretch possible while maintaining safety.

Foam Roller : Just as important as stretching, foam rolling is extremely important to maintaining flexibility and safety. Training creates tiny knots and adhesions in our muscles that, if left untreated, can lead to improper form and injury. Applying pressure through foam rolling will work to eliminate and release these knots and adhesions if practiced consistently. 

Your Core is Your Foundation

Terra CoreBack in Florida, the gym that I was working at got these when they first came out. They transformed the way I was able to teach the group fitness classes and even my one on one clients. Not only is it great for working your core, but it’s also great for total body workouts. Their unique shape allows for chest presses and flyes, bent over rows, balancing exercises, countless lower body workouts and SO much more! No matter what exercise you’re performing, it’s simultaneously working your core! The Terra Core is an absolute essential when it comes to building your home gym.

Stability Ball A workout classic, the stability ball is great for core stabilization and strengthening. You can also do chest, back and lower body exercises on it, all while strengthening your core. Along with providing a great workout, it can also help you stretch out!

Get That Heart Rate Up!

We’ve talked a lot about active rests during strength training. Instead of just sitting in between sets, get up and get your heart rate pumping! The more calories you burn the better! Active rests can consist of body weight exercises like jumping jacks and burpees, but incorporating the following modalities can kick it up a notch!

Slam BallIt’s exactly what it sounds like… pick it up and slam it down. Slam ball is a stress reliever that is sure to get your blood pumping. I’ve also had my clients use it for squat presses and overhead walking lunges. It’s a great way to step up body weight exercise.

Kettle Bell :  You may have heard of the ‘kettle bell swing’ which works your entire posterior chain all the while getting your heart rate up. The kettle bell is an excellent choice if you want to burn some serious calories. You can also use it to work your shoulders, arms and abs. I used to make my clients hold one in each hand and perform walking lunges and single leg dead lifts.

Medicine Ball : Commonly used for things like wall balls, medicine balls are great for upping your calorie burn! A lot like the others, they can be used for ab exercises as well.

Plyometric BoxThe plyo box is great for active rests, especially during leg day. Aside from doing box jumps, you can do step ups with or without weight, split squats and hip thrusts on the box. Just make sure you get one that’s at least knee height. Talk about a burner! One of my favorites for sure!

Getting Stronger

TRX Suspension Training : Speaking of favorites, this is another one of mine. There’s not much you can’t do with a TRX. You can perform a total body workout that is completely modified to your skill level. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this. (We’re going to do a TRX exercise post soon, ya know, just in case you want to get yours now 😉 )






Starter Dumbbell Set 5-25lbs : Dumbbells are part of a home gym’s foundation. They too can provide a full body workout. A good assortment of dumbbells can help you make some serious progress, so you need to be mindful when choosing what weight you want. I love adjustable dumbbells because they can progress with you but don’t be afraid to go heavier. Remember ladies, heavier weights = Stronger, more “toned” muscles.

Adjustable Barbell : A barbell is imperative for compound lifts (Squats, Dead lifts and Bench Press) If you want to make legitimate strength gains you most definitely need one. This adjustable barbell is great for beginners adjusting up to 132 lbs.

Adjustable grip pull-up barSo these next 2 kind of go hand-in-hand for those of you just getting into the workout groove. No one expects you to be able to do pull-ups or chin-ups when you first start out. Pull-ups are proof of raw strength, you can’t fake them. If you’re serious about lifting, you need to practice them. Not to mention they will sculpt your back and arms.

Resistance Bands : Like I said, these go hand in hand with the pull-up bar. I say this because they will allow you to do assisted pull-ups by looping them over your pull-up bar and resting your knee in the loop to help pull yourself up. Slowly but surely you will be able to use less and less resistance until you can do 1 all on your own. Besides assisting pull-ups and chin-ups, resistance bands are also great for warming up. I’m very fond of resistance band exercises for the elderly or those recovering from an injury as well, because many exercises can be performed from the seated position. They’re great gifts for grandma and grandpa!

