1. Health

Best Home Fitness Equipment

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Updated March 12, 2014

Setting up a home gym can be a daunting task. What do you need? How much will it cost? Where do you buy the best equipment for the best price? Fret not. Here are the 10 basic pieces of equipment you need, including weights, exercise balls and other important gear to help you reach your goals. Learn what you need to create a well-stocked gym to meet your ever-changing needs.

1. Dumbbells

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The best investment you can make is with a good set of quality dumbbells. Not only can you do a huge variety of strength training exercises, you can also use dumbbells for cardio exercises as well - dumbbell swings for example. It's a good idea to have a variety of weights, ranging from 5 to 25 lbs, depending on your gender and fitness level. Iron hex dumbbells are a good choice because they're inexpensive and won't roll away.

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2. Exercise Ball

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An exercise ball is the perfect choice for a home gym. You can do core work while working on your balance and stability and, like dumbbells, it has multiple uses. Use it as a weight bench (such as in a chest press) or use it for pushups, back extensions or leg lifts. You can even sit on it while watching television or working on the computer to help reduce nagging back pain.

3. A Step

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A step is an excellent choice for your home gym because it can be used for more than one activity. A step can be used for cardio activities, such as step aerobics, and also do double-duty as a weight bench. Get enough risers with it and you can change your step to become an incline, decline or flat bench, adding new dimension to your weight training.
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4. Adjustable Weight Bench

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If you're not into step aerobics, you may want a weight bench instead of a step. You'll need it for chest and back exercises, and you can even use it for a quick ab workout or some tricep dips. There are a variety of choices -- from flat to adjustable. It's best to get an adjustable bench, if you can, so you can do incline and decline exercises.
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5. Resistance Bands and Tubes

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You've got your dumbbells, so you may not think you need much more than that, but resistance bands are an excellent addition to your strength training equipment. Resistance bands are great because you can get a full body workout, no matter where you go. They're small enough to fit in your suitcase and versatile enough to use in any hotel room. Another bonus is that they provide a different type of resistance than free weights, so your muscles get a brand new workout (great for busting weight loss plateaus). Check out these resistance band workouts.

6. Weight Lifting Gloves

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One side effect of lifting weights, aside from sleek muscles, is that your hands can get a little rough from calluses. To protect your hands, you'll want a solid pair of weight lifting gloves. These gloves are made of fabric that allows sweat to evaporate, so your gloves don't get stinky.
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7. Exercise Mat

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When I bought my first exercise mat, I thought it was a little silly to spend that much on something like that (I spent around $50). I was just fine doing everything on my nice, soft carpet...which I realized I didn't vacuum nearly enough. I recommend a couple of different types of mats - a no-slip yoga mat, which is great for yoga or for just regular old stretching and a thicker mat you could use for floor exercises that require a little more cushion.
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8. Gliding Discs

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Gliding Discs may seem like an odd thing to use in a home gym or, well, anywhere but they're surprisingly useful. These small discs (yes, they do look like Frisbees) can be used for any number of exercises. Stand on one and do a sliding lunge. Put them under your hands for killer ab slides or try mountain climbers and see how much your quads thank you for it. Truly, a totally different way to work your body.

9. Adjustable Ankle Weights, 5-lb. Pair

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For working the stability muscles of the lower body (like the inner and outer thighs), you may want to invest in a quality pair of ankle weights for moves such as standing leg lifts or leg extensions. These exercises are great add-ons to standing lower-body moves, such as squats and lunges, and ankle weights can help add a little intensity. For the record, you usually don't want to use ankle weights that are heavier than 10 lbs.
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