Functional fitness equipment differs from your normal home gym equipment. From kettlebells and resistance bands to body weight leverage trainers, the focus on whole-body training requires targeted gear. This guide provides a breakdown of why functional fitness equipment is different, the types of gear, and the top 11 best to consider when building a functional fitness-focused gym.
If you are new to functional fitness, check out the “Functional Fitness Exercises and Tips for Your Home Gym” guide.
Functional fitness is a physical fitness philosophy that emphasizes how muscle groups work together during daily activities around the home or office. It also emphasizes sports that you participate in regularly. This type of exercise can help you remain healthy and have a better quality of life by avoiding injuries from everyday activities.
Isolation vs. Full Body
Functional fitness equipment can include resistance bands, battle ropes and indoor rowing machines. The difference between functional equipment and standard equipment is that this type of equipment works more than one group of muscles at once. Standard gym equipment works a muscle group in isolation. However, as we go about our daily routine, we rarely use a single muscle group in isolation without engaging others.
Functional Fitness Blends Well With Other Workouts
Functional fitness philosophy prepares you for daily life. You can combine that this type of exercise routine with other kinds of strength, aerobic, and CrossFit programs. This is an excellent type of fitness program for older adults to prevent injury and keep them healthy as they age. It is also an excellent addition or younger people who want to add something new to their routine.
Focused to Overall Health vs. Health Goals
Another way functional exercise is different from standard training programs is that often with conventional training, you are doing it to reach a goal. You may be training for a marathon, or to perform well during the next sports season. Functional exercise philosophy is ongoing. It does not stop after you reach a specific goal. You can either choose to stay at a certain point and maintain your fitness level or continue to push to higher levels of fitness. Either way, you will achieve better overall health by engaging in this type of fitness program. The philosophy is fitness for life, rather than to reach a short-term goal.
Functional Fitness Equipment Types
Functional fitness equipment falls into two different categories. There is equipment made for professional gyms and that which is designed for home use. One thing that is different about this type of equipment is that it allows for greater freedom of movement and range of motion that mimics what you do during your day. The key to building a good home gym is too include as many types of equipment as possible that work different muscle groups. The focus of functional exercise is to work as many groups of muscles as possible and focus on fitness for the entire body. The following are some examples of a few things you might include.
Home Gym Fitness Equipment
Perhaps you do not have room for larger functional exercise equipment, but there are some things that you can include, even in a small space. You do not have to spend a fortune to be able to take advantage of the benefits of functional exercise training. One thing that you might want to think about is that nothing can replace the expertise and watchful eye of a professional trainer. If you choose to go the home gym route, make certain that you are using proper body alignment and do not overstretch your limits. It is always best to start small and work your way up. Home workout equipment can include:
- Kettlebells and dumbbells
- Pull-up bar
- Body weight leverage trainers
- Boxing equipment
- Massage Equipment for myofascial release
- Steps and platforms
- Resistance bands
- Medicine balls
Professional Gym Equipment
One of the benefits of going to a gym is that you can have access to larger, more high tech equipment. You also have access to personal trainers who can help you achieve your goals in a safe way. You are also more likely to challenge yourself during a workout at a gym, as opposed to at home when no one is watching. Commercial gym equipment includes:
- Recumbent bikes
- Elliptical trainers
- Rowing machines
- Cable crossover machines
- Crossfit machines
These are some of the types of equipment that you may be able to purchase for your home or encounter at a professional gym. Do not be afraid to include traditional equipment such as jump ropes, balance balls and ab machines. Even though these types of equipment only target one or a small group of muscles, they are still a great addition to a whole-body workout.
Functional exercise concentrates on the whole body, but you still need to include aerobics and flexibility into your routine. You can also target your routine to your specific needs, such as balance or strengthening a particular part of your body.
Top 11 Best Functional Fitness Equipment for a Home Gym
If you have been thinking about home gym equipment specifically targeted for functional fitness, you may be wondering what types of home gym gear are available. We have compiled a list of the top home gym functional fitness equipment and the pros and cons of each.
