I tested 9 pieces of home workout kit – my favourite doesn’t even require exercise

HOME workouts can be super convenient as you can easily slot them into a hectic schedule.

But getting fit at home can save you money in the long run, too.

Lynsey Hope tested home gym kit for under £50

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Lynsey Hope tested home gym kit for under £50Credit: Oliver Dixon

The average monthly gym membership in the UK costs £44.92, which is expensive if you only use it sporadically.

Home exercise is also ideal for those who don’t feel comfortable in traditional gym settings and would prefer to get fit in the comfort of their living room, without the fear of being judged.

You can upgrade your home workout by investing in some simple equipment.

But picking stuff that isn’t a waste of money – and won’t sit at the back of the wardrobe gathering dust – is risky.

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I tried out some budget buys, all for under £50, and gave my verdict.

Prosource Pilates Fitness Ring

£12.75, amazon.co.uk

A Pilates ring adds resistance to a workout

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A Pilates ring adds resistance to a workoutCredit: Oliver Dixon

This ring adds a new dimension to Pilates workouts by providing light resistance, helping you to tone and strengthen your core as well as the rest of your body.

There are many out there and some are pricey.

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Many of the options are also quite flimsy but for the price, this is incredible quality.

Lose weight for good in 8 weeks with these home workouts

It is covered in durable rubber and no matter how much you twist, turn or squeeze, it will hold its shape.

You can do a good range of exercises with it including crunches, where you squeeze it in between the thighs and pelvic curls.

My only complaint is that the handles are quite big and difficult to grip and the padded areas could have been a bit more comfortable.

For less than £13, this is a good investment and suitable even for beginners.

Rating: 3/5

Amazon Smart Weighted Hula Hoop

£12.99, amazon.co.uk

Weighted hula hoop

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Weighted hula hoopCredit: Oliver Dixon
Enough space is needed to swing the ball around, Lynsey says

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Enough space is needed to swing the ball around, Lynsey saysCredit: Oliver Dixon

A bit of a faff to put together and it is worth wearing over clothes to stop it from rubbing or pinching your skin, but this was great fun.

After 10 minutes, you could feel the burn in your abs.

You do need to wear it higher up near the waist rather than near the hips and have a good clear space around you, or the ball will spin around hitting everything.

The manufacturer claims this can help you burn 800 calories in a 30-minute session, which I question, and I don’t think many people would last that long.

But it was a fun workout that helped tone my waist and made me feel like a kid again.

If you are struggling, make the ring smaller and don’t give up!

Rating: 2/5

Argos Opti Ab Cruncher

£28, argos.co.uk

The ab rocker is a piece of kit for beginners

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The ab rocker is a piece of kit for beginnersCredit: Oliver Dixon

This ab rocker will work your abs whilst providing support for your head and neck, making crunches easier and more comfortable.

You can perform a variety of crunches on this from straightforward ones to bicycle ones.

The headrest was comfy and I felt it effectively targeted the abs.

This one from Argos is a good price too.

The downside is the size. It’s quite large to store if you don’t have a specific room or area to store larger pieces of gym equipment and there is only so much you can do with it.

Rating: 1/5

Davina McCall 3kg Weighted Vest

£22, argos.co.uk

Davina McCall's weighted vest is a great bit of kit to add weight training to a cardio workout

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Davina McCall’s weighted vest is a great bit of kit to add weight training to a cardio workoutCredit: Oliver Dixon
Davina's weighted vest

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Davina’s weighted vestCredit: Oliver Dixon

I love this bit of kit – a weighted vest that Davina wears while doing the housework. You don’t even have to exercise!

It’s a great way of upgrading your workout, too. You can wear it to add weight to a home workout without dumbbells.

It’s got a simple clip at the front to fasten and an adjustable band to tighten it up if required.

You can wear it either under or over a sweatshirt and it’s made of neoprene which is super soft and comfortable.

It’s compact and easy to store.

Rating: 5/5

Les Mills Smartbar Weight Plate 2.5kg

£39, shop.lesmills.com

Les Mills Weight Plates can be added to a barbell from the same company

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Les Mills Weight Plates can be added to a barbell from the same companyCredit: Oliver Dixon

These plates are pricey, costing £39 for just one 2.5kg.

