The Runner’s Home Gym – Essentials You Should Own
Running is a sport that really requires minimal investment to get started – something comfortable to wear, and a pair of shoes. But in order to work on your strength and recover following a tough run, there are a few things I like to have in my toolbox to set me up for success.
For me, not having to go to a gym was part of the allure of getting into running in the first place. So, as you can imagine the key for me in setting up my home gym is having the convenience of not having to leave my house to get a workout in. I also didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg to get set up. All items in my gym cost less than $30 (except my treadmill) and I purchased them as I found I needed a new tool.
Strength Training Gear for Runners:
Yoga Mat – much of what I do starts on the floor – stretching, crunches, etc. So I bought a cheap yoga mat at TJ Maxx several years ago and it has served me well.
Medicine Ball – 10lbs is a good entry point to do exercises such as russian twists, diagonal chops, and situps or crunches.
Swiss Ball – you can use this as a bench for added core work while doing many different exercises such as:
- Bench Presses with Dumbbells
- Planks – modified, full, reversed, single arm etc.
- Bridges – single leg, marching etc.
- Crunches, Reverse Crunches, Side Crunches, etc.
- Stretches – Calf, Piriformis etc.
Kettlebell – Again, I recommend 10lbs here for exercises such as deadlifts, kettlebell swings and single arm overhead presses. I do not have 10lb dumbbells so I use my kettlebell when I need this particular weight.
Dumbells – 5lb, 10lb, and 15lb pairs are all nice to have. If you must choose 1, choose 5lbs to get started.
Step Up Box, or Bench – I have not invested in a step up box or a bench simply because I have other options. I do box jumps on the side of my outdoor fireplace, and tricep dips on a chair. But, if you don’t have access to tools that work for these types of exercises, you can get a step up box or a set of boxes at a moderate price (cheaper than a bench).
Resistance Band – I am allergic to latex (and hate the smell) so I chose this pack of resistance bands with several different resistance strengths to get started. These can be used for hip abductions and adductions, monster walks, squats, bridges, and even deadlifts, chops, and more. If you get nothing else under the “strength” category here, I’d recommend getting a set of these as they are packable and super versatile.
Recovery Gear for Runners:
Yoga Strap – I am the most inflexible person I’ve ever met. I have never in my life been able to touch my toes while standing or in a long-sitting position. So, I use this little strap to help me stretch thoroughly.
Yoga Blocks – Again, helps with my inflexibility to get into stretching poses like pidgeon that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.
Lacrosse Balls – great for massaging out tight spots in your butt, hips, back, shoulders, arms – basically everywhere.
Foam Roller – I bought my foam roller from my chiropractor’s office because the ones I had found to purchase commercially were all too flimsy and would “squish” when I’d put pressure on them. Find one that is very stable – you’ll be spending a lot of time here.
Massage Stick – This is fantastic for car trips, plane rides, times when taking your full blown foam roller is just not an option. This one isn’t a necessity for a home gym, but is definitely something I’d recommend if you are on the go often.
Speaker or Small TV (or both) – I’ve gotta have tunes! I have a small bluetooth bose speaker in my gym area so that I can listen to my workout playlist on spotify.
Gym Flooring Mats – my hubby bought these for my birthday a few years back, and they really make my gym area feel more like a gym. 🙂 These are completely not essential, and take up a lot of room, but I love them so much I thought I’d mention it. Since I have hardwood floors and tile in 100% of my house and gym, these little snap-together gym flooring pieces allow me to do floor exercises on a nice soft surface.
All of the items above are affordable & allow me to strength train and recover all from the comfort of my home! I am constantly looking for new and affordable pieces to add to my gym – what are some of your home gym essentials?
Hi, I'm DeAndrea! I'm a runner, outdoor enthusiast, and foodie. I'm here to share trail running, nutrition, and life inspiration for your busy life. I am working towards my RRCA running coach.
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