Six affordable gym tools that will transform your at-home workout

Banu Ibrahim
July 10th, 2018

You don't need a gym membership to work out effectively every day. As long as you have a few versatile tools, you can do countless types of workouts right at home. And most of these items (think resistance bands and kettlebells) cost far less than a gym membership. They make working out at home easier, more accessible and more effective.

A great place to start if you're building your at-home gym from scratch is these six items. They all can be used to create intense workout routines, sans any fancy (and expensive) equipment.

Note: The prices ahead reflect the listed retailers' prices on the date this article was published.

Resistance bands

It doesn't matter if you're at beginner level or training like a pro -- a resistance band can really come in handy during your workouts. This workout tool can help challenge different muscle groups, since your body has to work even harder to stabilize itself. You'll feel the effects of a resistance band right away. Leg bands typically are the cheapest -- this set of five from Limm ($9.97; amazon.com) is just shy of 10 bucks -- while more comprehensive sets are a little more. A solid set to invest in is Tribe's 11-Piece Resistance Band Set ($20.98; amazon.com), which comes with a door anchor, ankle straps and handles, and a variety of different resistance weights so you can work out with more versatility and target multiple areas of your body.

Kettlebell

We've touted the benefits of kettlebell workouts before. Kettlebell swings in particular are a great way to increase your heart rate and burn calories fast -- a study from the American Council on Exercise found that this can burn up to 20 calories a minute. They can even help improve your motor skills and balance. All these benefits make adding kettlebells into your at-home workout routine a pretty simple decision. One 5-star rated product you can shop right now is AmazonBasics' Cast Iron Kettlebell (starting at $17.99; amazon.com), which also happens to be a best-seller on the site.

Adjustable dumbbells

Maybe you don't have space in your home for multiple sets of dumbbells, or maybe you're not looking to spend an arm and a leg in order to strengthen your arms and legs. Whatever your reason, it shouldn't stop you from keeping a pair of dumbbells in your home, especially since these feel like the cornerstone of many workouts. An adjustable pair -- like Yes4All Cast Iron Adjustable Dumbbells ($98.48; walmart.com) -- will let you add on weight to challenge yourself while you work out. You can do weighted squats, bicep and tricep curls and chest presses at home sans any cluttering, unnecessary equipment.

Foam roller

Muscle soreness and tension are inevitable when you work out. A foam roller is a professional-approved way to help increase blood flow, release knots and help you feel more comfortable post workout. You can use it to target very specific areas of your body like your hamstrings, calves or back. The best part? Many solid foam rollers out there are pretty cheap. A favorite of ours, and of customers, is Gaiam's Restore Deep Tissue Foam Roller ($34.98; gaiam.com).

Jump rope

Do you have only a spare 10 minutes to work out? Try a jump rope. This simple and highly effective workout can have you burning over 10 calories a minute, while strengthening your legs and butt and burning serious fat. A simple 10-minute workout can help you burn a potential 100 calories in a single session, and that really adds up if you do it on a regular basis. A best-selling standard jump rope from Amazon is Survival and Cross's Jump Rope ($10; amazon.com). If you're looking to up the ante, consider a weighted jump rope like MountainKing's Crossfit Weighted Jump Rope ($13.99; amazon.com) for an extra challenge.

Step platform

Aerobic step platforms are a well-known tool that can help you get an intense cardiovascular workout. With one of these, you can practice moves that will improve your coordination, agility and endurance. A greater height can increase the challenges of your workout even more. For that type of flexibility, you'll want a step platform that features a customizable riser. The Step's Original Aerobic Platform ($71.11; amazon.com) does just that.