In: Exercises

Now is a great time to build your home gym

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle, stay healthy, run faster, perform better at work or basically achieve anything positive in the near future, a personalised fitness programme will help.  Specifically, resistance training (where you move parts of your body against gravity, weight or other kit which makes you work harder) should form the basis of your integrated health and fitness programme.

Where you do this is up to you.  It could be a commercial gym, sports club or in the great outdoors, but here are three reasons why now is a great time to prepare to workout at home:

How to choose home gym equipment

1. Covid 19

As I’m writing this, the media is full of speculation that the UK is heading back into greater lockdown or social isolation.  If this affects gyms or group exercise like last time, you’ll need another exercise option ready to go.  Last time there was a shortage of home gym equipment, so get ahead of the game and avoid losing out.

2. The weather

Lockdown, combined with the UK’s hot summer, gave us all a nudge to get out and about walking, cycling and generally being more active.  Now we’re six months on and heading into autumn – it’s not going to be as appealing to be outside for exercise.

3. Opportunity

To achieve anything, we need the right knowledge, motivation and opportunity.  By creating your own home gym, you’ll have more than enough opportunity; all you’ll need then is the knowledge and motivation.

Knowledge you can get through Thrive’s online training packages or our YouTube channel.  As for motivation, if you wait for it to come knocking, you’ll be waiting a long time!  Get started, even in a small way, and it will grow.

How to build your own home gym

There are hundreds of exercises which require no equipment at all, but at Thrive, we know that variety of exercises is important for the consistency of our clients.  Greater consistency breeds better results.  That’s why we want to help you choose the right equipment for your home gym.

Below is a list of readily available home gym equipment which we’ve scored across three factors to make choosing easier:


Under £50

£50 – £100

Over £100


A few exercises or
muscle groups

Multitude of exercises
or muscle groups


Fits in a drawer

Slides under a bed

Time to convert
the garage

Cost Uses Space
Resistance bands

Best all-round value for money.  You can work arms, legs, chest, back and core, and then store them in a drawer when you’re done.

Get a mix of looped bands (think giant elastic bands) and bands with handles.  A door hook increases versatility further.

Suspension trainer

The most famous example is the TRX system which allows you to hang from a door, ceiling or tree from your hands or feet.  Finding the right angles can take some time, but it’s a useful piece of kit.

An alternative is a pair of Olympic rings, though the TRX is more comfortable for most exercises.

A set of dumbbells

These are great for upper body and core exercises, but less so for lower body (unless you have some very heavy ones).

Worth the investment if you have the money and space.  Adjustable dumbbells reduce storage needs, but I’m yet to find anyone who uses them regularly given the faff of changing weights.

Swiss ball or Bosu

Not top of my list to buy as most people get very little benefit from them, compared to a balanced training programme which includes core strengthening.

May be useful for those for whom lying on the floor face up is uncomfortable, or who have been advised to train in an unstable environment for rehabilitation purposes.

Weights bench

Useful but not essential.  The floor, a chair or the stairs will work just as well for many exercises.

If you do buy one, be wary of cheap collapsible versions, and if your budget stretches, choose one with a back rest which rises to 90 degrees.

A good alternative is a Reebok Deck which acts as a step, a flat bench and an incline bench.


Yep, you read that right.  Two pieces of cardboard will help your feet or hands slide over carpet, perfect for hamstring curls or sliding press ups.

Sports shoe boxes work best.  Try to avoid using cereal boxes.

Barbell and squat rack

Whilst excellent for working larger muscle groups, you do need a lot of space for the rack, barbell and weight plates to make this a worthwhile investment.

Pull up / chin up bar

You can work your arms, upper- and mid-back as well as your core with a decent pull up bar.  By decent, we mean one fixed to the wall with wide, narrow and neutral hand grips.

You can buy ones which fit around your door frame, but we like to put safety first – screw it to the wall if you can.


Perfect for making those squats, lunges and jumps harder.  Load up with books, tins or small children.


Now we’re getting specific and expensive.  Gym machines (such as leg press, lat pull down and chest press machines) typically only work one or two muscle groups, take up a lot of space and make a big dent in your budget.

If you’re converting your garage into a gym you’ll use regularly, then go for it.  Otherwise save your money.

With a mix of items from the list, you’ll have pretty much all muscle groups covered for resistance training.  Of course, you still need to know what to do with them and actually get on and do it.  That’s where Thrive comes in.

Talk to us about our online training programmes.  As we personalise everything around you, we take into account the range of equipment you have access to and make training at home as effective as at the gym.

Book a free call to share with us what you’re looking and find out how we can help you before signing up for any programme.

Or if you want to build your own programme, then check out our YouTube channel for a series of short exercise demonstration videos.  You may also want to read our blog: Untangling your fitness regime.

Are you ready to thrive?