How To Get A Functional At-Home Gym Sorted For Under $100

Budgeting while studying or working your sorry arse off in your first low-paying job is rough.
One thing they don’t teach you at school is that the very act of living is costly. A few drainers on the bank account include (but are certainly not limited to): topping up your Myki or Opal card, car insurance and rego, power bills, repairing your inevitably-smashed phone every three months, a drink at the bar costing nine fucking dollars.
Once all these incidentals of being a living human being are paid for, chances are, you’re not left with a humungous amount of money for stuff like a gym membership. Not all hope is lost, though – you can improvise your way to a higher state of ~wellbeing~ by creating a makeshift gym situation in your very living room. Here’s how to do it in less than $100 buckaroonies.

Exercise Ball

Cost: You can pick one of these ‘Anti Burst’ bad boys up at Targét for a measly $10. The pump to inflate is $5 (if you don’t have one lying around at home). It comes with a handy leaflet listing exercises you can do on the ball as well. No word on whether or not this move is featured:
Moves: plank crawl outs, squats against the wall with the ball behind your back, crunches. If you need a little demonstration:
Benefits: All the moves are low-impact. If done regularly, they improve balance and stability: a big plus. You can use a firmly-inflated ball as a substitute as a chair while sitting at your desk, which’ll mean you’re silently burning some cals (by keeping up your balance and posture) while working.

Cost: Yet again, Target delivers the goods with a $5, weighted rope (1.25kgs in each handle). If you’re not keen on a trek to the shops, and want one delivered within three hours, drop a lazy $9.99 at RunStopShop and they’ll hook you up.

Moves: A lot of movies and distant childhood memories might lead you to believe skipping is easy, but it actually takes a fair whack of hand-eye coordination and stamina. You wanna land on the balls on your feet, and never your heels. This’ll give your calves a solid thrashing. Your hands should stay just above the waistline at all times, and try and do small jumps as opposed to giant leaps – this way you’ll last longer. It’s all in the wristies:
Benefits: It’s higher impact on the knees, but skipping rope improves your agility, cardiovascular fitness and a ripper way to burn a lot of calories.

Cost: You could buy a pair of 5kg dumbbells for $30, or you could kill two birds with one stone and make your own with everyday household objects. Some suggestions:
  • Two 1L bottles of milk. A full litre of milk’ll be around 1 – 1.3kgs, and most have an ergonomic handle.
  • Two bottles of detergent. 
  • For those less muscular among us, baked bean cans, which are on average around 430g.
  • Vodka bottles. 

Moves: Bicep curls, weighted lunges or stairclimbers, t-rows and boats with twist, just to name a few. Here’s how to do one of the most basic moves, the bicep curl, with correct form:

Benefits: Any form of resistance training is ace for muscle tone. A standard bicep curl is great ’cause the movement trained by this exercise is highly functional. It’ll make daily tasks like picking up your broken spirit from the floor a lot easier. 


Cost: You can grab a 5-piece set from aptly named for $37.95. Real good. Or you can improvise with:
  • A watermelon
  • A 5kg bag of rice
  • A 10kg bag of dog food
  • A pumpkin

Moves: If you’re using the watermelon or the pumpkin, you’re probably gonna wanna stick to goblet squats and the like, since you won’t have a grippy handle. Let old mate Fabio show you how to master it here:
Benefits: A goblet squat is a simple way for beginners to learn the patterns and technique of squatting. Since it’s a front-loaded squat, your body will compensate by pulling back, keeping your back up and straight, which is imperative while squattin’ to avoid injury.

$88 smackaroonies, moite!

(If you were to buy the exercise ball, pump, skipping rope, set of dumbbells and set of kettlebells).

Ka-ching! Not bad. 

Photo: Kath & Kim.