Home gyms present a way to do so comfortably for people stepping into fitness for the first time—dipping their toes in the water without fearing being judged or feeling awkward. This is why so many decide to build a home gym.
However, developing the “right” tools for building a starter home gym can be just as overwhelming as walking into a public gym for the first time. Like being inundated by all the machines, weights, noises, AND people at a public gym, purchasing home gym equipment can also create a similar sense of over-stimulation.
The fitness industry thrives on big promises and even bigger price tags. These companies know the right things to say to get the fitness-hungry public to pull the trigger and pay for untested equipment and supplements, often unused and eventually on a table in a garage sale.
So, I compiled a shortlist of what I would consider excellent first gym purchases. These will not only target your whole body for getting a good workout and provide plenty of variety for different workouts but will also be a very low-risk entry into the world of fitness.
All with only a $100 total price tag. Let’s get started.
** Please note, as an Amazon affiliate, I may make commissions on qualifying purchases.
Building a Home Gym on a Budget: Your $100 Guide
Ready to get fit but your wallet’s not? No worries—I’ve been there. Setting up a home gym doesn’t have to empty your bank account. Seriously, $100 can go a long way. How, you ask? Let’s dive in.
The Bare Necessities
Staring down a wall of fancy gym gadgets? Step back. All you really need are the basics like resistance bands, a yoga mat, and maybe some weights.
Note: Stick to essentials; they work multiple muscle groups.
Ever check out Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for gym gear? I snagged my first bench press for next to nothing. It’s used, but it works.
Got some basic DIY skills? Make your own equipment. PVC pipes and sand can become homemade weights. Just remember, safety first.
Last tip: prioritize. You can’t get everything for $100. List your fave workouts and buy gear that aligns with them.
So, are you ready to build a budget-friendly, effective home gym?
Let’s Build a Home Gym (for cheap)…
HPYGN Resistance Bands Set
This is the basis for this entire list. It has five different resistance bands, so you can combine cables to increase your weight resistance, giving more opportunities for heavier-load workouts.
Additionally, this set comes with ankle cuffs and a door adapter, which means you can get a great leg workout with these same bands.
Additionally, you can get a few upgrades (at a higher price point, of course) if you find some heavier weight resistance.
With over 3,000 reviews and almost a 4.5-star rating, this pack is one of the most popular on Amazon.
Day 1 Fitness Weighted Slam Ball
When I considered what to add to my list, I wanted only to add items with multiple purposes. This means using the items in several ways. This way, one thing might be able to be incorporated in ways that might be unintended but still beneficial.
But I also wanted to make sure to add unique workout options. As such, I wanted to add something for power movements.
Power movements are movements that consist of quick, powerful bursts of motion. So, exercise balls seemed to make the most sense to add here.
Wall balls and slam balls are great for this type of activity. Forcefully throwing heavy balls against walls or slamming them on the floor creates an intense workout and a great way to build strength and agility.
And the great thing about these types of balls is that they make for great core workout partners, similar to how one might use a medicine ball. Doing sit-ups while holding a 25-pound ball takes your workouts to the next level!
Tip: Amazon will often discount various colors of many of these types of items. Click around and see if you can find a deal on a different color.
Yes4All Combo Cast Iron Kettlebell Weight Sets + Bands
So, at some point, while making this list, I felt like I needed to add some actual weights to lift. However, I felt like something as simple as dumbbells, while undoubtedly valuable, was too limiting. They didn’t fit the “versatility” requirement to make the list.
However, Kettlebells have great versatility and are often at a price point cheaper than what you can buy dumbbells of the same weight. Often, stabilization exercises incorporate kettlebells and some slower rep cardio exercises. Additionally, standard weight lifting type movements also often include kettlebells.
This fantastic 3-piece kettlebell set might not be the heaviest out there, but it does give you added weight and versatility on what you can incorporate these bells into.
This comes with 5 “booty bands,” which is an excellent addition to your overall body workout.
Pure Fitness Multi-Purpose Doorway Pull-Up Bar
I also wanted to add something that allowed for a compound movement of some sort. A compound movement is a movement or exercise that works out multiple body parts simultaneously.
Enter the doorway pull-up bar.
This inexpensive piece of home gym equipment affords its users the compound movement action but in a very low impact way.
Additionally, a bonus usage of these bars is that they are great for wrapping your resistance bands around (as mentioned above) and doing resistance upper body exercises from a “high-to-low” motion versus the more common “low-to-high” range of motion.
This specific bar has over 2,000 reviews and almost a 4.5-star rating on Amazon.
These are just recommendations…
These items I selected are what I would pick if I had to build a $100 gym. Now, don’t get me wrong…I realize there are no “traditional” weights, no squat racks, barbells, etc. But, on a $100 budget, there is no room for any of those. With $100, you have to be smart with each dollar.
You also have to realize that this is just the beginning for you. This is the first step. You will graduate with more complex and intense tools. But, even when you move forward, you will not move on. These items on this list are legit workout buddies. They WILL get you a good workout. So when you move into greener pastures, you’ll be carrying these with you, and you may even be a little sore from the awesome workouts you have already done.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a lot of space for a home gym?
Not necessarily! Even a small corner of your room can serve as an effective workout space. Utilize foldable or multi-purpose equipment to maximize what you’ve got.
What are the essential items for a budget home gym?
The basics like resistance bands, a yoga mat, and some dumbbells are a great start. These items are versatile, allowing for a variety of workouts without breaking the bank.
Can I trust second-hand equipment?
Absolutely, but always exercise caution. Check for any wear and tear; if possible, try before buying. I got my first bench press second-hand, and it’s still going strong!
Is it possible to DIY gym equipment?
es, you can make items like weights and kettlebells using materials like PVC pipes and sand. Just make sure to follow safety guidelines. DIY can be both budget-friendly and effective.
How do I know what equipment to buy for my specific fitness goals?
Identify the types of workouts you enjoy or want to try. Love cardio? A skipping rope is inexpensive and efficient. Prefer strength training? Invest in resistance bands and weights.
Can I really build a functional home gym for $100?
Yes, you can! By focusing on essentials, buying second-hand, or even DIY-ing some of your gear, a $100 budget can actually stretch quite far in creating a practical and effective home gym.
Rob is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For the past 10 years, Rob has been navigating the health and fitness landscape to better himself and those around him, focusing on tools such as calorie and macro counting, intermittent fasting, and HIIT training techniques.