home gym

How to Build a Home Gym on a Budget During COVID-19

Home workouts have been around for decades, enjoying a rich and storied history. Back in the 1980s, Richard Simmons had people sweatin’ to the oldies via their VHS players. Fast forward a decade, to step aerobics and dubious products like the Thighmaster enjoying their moment.

Since then, the relatively cheap price of a gym membership has enticed most of us to sign up. Unfortunately, our new normal means gyms won’t be as accessible until a vaccine becomes available.   

Since COVID-19 arrived, home workouts have enjoyed a renaissance. For many, this involved investing in expensive equipment that will sit unused once we get through the pandemic. This is such a waste. It’s possible to do so much fitness work with a few key items on hand.

This week, I wanted to highlight the basic items a person needs to create killer workouts at home, all without breaking a bank. Here’s the equipment you need to build a home gym on a budget during COVID-19.

Yoga Mat

An exercise mat is, literally, the foundation your workouts will be built upon. Whether you’re working abs, stretching, or doing movements like push-ups, a quality mat will make your exercises way more comfortable. Look for a thicker mat when shopping. The cushioning will help if you have hard flooring. You can also take your mat outdoors for workouts at the park or the beach. Expect to pay between $20 and $50 for a quality exercise mat.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are so versatile and cheap. We use them in physiotherapy to aid with rehabilitation, but they can also be used effectively to add resistance to workouts. They’re lightweight and they don’t take a lot of room to store. Perfect for apartment living. Typically, the tighter the band the more challenging it is to work with. The good news is that quality bands can be purchased for less than $10. Try to buy a mix of closed and open loop bands.


Kettlebells are another versatile addition to your home workout arsenal. They’re great for adding resistance to a range of lower body movements such as lunges and squats. Traditional kettlebell swings are an awesome addition to any workout plan. Kettlebells vary in price, and they’re even available in some dollar stores. Start with a small kettlebell and move up as you build strength. Kettlebells retail for approximately $1-$2 per lb.

Set of Dumbbells

One of the most bizarre aspects of COVID-19 has been the widespread shortage of dumbbells. A lot of fitness stores simply can’t keep them in stock. That being said, it’s totally worth seeking out a set of dumbbells that would allow you to hit a nice range of resistance/reps. Dumbbells open up a world of opportunity in home workouts. They can accommodate nearly every major compound lift, and don’t take up a huge amount of storage space. When considering the correct weight range to purchase, try to aim for a level of resistance higher than you’d get from resistance bands, but not so heavy you can’t use them for most exercises. Dumbbells typically retail for around $2 per lb.

Foam Roller

While our access to equipment is limited due to COVID-19, it’s no reason to skimp on recovery and rehab. A foam roller should be a key component of your home workouts. Use it to roll out any soreness or tightness in your muscles. I like to recommend a wide foam roller that will allow you to roll into each side of your upper back. The shorter foam rollers are useful for legs, but the wider the better! A high-quality foam roller will set you back between $30 and $60.

Get in Touch

Whether you’re suffering from an injury or hoping to improve your fitness overall, get in touch with us. Our team at VanCity Physio is ready to help you crush your goals, whatever they may be.