The Te-Rich Fabric Workout Loop Bands Set is a mini-band set—meaning they’re small loops (instead of open-ended bands) that you can slide around your thighs, calves, or ankles, or use on your arms for a variety of exercises. The lighter resistance is great for recovery and rehab (think: clam shells to strengthen your hips; or pointing and flexing your feet to strengthen your ankles); while the heavier resistances can be used for squats, banded pull-aparts (which will work your upper back), and lateral walks.
If you’re looking for something a bit more comprehensive, try the Taimasi 23-Piece Resistance Bands Set, which has just about every type of band you can think of. You’ll find five stackable bands that come with handles (meaning you can mix and match the bands to create an even more challenging workout), plus a jump rope, door anchor, and looped bands. Best of all, the whole thing folds up and fits into a small bag that is included in the set. Think of it as your own portable personal gym.
Last on our list is the Bodylastics Resistance Band Set, which is similar to the Taimasi. Stackable bands with handles that you can clip and unclip mean it’s easy to make your workout as challenging as you need it to be. Handles, like the ones included with the Taimasi and Bodylastics options, are also key if you’re interested in doing more traditional weight lifting moves (think: biceps curls or flyes) where you want the “feel” of gripping a dumbbell. Bodylastics Resistance Band Set also includes a neat feature: Each band is designed with an interior cord, so if the rubber happens to break, the band won’t snap back and hit you. Cool, right? At just over $100, Bodylastics is our most expensive option, but according to Amazon reviewers, these are also top quality and worth the investment.
Best Power Bands: Recreation Sweat Power Band Bundle
Influencer, registered dietician, and NASM-certified personal trainer Rachael DeVaux launched Recreation Sweat, her own line of fitness accessories, in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic after realizing how effective, inspiring, and downright energizing home workouts could be. These bands prove to be super durable so matter how intense your workout gets. Power bands serve many purposes—for resistance training, strength support (hello, pull-ups), and stretch sessions—so we can’t recommend them enough.
Best Mat: Lululemon The Mat
It need not go by any other name—yes, this is The Mat. While Lululemon originally designed it with yoga in mind, their trademark mat is comfortable and suitable for most, if not all, types of exercise. It’s reversible, so you can opt for a grippier or smoother finish depending on what your workout entails on any given day. At 26 inches, it’s wider than many standard mats and durable enough to last several years, even with heavy use.
Best Hot Yoga Mat: Manduka GRP Lite Hot Yoga Mat 4mm
Sweaty palms are no match for the traction finish on this Manduka mat. While the leather-like outer surface material might seem strange at first, it’s certainly effective at preventing slip, even during your steamiest flows. The Lite version, awarded here, is slightly less expensive than its 6mm counterpart with just as good results.
Best Mat for Larger Bodies: JadeYoga XW Fusion
JadeYoga—beloved for its classic, no-frills, crunchy ethos—makes an excellent grippy mat beloved by experienced practitioners. Jessamyn Stanley—yoga instructor, author of Every Body Yoga, and founder of The Underbelly—recommends the XW Fusion for regular practice. It has a larger footprint, and while its high cost reflects that, Stanley swears t that it’s worth every penny.
Best Adjustable Dumbbells: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Bundle
When creating a home gym setup, space is always something to keep in mind. Smaller items like dumbbells can quickly add up and feel cluttered, especially if you like to have a variety of weights on hand. We recommend investing in an adjustable pair if you’re able: You’ll save on space and perhaps, over time, on equipment overall. The Bowflex set is adjustable in 2.5-pound increments, while many other adjustable sets only let you jump five pounds in either direction. You can buy them at a slightly lower price ($400) with just a storage tray, but the stand bundle is worth it, if you ask us.
Best Dumbbell Set: BalanceForm Neoprene Dumbbell Set
If you want to strength train at home, a pair of one- or two-pound dumbbells probably aren’t going to cut it, especially as you look to increase resistance over time. This BalanceForm set, which comes with 5-pound, 8-pound, and 12-pound sets of weights, is better equipped to power you through several months of gains, if not more. They’re made of cast iron and covered in neoprene to help support grip.
Best Adjustable Kettlebell: Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell
For the same reasons we love an adjustable dumbbell set, we love an adjustable kettlebell: It saves space, enables you to have more dynamic workouts from the comfort of your home, and encourages you to get stronger and experiment with increasing your resistance. All you have to do is turn a dial and you can set this Bowflex kettlebell anywhere from 8 to 40 pounds.