• Michelle Callahan

How You Create an At-Home Gym for Under $40

If you know anything about me, you know I love summer. I'm sure I've said it more times in my blog or on Facebook then you care to hear. And even though I love summer, one thing I look forward to when Fall gets here is getting back to a routine. The laid back feel of summer is great, but I thrive on routine. The month of September and back-to-school time gives us the opportunity to get back to a routine not just for school, but also exercise and better nutrition. Even though back to school time comes with routine it can also be a busy time too. Finding ways to make healthy eating and exercise more time-efficient is a key component to making those healthy habits last. Working out at home can be a good solution when you are short on time. Keep reading for my 4 favorite pieces of exercise equipment you can purchase to create an at-home gym for under $40!

Resistance bands

Resistance bands are one of the most affordable and effective pieces of strength training equipment you can buy to use for an at-home workout. One of the greatest things about resistance bands is that they not only come in different resistances to work with your fitness level, they give you the opportunity to progress exercises as you build strength. A set of good resistance bands will cost you $20 or less and the number of exercises you can do with them is unlimited! Most resistance band sets come with a booklet of exercises you can do and they are great for upper and lower body strength training. Resistance bands are easy on your joints and offer a challenge to your balance and core stability in a way dumbbells don't. You can get resistance bands almost anywhere like Amazon, Target, Walmart or Dick's. When using resistance bands always check your bands for small tears. If you find a tear, no matter how small, throw the band away. A tear puts them at risk for snapping which can cause injury.

Here are my 3 favorite resistance band exercises:

Seated back row (back)

Banded Squat Walk (outer thighs/quads/glutes)

Pallof Press (core)

Mini Bands

Mini bands, much like resistance bands, are a great way to incorporate strength training into your at-home workouts without spending much money. We usually think of dumbbells for strength training, but a set of dumbbells can cost quite a bit of money. Mini bands are super versatile with tons of exercises to build upper body, lower body and core strength. And strength training at home with alternative strength equipment, like resistance bands and mini bands, is a great compliment to strength training in the gym with weights. A set of 3-5 mini bands with different resistances will cost between $8-15...not much considering all the things you can do with them. Just like resistance bands you can find them online at Amazon or at your local Walmart, Target or sports store. Always inspect your mini bands for tears to prevent breakage and injury while using.

Here are my 3 favorite mini band exercises:

Tricep press (triceps)

Single leg deadlift (hamstrings & glutes)

Banded bridge (core)

Sliders (or paper plates/hand towels)

I just started using sliders in the last year or so, and they have quickly become one of my favorite pieces of equipment both in the gym and at home. They are great for working the core, but can also be used to work the upper and lower body. A set of sliders will cost about $7-$10. They have 2 different sides. One side can be used on the carpet and the other on hardwood floors. An even cheaper alternative to purchasing sliders is using paper plates on carpet or hand towels on smooth floors like hardwood or linoleum. The great thing about sliders is they add variety to your workouts that you really can't get with other equipment. Just like resistance and mini bands they can be purchased online or at your local store.

Here are my 3 favorite slider exercises:

Slow mountain climbers (core)

Slider skaters (glutes, hamstrings, quads)

Slider kneeling plank arm extensions (core, shoulders & triceps)

Your Own Body Weight

My last piece of equipment for your at-home gym isn't really equipment at all...your own body weight!! There are an infinite number of efficient and effective exercises you can do using just your body weight. And they all can be modified for your fitness level. Doing body weight cardio circuits is one of my favorite ways to get a cardio workout done in a short amount of time. But body weight exercises can be great for building strength as well, especially if you are just starting to exercise. And the best part...you don't have to buy anything! Body weight exercises are also great because we carry our body weight around everyday, so we may as well make it work for us. Body weight exercises are a very functional way to exercise that can improve our everyday movement.

My 3 favorite body weight cardio exercises:

Squat jumps


Speed skaters

My 3 favorite body weight strength exercises:

Squats (quads & glutes)

Plank (core)

Push-ups (chest)

Need some help creating an at-home workout plan using all of this equipment? I can create a customized plan just for you based on your goals and time-restrictions. Need a little more then just a written exercise plan? I also offer in-home personal training sessions and I'll bring not only the exercises but the equipment too. If you want to learn more about either of these options, please email me at michellecallahancoaching@gmail.com for a free, no-obligation consultation.


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