When it comes to home gym gear, you need to consider your needs and goals as a top priority. Although realistically, budget is always a concern, it should not be your priority. You want good equipment that performs well and will help you to meet your whole body fitness goals.
Yes4All powder coated kettlebells are a great way to exercise your whole body. This set includes weights ranging from 9 pounds to 71 pounds. One thing that we liked about them is that they are made from cast iron. They have no welds, seams, or potential weak spots. The powder coating protects them from rust and gives you better grip than a gloss finish.
- HIGH-QUALITY CAST IRON KETTLEBELL: Constructed of solid cast iron with no welds, weak spots, or seams. Powder coating prevents corrosion and offers you a better grip with no slipping in your hand like a glossy finish
- COLOR-CODED RINGS & DUAL MARKINGS FOR BOTH LB & KG: Color-coded rings make different weights easy to identify at a glance. Each kettlebell is labeled with both LB & KG. No need to use the calculator to figure out how much you are swinging!
- WIDE SMOOTH SLIGHTLY TEXTURED HANDLE & FLAT BASE: Smooth, slightly textured handle provides a secure grip for high reps, makes chalk unnecessary. Flat bottom enables upright storage, ideal for renegade rows, handstands, mounted pistol squats & more
|Made from heavy cast iron||Take up space and must be stored flat on the floor|
|Wide, textured handle for better grip||Set may be too big for beginners who do not need the higher weights|
|Can perform many different exercises with them|
|Color coded for easy identification|
This pull up bar allows you to have a full range of motion to work the upper body. The bar extends 1-inch above the door trim and is out from the wall. This means that you will not hit the door or be limited by the top of the door trim. It can support up to 300 pounds.
- GET OUT OF THE DOORWAY: Effectively build muscle across the chest, arms, back, and core with pull-ups, push-ups, dips, and sit ups. Elevated Bar sets 1” above trim and 10” from wall to fully leverage your doorway opening for full range of motion
- BUILT FOR REAL WORKOUTS: Premium heavy steel tubing supports up to 300 pounds. Exclusive ABS couplers secure a true, tight, and rigid frame. High density foam grips reduce strain for better workouts. Quickly switch between doorway and floor exercises
- EASY INSTALLATION: Bar installs in seconds with no drilling. Fits residential doorways 6 inches deep when measured from trim face to trim face. Expandable bar ends fit doorways 24" to 36" wide with molding up to 3.5" wide
|Allows for full range of motion||Maximum weight of 300 pounds|
|Fits all residential doorway with molding up to 3.5-inches wide||Cannot be used with resistance bands or for swinging|
|Secure fit and can be used as an anchor for additional accessories|
|Can be used for floor exercises|
If you are looking for just the basics and want something that will tuck easily into a corner, this machine may be the right pick. It is sturdy and allows you to do chest, leg, and arm movements. It is a basic machine, and it is not very complicated, making it perfect for the person who is just starting out.
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|Aircraft-grade cables||Does not have a bench|
|Small footprint, tucks into a corner||Limited in the number of movements you can do|
|Rounded metal tubing for strength||Basic machine, not many accessories|
Martial Arts and boxing are great ways to tone your whole body. We like his punching bag because it has a solid base and you do not have to have a separate stand or ceiling mount. This freestanding punching bag can hold up to 270 pounds of sand or water. It provides excellent stability and resistance.
- Freestanding heavy bag with life-like upper torso
- Creates more striking surface for head or body shot training
- High-strength plastisol body filled with urethane foam
|Allows for targeted training||Heavy to move|
|Heavy, provides good resistance||Must be stored on the floor, takes up floor space|
|Has a large striking surface|
|Can be used for punching or kicking|
This fitness sandbag is perfect for many different types of training. The sandbag can be filled to between 25-75 pounds. They are sturdy and made from durable material. They are triple stitched and built to last. As you reach higher levels of fitness, you can add more sand to increase the level of challenge.
