No Space, Little Money? My 5 Picks for Building A Home Gym On A Budget

With the holidays and New Years right around the corner, I am going to assume that a lot of fitness goals are going to be made and a lot of people are going to need to make a decision on how to go about achieving their results.  Some may hire a trainer, join a gym, by a dvd program, participate in a organized sport league at the YMCA.  The possibilities are endless.

However, the two biggest factors can come down to time and money.  So finding something that is convenient and able to consistently afford or buy one time, without depleting the bank account is important to most.

I put together my top 5 list of the best fitness equipment that is not only going to break the bank but can easily be done at home without taking up too much of your precious room.


The TRX or any suspension trainer is a fantastic piece of equipment that can be very deceiving.  Two straps and bodyweight does not seem like a recipe for a butt-kicker of a workout, but never assume.  Not only does this not take up very much room in your home, but you can take it anywhere you want.   As long as you can wrap it around something or use the optional door anchor, the TRX can go any where you do.

So traveling for work?  No longer an excuse.  Sorry.

The training possibilities are endless.  You can begin with basic exercises to hit every major muscle group then move into more complex movements that torch your core and stabilizing muscles you never knew you had.  You can get very creative and keep advancing your program without the need for adding any weight.  The ability to quickly transition from one exercise to the next makes for great metabolic training without a great time commitment for busy individuals.  Stretching is another function that the TRX can be used for.

TRX just recently came out with a more “gymnastic” friendly version that allows you to start incorporating advanced exercises like L-sits, muscle ups, ring dips into the mix.  Trust me you could workout on this for ten years and keep your training new and fresh.

Photo Credit:

Jump Rope

The good ol’ jump rope.  What sometimes is mistakenly assumed to be a children’s toy or playground staple, should be a permanent fixture in your own gym.

Just like the other examples in this post, the jump rope takes up no storage space (I roll mine up and put it in one of the dividers in my book bag), it requires very little space to be used, and the possibilities are endless.  Most importantly, isn’t it badass when you see Rocky jumping rope.  It really is a skill and technique to mastered that will turn heads and make everyone envy.  They are still tripping over the rope before 3 successful jumps.

You can jump rope to warm up, for conditioning, as a filler in between exercises or incorporate it into your circuit workouts.

You can buy jump ropes in various weights.  I would suggest starting out with a speed rope.  You can begin with a steady slow jump and then work on your speed, foot work, and duration.  Take it up a notch for double-unders and if you are partial or full superhero freak, then triple-unders. (I think I’ll be stuck on my double-unders for a while)


Photo Credit:

Air Dyne

I got reacquainted with the Air Dyne about a year or two ago.  Before that I remember it as something I played on somewhere as a kid.  Because of this, I unfortunately underestimated it’s power to create pain.  But I LOVED it.  Why? I have no idea.  I currently have one on my porch. (My wife got sick of it being in the kitchen).

If there is one piece of cardio equipment to get that will give you the most bang for your buck it is the Air Dyne.  It works the legs, arms, and cardio system like nothing else. You create your own resistance by how hard you peddle and push the bars.  So know matter how much of a veteran you are, you are working at your hardest.

You can do steady state, but intervals on this will definitely be the money maker.  You can do intervals of time or calories burned.  Another great option is you can only use your legs or arms and gain more variety that way.

Here are some of the interval workouts that I personally do….Try These Calorie Killer Air Dyne Workouts.

Now the best thing about Air Dynes is that, they are a lot harder than they would seem.  Due to this misconception, many unaware fitness equipment consumers buy these thinking it, “it’s just a bike”.  As a result, you can find one in great shape in your local classifieds or Craigslist and even if they look  a little dated in color and not the most attractive, sexy looking piece of equipment, they run just as good as if they were brand new.  So don’t skip out on it just because it looks like it still lives in the 80’s

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:



If you are looking for something that you can go heavy with, do more power and explosive movements with, while also being able to change the pace up and do metabolic training, then the Landmine is an excellent choice.  It comes in different style variations but an empty corner is really all you need.

The creativity with the landmine is endless.  You will however, need a barbell and weight plates to accompany it.  Starting off  just a few plates will be enough, definitely not a full weight set.

If you do have an empty corner and banging and scraping the wall up is not a big deal, then you can just stick the end of the bar in the corner and go without the Landmine apparatus.  However, having the Landmine will provide a more stable, safe experience.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:


Sandbag training provides a full body workout with a little twist.  The instability and “dead weight” feeling of the sand makes normal exercises and movements more challenging and engaging more activation of stability muscles.  It is great for unilateral work (loading weight on one side of the body).   Again it takes up very little room and you can change the amount of weight by how many sandbags (total weight) that you have inside the bag.

Again the creativity is endless and should keep your training from growing stale and boring.

I would recommend buying one that can take a good beating.   The cost of sand is super cheap making the bag the most expensive investment.

I have made sandbags myself, consisting of sandbags like they use to prevent flooding and placing them in a gym bag.  It works, but expect sand to get every where and your typical gym bag, to not last very long.  Plus the extra grips and handles are very helpful.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

I am positive that if you even just buy one of these they will get you going on your way and then just keep adding as you go along.  I also use everyone of these myself and typically write articles on the type of stuff I do.  So you can always get new and great ideas from this site or signing up for my newsletter.

Join the FTS Newsletter!

Stay connected with Fulton Training Systems and stay up to date with new blog posts, exercises, nutrition, lifestyle advice, and give aways!  As a thank you here is a FREE copy of my 12 week muscle building program, MUSCLE CONSTRUCTION.

privacy We value your privacy and would never spam you


About The Author

Kevin Fulton

Kevin Fulton is personal trainer in Pittsburgh, PA. His goal is to help his clients look, feel, and move better. In his spare time you can find him under a barbell or practicing jiu jitsu.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field