My 5 Gym (and Home Gym) Must-Haves


Getting to the gym everyday is nearly impossible for us busy mamas, and not all of us have a full home gym at our disposal to use in a pinch either! The good news is that?there are some simple (and relatively inexpensive) tools you can use to completely transform your body right in the comfort of home. And for those of you who ARE avid gym-goers, use these tools to take your workout to a whole new level! Here are my top 5 gym essentials:


  1. Resistance bands: Trying to work your bottom half and build that booty? Look no further! These resistance bands are amazing?I use them during many of my lower body exercises?to take my workout?to the next level. From monster walks and glute kickbacks, to hip thrusts and squats, resistance bands will supplement the move and force you to engage the medial glutes. The result? Some nicely rounded and sculpted peach buns!?If you buy the brand I link to here, I recommend buying both sizes?small/medium and large/extra-large?as both sizes are useful for different movements. The sm/md is optimal for?moves like close stance stiff-legged deadlifts, banded hip thrusts, and banded squat walks. The lg/xl creates more room and is perfect for squats, or really for a newbie to the resistance band. See pics at the bottom of the post for an example of how to use…
  2. Weight belt: If you didn’t catch my waist trainer post last week, you can still check it out here for more thoughts on why my weight belt is one of my favorite training tools. Honestly though, it’s pretty simple. While?I am also well aware of the benefits of having proper support by a weight belt during heavy lifting, I actually use my belt for a different purpose. Cinched tightly, my weight belt reminds me to do a few important things: 1) suck in, or “vacuum,” my belly button towards my spine, 2) engage my core?and flex my abdominal muscles, and 3) expand my chest. This simple cue to engage my?core is crucial to my regimen and should be to yours as well. Believe it or not, vacuuming and the engagement of my core at all times is actually the only “ab exercise” I do! I kid you not. So simple, but extremely effective in creating a toned, strong core, as well as a narrow waist and good posture.
  3. Cable ankle cuffs: Okay, so maybe these really aren?t a home gym must-have, but they are one of my faves for building a better booty. Cable glute kickbacks are a game-changer…if you aren’t doing them already, you should! While many gyms do have these cuffs already, there is nothing more annoying than having to search high and low for them, only to find them already in use! They are relatively cheap and totally worth having one or two to bring with you to the gym.
  4. Kettle bells: In a perfect world, everyone would have two adjustable weight kettle bells at home to use for almost every exercise. But, if that’s not a possibility, I would strongly recommend having at least one adjustable weight kettle bell that can be modified according to your needs and the exercises you?re doing. Kettle bells can be used for essentially every weight lifting move in the book: squats, lunges, shoulder raises, tricep extensions, and, of course, kettle bell swings. The options are endless, and these little powerhouses can really provide you with exactly what you need to get a good muscle burn right at home.
  5. Heart rate monitor: By far, the best tool you can use to transform your body and turn fat into muscle is…your body! Seriously. Knowing your ideal fat-burning heart rate zone is absolutely essential to getting the most out of your workout. With a portable heart rate monitor, you can track your HR to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout AND staying safe at the same time. To find your ideal heart rate range for your individual goals, check out this chart.

Happy lifting! See below for a few examples of different moves spoken about above (plus, here’s a look at my favorite Squat Sponge):

Banded Hip Thrusts:


Banded Stiff-Legged Deadlifts:


Side Squat Walks:


Glute KickBacks:


Any move (cable rope pulldowns here)…while vaccuuming 🙂 :




And here’s a list of workouts that can be done at home!

Fabulous Abs in Just 5 Minutes
Sexy Summer Shoulders
5-Minute Workout for Sculpting Sexy Arms
BBQ Buns and Thighs
My 1040 Total Body Workout
My 11-Week Booty Building Workout


13 Responses

  1. Hi ? I was going to order the weight belt but realized there is different sizes 4, 4 3/4???? Which one do you think is best? I’m 5’5 and 110lbs (if that helps haha) Thank you for your time

    1. Hi Erica: Per amazon, you’ll choose your belt based on your waist size (measured at your belly button). 🙂

  2. Hi! I’m french and I just discover kettlebell!! How fantastic this thing is!!
    I have done a post about it on my website!
    I love Extrem makeover Weight Loss!! I hope It will continue!

  3. Thank you guys for taking the time to answer all our questions! I excited to get my home gym up and running, we have a few things now (trx, total gym, kettle bells, curl bar , and weighted jump rope) My question now is my weight has stalled to 1/2 lb per week, im following the extreme plan, and even using your recipes from the book. I have a fitbit charge HR to track my heart rate and calories burned but I dont think im burning enough &/or it’s not tracking properly. Do you think I should use a seperate hr monitor while “actively working out” instead of using my fitbit?

  4. My favorite home workouts are quick, target multiple muscles, and is easy to follow. Would give Grokker a try I have a feeling Grokker could accommodate those types of workouts. Give it a try! I mean, the first 2 weeks are free so what do you have to lose?

  5. Hi Team Powell,

    I work 40 hrs a week and am going to school so sit at a computer for another 3-4 hrs a night and tips or exercises to do at my desk?

  6. Thanks Heidi for all the tips . Will be trying all of these . Having patience is the key for me . Have not been seeing the results I want to .

  7. That’s awesome! I’m definitely looking into that equipment to add to my home gym. I’ve been doing weights for a few months now, but what routine do you follow, and what are your recommendations. I’m 5’3″ 112lbs, and I can only deadlift 150lbs, and bench 80lbs for 8 reps. I’d love to take things further. You’re posts are quite the motivator. You’re truly an inspiration.

  8. Hi Team Powell,

    This equipment looks great! I have a quick question – Where I live gyms with babysitting can be fairly expensive. Do you think I can have adequate strength training with equipment like kettlebells, resistance bands, an a trx?

    1. Hi B: You can get in a great workout using the tools in this post, and the workouts at the end are awesome too!

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