Starting a new workout can be daunting, and the price doesn’t always help. Between signing up for a gym membership, buying workout clothes, or even taking the big plunge and purchasing an expensive piece such as a home treadmill or stationary bike, it’s easy to spend a fortune on getting in shape. The truth is, you don’t need to spend a lot to get a solid workout. Four fitness experts shared their go-to pieces of workout equipment available for under $20.
You might overlook the importance of a foam roller in a workout, but once you start using one, you’ll see why it matters. “It’s so important to take care of your muscles and work out those knots, so you can maximize growth and recovery and prevent injury,” says Rachel Ma, a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist. “… You can just use it while watching Netflix or make it a part of your nightly routine, so you don’t forget to do it.” Foam rollers aid in the recovery process of a workout, so if you’re hitting the gym frequently, you should definitely be using one.
Fitness and wellness coach Julie Bernhard swears by her set of mini resistance bands, which she bought for only $14 on Amazon, but it looks like similar bands are available for even less. “They are durable, versatile, incredibly effective and can be taken on vacation or to the gym or give you an incredible workout from home,” Bernhard says. “It is all about working smarter versus harder, and these mini bands make a big impact, whether you’re in between nap times as a new mom, or an elite athlete, or have an injury you’re fighting.”
If the elastic ones don’t work for you, Rachel Ma suggests trying a cloth resistance band, too.
People underestimate the power of jump ropes, but they can make for a seriously low-cost, effective workout. Natasha McCann Sealy, certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, agrees that a jump rope is an essential part of a cost-effective workout, but she recommends splitting your workout with the jump rope and some resistance bands. “… You can get a good strength training workout in, and the jump rope provides another source of cardio,” Sealy says. “Between these two pieces of equipment and your own body weight, you can get a great full-body workout in to achieve almost any goal.”
Add a bit more to your Pilates session with a Pilates circle or ring. These rings amp up your total body workout to help tone every muscle. “It’s great added resistance for working all different muscle groups—glutes, inner thighs, and my favorite, core,” says Rachel Huxtable, a Pilates trainer based in Australia. The rings are easy to transport and store, too, so you can either bring it to the gym with you or get a great workout at home.
I may not be a fitness expert, but I decided to include my own personal favorite in here: Ankle weights. I use them for various exercises on my yoga mat, including donkey kicks and side leg lifts, and they make me work a little bit harder in my workout. Ankle weights help strengthen and tone the hamstrings and glutes by adding weight to your lower leg. Plus, they’re only $14 on Amazon.