- WHAT’S INCLUDED: 1 Medium Black Sandbag. Medium sandbags (25-75 lbs) include 1 medium black sandbag shell, 1 small, and 1 large filler bag. Sand is NOT included. Each bag comes with a 1-year warranty covering normal wear and tear. If you aren’t happy we'll do our best to make it right!
- DOUBLE-REINFORCED SANDBAGS: Train as hard as you want with 7 rivet-reinforced handles and durable cross-stitched 1000D Cordura shell. The soft handles make for a more comfortable grip while triple-stitched seams, heavy duty YKK zippers, and industrial hook-and-eye closure filler bags keep your sand where it’s supposed to be. IMPORTANT: Ideal working weight range for sandbags is 70-80% of the max capacity. DO NOT fill filler bags beyond 3/4 full. Doing so will increase the chance of bursting.
- MULTI-FUNCTIONAL TRAINING: Sandbags are a versatile training tool for beginners and advanced athletes. The dynamic shape and shifting weight require you to engage multiple muscle groups. Build grip strength with drags and carries, increase your power with cleans, snatches, drags, and throws, or mix up your strength training with deadlifts, squats, presses, and lunges.
|Durable and sturdy material||You must provide your own sand|
|Soft handles that allow for strong grip||Not recommended for slamming|
|They have heavy-duty zippers and have multiple rows of stitching||Sand shifts around as you workout, proper body alignment is necessary|
A vibrating massage is a great way to release tension and prevent soreness. It also speeds recovery. This 3-speed vibrating foam roller is excellent for deeper tissue massage. This massager is ergonomically designed and feels great. It has three vibration speeds, and you can use it on any part of your body. It is great for releasing trigger points.
- ATTACK POST WORKOUT SORENESS: Tired of feeling sore after a CrossFit WOD or gym workout? This is the perfect tool to combat soreness. Preprogrammed frequencies allow the gel molded foam nodules to drive the vibration right into where you need it the most. The pulsations combined with rolling help flush out metabolites helping rejuvenate your sore muscles and decrease muscle tension.
- EXTRA FIRM DEEP TISSUE DESIGN: Carefully designed taking your body’s anatomy and biomechanics into account. This is the only vibrating fitness roller that allows you to roll out your sore back muscles while supporting your spine. The dual function spine grove was also designed to roll out your Achilles tendon reducing tension from one of the most commonly injured areas in all sports.
- SIMPLE TO USE: Designed specifically to help you recover faster, avoid injury, and increase mobility. With just 3 vibration frequencies scientifically backed to decrease recovery time, we make it easy for any athlete from elite to amateur to hit your fitness and athletic performance goals. Just turn it on and start rolling against the foam to relieve your stiff, achy, sore muscles.
|Portable and rechargeable||Knobs on the roller might be too big for some|
|Well designed and ergonomic||Vibration may or may not be enough for some people|
|Has a built-in handle for easy carrying to the gym or studio|
|Three speeds that are demonstrated to decrease recovery time|
When it comes to purchasing a step or platform, stability, shock-absorbing ability and grip are the most important qualities. You also want one that is just eh right height. This one allows you to adjust the height from four to eight inches. It feels stable and does not move, even when you crank up the intensity of the workout. The surface has a good grip, and you feel solid on the step.
- 42.5-INCH LENGTH X 16-INCH WIDTH ANTI-SLIP STEP SURFACE: Slip-resistant, shock-absorbing aerobic step platform with four additional removable 16” x 16” x 2” risers provide a steady, safe, space-efficient and comfortable step workout experience
- EASY HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT: Intensify workout difficulty by adjusting platform height from 4” to 6” to 8” using risers to challenge yourself and burn more calories
- HIGH-DENSITY POLYETHYLENE MATERIAL: Constructed of recyclable high-quality polyethylene capable of supporting up to 300 pounds. Ideal for indoor and outdoor use
|Good grip on the surface||Maximum weight capacity of 200 pounds|
|Adjustable height||Must be placed on a solid non-slip surface|
|Feels like durable material|
|Excellent shock absorbing ability|
Resistance bands are a necessity for any workout program. We like these bands because they are wide and easy to grip. They are 41-inches long and thick. These bands offer resistance in a range between 40-80 pounds. Highly versatile, they can be used for traditional resistance, pull-ups, or chin-ups.
