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The best home exercise equipment to buy in 2021

When gyms shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, it became obvious that an expensive gym membership and a certified personal trainer weren’t requirements for achieving our fitness goals. Without access to cardio machines and weight rooms, we learned that building out some kind of home gym could help us stay healthy and active during quarantine times.

Overall, having gym equipment at home is a smart move. First, it’s harder to skip a workout when everything you need is in your house. It’s also worth noting that while putting together a home gym may involve some big costs up front, it will likely be cheaper in the long run than an expensive fitness membership.

So, now that you’ve decided to work out from home, what fitness equipment is worth buying for your home exercise setup? The options are seemingly endless: high-end smart workout equipmentrowing machinestreadmills, cardio machines, squat racks, weight stacks, exercise balls, ellipticals — not to mention other home gym equipment options like resistance bandsweightsfoam rollersyoga mats, medicine balls, weight plates, dumbbells and kettlebells

No matter your fitness level or fitness goal, whether it’s to burn calorieslose weight, get your heart rate up, build muscle mass through strength training or just get healthier, we’ve got the best home exercise equipment you can buy.

Editors’ note: Because many people are now exercising at home due to the pandemic, some of this fitness equipment may come in and out of stock. Availability on Amazon and other online retailers is subject to change, but you can still find some of this home gym equipment at some brick-and-mortar stores.

Amazon

Not only can this system attach to pretty much any door, but you can anchor it to rafters, trees or outdoor posts as well. No matter where you set it up, you can use it to practice and master TRX’s seven “foundational moves” (pushing, pulling, lunging, hinging, squatting, planking and rotating), all of which are meant to target core and resistance training. 

The system’s accompanying exercise guide and online workout list help make it appealing to newcomers to TRX and seasoned practitioners alike. And, as CNET previously reported, this particular training system is fitness-trainer approved.

FitCord

These durable resistance bands from FitCord pack a one-two punch when it comes to longevity. Made of dipped latex — the most durable material for resistance bands — the FitCord X-Over resistance bands feature a scrunched nylon safety sleeve that protects the latex underneath from UV damage and harsh weather. The sleeve also protects you in the case that your band snaps during use, but that’s unlikely with a dipped latex resistance band. 

FitCord makes X-Over bands up to 55 pounds in resistance, which is plenty for the average person who wants to work out with resistance bands. 

Check out our other favorite resistance bands you can buy right now.

Manduka

For those who might balk at this mat’s price, we’d like to highlight the reviewer who described it as the “Cadillac” of yoga mats — grippy enough for fast-paced vinyasa flows and cushiony enough for floor-based stretching. That said, that aforementioned grippiness may have to come with some time and effort on your part. 

Some reviewers noted that the mat can get slippery during hot yoga. Manduka’s care instructions recommend a salt scrub to “break in” the surface of the mat, which can help.

Check out our other yoga mat recommendations.

NordicTrack

A killer feature of NordicTrack’s treadmills is iFit, the company’s on-demand workout streaming service that takes you on real-world walks and runs with a trainer. You can pick from more than 16,000 guided workouts, including over 1,000 that were shot outdoors on courses all over the world, from the rainforests of Costa Rica to the Seine river in Paris. 

This exercise machine is a modestly priced treadmill that includes iFit, which you can use with the built-in 10-inch touchscreen. The treadmill has a 10% total incline to challenge yourself on hills. 

If you’re willing to invest a bit more, the new 2021 model of the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 has an upgraded touchscreen, a fan to keep you cool and a -3% decline to simulate running downhill.

Looking for even more treadmills? Check out our list of the best treadmills for 2021.

Lindsay Boyers

The NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 really has it all — an adjustable stride length, a 14-inch color touchscreen, oversized cushioned pedals, auto-adjustment capabilities and Bluetooth compatibility. At 32 pounds, it also has one of the heaviest flywheels on the market, and when you combine that with magnetic resistance, the result is an impressively quiet machine with smooth movement.

Check out our list of the best ellipticals for more options.

Amazon

This simple (read: nonvibrating, untextured) foam roller may seem a little basic, but that actually makes it perfect for a home gym setting. Praised by reviewers for its durability, this foam roller is firm enough to target soreness in the shoulders, legs, neck and back. Use it before or after a low-impact workout or a high-impact workout. You can also easily use it with other home exercise equipment, such as a stability ball or ankle weights.

Some reviewers specifically noted that this foam roller was perfectly suited for chest-opening exercises, since they could choose between three lengths (12, 18 or 36 inches) to fit their height.

Check out our list of the best foam rollers for more great buys.

Amazon

Reviewers were big fans of the price point for this set of six kettlebells (comparable sets can run for $100 more). But, this set’s best feature — and why it’s perfect for a home gym setting specifically — is its vinyl coating. Unlike cast iron kettlebells, these are designed for softer landings, in terms of both noise and impact, and with the longevity of the weight in mind, since the coating protects the weight from scratches and damage while training.

Looking for more options? We’ve got a list of the best kettlebells right here.

Amazon

Jumping rope is a great workout for its range of motion, calories burned, weight loss and getting your heart rate up. This adjustable, tangle-resistant jump rope from Qwesen proves that cardio equipment as essential as a jump rope doesn’t have to be boring. 

Its foam handles offer a comfortable grip on the jump rope while its steel wire rope provides enough momentum for a steady, smooth rhythm — in turn, reviewers write that it’s great for double- and triple-jumping. The rope comes coated with PVC for protection, ensuring long-term cardio workout use. 

Amazon

This foldable bench is about as customizable as it gets, with six back positions, four seat positions and the option to lay completely flat while weight lifting. Reviewers praise the bench’s ease of adjustment, the fact that it’s foldable for storage and its sturdiness (its weight capacity stands at 500 lbs.). Plus, the padded seat and foot holds make even a longer workout or training session comfortable.

Lindsay Boyers/CNET

The NordicTrack Speedweight gives you the versatility of an entire weight rack without taking up so much space. The weights start at 10 pounds and go up to 55 pounds in 2.5-pound increments, allowing you to get stronger over time without needing to buy more dumbbells. This adjustable dumbbell set is ideal for doing bicep curls and tones the muscles in your upper body and lower body.

Check out our ranking of the best adjustable dumbbells for 2021.

More fitness advice

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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