1. Free Weights
You can get an amazing workout with free weights. I have used machines, and I prefer free weights 100%. If you’re just starting out, a simple set like these (pictured below) will do just fine.
Eventually, you will progress and start lifting heavier. I prefer the Bowflex Adjustable Weights. I can lift heavy for deadlifts and light for side lateral raises, and they change with just a couple clicks of the dial. They’re a great tool for pushing yourself as well since you always have a higher weight available to try.
The advantage of the gym is the machines and cable system, but you can recreate this experience using resistance bands. I have one that came with an attachment for the door as well as ankle straps. Ankle straps are important for doing leg moves like abductors and standing kickbacks, but not a deal breaker if your set doesn’t come with them.
This isn’t a make-it-or-break-it need, but it’s nice to have to create some variety in your workouts. Swings, tricep extensions, rows, etc. There are a lot of things you can do with a kettlebell, and for the price, it’s worth it! I have an 8 pound kettlebell, and will soon be buying a 15 pounder!
A few other items that are nice to have, but I find are not necessary:
Yoga Mat – I have one, but rarely use it because we have carpet remnants in our basement and I also use my kids’ gymnastics mat. 🙂
Loop Bands – These are great for pushing yourself and adding an extra level of difficulty.
Stability Ball – A ball can be used for stabilization and core work.