5 cheap things for your home gym

And why you need these tools on lockdown (and beyond)

Scrolling through Instagram can sometimes make you jealous of people who have home gyms. Imagine how effortless it would be to fit in workouts if you could just stroll down to your basement and get to work. (Not to mention being able to blast your playlist over the stereo system, and never have to worry about who can hear you grunt.) 

Alas, many of us—myself included—just don’t have space (or money) to build our own fitness meccas at home. What I’ve learned recently, though, is that we can hack our ways to a sufficient at-home gym with what little budget we’ve got.

Yes, it is possible to create a decent one—and you don’t need a fleet of gym equipment to do it, experts say. You also don’t need to invest in a bulky cardio machine or pricey strength-training equipment to get a great full-body workout. 

An in-house starter kit, all kept in one place, can be a simple collection of items that will help foster healthy habits and maintain consistency. Here are five cheap products that can help you stay fit at home for less.

A soft, sturdy yoga mat

The signal to yourself that workout time is about to begin can be as simple as rolling out a yoga mat. Arguably, it is the most important item you need as it makes moving on the ground easier.

Our pick: Chris Sports’ Fitness and Athletics Yoga Mat (P383)

If you’re not all in on yoga just yet, you probably don’t want to drop P1,000 to P2,000 on a fancy mat that you might only use twice. This 300-peso investment should do the trick. Better yet, you don’t even have to do yoga on it! This lightweight, non-slip mat is great for a post-workout stretch, a 15-minute at-home meditation, or some Sunday afternoon roof sunbathing. And who doesn’t love a complimentary carrying strap?

Jump rope

Ten minutes of jump-roping is roughly the equivalent of jogging an eight-minute mile, and you don’t have to venture outside in the sweltering heat to do it. Jump rope gets your heart rate up and burns a lot of calories. Plus, it helps prevent ankle injuries and builds bone density. Not bad for something you haven’t done since elementary school.

Our pick: Toby’s Sports’ Core Jump Rope (P335)

This freely swinging, comfortable rope will satisfy beginners and most fitness fanatics seeking a quality rope at a good price. It’s also affordable enough that everyone in your household can have their own.

Resistance bands

Since elastic bands take up basically no space, they make perfect sense for home workouts, even if you live in a tiny apartment. It can be used for adding resistance to any exercise—even ones that use only your body weight as resistance. Incorporate these in your leg day, and in your biceps curls regimen.

Our pick: Decathlon’s Cross-Training Elastic Band (P360)

Lightweight and portable, this band can improve your flexibility and enhance your strength training and weight training exercises. It can add up 15kg of resistance, too, and can be stacked for even more tension. 


Kettlebells are the best in improving explosiveness and physical movements. They’re pretty versatile as there are about more than 20 kettlebell moves that you can do. It also resembles some of the workouts you can do with dumbbells, except it brings a different momentum to your workouts. It also doesn’t eat up much space.

Our pick: JB Sports’ Body Sculpture Kettlebell BW-117 (P350)

This kettlebell, which is ideal to train all major muscle groups, features smooth handles and finishes. It also has a wide base that makes it more stable to hold in a plank position—something that advanced users will appreciate.

Foam rollers

Used correctly, foam rollers can relieve muscle soreness in the neck, shoulders, back, and legs after an intensive weight session. You can use it with other home equipment such as a stability ball or ankle weights, too. 

Our pick: Train Active’s Active Foam Roller (P900)

Made of durable plastic, this foam roller is an efficient pick for self-myofascial release (SMR)—self-massage that’s focused on breaking up knots in connective tissue called fascia and easing tight muscles. It can also be used as storage for your gym valuables with its screw-type side lids.