Everything You Need to Build Your Home Gym (For Less Than an Annual Membership)

Home gym with dumbbell set, medicine balls, yoga balls, weight bench, and mounted TV

According to USA Today, the average gym membership hovers around $60 a month, or $720 annually. But a surprising 67% of membership holders don't even step foot in their gym. It's easy to let bad weather or a busy schedule keep you from going to the gym and getting the most out of your investment (and achieving your fitness goals). A home gym not only offers more privacy and convenience, but it can save you hundreds of dollars. Below, we've rounded up seven must-have buys to get your home gym started—all under $500.

Black adjustable weight bench in an incline position from Walmart photo

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Adjustable Weight Bench

A weight bench (aka utility bench) is a versatile piece of equipment you can use to tone your upper body. This model has four positions—flat, incline, decline, and military—so you can target different muscle groups.

To buy: $60; walmart.com

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Metal hollow curl bar and dumbbell handle set with six collars from Dicks Sporting Goods photo

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Standard Curl Bar & Dumbbell Handle Combo

Curl bars allow you to strengthen your chest, back, and shoulders with greater weight, and the angled bar helps reduce stress on your joints. Dumbbells are also a home gym essential, since you can work more specific muscles with a variety of exercises. The draw of this set is its incredible value—you get a curl bar, two dumbbell handles, and six collars for way less than if you bought each item individually at many retailers. Note that you'll need to purchase standard plates separately if you don't already own them.

To buy: $30; dickssportinggoods.com

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Pair of 7.5-pound cast-iron weight plates, standard size in black from Amazon photo

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Standard Weight Plates, 7.5 Pounds

A pair of 7.5-pound weights is a good place to start if you're new to lifting. A few things to keep in mind before purchasing weight plates: 1. Don't exceed the maximum weight your barbell can withstand. 2. Make sure the center hole is the correct size. (Standard bars require 1-inch plates, while olympic bars require 2-inch plates.) 3. Verify whether the price covers a pair of plates or a single plate.

To buy: $20 for pair; amazon.com

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Colorful kettlebell set with 5, 10, and 15-pound weights in orange, lime green, and pink from Amazon photo

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Kettlebell Set

Kettlebells provide more dynamic workouts than dumbbells. While dumbbells use low reps with higher weight to build strength, kettlebell exercises are designed for faster repetitions that burn fat, increase endurance, and improve strength. This set comes with 5-, 10-, and 15-pound weights and a workout DVD.

To buy: $37; amazon.com

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Speed jump rope in red with black handles from Amazon photo

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Adjustable Speed Jump Rope

What's a workout without a little cardio? Jump rope exercise is a great way to get your heart pumping, and you can do it pretty much anywhere. This one is height-adjustable so everyone in your household can use it.

To buy: $13 (usually $20); amazon.com

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Blue 72-inch workout mat with eyelets from Overstock photo

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Exercise Mat

A quality exercise mat is a must for ab workouts, stretching, and yoga. Look for one with eyelets (like this model) so you can hang it on the wall for easy storage.

To buy: $30; overstock.com

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Woman running on a folding treadmill from Amazon photo

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Folding Treadmill

If you want to equip your home gym with at least one cardio machine, you can't go wrong with a treadmill. This one folds for compact storage if you're tight on space. Try a 15-minute interval workout on your new treadmill to burn more calories and build endurance. You can still incorporate interval training on a similarly priced elliptical or exercise bike if you prefer those machines for your home gym.

To buy: $279; amazon.com

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