I’m the Senior E-Commerce Editor at SPY who specializes in the health and fitness space, which means I’m always searching for the best fitness equipment available for purchase. During my time here, I’ve written about fitness topics ranging from VR workouts to the dangers of testosterone supplements, the best vitamin subscriptions to take daily, and how to build a power rack in your own home (safely).
I’ve also done reviews of entire product categories, diligently testing every top contender in a given space to check how they stack up against one another and which one is worth your money. I’ve tested weight plates, fitness mirrors, spin bikes, massage guns, ankle weights, weighted jump ropes — the list goes on and on. I was already an avid Peloton user when I started this job, and while none of the products I’ve tested have fully replaced their pivotal role in my routine, some have made the cut and earned a permanent place in my home gym setup.
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After testing hundreds of pieces of fitness equipment, I have an arsenal of 10-15 products that I love and would recommend to almost anybody with the same fitness goals. I should point out that I am a tall, able-bodied woman who’s not looking to scale Mount Everest but has a relatively rigorous six-day-a-week fitness routine that keeps me grounded and sane. And all of the products below help me accomplish that goal and get stronger every day.
I review fitness products for a living, and here are the things that, after testing, I could no longer live without.
A Note About My Fitness Routine
I want to clarify my fitness routine because it provides valuable context for my picks for the best fitness equipment available. I’m interested in cycling, strength training and yoga, for the most part, so many of my go-to products will be from those areas. If you’re a runner, a swimmer, or an avid hiker, your list would probably look different.
There are some products on my list that are more specific to certain activities and some that everyone should be using, regardless of what type of movement you do. Products that help with recovery, high-quality headphones and strength training equipment are universally applicable. As a fitness editor with years of experience under her belt, here are the products I see as the best fitness equipment of 2022.
The Best Fitness Equipment of 2022
1. Peloton Bike
I would be lying if I tried to claim this wasn’t the most important part of my fitness routine, by far. I ride a Peloton Bike basically six days a week, always taking Sundays off. It’s a fantastic fitness machine, built with high-quality, durable mechanics and hooked up to an extensive library of classes taught by world-class instructors. I look forward to my workouts every day because I get to do a Peloton ride.
I was already very into cycling, and once the pandemic hit, I immediately pulled the trigger on one of these, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve gotten stronger; I genuinely have fun during the classes and feel accomplished afterward.
Last year, Peloton came out with the Bike+, a machine with an upgraded sound system and rotatable screen, among other upgraded features. I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it’s fantastic.
Kudos to you, Peloton. You’ve earned my number one slot handily.
Read More: SPY Peloton Review
2. Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells
After the Peloton, the piece of fitness equipment I use the most, by far, are these adjustable dumbbells from Bowflex. I was sent a sample unit of these for the adjustable dumbbell review, and I decided to keep them because they work so well with my routine. They are super easy to use, take up less space than a full set of dumbbells, are more cost-effective, and have half weights. Sometimes my medium dumbbell set is 15 pounds, sometimes 17.5 pounds, and the SelectTech is one of the only pairs that go up by 2.5 pounds as opposed to 5.
If you’re looking to get into strength training and want one item to start with, make it this pair. They come in two sizes: a max weight of 55 pounds and 90 pounds. I’ve also tried the 90-pound pair, and they’re great but way too heavy for most people.
3. Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
A yoga mat is another fitness essential I use daily during my strength training sessions and for stretching and recovery. This one from Manduka is a bit more expensive, but I like the balance it strikes between padding and friction, creating a grippable surface while still being super comfortable to use and lay down on.
It rolls up easily and is a bit heavier to carry than other brands because of the 6 millimeters of professional-quality material, but it’s worth it. Pick up a good yoga mat strap while you’re at it, and you’ll be good to go.
Read More: The Best Yoga Mats of 2022
4. TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
A foam roller is a must, regardless of what type of activity you like to do. This one from TriggerPoint is my favorite because it has a hard exterior with just the right amount of give, and the different textures help work out kinks and hot spots all over my posterior and anterior chains. The hollow core is rigid, supportive and makes it easy to grab and carry. It’s also pretty short, which makes it easy to pack for working out on the road and a nice relief from 3-foot-long foam rollers that take up too much space.
5. AfterShokz Titanium Open Ear Headphones
I use these headphones every day when I’m cycling because they have superb sound quality but don’t cut me off from my surrounding environment, so I can still hear someone knock on the door or if my partner calls for me. They work via bone conduction in your cheekbones, so rather than blasting your eardrums with sound, the sound radiates through the bones in your skull to your inner ear. Cool, huh?
They fit nicely over the tops of my ears and are ultra sweatproof. Seriously, I’ve been drenched after a workout, and these things haven’t missed a beat. On average, they also have a long battery life that lasts me about a week of classes.
