6 Essential Tools to Turn Your Home into a Mini-Gym

In today’s episode, you’re going to discover six tools you can use to transform your home into a full-time fitness facility that keeps you burning calories and building muscle all day long, without getting bored doing burpees, body-weight push-ups and body-weight squats!

Ben Greenfield
5-minute read
Episode #327

I’m often asked about my secrets to staying extremely fit despite being a busy working family man with plenty of hobbies other than pumping iron or running on a treadmill. Fact is, if you glance around my house, you’ll quickly realize that I’ve “hacked my environment” to allow me to stay as fit as possible without actually stepping foot into a gym. Sure, I have the type of home gym I describe in this episode but my philosophy is that a workout at the beginning or the end of the day should be the optional “icing on the cake” for mini-movement snacks you’ve been taking quick breaks to squeeze in all day long.

So in today’s episode, you’re going to discover six tools you can use to transform your home into a full-time fitness facility that keeps you burning calories and building muscle all day long, without getting bored doing, say, burpees, body-weight push-ups and body-weight squats!

Tool #1: Kettlebell

I’ve got plenty of resources out there about my favorite ways to use a kettlebell, which has been shown to be just as effective as sprinting when it comes to burning fat and boosting cardiovascular fitness. You may want to take a listen to or read the following:

-How to Use Kettlebells

-How to Biohack Fat Loss with a Kettlebell

-The Best Home Gym Equipment

-How To Use Unconventional Fitness Gear Like Kettlebells, Battleropes, Maces, Clubs And More!

I’d recommend you start with something simple: for females, around a 15lb kettlebell and, for males, around a 35lb kettlebell. This seems to be an excellent starting size to keep behind the living room couch or under your work desk in your cubicle for quick breaks through the day to do things like kettlebell swings, kettlebell squats and even kettlebell carries up and down stairs.

Tool #2: Hard Foam Roller

When it comes to avoiding injury, soreness, and those aches and pains that can so often accompany a constant quest for improving fitness, burning fat or maintaining muscle, the integrity and health of your deep tissue and fascia is just as important as your six-pack abs or bulging biceps.

For this reason, I keep a foam roller both upstairs in my living room and downstairs in my office, and if I ever feel any nagging aches or pains coming on throughout the day, I stop for a brief break to “roll it out”. Here are a few previous resources I’ve created on foam rolling:

-Sore Muscle Remedy

-The Best Fitness Gear and Technology

-How To Get Rid of Stiff Muscles

-What is the Perfect Workout?

-How to Treat Sore Muscles

Be sure to get a good, hard foam roller, not a soft and squishy one from the bargain bin of your local sports department store.

Tool #3: Gymnastics Rings

For everything from hanging leg raises to muscle-ups to a host of other exercises that require nearly every tiny muscle in your body to contract simultaneously, a good set of gymnastics rings  can’t be beat. As you may have read in the article, How to Get the Body of a Gymnast, I’ve been incorporating plenty of gymnastics training this year.

A pair of gymnastics rings can be hung from rafters, from a stud in the ceiling or wall, outside in the backyard, or, for a portable option, carried to any local playground for a workout. My current protocol is to simply stop every time I walk near my own set of gymnastics rings hanging in my living room and to practice 1-5 muscle-up exercises. These little doses of fitness sprinkled throughout the day actually have a name: “Greasing The Groove”, and I talk about that concept here.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.