The 10 Best Portable Pieces of Equipment for Trainers | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

The 10 Best Portable Pieces of Equipment for Trainers

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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Get the Basics...
  • If you’re a new personal trainer, this article is for you!
  • Use suggestions from our list to build your training toolkit.
  • Choose portable equipment that will best fit your training style, budget, and clients’ needs.

If you’re a new personal trainer, it’s time to put together your toolkit — especially if you freelance. Sure, our bodies are amazing and can act as free, built-in equipment that clients can certainly use to progress through bodyweight exercises like push-ups and crunches; but to keep them motivated, you can’t stop there.

You want equipment that will exceed their expectations and help you facilitate a complete program that is rooted in variety.

It’s not only about what’s hip and fun but also about what’s high-quality, practical, and cost-effective. Plus, won’t your life be a whole lot easier if you can carry your gear around town?

To give you an idea of what’s out there, here’s a list of the best portable equipment that personal trainers use with (and without) their clients. You may be surprised to find that many of these tools are old school. You know what they say: Why mess with a good thing?

Once you have your equipment in tow, you’ll need a software platform that will help you manage your business and your clients effortlessly. Request a demo of our All-in-One Fitness Business Software platform today to find out how our software can help you run your business better.

#1 – Resistance Bands (a.k.a. Superbands)

Your clients can use these stretchy bands in several ways: for resistance during strength-building exercises, to perform pull-ups and other bodyweight workouts, and to achieve proper form — especially during an otherwise difficult stretch or reach. These simple bands vary in thickness for different levels of resistance.

#2 – Foam Roller

This popular tool helps improve flexibility and range of motion by exerting pressure from the body to knead and stretch tight, knotted muscles. To help your client loosen up, recommend foam rolling before an intense workout. This roller is also perfect for a post-workout massage. The Triggerpoint brand is short and lightweight, which makes traveling a breeze, and its grooves enable more thorough muscle recovery.

#3 – Exercise Mat

Even if you’re not a yoga instructor, you’re allowed to touch a mat. Mats make your clients more comfortable while they stretch on a hard, cold floor or ground (perhaps with a foam roller or superband, eh?). If you lead group classes, exercise mats can function as handy dividers that mark each participant’s territory. Everybody likes their own space to work out, and they’ll like you more for it.

#4 – Medicine Ball

This timeless item often used for strength training and rehabilitation has evolved over the years. If you want to amp up plyometrics or power training, give your clients the double-grip version. It will allow them to maintain a strong but comfortable hold during these intense, full-body workouts.

#5 ­­– Jump Rope

Jump ropes aren’t just for playground kids who chant rhymes while doing tricks. For a client who wants to lose weight or step up their cardio game, hand them a rope instead of sending them out for a run. Not only will jump roping burn calories, but it will also boost coordination, agility, and balance.

Not to mention, it will be a fun way to keep your people motivated. After all, those playground kids know what’s up. And hey, if you need to throw in some rhymes to keep things interesting, go for it!

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#6 – Sliders

Are planks on your workout plan? Add in some low-cost sliders to kick things up a notch. Optimal for toning and stretching, these small, comfortable discs will help your client slide into position on an otherwise resistant surface. The challenge lies in keeping oneself upright and balanced enough to perform movements correctly.

#7 ­– Kettlebells

Some form of the kettlebell has been a part of fitness since the 19th century, and this tried-and-true method still stands. Like the medicine ball, the kettlebell’s versatility aids with power training and strength building. When used properly, this weighty device also improves flexibility and endurance.

So, (carefully) toss a pair of kettlebells into your client’s program. For transport’s sake, you may want to keep a lighter pair with you.

#8 ­– Agility Ladder

It’s self-explanatory what this piece of gear boosts. Use this adjustable, durable ladder to increase speed, strengthen balance, and enhance coordination. It’s low-cost, easy to set up, break down, and carry, and it should last you a long time.

#9 – Balance Board

A wooden balance board or the inflatable version will work a new client’s core while they learn to stabilize their body, leading to calorie-burning and ab-building. Consider carrying one of these inexpensive boards to your next session. With equipment like this, “balancing acts” can get creative!

#10 – Suspension Trainer

As one of the most popular and versatile exercise tools today, this strappy apparatus gives users of all levels a challenging, full-body workout. It’s ideal for targeted and low-impact training, building muscle, strengthening the core, and cardio exercises!

The suspension trainer is the most expensive item on our list, but the price can vary depending on the brand and type of kit, some more portable than others. TRX is a well-liked brand, but you can click here to compare it with a few others.

Pick and Choose

We hope our list has been helpful. Don’t feel pressured to get out and purchase every item immediately. You could start with a few items and then add more as you continue to build your clientele, expand your program, and grow your business.

Use what fits your training focus and budget.

Trust your instincts, learn from your clients’ needs, and decide which pieces of equipment will help you strike the balance of challenging and fun.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I start a personal training business?

Starting a business begins with conducting a lot of research. Check out this article for more info.

Should personal trainers work in a gym before starting a business?

Not necessarily. However, working in an already established gym may help you gain valuable experience that you can transfer to your own business in the future.

Can I write off gym equipment?

Yes. If you purchase equipment specifically for a job, you should be able to deduct those expenses from your taxes. Speak more to your accountant about the process of writing off work expenses.

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