6. Hydrow Rower
The Hydrow Rower is not a part of my daily fitness routine, but it is one of the most impressive fitness machines I’ve ever tried and would make a great addition to a home gym. What’s unique about the Hydrow Rower — and rowing in general — is that it works your entire body while remaining low-impact. After a session on the Hydrow, I find that my back, chest, legs and core are all sore, and I feel primed for strength training.
The Hydrow is the Peloton of rowers, with a large screen that can stream rowing classes worldwide and track your stats. It has a long, solid belt that makes it easy to move back and forth, and the handle is easy to grip and pull. It’s a large machine, but it’s built to fold and store vertically with the help of storage rigs Hydrow sells for a few extra hundred bucks. I have the space in my apartment to store it, but if you’re worried about it taking up too much floor space, know you have options available.
I use the Hydrow Rower when I need a low-impact, mild form of cardio to warm up for a strength session or cool down after a HIIT workout, and it always does the trick. As far as rowers go, it’s one of the best pieces of fitness equipment you can find, and while it has a price tag to match, it’s worth it if you love to row and plan on using it regularly.
7. New Balance Minimus Cross Trainers
Cross trainers are another crucial part of my fitness routine, since I don’t like working out barefoot around heavy weights and lifting in running shoes should be avoided. These Minimus cross trainers are made to be an alternative shoe to your main running or cycling shoes and have a super lightweight mesh fabric upper designed for airflow. They have a flat, rigid, supportive sole and additional cushioning in the midsole that keeps my feet from cramping. There are many cross trainers to choose from, but these get the job done for me.
8. Tempo Fitness Mirror
This is a splurge, and as full disclosure, I was sent a sample unit of this mirror and did not purchase the one I currently have. However, after trying this machine, it became a regular part of my fitness routine very quickly, mainly because they teach classes with a barbell, and I love lifting heavier weights.
Tempo has made a sleek, responsive, futuristic fitness machine that leads you through exercises seamlessly and has a super user-friendly interface for all fitness levels. It takes up more floor space than the MIRROR, but it has a built-in weight storage cabinet inside and on the back, so it uses all of the space efficiently.
Read More: Tempo Fitness Mirror Review
9. Rogue Fitness The Bella Bar 2.0
At first, I didn’t love the idea of a shorter, lighter barbell designed for women. However, once I tried and used the Bella Bar, I loved how manageable it was compared to larger barbells made for men and how it made it easier for my body to lift. It’s just over 30 pounds, making it great for light lifts on its own. It has a universal width for use with plates and is made with light knurling, so my hands don’t get ripped up even after heavy days.
10. Theragun Mini
I’ve written extensively about massage guns, mini massage guns and Therabody’s entire line of world-class percussive therapy devices. The Theragun Mini has become one of my favorite recovery devices and a critical piece of fitness equipment kit because of its small, user-friendly size and powerful motor. It has my favorite shape of the 30+ massage guns I’ve tried as a fitness editor, and it’s small enough to carry everywhere.
I love the full grip handle that enables me to apply direct pressure to the areas of my body that need massage, and the one-button controls make it super simple to use. If you buy a massage gun, I highly encourage this as a starter device.
11. Fit Simplify Resistance Band Set
One of the best pieces of fitness equipment for at home and use on the road is this resistance band set. Resistance bands are excellent for light strength work, adding resistance to HIIT, yoga, barre or pilates classes, and can be easily packed and taken on the road. This set comes with five bands ranging in weight from extra light to extra heavy, and they’re color-coded, which makes them easy to tell apart in the middle of a class.
I use these frequently during core, lower and upper body work and love how lightweight and flexible they are.
12. Crossrope Weighted Jump Rope — Get Lean Set
Crossrope is my favorite weighted jump rope brand because of its design and utility. They have a super easy clip handle system that enables you to clip in and out of the differently-weighted ropes easily, and they all move seamlessly as you jump. You can find my full review of Crossrope’s entire line of weighted jump rope sets in our weighted jump rope round-up, but for now, I’ll summarize and say the Get Lean set is by far my favorite.
It has just enough weight to be challenging while still supporting healthy cardio. The ropes are super durable and flexible, making them easy to hang and fold up when you’re done. The handles are substantial enough to be easy to grip without being uncomfortable to hold during a long training session.
13. Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots
These have entirely changed my recovery game since I reviewed them, and now I can’t imagine keeping up with my intense training regimen without them. They’re pneumatic compression recovery boots that inflate and deflate on your legs for a set period, at a fixed intensity, to encourage blood flow and help with muscle recovery. They feel strange at first, but they’re pretty therapeutic after a while. The best part? You can use them while watching TV, reading, or browsing the internet, and passively let your muscles recover while you relax.
Read More: Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots Review
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