strength training essentials

Are you thinking of strength training to reach your weight loss goals, but you don’t know where to start?  Why not start right in your own home!

Strength training gym essentials for the home are perfect for any beginner weight lifter!  With the essential equipment below you will have a complete at home gym to complete a variety of strength training exercises to help you meet your weight loss and fitness goals.

Strength Training Gym Essentials For The Home

1. Gym Mats

Gym mats are on the first gym essentials for the home you need right away!  It’s the foundation of your gym.  Literally!  They not only provide stability for weight lifting and other strength training exercises, but it helps your shoes grip well to prevent falling.

However, if your gym is in an extra room that’s carpeted, I would skip the gym mats.  Carpeting provide you with plenty of cushion.

2. Water Bottle

Always keep hydrated!  Motivational bottles tend to give you more encouragement to finish the bottle.  But any reusable water bottle you have around the house will do!  Just as long as you’re drinking enough water.

3. Flat Shoes

When weight lifting, quality flat soled shoes are everything.  For many other exercises you want a shoe with good ankle support such as running shoes.  But ditch the running shoes when weight lifting/strength training!

Flat soled shoes allow your body to feel the floor better to improve balance and range of motion for heavy lifting.  Many weight lifters swear by Converse sneakers while weight lifting!  As long as they are flat soled, they will work for strength training!

4. Mirrors

A gym is not a gym without mirrors… Even a home gym!  But why are they so important?

Mirrors allows you to see and correct your form for every exercise you do.  Without seeing how you are doing an exercise you may develop poor lifting technique.  The better your technique you have for each lifting exercise, the more you will see the benefits of strength training.

5. Loop Bands

Loop bands are resistant bands that are a continuous loop.  You can use these for a variety of resistance exercises including…

  • Stretching for and after a workout
  • Bicep and tricep exercises
  • Squats
  • Leg lifts
  • Donkey kicks
  • Lateral pulldown

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6. Weight Lifting Gloves

Weight lifting gloves are one of the gym essentials for the home you don’t want to be without!  Dumbbells and weight bars will tear up your hands causing calluses.

The more heavy you lift the more your hands will pay the price.  Weight lifting gloves will prevent and minimize pain and calluses.  Plus, they help with gripping the weight better for a more firm grip when lifting!

7. Slam Ball

Slam balls range in sizes from 10 to 50 pounds.  Women tend to do exercises with slam balls between 10 to 25 pounds, while men range from 20 to 50 pounds.

When starting any new exercise, it’s always best to start with a low weight and work your way up.  A 10 or 15 pound slam ball is more than efficient for HIIT and strength training.

8. Battle Ropes

Battle ropes are a strength training exercises to gain endurance, strength, and muscle toning.  They should be combined with your existing weight lifting program.  Battle ropes are perfect for working in between lifting sets to keep your heartrate up or at the beginning of your workout to use as a warmup exercise.

You do need space for battle ropes.  The longer the battle ropes are the more resistance and the more lifting you will need to do.  Battle ropes are a gym essential that takes time to get use to.  They are difficult for beginners and will take your breath away!

Don’t overdo it with battle ropes!  Just take baby steps.  Start with doing 20 to 30 seconds of bicep waves (alternating both arms up and down to create a wave pattern.)

9. Kettlebells

Like slam balls, kettlebells range in sizes with the smallest starting at 5 pounds.  Most women tend to use kettlebells between 5 and 25 pounds.  Kettlebells are amazing because of they unique design.  They are very comfortable for carrying and lifting because the handle.

Kettlebells can be used for:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Standing ab workouts
  • Kettlebell swings and lifts

And so much more!  Get creative with kettlebells!  They are very versatile.  You could buy a small range of kettlebells and get away with not buying dumbbells.  But you may have to alternate arms when doing exercises instead of lifting both arms at once when lifting weights.

10. Weight Plates

Weight plates can be placed on a bar for lifting heavy loads of weight during deadlift, squats, and chest press, or they can be used seperately.  To use weight plates for lifting without a bar, you can use a weight plate and follow the same exercise as you would for a kettlebell workout.

While some people choose to use bumper plates (designed for a 2 inch Olympic size bar), you do get a more comfortable grip for weight plate workouts by purchasing standard size one inch plates with handles.

11. Plate Rake

A plate rake is simple a rack designed to hold weight plates.  While you could skip on this, for safety measures it is better to have one!  Otherwise, you will stacking your plates on top of each other.

Gym safety should be first, always!  When you stack your plates you run the risk of them being knocked over and causing injury.  Especially if you have pets and small children!

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12. Weight Bar

A weight bar is incredible for building strength, muscle tone and definition with a variety of exercises.  Just make sure if you have one-inch standard size plates to get a one-inch bar.  Many companies sell starter sets of plates and a weight bar together.  Perfect for beginners!

If you are wanting to make the most out of your workout with a limited amount of time, do the “Big 3”- Squats, Deadlift, Chest Press!  The “Big 3” are compound movements that work multiple muscles at the same time.

13. Incline Bench

Most gyms typically have flat benches and include benches.  I believe an incline bench is more versatile than a flat bench.  You can even base an entire workout centered around your include bench!

Incline benches can provide you a full body workout!

14. Sandbags

Sandbags are another gym must have for a full body versatile workout!  Sometimes you may not feel like picking up the dumbbells or weight plates.  That’s where sandbags come in handy.

Eventually, you will need to change your workout routine up.  That’s when you introduce a sandbag!

Sandbags are a new challenging workout to help you break through a plateau.  A weight loss plateau sucks!  One of the best ways to get over a plateau is to start a new and inventive workout routine.  Sandbags to the rescue!

15. Sliders

Sliders are small plastic plates that slid easily across carpet and hard flooring.  They are a must have strength training gym essentials for the home!

When used alone they do not contribute to strength training (as they offer no weight), but used with kettlebells, slam balls, and dumbbells they help bring your weight lifting to a new level.

If you are new to using sliders for the first time, I would highly advise to start doing simple exercises without weights.  Then, when you are comfortable, add in a small amount of weight.

Sliders are should not be used while holding a lot of weight because you will lose your balance!

Here are two beginner to intermittent exercises to try:

  1. Planks with sliders- Get in a plank positions and place the sliders under each foot.  Then, will still maintaining a plank “glide” each foot out to the side of your body and move back.  If you want something more challenging, “glide” both feet in and out at the same time.  Think of a “snow angel” movement for your feet, only now you’re in a plank position!
  2. Lunges with sliders- Because you’re “gliding” your foot instead of stepping out your core will get an extra workout as well!  Please, be mindful of your balance especially with added weight.


Are you ready to start working out and achieving the body of your dreams?  Then, start with strength training!  Weight lifting is perfect for beginners and can be used often without cardio intermixed in your routine.  But that is all personal preference!  Feel free to get your heartrate up with some plain cardio like running or a fun HIIT routine.

Get creative with your weight lifting routine and use a variety of different strength training equipment to reach bigger gains in the gym as well as increase muscle definition, weight loss and best yet- An increase in your confidence!