Best cheap home gym equipment: you can build a home gym for under $/£100!

Build a cheap yet functional home gym without overworking your bank account

How to build a cheap home gym for less than £100/$100
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Doing calisthenics home workouts regularly is a great way to build functional muscles but admittedly, some home gym equipment is required to perform the best home workout. But building a home gym doesn't have to cost the earth and even in times like these, it is possible to create a home gym setup for under £100. Here is how.

We asked Jonathan Taylor, personal trainer and the man behind the Reboot Plan, to share his best advice on how to build a home gym that can help you get stronger without breaking the bank. The below equipment can be bought at Amazon and other fitness equipment retailers such as the Fitness Superstore, Mirafit and Wolverson Fitness.

• Buy fitness equipment at Dick's Sporting Goods

• Buy fitness equipment at Walmart

For the record, even Jonny admits that having a set of the best dumbbells or kettlebells at hand could help you build muscle even faster but you can get by using the alternatives offered here.

Without further ado, let's get down to business.

Pull up bar

(Image credit: Body Power)

 Door pull-up bar

"Your back is the hardest muscle group to train without any equipment. I've seen some people using doors and tables for pull-ups and rows, but they're awkward movements and an accident waiting to happen", says Jonny.

• Shop pull up bars at Fitness Superstore

Pull ups are not an easy exercise but the pay off for doing them is undeniably amazing: who doesn't want that sexy V-taper back? According to Jonny, the best pull up bar frames are the ones which you can grab with either on overhand and neutral (where your palms face each other) grips, rather than the straight-bar type models.

• Shop pull up bars at Amazon

"Overhand grip pull-ups are harder, and I've not had many clients who can crank out a lot of high-quality reps. Start with neutral grip and try overhand when you do can do at least three clean sets of 6 reps on neutral", he concludes.

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(Image credit: TRX)

 Suspension trainer

Jonny recommends suspension training systems for back training if you not quite ready for high-rep pull-ups. With a suspension trainer, you can do a neutral or overhand grip row and modify the resistance by changing how close you stand to the anchor point. Should you have a barbell lying around you can also you can also do barbell rows, although barbells with plates tend to be more expensive than £100.

You've probably heard of brand TRX and its excellent TRX Home 2 suspension training set but admittedly, getting a TRX will blow your whole £100 budget (and then some). Other brands have similar sets available for less, and especially at amazon you can find some good deals. Brands like JTX Fitness also has its own version.

Whichever model you go for, make sure you use the sturdiest door in the house to anchor the trainer to: fire exit, front/back-of-house and conservatory doors work well.

Rhinosport Sling Trainer Set with Door Anchor | On sale for £67.14 | Was £86 | You save £18.86 at Amazon

Rhinosport Sling Trainer Set with Door Anchor | On sale for £67.14 | Was £86 | You save £18.86 at Amazon
The Rhinosport Sling Trainer Set is a fraction of the price of the TRX Home 2 but offers similar functionality for your home gym. According to the manufacturer, this kit is able to withstand up to 500 kg of resistance and apparently, you can even do pull-ups without hesitation. Be careful, though.

(Image credit: Trideer)

 Exercise ball 

"The exercise ball squat is the home workout replacement for squats and leg press at the gym. You can make it more challenging by adding a resistance band, holding onto loaded carrier bags or wearing a backpack back-to-front", Jonny advises.

• Shop exercise balls at Amazon

Better still, the exercise ball leg curl replaces the leg curl machine and targets your hamstring at home: Jonny recommends starting with the double-leg version and switching to single-leg once you can do three sets of 15 reps with proper technique.

Exercise balls come in a variety of sizes and they are dirt cheap, even models from top brands such as Trideer retail for around £10. 

(Image credit: Perfect Fitness)

 Push up grips 

Push ups and planks are wonderful exercises that work your whole body, push ups being the best bodyweight exercise for building guns and pecs while planks should be #1 choice for increasing core strength. Having said that, both of these exercises put a lot of pressure on your wrist which can cause issues further down the line.

Push up grips can help you with this and preserve wrist health without sacrificing your muscle building progress. As Jonny puts it, "if you're doing a lot of push-ups and planks, you NEED to invest in some push-up grips!"

Jonny recommends not getting one of the sets with rotating handles: "they might make push-ups harder, but that doesn't mean they're more effective" he adds.

Perfect Fitness V2 Pushup Handles | Buy it for £29.99 at Amazon

Perfect Fitness V2 Pushup Handles | Buy it for £29.99 at Amazon
Okay, the Perfect Fitness V2 Pushup Handles rotate slightly but not too much. The ergonomic grips help distribute weight evenly and reduce pressure points and joint strain on wrists and elbows as you perform push ups. Treads on bottom of handles grip all floor surfaces, at least according to the manufacturer.

(Image credit: Mirafit)

 Resistance bands 

Resistance bands are incredibly versatile and can be used for a variety of exercises, including push-ups, biceps curls, triceps extensions, kneeling ab crunches, squats and much more. Jonny recommends getting the looped type that people use for assisted pull-ups in the gym. Not surprisingly, they work equally as well in a home gym too.

• Buy resistance bands at Amazon

The best resistance bands are also great for stretching as well as for workouts and can not only replace dumbbells and barbells, but they can also be used to make workouts harder using smaller weights. For example, if you only have a 10 kilo kettlebell which you find too light for two handed swings, loop a resistance band around a handle and the other end around your ankles and try to swing it that way. You can double or even triple the weight of the 'bell using resistance bands.

+1 Household items

If you don't have dumbbells, you can load up rucksacks and carrier bags instead.

Make sure your carrier bags are durable, so they don't break when you load them. You also don't want them to be too bulky or have very long handles; otherwise, they'll get in the way during the exercise.

Load your bags with household items like books, water bottles, canned food and flour.

Use your bathroom scales to weigh your bag and make a note of what weight you use for each exercise.

If an exercise involves two bags, e.g. biceps curls and lateral raises, make sure they're evenly loaded.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.