15 essentials for the home gym | Financial Times

by fitness journalist

The convenience of a home gym is its greatest strength. Just moments after rolling out of bed, you can be warming up on a yoga mat, ready for a 10-minute core workout with a virtual trainer, or joining thousands of runners for a live Peloton Tread HIIT session. You don’t need the full cardio and strength kit – a good workout can be achieved with as little as a skipping rope and kettlebells in the corner of your living room. Here’s our round-up of the best home gear: 

1 Wattbike Atom (Next Generation)
If you’re into cycling, or you’re a more advanced data- and performance-driven athlete looking to make real fitness gains, the Atom smart bike trainer is the complete package. Sturdily built (with a two-year guarantee) and recently upgraded, it offers the perfect platform to train or race your avatar in the virtual cycling world of Zwift. Arrange a social ride with friends, follow a training programme or join a competitive race. £1,899,

2 Peloton Tread
Peloton’s latest addition – its smart treadmill (as reviewed in Technopolis) – is likely to bring out your competitive side, and breathe new life into your running training. It has a 23.8in HD touchscreen and front-facing speakers so you can take your pick from a host of live-streamed classes as your instructor leads you through an immersive HIIT cardio session – your name appearing on the leaderboard among thousands of other users in the class. The treadmill weighs 132kg, so do consider this when positioning it, and at 173cm long, you’ll need adequate space for it too. From £2,295,

3 Concept 2 Model D rowing machine
Exceptionally well built and at a relatively affordable price point, the Concept 2 has been the global standard for indoor rowing since the 1980s. It uses air resistance, which offers a very smooth rowing action, plus it’s space-efficient – by tipping it on its end, you can stand the machine against a wall when it’s not in use. Compare your times and performance against friends while benefitting from one of the best full-body workouts going. £995,

4 Technogym Bench
A thoughtfully designed all-in-one bench that facilitates more than 200 different exercises. Even if that number is a little ambitious, this is unquestionably a great option if you are tight on space (it measures 113cm in length and has easy-move wheels) and don’t want to procure a dumbbell set, resistance bands, weighted knuckles and training mat separately – these accessories are all included. Then there’s the bench, which comprises both workout surface and neat storage area. £1,190,

5 Jaxjox KettlebellConnect 2.0
Space-efficiency doesn’t get much better than this – at the touch of a button, this digitally controlled kettlebell allows you to select from six weight options, yet takes the space of only one piece. For a high reps and low-weight workout, start with the 5.4kg option, and work your way through to the heaviest setting of 19kg to really build your muscles. Sync it with the Jaxjox app for on-demand workout classes. Its integrated tech also tracks reps, sets and workout duration. $229,

6 Eleiko XF Bar 20kg
This 2.2m barbell is perfectly suited to home gyms. The bar alone weighs 20kg, so is ideal for lighter weight work. But by adding extra plates it can be loaded up to 1,500kg. Whether it’s squats, deadlifts, lunges, the bench press or curls, this is a versatile piece of kit offering a full-body workout. £554,

7 Again Faster Evolution Power Rack Plus
At 83in high and 48in wide, this modestly sized, freestanding power rack is your passport to effective free weights training. Pair with a barbell and bench, and you’ll be all set to do any number of exercises, from squats to bench presses and deadlifts. Plus it features an integrated pull-up bar overhead. £420,

8 Beachbody Chin-Up Bar
This removable door-mounted pull-up bar uses the wizardry of physics to keep it in place, so there’s no screws or fixings required. When you’re ready to do your pull-ups, simply hang it from the top of your door frame and you’re all set for both wide- and narrow-armed options to work different muscle groups. £59.84,

9 Sundried Skipping Rope
Skipping is a great form of cardiovascular exercise, and this rope – with adjustable cables and comfortable, grippy handle – is all you need to get you going. £10,

10 Meglio High Density Foam Roller 90cm
Whether for prevention or rehabilitation, a foam roller can be a great help with aches and pains as you train. At 90cm long, this is a more generously sized version meaning it can be used on your back and shoulders, as well as for the legs and hips. Its surface is slightly textured and the density of foam is ideally suited for self-massage and stretching. £25.99,

11 Manduka PRO Yoga Mat 6mm
Whether it’s warm-up stretches, yoga or circuits, a spacious and supportive mat is a gym must-have. As you’re at home and portability isn’t a concern you can indulge in a more generously-sized option, and this one comes in at a length of either 180cm or 215cm. The high-density 6mm foam provides great protection – more than your average yoga mat – and has a closed-cell construction that keeps moisture and bacteria at bay. €110,

12 Apple iPad Air
Install one of a myriad of fitness apps on to an iPad Air and you’ll have all the motivational company you need – live classes, virtual training worlds or your favourite tunes. You can also subscribe to the Apple Fitness+ platform. It’s ideally sized to place on the floor or move around your gym, yet the 10.9in high-resolution screen is big enough to be seen from a distance. £729,

13 Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen
This contemporary-looking portable speaker, with sleek aluminium housing (just 13cm in diameter) and a leather strap, is both compact and well built. Easily paired with almost any device via Bluetooth, it supports Alexa Voice Assistant to let you change tracks. It’s both dust and waterproof and the battery should give you up to 18 hours of playtime. €250

14 Garmin Index 2 Smart Scale
A smart scale is a great way to keep track of your weight, as well as other advanced metrics such as BMI, body fat percentage, body water percentage, skeletal muscle mass and more. Being WiFi enabled, this one syncs to the Garmin Connect app on your smartphone or laptop, so your weight data is saved alongside other wellness and activity information. The colour display shows weight trending information for the last 30 days for an instant check, but can be customised to show the information you want to see. £129.99,

15 Sealey 18″ Industrial High Velocity Floor Fan
High-intensity aerobic workouts make a high-velocity fan a must-have. In colder months, it will help reduce condensation from building up on cold surfaces such as windows or walls – particularly if your gym is on the smaller side – and in warmer months should keep you cool. This one is easily adjustable with three speed settings and the 18in blades. £95.94,

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