However, they are of exceptional quality and I loved having them for different exercises.

You can hold them during squats or use them for exercises like tricep extensions or bicep curls.

While you can get dumbbells for a much cheaper price, the benefit with Les Mills is you can build your kit.

The plates can be added onto a barbell – which is a great addition to home workouts.

Even just one of these plates is useful and takes up no space. An excellent investment for all sorts of exercises.

Rating: 4/5

Harbinger Multi-Gym Pro

£23, sportsdirect.com

This piece of kit can be used for pull-ups, dips, pushups and sit-ups

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This piece of kit can be used for pull-ups, dips, pushups and sit-upsCredit: Oliver Dixon
Lynsey says the kit was easy to install without any drilling

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Lynsey says the kit was easy to install without any drillingCredit: Oliver Dixon

This is good value for a bit of kit that allows you to do doorway pull-ups, chin-ups and dips, and sit-ups and pushups when it’s on the floor.

I liked having a bit of kit that allowed me to do some upper body and core exercises, which are perhaps harder to work outside of the gym.

The handles are soft and easy to grip.

It’s easy to install and there was no drilling required, though I did worry that my hanging on it would be too heavy for the door frames in my old house.

Beware it has a weight capacity of 300lbs but should fit any door frame up to 33 inches wide and 6 inches deep, so check measurements before you buy.

Rating: 3/5

PTP Total Resistance System

£40, sportsdirect.com

The PTP Total Resistance System can be used for a variety of exercises with different resistance levels (depending on the colour band)

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The PTP Total Resistance System can be used for a variety of exercises with different resistance levels (depending on the colour band)Credit: Oliver Dixon
PTP Total Resistance System

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PTP Total Resistance SystemCredit: Oliver Dixon
The kit comes with workout examples

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The kit comes with workout examplesCredit: Oliver Dixon

This resistance system contains everything you need to train both your upper and lower body and allows for targeted training of the arms, shoulders, chest, back, abs and legs.

It can all be contained in a small backpack so it’s easy to store and carry around with you if you want to take something whilst travelling.

The six different bands give you a good choice of different weights for different body parts and for the price, this was good quality.

There’s a handy guide suggesting exercises you can do so I think this would keep you occupied for some time without getting fed up.

A great option for under £40 if you catch it on a deal day.

Rating: 5/5

For recovery

Les Mills Compact Foam Roller

£49, shop.lesmills.com

Les Mills Compact Foam Roller

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Les Mills Compact Foam RollerCredit: Oliver Dixon
The foam roller has a textured surface for better grip

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The foam roller has a textured surface for better gripCredit: Oliver Dixon

Foam rolling can reduce pre and post-workout muscle soreness and improve your range of motion.

It’s a great way to bring relief to achy muscles and joints after a run or a workout and can help limber you up before you start.

They are often cheaper too than massage guns or compression boots.

This one from Les Mills isn’t the cheapest at £49, but it’s good quality and the textured surface helped to improve grip and was good for massage.

It doesn’t take up much space either – very worthwhile investing, especially if you often suffer from post-workout aches.

Rating: 3/5

Homedics Novo Mini Massage Gun

£44.99, homedics.co.uk

Homedics Novo Mini Massage Gun with attachments

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Homedics Novo Mini Massage Gun with attachmentsCredit: Oliver Dixon
The massage gun gave a noticeable difference straight away, Lynsey says

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The massage gun gave a noticeable difference straight away, Lynsey saysCredit: Oliver Dixon

This is very powerful for a small massage gun and takes up very little space.

I used it when I had muscle aches after a workout and noticed a difference straight away.

Now I’m constantly using it on my legs after the gym.

It has six intensity settings and four different attachments including the ball, which is good for larger muscles such as arms, thighs, waist and back.

The fork is good for the shoulders, neck, Achilles tendon area, ankles and calves and the bullet is suitable for smaller areas such as the feet.

The fourth flat attachment is good for getting into deeper tissue.

The battery lasts one hour and it comes in a handy travel case too.

Rating: 4/5

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