Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Gyms: they're so hard to get to. Fitness classes: they're so strict about start time. Personal trainers: oh, the dollar signs! The girl who chooses, then, the home gym is a very special combination of both lazy and motivated, and we applaud her with this list of the essential buys for stocking your at-home transformation station, where there are, like, no excuses.
We've broken it down to a few key, mostly inexpensive buys in the realms of cardio, strength training, flexibility, and cool down (can't forget cool down), because air squats and jumping jacks will only get you so far.
Valeo jump rope, $7
Jumping rope is basically the originally HIIT, and its quick fit benefits have been in the spotlight a lot lately. This rope is ten feet long but can be adjusted to any length, plus the handles are cushy and fully rotational.
Da Vinci adjustable ankle/wrist weight sets, from $13
Ramp up the intensity of your dance cardio DVD by strapping on a pair of ankle weights (it's cool, you're at home, no one can see you), available from one to five pounds, and let that heart rate rip.
Stamina oval rebounder, $78
The oval shape gives more stability, and lends more surface area for different exercise options (it comes with a DVD, too, so you can jump to it right away). It has a padded handlebar and optic blue boarder for safety in your living room turned bounce castle.
NodicTrack X11i incline trainer, $2,500 (from $3,500)
"If you're going to invest in a piece of at home equipment this is a fantastic option," superstar trainer Jillian Michaels tells us. "You can burn 5X the calories just by walking," she explains of the machine, which has a specially designed tablet holder so you can watch all of the Netflix while you walk, walk, walk.
Black Mountain resistance band set, $30
Five color-coded bands offer resistance from two to 30 pounds, for a super portable way to strength train at home (or while traveling). The set comes with a door anchor and an ankle strap for even more versatility, plus an exercise chart to explain what, exactly, you ought to be doing with these things.
CAP Barbell kettlebells, $20—$100 depending on weight
Kettlebells can hit strength training and cardio with the right moves, just be sure you've got form down before you go swinging away.
ProSource 1/2 inch thick exercise mat, $21
Ease the impact of jump squats, push-ups, and bicycle crunches with this extra thick mat between you and the hardwood floors.
Manduka eco-friendly yoga mat, from $55
Grippy, cushy, and made of non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber, so your practice of tree pose doesn't pose any trouble for trees. The brand recommends cleaning the mat with a one-to-one diluted apple cider vinegar wash in lieu of the machine, so it lasts through its lifetime warranty.
Hugger Mugger foam yoga block, $15
These are a favorite of Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga and CosmoBody instructor, who tells us they're "not super mushy, not too hard," in the Goldilocks world of yoga pose aids.
Gaiam eight foot organic cotton yoga strap, $10
Beginners can use this neutral strap to grasp limbs to ease into poses, while more advanced yogis will find benefit in being able to hit new poses and sustain them for longer.
EPE 36 inch high density foam roller, $15
Let. It. Go. Target sore muscles and roll the pain away with easy self-myofascial release. If you have not foam rolled an achey muscle you have not lived.
Mio Workout Wonder, $33
This is basically a sexy, souped up Icy Hot in all honesty, but we've tried it and it actually does work to ease muscle soreness (even if it's just achey desk shoulders).