- Single #3 (Purple) Band - not a set : This band measures 1 1/8 inch wide, 4.5 mm thick and 41 inches in length. It offers resistance from 40-80 lbs. The #3 band provides a strong amount of tension for the resistance training of small muscle groups (arm curls) and moderate resistance on the larger muscle groups (band squats). These are great for stretching, speed and agility training or even adding them to your barbell for bench press, squat or deadlifts.
- Make Fast Progress With Your Pull Up Progression : Don't have strict or kipping pull-ups yet, use one (or better yet two) of these to jump start your assisted chin up training. These cross-training equipement is used in gyms around the world and also works great on a home door chin-up bar.
- Combine Two Different Bands to Boost Your Strength Fast : We recommend that athletes use one light band and one heavy band together. Start your workout with the thin band. Then when you tire out switch to the thicker fitnessband. Then finally to squeeze out the last few reps, add them both together.
|1 1/8-inch wide, 4.5 mm thick||All bands are sold separately, you may need to buy multiple packages|
|41-inches long||May need assistance choosing the right band for your fitness level|
|Provides moderate resistance on larger muscle groups|
|Can use two bands at once to increase your resistance|
This is one of our favorite medicine ball sets. Many balls are sold separately. We like this one because you can choose the level of resistance that you wish. They are durable and heavy-duty. They are also a good side for your hands.
- Professional 14" Wall Ball
- Military Grade Stitching With Reinforced Center Core
- No Slamming
|Balls come in different weights||Ball may feel to small for those with larger hands|
|They feel durable and have strong seams||Cannot be used for slamming|
|The fabric feels tough and able to last a long time|
|Perfect size, feels good in the hands|
This stick massager works great. It is a great, small size for travel with spinning rollers that give a deep massage. It is small enough to be used on any part of the body, including the bottoms of the feet.
- ENJOY A DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE ANYTIME. Designed with freely spinning rollers, it delivers a deep tissue massage straight to your tired, aching zones, bones, and muscles. It improves the efficiency of blood circulation to increase flexibility and strengthen muscles while reducing soreness. Use this stick to alleviate cramps, knots, pain, soreness, and muscle tightness in your legs, calves, hamstrings, glutes, Achilles, quads, arms, neck, shoulders, and back.
- WARM UP PROPERLY & SPEED RECOVERY. By helping you warm up before a workout, it prevents injuries related to muscles tightness and the like. Using a roller is a proven way to loosen tight muscles, speed recovery after a tough workout, and prevent injuries. As a parent, you can use this technique to help your kids and their team get ready for competition by limiting injury and keeping them performing at peak in football, lacrosse, rugby, basketball, tennis, gymnastics, volleyball, soccer, softball
- BANISHING CELLULITE. Cellulite affects all body types—even people who are super-fit and toned—and up to 90% of women will experience it in their lifetimes. It seems almost too good to be true that massaging your body with a roller could make dimples disappear on your legs and butt. It turns out it does work—sort of.
|Small and compact||Only has one speed setting|
|Easy to tuck into any part of the body||May not be big enough for larger persons|
|Smooth action, does not feel jerky||Hard plastic can be difficult to get the pressure right|
Bodyweight trainers are great for working the core. This set is strong and can be used indoors and outdoors. This set feels strong and is made of high-quality materials. The pulleys have smooth action and move freely.
|High-quality materials||Must be anchored to a doorway|
|Versatile and easy to adjust||May be too heavy to take along for travel|
|Has handle with built-in foot loops|
With the high range of functional fitness equipment available, its critical to focus on a core body weight platform before adding to your workouts. An incline bench can be a great place to start, as well as kettlebells and medicine balls. Before you go too far check out the “Functional Fitness Exercises and Tips for Your Home Gym” guide to make sure understand how to perform functional fitness drills and which equipment will benefit you the most.