Choosing the right equipment for your gym can seem daunting, but regardless of whether you're building a home gym or a commercial facility there are certain pieces of equipment that should be in every gym space.
Below we've highlighted seven essential pieces of gym equipment for every fitness space.
Dumbbells are the definition of multi-purpose. Easily incorporated into a range of strength, cardio and functional workouts, dumbbells can help you achieve pretty much any health and fitness goal, from burning fat to building muscle.
Because dumbbells are used hand-in-hand they are the most effective piece of equipment for achieving muscle symmetry, ensuring your dominant side doesn't dictate the exercise.
Using a pair of dumbbells for certain exercises, such as bicep curls and chest press, also offers less restricted movement. In doing so, this increases your range of motion, recruiting a larger number of muscle fibers. This is extremely important when trying to build strength, as the more muscle fibers you recruit, the larger your muscles can grow.
Coming in a variety of shapes, weights and sizes, you can choose the right dumbbells for your gym, based off yours and/or your clients goals, interests and level of fitness.
For example, if you're relatively new to exercise and are shopping for some light-weight, inexpensive gym equipment for your home workouts, then vinyl dumbbells are the way to go. For more advanced athletes, rubber hex dumbbells would be ideal in case you fail a rep and need to let go of the weights suddenly.
No matter where you are on your fitness journey, dumbbells will help advance in your training and succeed in your goals.
2. SQUAT RACK OR POWER CAGE
If you're into lifting weights, then your squat rack or cage will be the center-piece of your gym. These lifting systems allow you to load up your weights in a safe setting so that a spotter isn't required. This is particularly useful for home gyms, as you're likely to be training alone.
Squat stands and power racks generally come with adjustable barbell hooks and/or spotter arms, so that all users can set-up for exercises in a position that is safe and comfortable for them. This is extremely important when lifting weights, especially if you're going heavy, as you do not want to jeopardise your technique and risk injuring yourself.
By offering you the tools and flexibility to move heavy weights in a secure and stable environment, squat racks are an absolute essential for every lifter's gym.
Even if you are yet to explore the realm of strength training, we still think you need a squat stand. They are honestly one of the most versatile and adaptable pieces of fitness equipment on the market, and you don't need to lift super heavy to reap their benefits.
Most power cages and racks will come with a built-in
pull up bar or chin up handles, and we guarantee almost every lifting system will have the ability to add optional attachments, such as a lat pull down cable or dip bars. This makes targeting all the major muscle groups effortless, allowing you to create a variety of fun and interesting workouts.
3. BARBELL AND WEIGHT PLATES
An Olympic barbell and weight plates go hand in hand with your lifting rack, or can be used on their own. These weightlifting tools are timeless, and are the best pieces of gym equipment to help you build strength, endurance and improve your overall level of fitness.
Your barbell and weight plates become the resistance you fight to reach your goals, and provide an easy way to track your progress (you know you're getting fitter when you can do more reps or start loading more plates onto the bar).
We suggest an Olympic barbell as a standard in every gym, as you'll be able to use it to execute all your major lifts, including squats, deadlifts, bent over rows, overhead presses, lunges etc. But, also because most power racks are designed to be used with a 7ft barbell.
If you do take on this suggestion, then you will require Olympic weight plates to fit the Olympic bar.
4. GYM BENCH
An exercise bench is another must have in your gym. They can be used on their own or with a free-weights system to create dynamic, full body workouts.
Weight benches offer you the support needed to execute exercises with the correct technique, which is especially important when working out with heavy weights.
For certain exercises, such as bench and incline presses, using a gym bench gives you the space needed to execute a full range of motion, which as mentioned before, is a crucial aspect when working on your strength.
If heavy weight training isn't your jam, then you can incorporate an exercise bench into a variety of cardio-based workouts, such as HIIT or HIRT, to perform a broader range of exercises, keeping your training fresh and exciting.
You can use a bench to perform specific core exercises such as bench hops, reverse crunches, and leg raises, to tighten and tone your abdominal muscles.
Another major benefit of having a gym bench is that they don't take up much space, but offer a ton of exercise variety.
Incorporating some form of cardio into your workout regime is important to maximise your results, but let's be honest, sometimes it can feel a little mundane.
Using a skipping rope to increase your heart rate and work on that cardio fitness can be a great way to beat the cardio blues.
Jump rope can be a fun form of physical activity, as you can challenge yourself to learn certain moves, like double unders or cross-stepping.
Skipping is a great exercise to work into a circuit or interval training, guaranteed to help you work up a sweat.
Jump ropes are by far the easiest piece of gym equipment to transport, allowing you to work out anytime, anywhere.
Another major win is that they tend to be a LOT less expensive compared to other gym equipment.
Kettlebells and Ybells are where strength meets cardio, making them the ultimate piece of functional equipment.
Like dumbbells, they come in a range of weights and sizes, so that you can choose the kettlebells or Ybells best suited to your gym needs.
Although small in size, they offer an endless number of exercise possibilities, from kettlebell swings, goblet squats, upright rows and walking lunges. You can literally create entire workouts using a single piece of equipment!
Their versatility and compactness are not their only benefits. Both Ybells and kettlebells come with handles, making them an extremely easy tool to use for all athletes.
7. EXERCISE MAT
Gym mats are a simple yet important piece of gym equipment. Often overlooked, exercise mats aren't just used for yoga and pilates. They provide the perfect ab-workout station, and can also offer additional padding and support during certain exercises like hip thrusts and glute bridges.
Exercise mat's are often used during warming up and cooling down, offering the perfect place to prepare your body for the workout ahead, or to enjoy a nice stretch once you're done.
Another major benefit of exercise mat's is that they can easily be moved and stored away, saving you additional gym space when not in use.