The Next Level

Okay so these next 5 are for those of you that have been working out for a while. This is for those that have decided lifting is going to be a part of your life from here on out (OOO I hope that’s most of you! 🙂 ) Are you tired of waiting for the squat rack? I gotta tell you, I’m SO over waiting for the dumbbells I want at the gym. No joke, this short dude was using the 50-pounders as a step for his feet while he was benching. I was seriously ready to implode I was so angry. Avoid this feeling! Assemble your own gym in your garage or spare room. It’s SO worth it!

Power Rack : This is KING when it comes to the home gym. Forget the Bowflex… A power rack will allow you to do squats, dead lifts, bench press, military press and even chin-ups, SAFELY and effectively. It has adjustable safety bars on the sides that won’t interfere with your workout but will rescue you if need be, allowing you to workout on your own without a spotter. Just set the bars to the right height for the exercise you’re performing so you’ll be able to bail if you have to. These compound lifts will, without a doubt, get you the most progress. Remember, a slow, safe progression with heavier weights and proper form will give you the biggest bang for your buck.






Adjustable Bench : Whether you have the cage or not, an adjustable bench will allow you to do chest presses and flyes at different angles as well as back, shoulder and even leg exercises. Having a cage also will allow you to perform bench press safely with the safety bars.

Olympic BarbellMost cages and squat racks don’t come with the barbell so it’s safe to go with an Olympic standard bar. This will last you for a very long time and will allow for many gains to be made.

Olympic Plate Set : Like the barbell, typically you have to buy your plates separately too. As I said before, you’ll want to go with a set that’s going to last you a while. I’d recommend the 255 lb. set (ehem, ladies) because if you do ever outgrow it, it will take quite a bit of time.

Treadmill :  Last but not least is the treadmill. Cardiovascular exercise is extremely important when it comes to heart and lung health. You don’t necessarily need a treadmill in your home gym because you can also walk/jog/run around the neighborhood. However, as a Florida girl living in Colorado, I’ve come to realize you can’t always do that in the Winter months. Top of the line treadmills can cost thousands of dollars but for the everyday user you can get a solid, trusty treadmill for $400-$500. I can’t tell you how many times I got on that thing just because I had nothing else to do! It was a great way to burn time and calories.


Improving Your At Home Workout

The great thing about assembling your own home gym is you can choose what tool you need to reach your goals. There’s no doubt that you can get a killer workout in at home with just your body but eventually you will need to be challenged. The human body is an incredible machine. Think of exercise as routine maintenance, just like you’d perform on your car. Consistent, moderate to intense exercise will enable it to function at it’s very best. All of the tools above will help you continue to make progress. I know it sounds expensive but when you compare it to the amount of money you spend at the gym each year, it puts things into perspective. So what do you say, are YOU ready to build YOUR home gym?

Once you have everything you need, we can build you a workout routine with those tools in mind. Interested? Click HERE to get started!

Until next time…


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I'm an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. I worked in a gym setting back in Florida for over 2 years, training one-on-one clients and leading group fitness classes. I absolutely loved it, but once we moved across the country to Colorado, I decided to take the opportunity to pursue a slightly different career! My obsession with exercise and love for writing collided, which is how I became a fitness lifestyle writer.


  1. Linda

    January 16, 2018 at 10:03 am

    I LOVE my Terra Core!!!!! It is so universal from abs to legs!

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      January 16, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      It is wonderful isn’t it?!

  2. Wendy

    January 16, 2018 at 11:24 am

    So erin, i love TRX and have debated getting it bcz i wasnt sure if it would work well in the door. I was thinking it needed to be a heavy door??… whats your opinion? I see u have it in your pics in an interior door i think. I was thinking the heaviest door i have would be my exterior door in the garage. I REALLY LOVE TRX…. you have been to my house in AK… what do you think?… aunt wendy… xoxo

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      January 16, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      Hey! I’ve used it in a bedroom door as long as its going against the way it opens. For instance, if the door is on the inside of your room when it’s open, make sure you are standing outside the room while you’re exercising. Don’t pull the same direction as the door opens. However, The door I’ve been using it in recently is the front door and even though I’m pulling in the direction that it opens, I feel pretty safe because it has a deadbolt. I’ve never had a problem with it. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS THING.

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